Backbiting ("gheebah") or gossiping may seem trivial, but in the Quran and Hadith it is described as a terrible sin. In fact, Allah compares backbiting to eating the flesh of a dead person and the Prophet is quoted as saying, "Backbiting is a worse sin than adultery." If you are guilty of backbiting, repentance is crucial. You must make amends both with the victim and with Allah to receive full forgiveness and absolution.
Acknowledge the Sin
Admit that you have backbitten and acknowledge that the act goes against Allah's wishes and teachings. Recognize that such a sin, if not forgiven, could keep you from entering paradise.
Spend some time thinking about how your actions have hurt both the victim and yourself. Even if the victim never hears of your backbiting, you have poisoned the listener's mind against him. You have also damaged your own reputation by speaking ill of someone who wasn't there to defend himself.
Ask yourself why you resorted to backbiting. Perhaps you feel inferior or threatened. Be honest with yourself. If there is some bad blood between you and the victim, approach him one on one and clear the air.
Confess your sin to the victim and ask him to forgive you for backbiting him. Allah will not forgive you until the victim does. If you cannot safely do this, Allah requires that you beg his forgiveness for your sins as well as the victim's.
Repent to Allah and seek his forgiveness for backbiting. Allah is "oft-forgiving [and] most merciful" (Quran, 24:22) to those who sincerely repent their sins.
Forgive yourself and resolve to guard more closely in the future against the temptation to backbite.
Demonstrate Your Sincerity
Perform good deeds and acts of kindness toward others, especially the victim of your backbiting, and Allah will replace your sins with these deeds. According to the Quran, "Good deeds annul evil deeds" (Suran Hud, 114).
Bear hardship with grace. If you endure future illnesses or other difficulties with patience, trusting in Allah, you will win forgiveness and Allah's favor.
Constantly appeal to Allah for forgiveness. Allah will readily forgive an earnest, remorseful sinner if his repentant prayers are accompanied by actions that demonstrate his sincerity.
- Listening to backbiting is as bad as actual backbiting. If you witness backbiting, you are equally guilty if you do not refute it or otherwise defend the victim.
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