Islamic Calendar is used by Muslims all over the world for Islamic events and dates. Learn about the history of Islamic calendar in this post.
he Islamic calendar is of great significance in the Muslim world and is considerably different from the Christian calendars used throughout the western world. The Islamic calendar begins with one of the most iconic events in Islamic history; Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) ‘Hijra’- the day he emigrated” from Makkah to Madina to set up his new social order. To this day, Muslims date everything starting from that migration nearly 1435 years ago.
The month of Muharram marks the commencement of the new Islamic year. The Islamic calendar was introduced by Hazrat Umar bin Al Khattab, the second Caliph of Islam and one of the closest companions of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), in 638 Christian Era (CE). The introduction of the calendar was rooted in the endeavour of rationalising multiple, at times conflicting, dating systems being used during that time period.
It is usually abbreviated as ‘AH’ in Western languages and Muharram 1, 1 AH, is representative of the date July 15, 622CE, corresponding to the date of the Hijra. The migration eventually led to the foundation of the first Muslim city, which itself became a turning point in not only Islamic history but world history.
For Muslims, the Islamic calendar doesn’t just hold sentimental significance of time computation and marking of important religious events, e.g. fasting and Hajj, but it holds a much deeper religious and historical meaning. All the historical events in Islamic history that are dated in the Islamic calendar, serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made in the way of Islam, especially during the time of the Prophet (PBUH). The lessons and meaning of these events are somewhat lost in the Gregorian calculations, hence Muslims use the Hijra calendar.
An Islamic year has twelve months in total which are as follows:
As opposed to the Christian calendar which is based on solar cycles, the Islamic Calendar is purely lunar and is shorter than the Gregorian calendar by 11 days. This is because the Islamic year is not dependent on seasons or weather conditions.
According to our Islamic calendar, the next day commences from the time of Maghrib or sunset of each day, whereas for solar calendars, a new day starts at 12:00 am each night. This is one of the major differences between the calendars. The start of each Hijra month is marked by the physical sighting of the crescent moon at a given point on the globe.
Moreover, Muharram, Rajab, Dhul-Qadah, and Dhul-Hijjah are considered sacred months. In traditional Arab culture, these four months were known as the “forbidden months: where fighting was prohibited and battles were suspended in order to allow trade and peace.
Islamic calendar is considered the official calendar in various Muslim countries around the world, especially countries like Saudi Arabia. Other Muslim countries make use of the Gregorian calendar for civic purposes and turn to the Islamic calendar for matters pertaining to religion. All in all, the Islamic calendar holds immense importance in every Muslim’s life and we will do well to understand its significance.
2. Sunnis and Shia: Islam’s ancient schism
The divide between Sunnis and Shia is the largest and oldest in the history of Islam.
Members of the two sects have co-existed for centuries and share many fundamental beliefs and practices. But they differ in doctrine, ritual, law, theology and religious organisation.
Their leaders also often seem to be in competition. From Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Pakistan, many recent conflicts have emphasised the sectarian divide, tearing communities apart.
Who are the Sunnis?
The great majority of the world’s more than 1.5 billion Muslims are Sunnis – estimates suggest the figure is somewhere between 85% and 90%. In the Middle East, Sunnis make up 90% or more of the populations of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
gypt is home to some of Sunni Islam’s oldest centres of learning
Sunnis regard themselves as the orthodox branch of Islam.
The name “Sunni” is derived from the phrase “Ahl al-Sunnah”, or “People of the Tradition”. The tradition in this case refers to practices based on what the Prophet Muhammad said, did, agreed to or condemned.
All Muslims are guided by the Sunnah, but Sunnis stress its primacy. Shia are also guided by the wisdom of Muhammad’s descendants through his son-in-law and cousin, Ali.
Sunni life is guided by four schools of legal thought, each of which strives to develop practical applications of the Sunnah.
Who are the Shia?
Shia constitute about 10% of all Muslims, and globally their population is estimated at between 154 and 200 million.
deaths of Ali, Hassan and Hussein gave rise to the Shia concept of martyrdom
Shia Muslims are in the majority in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and, according to some estimates, Yemen. There are also large Shia communities in Afghanistan, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
In early Islamic history, the Shia were a movement – literally “Shiat Ali” or the “Party of Ali”. They claimed that Ali was the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad as leader (imam) of the Muslim community following his death in 632.
Ali was assassinated in 661 after a five-year caliphate that was marred by civil war. His sons, Hassan and Hussein, were denied what they thought was their legitimate right of accession to the caliphate.
