This week for our Top 5 we have decided to write about backbiting exemptions in Islam. In our previous article we told you about how bad Ghayba is in Islam. But we haven't completely covered the topic of gossiping; so for those of you wondering when it is ok to gossip in Islam, read the following Top 5.
Now dont get excited, you still arent allowed to gossip. And I beleive we have covered most of the reasons as to why not. But the following are a few exemptions for certain people in certain circumstances.
1) A person who was treated unjustly. This person can go to a Judge or a Leader, complain to him and tell him of the person who has done injustice to him. Technically this is not backbiting because Allah (SWT) said in Surah Nisaa verse 148 what can be translated as "Allah does not like that the evil should be uttered in public, except by him to whom injustice has been done".
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said "when a loan has not been paid back, then the loaner can say it in public so that the lender may be punished". -Imam Bukhari
2) A person who is asking for fatwah (from a person with knowledge). A person may ask for an Islamic legal opinion, in this request he might talk about things that happened between him and somebody else - he may include some things which may not seem good, but Islam allows it as long as your intention is to know the ruling. This exemption is proved from the following tradition of the Prophet (pbuh)- reported by Bukhari:
Hind, the wife of Abu Sofiyaan said to the Prophet that "Abu Sofiyaan was a stingy man and would not spend enough money on his wife and child and that she would have to take money without his knowledge" So the Prophet (pbuh) told her "Take what is enough for you and your child".
3) Advising Muslims what is good for them. For example, when someone asks you about a person that you know whom they are going to marry, or about a business partnership, you are required to tell them the truth. The proof comes from the following story narrated by Bukhari:
Fatemah, the daughter of Ques, came to Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and said "Abu Jahm and Moa' Wheya both have proposed to marry me, whom should I accept?" To which the Prophet (pbuh) replied "Moa' Wheya is a poor man and Abu Jahm beats his woman". The Prophet (pbuh) mentioned 2 traits about both men that they would not like to hear, yet he said it because he was trusted for advice.
4) Warning Muslims about enemies. If you know for sure that someone is an enemy of Islam, that they pretend to be Muslims from the outside, yet work, plan and think against Islam, then you are allowed to tell others for this person is a Hypocrite. There are many proofs to this exemption, the following one is reported from Bukhari:
A man asked for permission to enter to see the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) said "Let him come in, what evil he is". That person was a muslim but he was a hypocrite, the Prophet (pbuh) said that so he could warn the Muslims around him of that man.
5) When Identifying someone. It is considered backbiting when you refer to someone from his features such as short, fat, ugly, bald etc. But when identifying someone who really is deaf, blind, mute and handicapped as such - it is permissible.
Our tongues can get us into a lot of trouble so lets stick to what is permissible not make our own exemptions.