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How to Talk about Other People without Falling into Backbiting?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


In business, I get asked by friends and other customers if working with so and so is a good idea or a bad one. It’s easy to deal with it when the one they are asking about is good and reliable, but how to respond about someone whose work wasn’t so trustworthy when we tried, without backbiting/speaking behind someone’s back). Is there a middle way?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

In general, there is a strict prohibition to say about a fellow Muslim in their absence that they would dislike if they heard it. This is called backbiting, and backbiting is a violation of the rights of others. [Ghazali, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din]

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Backbiting is worse than fornication.” [Bayhaqi]

Exceptions to the Rule

There are various exceptions to the above rule in situations where secondary issues take precedence. Amongst these exceptions is when one needs to warn someone.

Suppose someone comes to you to seek advice about a colleague they want to go into business with. If you know this person is not an ideal partner, you are permitted to warn your colleague only to the extent of the necessity. [Ibid.]

To go beyond the necessity or to advise them to intend backbiting is sinful. [Ibid.]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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