Hassan is believed to have been poisoned in 680 by Muawiyah, the first caliph of the Sunni Umayyad dynasty, while Hussein was killed on the battlefield by the Umayyads in 681. These events gave rise to the Shia concept of martyrdom and the rituals of grieving.
There are three main branches of Shia Islam today – the Zaidis, Ismailis and Ithna Asharis (Twelvers or Imamis). The Ithna Asharis are the largest group and believe that Muhammad’s religious leadership, spiritual authority and divine guidance were passed on to 12 of his descendants, beginning with Ali, Hassan and Hussein.
The 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, is said to have disappeared from a cave below a mosque in 878. Ithna Asharis believe the so-called “awaited imam” did not die and will return at the end of time to restore justice on earth.
What role has sectarianism played in recent crises?
In countries which have been governed by Sunnis, Shia tend to make up the poorest sections of society. They often see themselves as victims of discrimination and oppression. Sunni extremists frequently denounce Shia as heretics who should be killed.
The Iranian revolution of 1979 launched a radical Shia Islamist agenda that was perceived as a challenge to conservative Sunni regimes, particularly in the Gulf.
Tehran’s policy of supporting Shia militias and parties beyond its borders was matched by Sunni-ruled Gulf states, which strengthened their links to Sunni governments and movements elsewhere.
Today, many conflicts in the region have strong sectarian overtones.
In Syria, Iranian troops, Hezbollah fighters and Iranian-backed Shia militiamen have been helping the Shia-led government battle the Sunni-dominated opposition. Sunni jihadist groups, including Islamic State (IS), have meanwhile been targeting Shia and their places of worship in Syria and neighbouring Iraq.
In January 2016, the execution by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shia cleric who supported mass anti-government protests triggered a diplomatic crisis with Iran and angry demonstrations across the Middle East.
3. The Dowry System In Islam Religion :
Islam has no concept of giving Dowry, but still in several Muslims customs this tradition seems to be increased. Particularly in regions like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. In actual fact, the custom of giving dowry has never been legitimated by Islam and is not widely spread in Muslims of other ethnicity. It appears to be the replication of previous Hindu custom in which daughters have no share in the property of family but were given expenditures that could be in the form of households. On the contrary the daughter in Islam has a full right in their family property and inheritance.
Dowry is mostly given in the form of cash, goods or belongings by the bride’s family to the bride in order to catch the attention of her in-laws and her husband and moreover after marring would become the property of him or his family, which is not practiced in Islam and is against the principals of Islam. In Islam, it is not allowed that a woman is owed by a family or is traded in such a way. As it is an offensive behavior to demand for money by the bridegroom or his family from the bride or his relatives.
Before Islam, this concept was considered as the property of girl’s custodian. The concept of presenting bride gifts of cash or property or spending a lot on grand wedding feast, or presenting a house, or giving furniture for their house and household possessions are absent to the discretion of the people involved in Islam. If we take the example of Prophet (PBUH) he has also saw the marriages of his four daughters. When Hazrat Fatima got married to Hazrat Ali b Abu Talib, Hazrat Muhammad gave her various giftsbut there is no evidence of giving gifts to any of his other daughters on the time of their marriages. If giving gifts would be practiced in Islam he would have given these to them as well and the gifts he has given to his daughter Fatima were very modest household items which include a bed sheet, a leather water bag and a pillow which was stuffed with grass and fiber.
None other thing could be more unIslamic than flamboyance. Giving dowry is an outrageous practice which should be prohibited as to attempt to justify ostentatious demonstration of capitals in abundant gifts or feastings by referring to the Prophet’s tremendously modest gifts to Fatima. Being Muslim we should not practice it and should stop giving dowry to our daughter rather than that we should give their right in our family properties which is mostly not practiced by most of us.
The word ‘umrah in common speech “visit”, but in the Shari’ah it means paying a visit to the Bayt Allah alHaram (the Sacred House of God, i.e. the Holy Ka’bah) in a specific form.
The ‘Umrah is of two kinds: the first which is performed independently of the Hajj (called al‘Umrat almufradah almustaqillah ‘an alHajj), and the second kind which is performed in conjunction with the Hajj (al‘Umrat almundammah ila alHajj). The al‘Umrat almufradah, the independent ‘Umrah, all the five legal schools agree, can be performed at all times of the year, though it is meritorious to perform it during the month of Rajab according to the Imamiyyah, and in Ramadan according to the four Sunni schools.
