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What are the parameters of ghiba?



My question revolves around a recent encounter that i am confused about as to whether it falls into the parameters of ghiba or not:

My cousin is going through a messy divorce and her husband was abusive towards her. In this situation:

A) I spoke to a relative expressing sympathy for her by describing her situation to her. Is this ghiba?

B) my relative then told me that there are always two sides of the story and that so and so had said so and so about my cousin. I tried to stand up for my cousin but this relative was insistent on her stance. She further went on to tell me something bad that she had heard and observed about my cousins mother but i was unable to refuse it because i knew it was true. So i stayed silent. She then went on to advise me that since both my cousin and her husband were at fault that they should work towards reconciliation. Is there ghiba involved in this situation? My intention had been to express sympathy for my cousin but now I’m not sure whether this was advisable or not.

C) i then relayed what my relative had said to my mother who is well aware of the situation with my cousin while we discussed the possibility of advising her family on renconciliation. My intent had been to inform my mother that look this side has this view and this side has this view so we should not rule out the option that both parties may be at fault. Is this ghiba?

What should i do in this case?
What are the parameters of ghiba?
I honestly struggle to be very careful of staying away from anything that is construed as gossiping but its very difficult when it comes to ambiguous sitautions like this one.
If your intent is in no way to do ghiba but you still end up in a situation where you cross the boundaries then are you still liable for punishment?


Wa Alaykumussalam

Thank you for your question

If you tell the fault of your relatives to someone who knows them(your relatives), even if they have wronged you, and even if it is to lighten your heart, it is counted as backbiting.

In cases of reconciliation, both parties must be heard and the elders from each party should interfere(Surah Nisa/5) when required to reconcile if things worsen.

Question: What is the proper definition of ‘backbiting’? Please, give some references from the Quran and Hadith also.

Answer: Backbiting means “speaking ill of a believer in their absence of someone with the purpose of disparaging him, no matter whether the alleged shortcoming was related to his body, lineage, behaviour, deeds, statements, religion, or life, and other defects which are [usually] concealed from the people. Similarly, it does not matter whether the description was done by words or by gesture.”

Almighty Allãh condemned backbiting in His noble Book and has described it such that mind and body feel abhorrence towards it. He said, “And some of you should not backbite the others: would anyone of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you abhor it.” (49:12)

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Be careful of backbiting because backbiting is worse than adultery, in that a person who commits adultery can repent and ask forgiveness from God, and Allãh can forgive him whereas Allãh will not forgive the backbiter until the person who was at the receiving end forgives him.”

There are some exceptional cases where backbiting is allowed. Please read those exceptions from the link below:

Permissible Backbiting:

May Allah(swt) grant you success


Syed Haider