Many Muslims today now suffer two rampant diseases, though immunity from them is easy for those who are protected by Allah. These two diseases are backbiting and tale-bearing, which has plagued the community.
The “art” of tale carrying and backbiting denotes maligning a person, speaking evil about any of his characteristics or his deeds. Many of the counsels of Muslims today are not free from indulgence in backbiting people and criticizing them, despite the fact that those backbiters themselves are not free from faults and blemishes; rather they harm themselves and those who listen to their reports without denouncing them.
Tale carrying is so widespread that it has become the topic of people’s meetings and an avenue for expressing their anger, misgivings and jealousy with those who indulge in gossip believing that they are hiding their own imperfections and harming others. They are oblivious of the fact that they are only harming themselves.
The scourge has left no stoned un-turned. It’s prevalent in affluent and non-affluent homes and has evolved from over the wall chatter by neighbours to weddings and even mayyits (funerals). With the advent of technology and social media like BlackBerry Messenger, Twitter and Facebook, tale carrying spreads faster than wildfire and knows no bounds. From the young to the old are guilty of this immoral sadistic behavior.
The question is what are the factors that tempt a person into carrying tales? Is it boredom, revenge, jealousy, attention seeking? Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “A person who has the despicable habit of carrying tales will not enter Jannah (Paradise)!“- (Muslim). So this means that carrying tales is so serious, it jeopardizes your entry in jannah (Paradise)
Radio Islam’s Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat posed the question to the Radio Islam listeners and received the following responses.
“I think people carry tales, especially women who are bitter. Their lives haven’t probably gone the way that they hoped or planned. And they start living bitterly not wanting other people to be happy. So they resort to tale carrying and gossiping because of their own situations. Its being like an unconscious cycle of bitterness towards happiness.”
Another SMS read, “With women it’s just the necessity to talk. But when men do it because they don’t do it so frequently, it’s much worse.”
The evil trait of tale carrying doesn’t incline to a specific gender. It’s a problem that affects society. Sister Ammarah of Radio Islam tweeted, “Allah gave us the gift of speech 2 be used to speak good things and to build up people and help people, not to carry tales.” The consequence of gossiping results in the tarnishing of peoples reputations and creates discord and suspicion.
Your duty when you hear others backbite is to be earnest in forbidding and stopping the backbiter and to defend the honors of Muslims, just as you would stop the one who eats from the flesh of a dead body in front of you. Allah, the Almighty, says, “O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin. And spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it. But fear Allah, for Allah is Oft Returning, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hujuraat: 12).
As part of the solution, if society shuns those that carry tales and extinguish the so called supply there won’t be a demand for gossip, Inshallah (If Allah wills). The instigator will also lose the attention and his/her ulterior motives will be thwarted. People will begin to ultimately hate the perpetrator because of their tale carrying which eventually results in destroying ties with family and friends and them becoming outcasts in society in which they are all alone.
An e-mail sent by a listener to Radio Islam sums up the issue of tale carrying beautifully:
“It’s really a shame that tail carrying, backbiting and gossiping have become so rife amongst us Muslims. And the root cause of such is purely greed and jealousy. If there’s one thing we should adopt it should be to be genuinely happy when our fellow believers succeed. Do not be critical of others or base your opinion of someone by heresy. Rather let us look at each other with the best interests at heart and when being involved in tale carrying, to exclude oneself from the situation and to gently correct that person to avoid doing such. Our characters mold us so let’s adopt the best of characters.”
Its simple, we do not know what Allah knows of each person, so who are we to judge and criticize? Rather treat all fellow Muslims with a greeting, a smile and with the best interests at heart and watch as your own life transforms into a life of beauty.”
Faizel Patel, Radio Islam