The time of the conjugate ‘Umrah, which is performed before the Hajj and in the course of the same journey by the Hujjaj coming to the Holy Makkah from distant countries, by consensus of all five schools, extends from Shawwal to Dhul Hijjah. However, there is disagreement among legists about the month of Dhul Hijjah, whether the entire month or only the first ten days belong to the Hajj season. Anyone who performs the conjugate ‘Umrah is considered relieved of the obligation to perform the al‘Umrat almufradah by those who believe in its being obligatory.
The conditions for the ‘Umrah are essentially the same as mentioned in the case of the Hajj.
According to the Hanafi and Maliki schools, the ‘Umrah is not obligatory but a highly recommended sunnah (sunnah mu’akkadah). But according to the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools and the majority of Imamiyyah legists, it is obligatory (wajib) for one who is mustati’, and desirable (mustahabb) for one who is not mustati: In support, they cite the Qur’anic verse:
وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ
(Perform the Hajj and the ‘Umrah for Allah.)
(Fiqh alSunnah, vol. V; alFiqh ‘ala almadhahib al’arba’ah; alJawahir; alMughni)
According to alFiqh ‘ala almadhahib al’arba’ah, whatever is wajib or sunnah for the Hajj is also wajib and sunnah for the ‘Umrah. But the ‘Umrah does differ from the Hajj in certain respects: there is no specific time for performing the ‘Umrah; it does not involve the halt (wuquf) in the plain of ‘Arafat; neither the departure thenceforth to alMuzdalifah; nor the ramy aljamarat.
The Imamiyyah book alJawahir mentions that: “The obligatory acts (af’al or a’mal) of the Hajj are twelve: ihram; the wuquf at ‘Arafat; the wuquf at alMash’ar alHaram; the entry into Mina; the ramy; the dhibh (sacrifice); its related taqsir or halq; the tawaf (the sevenfold circumambulation of the Ka’bah), and its related raka’at (units of the length of prayers); the sa’y; the tawaf al-nisa’, and its related raka’at. The obligatory acts of al‘Umrat almufradah are eight: niyyah (intention); ihram ; tawaf and its related raka’at; the sa’y; the taqsi; the tawaf al-nisa’; and its related raka’at.”
This indicates that all the legal schools agree that the acts of the Hajj exceed those of the ‘Umrah by the acts associated with the wuquf. Moreover, the Imamiyyah school considers it obligatory for the performer of the al‘Umrat almufradah to perform a second tawaf, the tawaf al-nisa’. Similarly the Maliki school differs from others in considering halq or taqsir as nonobligatory for al‘Umrat almufradah.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF
The city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia has always been the spiritual center of the Islamic faith: the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims genuflect in its direction during prayers. But in the final months of the year, Islam’s holiest city becomes even more vital, as an estimated 2.5 million pilgrims make their once-in-a-lifetime journey to the site.
This pilgrimage, known as the Hajj, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam (the others are the profession of Allah as the only God and Mohammed as his prophet; fasting during Ramadan; charitable giving and ritual prayer) by which every practicing Muslim must abide. This year, the Hajj starts Nov. 25; it takes place annually between the 8th and 12th days of Dhu-al-Hijjah, the final month of the lunar Islamic calendar, a time when God’s spirit is believed to be closest to earth. (See photos from the Hajj.)
The Hajj consists of a five-day excursion, required by all physically and financially able Muslims, to Mecca and the nearby holy sites of Arafat, Mina, and Muzdalifah. Once there, pilgrims perform a series of rituals to unify themselves with other believers, absolve themselves of their sins and pay tribute to God.
While the Hajj normally attracts pilgrims from all sects of Islam and all walks of life, concerns over swine flu have cast a shadow over this year’s event; the prospect of millions of potential flu carriers mingling in Mecca has given health experts fits. Four early pilgrims have already died from the virus and Saudi officials have enacted a number of measures to combat the spread of the disease. Along with screening for flu-like symptoms at the Jeddah airport and distributing hygiene kits, health ministers have recommended that pregnant women, children and elderly worshipers stay home.
The origins of the Hajj date back to 2,000 B.C. when Ishmael, the infant son of the prophet Ibrahim (Or Abraham, as he is called in the Old Testament) and Ibrahim’s wife Hager were stranded in the desert. With Ishmael close to death from thirst, Hager ran back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwa looking for water until the angel Jibril (Gabriel) touched down to earth and created a spring of fresh water for the baby, known as the Well of Zemzem.
