Answered by Ustaadha Bint Salih
Hazrat, please confirm whether the below action is considered gheebatunder the shariah.
A friend of mine, and I were discussing a certain fatwa of a respected scholar. We saying how it’s quite harsh, how he makes takfir on other ‘Ulema, and many ‘Ulema do not agree with him on many contemporary issues.
I would praise the Maulana’ intention, and made du’a for him as I mildly expressed my concerns with his fatwa, and mildly passing a few critical comments. My friend however, was saying the Maulana is “extreme and stupid”. I made him aware of the Ahadith where the Prophet warned those who wrong his friends will be destroyed. He somewhat persisted, and eventually I totally to stick a sock in it as the Hadith of “gheebat” kept ringing in my head.
You might be asking was there any need for a discussion, and the answer was no. It was just casual chit-chat to pass the time.
My question is were we both guilty of gheebat, or just him?
Backbiting is speaking ill of a person behind his back which if he heard would hurt or injure his feelings even if what was said about him was the truth; if what was said about him was untrue it is slander or false accusation.
(Maariful Quran p.139 v.8)
There are some circumstances where a person may talk about his brothers and sisters:
If the person is being oppressed
Requesting a fatwa
When seeking marriage or being a witness
Warning people of another’s’ evil deeds or evil intentions
(Spiritual Discourses p.151 v.1)
Firstly, it is imperative to have utmost respect for the scholars as they have ranks beyond ones imagination.One cannot forget that Allah has favored the scholars in many ways and give them much virtue. And if they are to err then the ordinary layperson is not to comment.
With regards to your question, the conversation which took place does fit the definition stated above and it is not from amongst the excused reasons listed. Any negative comment would of course hurt this scholar if he was to come to hear of it. Both yourself and your friend should try and seek his forgiveness since this is a right of a person which Allah does not forgive unless the person himself forgives first. If this is not possible you must make dua for this person and hope that in return they will not hold you accountable on the Day of Judgement.
Only Allah knows best.
Ustaadha Bint Salih.
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah