Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) once gave some advice to Sayyidina Ma‟az (Radjallahu anhu). Then he said to him: “And now, after all that, shall I tell you that whereby it will be easy for you to act on these?”
Ma‟az (Radiallahu anhu) said: “Yes, indeed, do tell me.”
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) then pointed towards his tongue and said: “This is it. Keep it under control.” (Mishkat)
Sayyidina Ma‟az (Radiallahu anhu) asked: “0 Messenger of Allah! Will we be called to account for our tongues also?”
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Is there anything else except the heaps of the tongue that causes a man to be cast on his face into hell?” (Mishkat, Haakim)
By the “heaps of the tongue” is meant that just as the sickle cuts the crop and makes heaps in places, so the scissors of the tongue also clips talks and accumulates them in one place viz, the book of one‟s deeds.
It is true that just as we are very umnindful of our duties in our deen, so too are we very careless and negligent about the tongue. The tongue is of exceptional importance. But still we do not keep it under control. Such are we that whatever comes into our heart we do not hesitate to utter against anyone. We do not even pay attention to the fact that one day we will have to prove the allegations in the court of the great Judge. Such are we that we undauntedly accuse anyone of being a recipient of money from the English or a spy for the secret police, or a hireling in the service of the Congress Party.
Look at what Allah says:
“O man, do not follow that whereof you have no knowledge. Verily the hearing and the sight and the heart-of each of these will be asked. And walk not in the land exultant. Surely you cannot split the earth nor can you reach the mountains in height. The evil of all that is hatefid in Allah‟s sight. This (0 Muhammed) is part of that wisdom which we revealed to you.” (17.36-39)
In this verse there is an order to be careful of the part played in life by the eyes, ears and the heart. It is an act of injustice to oneself to keep in the heart any unproved opinion against anyone. Thus to consider anyone who disagrees with our opinions, worthy of criticism, or to insult him as such or to call him a lover of status, rank and position is something for which one will have to account. Is it not possible that in his view according to deen the best way and welfare of the Muslims lies in the path he chooses? We admit that in your own opinion that is a dangerous path, liable to bring with it great loss. You should at least also admit that you too have not received divine revelation from Allah to show that you are infallibly on the right path.
The possibility of both being wrong exists. Even if it is fixed that the path you tread alone is correct, it does not stand to reason that the other man chose his path out of evil intentions or selfish, personal reasons.
There is even the possibility of error in the field of Ijtihaad – (the system of exerting oneself jurisdically in order to reach a correct conclusion). Hence when one disagrees with anyone on any point it is one‟s duty to explain the truth (according to you) to him in the true amicable Islamic fashion, as is the way of a Muslim – not to heap insults on your adversary or to criticise him for faults real or false, nor to slander, backbite and attack.
Allah says: “And those who malign Allah and the believing men and women underservedly, bear the guilt of slander and manifest sin.” (33.58)
Once Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) inquired: “Do you know who is the bankrupt man?” The Sahabah (Radiallahu anhum) replied: “It is that person among us who has no possessions.”
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied: “The indigent and bankrupt one of this Ummat is that man who on the day of Qiyamat will appear with much in the way of Salaah, Zakaat, Fasting and other forms of Ibaadah. However he had insulted this one, slandered that one, devoured someone‟s wealth unjustly, had killed someone else or beaten someone else. And now some of his good deeds are taken by this one and some by that one. And then when his supply of good deeds have been exhausted, while some people‟s demands are yet unsettled, then according to those demands, their sins are being heaped upon his shoulders. This is the real indigent bankrupt one.”
Yes such is the real indigent one. How unfortunate! Look with what righteous deeds he appeared there but in the end all that was taken away, leaving him with nothing. Instead even the sins of others fell upon him.
Once Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked: “Do you know what back-biting is?”
The Sahabah (Radiallahu anhum) replied: “Allah and His messenger knows best.” Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “It means to mention such a thing about your brother which he dislikes.”
The Sahabah (Radiallahu anhu) asked: “But what if that fault is really present in him?” Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Then it is indeed backbiting. And if that fault is not in him it is not backbiting but slander.” (Targheeb)
This should be noted: If a person‟s fault is mentioned just for the sake of advertising his faults, it is haraam and sinful. However if it is necessary to point out his fault for some religious reason or for some expedience, then it is not. But to mention anything of which he is not guilty is not permissible at all.