Following the orders of God, Ibrahim is said to have built a monument at the site of the spring known as the Kaaba. Worshipers from all faiths traveled to revel at the site; in 630 A.D., the Prophet Mohammed led a group of Muslims there in the first official Hajj, destroying the idols placed there by polytheistic worshipers and re-dedicating the site in the name of Allah. The path that Mohammed and his followers traveled is retraced as part of the Hajj rituals which include making Hager’s walk between Safa and Marwa, stoning the wall of Satan that tempted Ibrahim to defy God, slaughtering an animal in honor of the sacrifice that Ibrahim made to save his son and climbing the Mount of Arafat from which Mohammed made his last sermon.
The ultimate rite of passage during the Hajj is circling the Kaaba, an immense black cube, spiritually considered by Muslims to be the center of the world, and literally located in the center of the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca. During the Hajj, vast swells of worshippers seeking forgiveness circle the Kaaba counter-clockwise, seven times. Completion of all of the mandated rituals is believed the guarantee the pilgrim a place in heaven as well as the title of hajji (literally, one who has performed the Hajj) — coveted and admired in Muslim communities around the world.
Though only a fraction of Muslims are capable of making the pilgrimage, the huge crowds of worshipers that descend upon Mecca every year continually test the site’s ability to accommodate their number. The Saudi Arabian government has spent billions to expand and improve the structure of the site, erecting tents to accommodate pilgrims and building multi-level pathways to eliminate congestion. Overcrowding and occasional stampedes have led to the deaths by trampling of thousands of worshippers over the years; most notably the 1990 incident where 1,426 people were crushed inside a tunnel connecting the Holy sites. While there is no way to know how hard the swine flu epidemic will hit worshipers this year, the tenacity of pilgrims has shown that there is little that can keep them away from this experience.
6. Battle of Karbalāʾ
Battle of Karbalāʾ, (October 10, 680 [10th of Muharram, AH 61]), brief military engagement in which a small party led by al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and son of ʿAlī, the fourth caliph, was defeated and massacred by an army sent by the Umayyad caliph Yazīd I. The battle helped secure the position of the Umayyad dynasty, but among Shīʿite Muslims (followers of al-Ḥusayn) the 10th of Muharram (or ʿĀshūrāʾ) became an annual holy day of public mourning.
When Yazīd I succeeded his father, Muʿāwiyah I, to the caliphate in the spring of 680, the many partisans of Muhammad’s late cousin and son-in-law ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib—who collectively felt that leadership of the Muslim community rightly belonged to the descendants of ʿAlī—rose in the city of Al-Kūfah, in what is now Iraq, and invited al-Ḥusayn to take refuge with them, promising to have him proclaimed caliph there. Meanwhile, Yazīd, having learned of the rebellious attitude of the Shīʿites in Al-Kūfah, sent ʿUbayd Allāh, governor of Al-Baṣrah, to restore order. The latter did so, summoning the chiefs of the tribes, making them responsible for the conduct of their people, and threatening reprisal. Al-Ḥusayn nevertheless set out from Mecca with all his family and retainers, expecting to be received with enthusiasm by the citizens of Al-Kūfah. However, on his arrival at Karbalāʾ, west of the Euphrates River, on October 10, he was confronted by a large army of perhaps 4,000 men sent by ʿUbayd Allāh and under the command of ʿUmar ibn Saʿd, son of the founder of Al-Kūfah. Al-Ḥusayn, whose retinue mustered only 72 fighting men, gave battle, vainly relying on the promised aid from Al-Kūfah, and fell with almost all his family and followers. The bodies of the dead, including that of al-Ḥusayn, were then mutilated, only adding to the consternation of later generations of Shīʿites.
Though it was a rash expedition, it did involve the grandson of the Prophet and thus many members of the Prophet’s family. Al-Ḥusayn’s devout partisans at Al-Kūfah, who by their overtures had been the principal cause of the disaster, regarded it as a tragedy, and the facts gradually acquired a romantic and spiritual colouring. ʿUmar, ʿUbayd Allāh, and even Yazīd came to be regarded by ʿAlī’s supporters as murderers, and their names have ever since been held accursed by Shīʿite Muslims. Shīʿites observe the 10th of Muharram as a day of public mourning; and, among Iranians especially, as well as in -Karbalāʾ, passion plays (Arabic taʿziyyah) are enacted, representing the misfortunes of the family of ʿAlī. The tomb of the decapitated martyr al-Ḥusayn at Karbalāʾ is their most holy place.
