You who believe! Avoid most suspicion. Indeed some suspicion is a crime. And do not spy and do not backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat his brother’s dead flesh? No, you would hate it. And have fear of Allah. Allah is Ever-Returning, Most Merciful. (Surat al-Hujurat; 12)
In the verse above, Allah mentions three errors that a Muslim must strictly avoid: suspicion, gossiping and backbiting. In fact, these are behaviors related to one another, since a person who talks spitefully or backbites on someone also harbors suspicions about him.
What is common to these practices is that they are all harmful to believers and weaken their solidarity and unity and lessen love, compassion and mercy. The description of backbiting in the verse makes clear the extent of damage such acts cause, although some people often deem them insignificant. And in another verse, Allah gives a serious warning against those who criticize others behind their backs. The verse contains this command:
Woe to every faultfinding backbiter. (Surat Al-Humaza; 1)
No indeed! He will be flung into the Shatterer. And what will convey to you what the Shatterer is? The kindled Fire of Allah. (Surat Al-Humaza; 4-6)
From the continuation of the verse, we can see that there is a certain warning of Hell for those who adopt this kind of behavior. It is obvious that this corrupt morality has no place in the Qur’an and believers must beware of it.
Satan may promote suspicion and backbiting (resulting from rage, jealousy and uncompassionate attitudes) through the rationale that bringing out one’s feelings is in the interest of his religion. However, Allah has forbidden such conduct.
The same is true of suspicion, another attitude that believers need to avoid. Backbiting and spying are more observable in comparison to suspicion or negative assumptions, so believers who witness those acts have more opportunity to warn the offender. But suspicion is felt in the heart and can be detected only by the person concerned. If one fails to be alert against it, he may find himself harboring evil thoughts. A believer is responsible not only for his deeds, but also for attitudes, feelings and thoughts if left uncontrolled.
Throughout this book, we shall see that believers are also responsible for other feelings such as resentment, envy, fear, love and similar concepts. Whatever is on a believer’s mind and what he feels must remain within the limits that Allah has set in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). A person who controls his negative feelings and thoughts is, no doubt, on the right path.