On Wednesday December 4, 2013, Muslim Family Services held a lecture on the dangers of backbiting and slander on the campus of the University of Detroit Mercy at 5:00 PM. The lecture was given by our very own Sheikh Ali Suleiman Ali, the Imam of MCWS Canton. This lecture was unique in that it was not just a 'lecture' but rather an interactive informational session with college youth. The topic of backbiting and slander is a subject that is often regarded as cliché; nevertheless, one that needs to be constantly discussed to inspire self-improvement.
Sheikh Ali or 'sheikh' as we like to call him is a University of Medina graduate in the field of Shariah. He also recieved his Ph. D in Islamic Studies from the Univerity of Michigan in Ann Arbor. As our Executive Director and religious counselor, Sheikh sees the damage that slander and backbiting can cause to individuals and families first hand. With one of our goals being to strengthen families by strengthening individual members; this presentation was thus born. What better place to begin in the journey of self-improvement than one's character?
The University of Detroit Mercy's Muslim Student Association (MSA) was kind enough to host us for this event. The positive-minded group of muslim youth offered an excellent audience for Sheikh Ali as the group engaged in the discussion. Sheikh Ali reminded about the reality of backbiting by asking those present if they would 'like to eat the flesh of their dead brother' as asked of mankind by Allah (swt) in the holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Hujurat (49) Ayat (12). Of course none one would. ' We would abhor it' as Allah (ta'ala) states. With this being the reality of what one is doing when they backbite or slander someone, the only feasable result should be to avoid this horrendous sin.
Some common reasons for why people backbite were presented by Sheikh. Some of these reasons were: jokingly, out of anger, in order to keep a friendship or in order to damage a reputation. In regards to joking, it was mentioned that this type of backbiting is often overlooked nevertheless, is actually very detrimental. An example of this is when a group of friends are sitting around and one mentions the new haircut of an absent person known by the group and they all laugh. Even though many may argue that they were just joking and meant no harm, harm was still done. This is because if the absent party heard about the joke told at their expense, they would not appreciate it.
Unfortunately backbiting out of anger is all too common. People may feel angry at or jealous of a specific individual and in order to 'vent' or 'blow off steam', they end up backbiting. Sometimes, an individual may have a friend that is a habitual backbiter. Always discussing the affairs of others, this friend makes themself appear less faulty than others. In order to be viewed as 'cool' to this friend, that individual may join in on a backbiting session. Lastly, if an individual is jealous of a person, they may talk about them maliciously in order to ruin their reputation. So you see that Sheikh has highlighted many of the common reasons for backbiting.
The event concluded with advice to avoid backbiting our brothers and sisters. If we have friends that habitually backbite, advise them to stop! If they don't, avoid those friends because true friends should only invite others to good and not to sin. Failing to stop backbiting can result in one being resurected on the day of judgement bankrupt; having no good deeds. This is because the people they backbit took from their good deeds until they were finished. This is a very scary thought. InshAllah, we all will avoid backbiting and slander at all cost.
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