7. IMPORTANCE OF 12TH RABI-UL-AWAL
|Rabi-ul-Awal is the third month of Islamic Lunar Calendar which holds great importance and significance in the lives of Muslims. The month of Rabi-ul-Awal comes after Safar-al-Muzaffar and is the most significant month in the Islamic history.
The whole Muslim world knows the month of Rabi-ul-Awal as the month of birth of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). This is the month of celebration for the entire Muslim world, as Allah SWT blessed the world with the birth of His best creation in Rabi-ul-Awal.
In celebration of Rabi-ul-Awal, Muslims all over the world urged to get together and arrange Mehfil-e-Naat and Mehfil-e-Zikr for the whole week. The 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal is marked as the birth date of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, who is the last to be sent with the divine message for the guidance of humanity. Unlike the ways followers of other religions and faiths commemorate the births of their prophets, Muslims celebrate Eid-e-Milad un Nabi on 12th Rabi-ul-Awal in which they gather to discuss the bounty and favor which Allah SWT has blessed the Muslims with by guiding them to the righteous path of Islam and the teachings of Holy Quran and Sunnah of the final messenger of Allah.
The month of Rabi-ul-Awal is not exceptional for being the month of birth of our beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him ), but it is the month in which our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) began his journey of Hijrah and built the first Mosque of Islam, Masjid-e-Quba. Rabi-ul-Awal is also significant, as the first Jummah prayer was established in this month.
The sacred day of 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal is especially important to the Muslim world, because on this day Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him ) was born, who led humanity from darkness to light and who is described by Allah as “a mercy to all the worlds – Rehmat-ullil-Alimeen”. Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi is celebrated by the Muslims in East and West on 12th Rabi-ul-Awal with great devotion and reverence. The occasion like 12th Rabi-ul-Awal is meant to remind people of how the Prophet lived his life and to rejuvenate their Eiman.
Nowadays, the celebrations of such religious occasion like 12th Rabi-ul-Awal is extremely important to instill values, ethics and moral code in youth, practiced by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him ). The occasion of 12th Rabi-ul-Awal serves a great purpose in that it brings the people closer to the teachings of Islam and to the Holy Prophet’s way of life. The sacred month of Rabi-ul-Awal causes the Muslims to remember the blessings of Holy Prophet and to fill their hearts with the love of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him .
It is the duty of every Muslim parent to tell the stories of Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him ) to their children on 12th Rabi-ul-Awal that shed light on different aspects of his life.
8. Eid-ul-Adha History and Origin
Eid-ul-Adha is one of the most important Islamic holiday of the year.Eid-ul-Adha marks the end of Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. The hajj to Mecca is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation upon male and female adults whose health and means permit it, or, in the words of the Qur’an, upon “those who can make their way there.” The history of Eid-ul-Adha can be traced back to the story which states that Abraham was instructed by Allah, in a dream, to raise the foundations of Kaaba,the most sacred shrine in Mecca. Muslims believe that even after undergoing a lot of trials and tribulations on his way to Mecca, God revealed in a dream to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isma’il.Abrahim and Isma’il set off to Mina for the sacrifice. As they went, the devil attempted to lead Abraham astray by disobeying God and not to sacrifice his beloved son. But Abraham remained unfaltered in his decision and true to God, and drove the devil away. As Abraham prepared to kill his son, God stopped him and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead. Popularly known as the Festival of Sacrifice, this Muslim holiday Eid-ul-Adha commemorates Prophet Abraham’s unselfish act of sacrificing(Qurbani) his own son to the One God, Allah. The festival reminds everyone of the mercy and benefits bestowed upon mankind by Allah.
Muslims commemorate this
outstanding act of sacrifice by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a
sheep, camel, or a goat. When this is done, 1/3 of the meat goes to the needy
people, 1/3 is given to neighbors and friends, and 1/3 stays with your family.
People who are away from the holy pilgrimage, Hajj, also carry out this
traditional sacrifice. This act also reminds the pilgrim to share worldly goods
with those who are less fortunate, and serves as an offer of thanksgiving to
God. People visit each other’s homes and partake in festive meals with special
dishes, beverages, and desserts. Children receive gifts and sweets on this
Eid ul-Adha occurs on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijja.But the date of Eid-ul-Adha depends on the visibility of the moon each year.
