backbiting is the ultimate loss…

A wise man was once asked to give his opinion about a person who used to worship a lot and then backbited people and interfered in their affairs…

The wise man answered: perhaps Allah has enslaved this person that he should keep working for others. (meaning all his good deeds are being transferred to others when he talks behind their back… so in other words he is exhausting himself in worship for the sake of others!)

Now this is a most scary response which deserves our attention so that we may evaluate what we are doing and why?

Remember the Hadith in which the Prophet (s.a.w) asked his companions who did they think a poor person was? And they said it is someone with no money… but the Prophet (s.a.w) told them that the real destitute person is someone who will come on the day of judgement with a lot of good deeds but  he must have abused someone, or slandered, or grabbed other people’s property, or defamed them, or hit someone without right… i.e. done wrong to people in one way or the other… so Allah will give away all his good deeds to the ones whom he had wronged as recompense… and since his deeds will finish before the rights of others could be paid back… so then the sins of other people will be loaded upon him… until he will finally be thrown into hellfire…

This I think is a most eye opening Hadith because on one hand we exhaust ourselves in good deeds and then also think we are being so good to people around us… we do so much for them and sacrifice our wealth and comfort for them… but we don’t realize that when we backbite (sometimes even those same people whom we serve day and night), we are actually damaging their image, their honour and esteem in other people’s eyes… and how are we going to pay back for incurring such an irreparable loss upon them?

Allah will not let us do something so damaging to others and not give them recompense for it… and so our precious good deeds go to their account without us being even aware of it…

What benefit does backbiting ever give us except for maybe some temporary satisfaction of our lower self? Probably we think that when we damage the image of someone then our own honour will be raised in people’s eyes… when others look bad then maybe we will emerge as better?

Sadly it is not the case because Allah will never give true honour to someone who destroys the honour of someone else…

And this also gives me another clue to the mystery that I keep trying to solve… the question which keeps bothering me… “why are we not being changed with the Quran we recite so much or the knowledge that we gain with so much hard work and sacrifice… why doesn’t our salah and fasting and charity and our zikr of Allah have any considerable influence on our character?”

And the answer is that when our good deeds don’t even stay with us, how can they have any influence on us?

So just like a wealthy person remains protective of his wealth and property… similarly we should remain protective of our good deeds after having earned them so that they stay with us and make us into the kind of people who truly are a reflection of Islam…

May Allah remind us of this reality whenever we are about to open our mouth about others… ameen


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