Humans are social creatures, so one of the most difficult sins to avoid is gossiping and backbiting. Even if you catch yourself gossiping or backbiting, getting the other person (or people) to stop may be challenging. Avoid gossip
So, What Should We Do To Avoid Gossip?
As in every aspect of life, our model is the Prophet (SAW). He sent with perfect moral character, and he (SAW) was the embodiment of excellent character. As mentioned in the Quran
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
And indeed, you are of a great moral character.
The Prophet (SAW) said,
“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent” (Muslim).
Furthermore, he (SAW) said,
“A person utters a word thoughtlessly (i.e., without thinking about its being good or not) and, as a result, he will fall into the fire of Hell deeper than the distance between the east and the west.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reports that; he once asked the Prophet (SAW), “Who is the most excellent among the Muslims?” He said,
“One from whose tongue and hands the other Muslims are secure.”
(Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
There are several other ahadith in this regard. The overall message of such statements is that the honor and dignity of others are sacred. It is our responsibility to avoid gossip and uphold the integrity and dignity of each other. Avoid gossip
Mark it as an ‘UNACCEPTABLE’ Behavior
Gossip is everywhere, from our homes to magazines, to the internet. It seems like there is no escape. Instead of burying our heads in the sand, we must alter how we connect; and our surroundings instead of reading tabloid magazines filled with gossip or visiting online forums with no etiquette rules. Thus name-calling and rumor-mongering are rampant; we begin to interact with magazines/sites/books of value (i.e., news, hobby-related, Islamic, etc. ). Instead of taking part in the laughter at the expense of someone else, we criticize such jokes that insult people, or if we cannot do that, we should leave that gathering and avoid gossip at our end.
As Muslims, it is necessary to think twice before we speak, as every limb of ours will testify for or against us on the Day of Judgement. When speaking of others, we must remind ourselves that their honor and dignity are sacred, the sanctity of which we must uphold and respect. Sometimes, you may just be stating a fact, others may take it differently, and you find yourselves gossiping or backbiting about that individual. It is essential to know how, when, and to who you are presenting information so that it must not be misconstrued.
Time To Change The Track
There are several topics you can discuss at a party that can save you from gossiping and backbiting. Besides Islam, you can review books, movies, TV shows, world affairs, etc. And if you ever find yourself slipping into the mention of someone else in a negative light, remind yourself and those around you to switch to a different topic. Instead of talking about the inferior qualities of so-and-so, replace that with mentioning their better attributes or making excuses for their behavior.
In short, there are several steps that we can take to protect ourselves and others from falling into backbiting and gossip. Some examples are hobbies, TV shows, books, news, Islamic stories, etc. Some other examples are making excuses for each other and mentioning people’s good qualities.
Keep The Right Reason In Your Mind.
Do not be a party to Shaytan and destroy friendships and communities through your words. Share laughter, joy, and inspiration through kind words and actions.
May Allah (SWT) protect us from backbiting and gossip, grant us the strength to prevent it, and can honor each other. Ameen.