9. Islamic Marriage Is a Legal Agreement, Known as Nikah
“In Islam, the marriage between a bride and groom is a legal contract, known as Nikah. The Nikah ceremony is one part of several steps of a marriage arrangement considered ideal by Islamic tradition. The key steps include:
The proposal. In Islam, it is expected that the man will formally propose to the woman—or to her entire family. A formal proposal is considered an act of respect and dignity.
Mahr. A gift of money or another possession by the groom to the bride is agreed upon before the ceremony. This is a binding gift that legally becomes the bride’s property. The Mahr is often money, but could also be jewelry, furniture or a residential dwelling. The Mahr is usually specified in the marriage contract signed during the marriage process and traditionally is expected to be of sufficient monetary value to allow the wife to live comfortably if the husband should die or divorce her. If the groom is unable to afford the Mahr, it is acceptable for his father to pay it.
The Nikah ceremony. The wedding ceremony itself is where the marriage contract is made official by the signing of the document, indicating she has accepted it of her own free will. Although the document itself must be agreed upon by the groom, the bride, and the bride’s father or another her male family members, the bride’s consent is required for the marriage to proceed.
After a short sermon is given by an official with religious qualifications, the couple officially become man and wife by reciting the following short dialogue in Arabic:
- The bride says “An Kah’tu nafsaka a’lal mah’ril ma’loom” (“I have given away myself in Nikah to you, on the agreed Mahr.”)
- The groom immediately says, “Qabiltun Nikaha”. (“I have accepted the Nikah.”)
If either or both partners are unable to recite in Arabic, they may appoint representatives to make the recitation for them.
At that moment, the couple becomes husband and wife.
10. Islam Prohibits Backbiting and Slandering
Major sins are indeed the cause for all misery, evil and torment in this world and the hereafter.
And the worst of all sins are those that are greatest in harm and danger to humanity. Among the destructive major sins are backbiting and slandering. These two sins are forbidden by Allah because they sow enmity, evils and discord among people and lead to destruction. They cause hostilities between people of the same household and between neighbors and relatives. They can decrease in good deeds and increase in evil ones and lead to dishonor and ignominy.
Backbiting and slandering are shame and disgrace. Their perpetrator is detested and he shall not have a noble death. Allah forbids these acts, as He says in the Qur’an:
“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.”
Backbiting (gheebah) means mentioning something about a person (in his absence), that he hates (to have mentioned), whether it is about: His body, his religious characteristics, his worldly affairs, his self, his physical appearance, his character, his wealth, his child, his father, his wife, his manner of walking, his smile, it is the same whether you mention that about him with words, through writings, or whether you point or indicate him by gesturing with your eyes, hand or head.
As for the body, is when you make fun of how someone looks, or mentioning any bad quality in him, as saying: “he is blind”, “he limps”, “he is bleary-eyed”, “he is bald”, “he is short”, “he is tall”, “he is black”, “he is yellow”, “he’s too thin”, “he’s too fat”. As for his religious qualities, it is when you say: “he is a sinner”, “he is a thief”, “he is a betrayer”, “he is an oppressor”, “he doesn’t pray”, “he prays so fast”, “he does not behave well towards his parents”, “he does not pay the Zakat duly”.” As for the worldly matters, then it is when you say: “he has poor manners”, “he does not think that anyone has a right over him”, “he talks too much” …etc
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah, verily, Allah is The One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful” (Qur’an 49: 12)
In this verse, Allah strongly forbids backbiting, and he compares the backbiter to one who eats the flesh of his dead brother. If he would hate eating the flesh of his brother, he should also hate to eat his flesh while he is alive by backbiting and slandering him.
When one reflects deeply over this assimilation it will be enough to keep one away from backbiting.
Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:
“Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of Allah said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.”
Backbiting is so widespread among people that it has become an issue of people’s meetings and an avenue for expressing their anger, misgivings and jealousy. Those who indulge in backbiting are hiding their own imperfections and harming others. They are oblivious of the fact that they are only harming themselves.
This is because the backbiter if the wrongdoer and his victim is the wronged, on the Day of Resurrection both the wrongdoer and the wronged will stand before Allah Who is the Just Judge and the wronged will appeal to Allah to avenge the wrong done to him, Allah will then give this wronged person from the good deeds of the person who wronged him in accordance with his wrong by backbiting his brother on a Day that no father will give his son any of his good deeds nor a friend to his friend.