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Allah, ta^ala, said in the Qur’an:

 

مَا يَلْفِظُ مِن قَوْلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيْهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيدٌ

[ Ma yalfidhu min qawlin illa ladayhi Raqibun ^Atid ]

Ayah 8 of Surat Qaf means: {Whatever one says, be it good or evil, two angels Raqib and ^Atid write it.}

The wise person should be keen to protect his tongue from everything that is evil.

Among what is evil is: gossip (ghibah), fabrication (buhtan), and talebearing (namimah). These three (3) matters are among the sins of the tongue and are bad habits. It is confirmed that one of the Companions addressed his tongue by saying:

يَا لِسَانُ قُلْ خَيْراً تَغْنَمْ وَاسْكُتْ عَنْ شَرٍّ تَسْلَمْ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَنْدَمَ، إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: "أَكْثَرُ خَطَايَا ابْنِ آدَمَ مِنْ لِسَانِهِ"

[ Ya lisanu qul khayran taghnam waskut ^an sharrin taslam min qabli an tandam. Inni sami^tu Rasulallahi, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, yaqul: Aktharu khatayabni Adama mil-lisanih ]

Which means: “O tongue, say what is good and you will gain, and keep silent about what is bad before you regret it. I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘Most of the human’s sins are from his tongue.’ ” Related by at-Tabaraniyy.

1. Gossip (Ghibah): Means to mention a matter related to a Muslim in his absence in a way that he hates. If a Muslim person was short, and hated for that to be said about him, and someone else said in his absence, so and so is short, then this is considered among the unlawful gossip that the Prophet prohibited.

Allah, ta^ala, said in the Qur’an:

وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا

[ Wa la yaghtab ba^dukum ba^da ]

Ayah 12 of Suratul-Hujurat means: {Do not make gossip against one another.}

2- Fabrication (Buhtan): This is mentioning untrue matters that a Muslim hates to be mentioned about him. It is more sinful than gossip.

The Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said, addressing some of the Companions:

 

"أَتَدْرُونَ مَا الْغِيبَةُ؟" قَالُوا: اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ، قَالَ: "ذِكْرُكَ أَخَاكَ بِمَا يَكْرَهُ"، قِيلَ: أَفَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ كَانَ فِي أَخِي مَا أَقُولُ؟ قَالَ: "إِنْ كَانَ فِيهِ مَا تَقُولُ فَقَدِ اغْتَبْتَهُ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِيهِ فَقَدْ بَهَتَّهُ"

Which means: “Do you know what gossip is?” They said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “Mentioning your Muslim brother with what he hates.” It was said: “What if what I said was true?” The Prophet said: “If it was true, then you have committed gossip about him. However, if it was untrue, then you have committed buhtan against him.” (Related by Muslim.)

The one who listens to the prohibited gossip has committed one of the sins of the ear. One must forbid people to gossip.

3. Talebearing (Namimah): It is relating the words of one person to another with the intent of making trouble between them. An example of this is relating inciting words to two people who like each other, with the intent of breaking them up or making them hate each other.

Allah, ta^ala, said in the Qur’an:

هَمَّازٍ مَّشَّاء بِنَمِيمٍ

[ Hammazim mashsha’im binamim ]

.Ayah 11 of Suratul-Qalam refers to dispraising the person who slanders others and spreads talebearing.

 

The Prophet of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said:

لاَ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ قَتَّاتٌ

[ La yadkhulul-Jannata qattat ]

Qattat is a term for the one who practices talebearing. This hadith means that he will not be among the first people to enter Paradise; rather, the qattat will enter it after receiving the punishment that he deserves in Hellfire.