When Is Talking Behind Someone’s Back (Gossiping) Permissible In Islam?

Most of us are aware of the fact that talking behind someone’s back, also called backbiting is prohibited in Islam. It is one of the major sins in Islam and should be treated as such. As Allah says in the Quran “Backbiting and Gossiping are from the most vilest and despicable of things, yet the most widely spread amongst mankind, such that no one is free from it except for a few people.”

Many people are caught in between two worlds when it comes to backbiting and some are ill-informed leading them to the wrong path. Yes, talking behind someone’s back is prohibited but there are some exceptions to this particular rule. There are some cases in which talking behind someone’s back can be permissible and in this article we are going to write about these cases.

  • In the case of someone being oppressed, it is alright for him/her to tell a person of authority or a judge about a particular person that is oppressing him/her for the cessation of such oppression and for the restoration of the victim’s rights.
  • When asking for Fatwah (Islamic opinion) from a person with knowledge it is permissible to speak about someone behind the person’s back. In this case, a person can narrate things (which may be bad) that transpired between him and another person.
  • When your advice is sought by someone. In this case, a person has to be perfectly honest when giving advice to someone who wants to know the qualities of another person before they venture into a business or get married for example. You have to give an honest opinion regarding only what you are asked about.
  • When berating people who commit sinful and unlawful acts openly like drinking alcohol, gambling, fornication etc.
  • When calling someone that is blind, deaf, dumb or handicapped in any way by their deficiencies. This is done with the intention of just making it easier to identify that person. However, if you can find other ways to identify them that is more appropriate you’d be advised to use those names.
  • When trying to make someone change his evil ways by telling a person you think can have an influence on him. You can tell the person the evil deeds the other person commits and it wouldn’t be considered as backbiting.

There is a fine line between what is considered backbiting and what is not so one should tread carefully in these situations. It is our obligation not to speak ill of our brothers and sisters but if it is for a just cause then it is also your obligation to pursue that cause.

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