Islam, January 1993
Backbiting and Slander Cause Self-Destruction
There is a wisdom in everything Almighty Allah creates and wills; we may not understand it well, but we must submit to His will. If we patiently follow the events, we can see that they all conclude beautifully. He created this earthly life to test us in obedience. Before us is a colorful and complex universe. There are angels, and there is Satan. There are righteous servants, and there are rebellious servants. There is health, and there is sickness; there is comfort, and there is adversity. There is belief, and there is denial; there is good, and there is evil. There is intellect, and there is insanity. There is virtue, and there is disgrace. There is purity, and there is pollution.
He sent messengers to warn people and guide them aright, but he also put ferocious and stubborn unbelievers against His messengers. He supported his prophets with extraordinary miracles, enlightening revelations and scriptures, unmatched eloquence, abundant wisdom and reasoning; nevertheless, few people believed and found guidance, and some insisted on staying in disbelief and deviation. Blindly and ungratefully, the unbelievers met their disastrous ends. Where are the disbelieving people of Ad and the rebellious people of Thamud now? Where are the Pharaohs, Hamans, Namruds, Shaddads, Kaisers, Chosroes, Abu Lahabs, Abu Jahls?
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It is the beloved servants destiny to go through adversities and difficult tests in life. Our Prophet (pbuh) said, "Ashad-dul-balaya alal-anbia--the most severe adversities fall on prophets." The righteous servants of Allah, too, have suffered pain, cruelty, ill treatment and injustice throughout the history. Regardless of their suffering, they continued to tell the truth and do the good deeds. On the Path of Allah, they disregarded any destructive criticism, and shameful comments by people. They opposed the oppression, exploitation and lies of imperialist systems. They had no fear of people. Those people whose benefits were at stake took extraordinary measures to silence these righteous servants of Allah. First, they offered them money, wealth and bribes, and promised positions; it did not work. Then they started backbiting, slanders, and lies to discredit them; it did not work. Then they started using force, arrest, detention, imprisonment, and even death penalty--May Allah (swt) protect the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from their evil wills and actions. For instance, Imam A'zam Abu Hanifa was put into jail and tortured and martyred. Imam Rabbani spent years in prison for opposing the unjust rulers. For the same reason, many members of the blessed family of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were oppressed and followed by government agents. The elders of the Naqshbandiya Order faced many difficulties, objections, and slanders.
Facing all the ill treatment, Shamsaddin-i Sivasi said, "Come and see the tactless Shamsi pursuing a strange hustle; he wants to be accepted by God without being abhorred by people." Yunus Emre, too, complained about ignorance and backbiting: "Yunus, don't say these elated words to ordinary people. Don't you know how these oblivious people spend their time?" In short, pressure from rulers, jealousy from rivals, gossip from people, unappreciation by colleagues, and alike continued. "Dost bî-parva, falak bî-rahm, davran bî-sukun--friends have no concern, destiny has no mercy, time has no pause."
The true friends, the righteous servants and the true lovers of God never give in to these adversities. They say, "No matter what kind of adversities the destiny brings, we never cease following the truth."
A great Sufi master sent a beautiful basket of fruit to someone who had been spreading rumors and gossips about him and said, "I heard that you had been transferring your earned spiritual rewards to my side by backbiting. Thank you! In return, please accept this little gift of fruit." A great scholar said, "If I am to backbite, I would backbite about my parents because I can allow only my parents to get my earned rewards."
If a person cannot discern the friend and the foe, the truth and the falsehood, the good and the evil, the right and the wrong, and if he leaves the unbelievers and the oppressors alone and starts gossips and slanders about the believers, and if he works against them, he only harms himself. "How can the noise of the frogs pollute the clean water?"
We all know the fate of the oppressor people of Prophet Noah (pbuh), and the people of Ad and Thamud. We all are aware what happened to the Pharaohs, Hamans, Namruds, Kaisers, Chosroes, Abu Lahabs, and Abu Jahls.
May Allah (swt) prevent those who claim to be Muslims yet do not behave as Muslims from following their selfish desires, Satan, and enemy. May He correct them and guide them to the truth and righteous deeds. As of now, they are only harming themselves. What a shame!