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Islamic Ethics and Morality: Allegations against a believer (Mo'min)

Islamic Ethics and Morality: Allegations against a believer (Mo'min)What is an allegation? To reveal the bad quality of a believer, which is actually found in him is Gheebat (backbiting). However, to reveal detestable traits of a believer, which are not found in him is called Tohmat (allegation). The sole purpose behind leveling allegations is to defame the believer.

There are two words for backbiting, one is GHEEBAT, and the other is TOHMAT. When you speak about someone, and what you say is TRUE, then this is GHEEBAT. When you speak about someone, and what you say is FALSE, then this is TOHMAT.

The Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) once said, "O Abu Zar, keep yourself away from backbiting because it is worse than adultery ... After committing adultery, if one repents, Allah forgives him, but the backbiter can not be pardoned unless he has been pardoned by the one about whom he has been backbiting."

Imagine you saw someone you know go into a pub (a place where people go to drink alcohol). If you were to tell the world that this man has been drinking, then that is Tohmat. How do you know he was drinking? He could have broken down, and gone in the pub to use the phone, or ask directions.

In Islam, you should always give the benefit of the doubt to others. Even if someone does do something bad, you should hide it, and not tell the whole world. How would you like it if Allah (SWT) told the whole world the evil that you or I perform? We all commit sins at one time or another. If Allah (SWT) can hide our faults, then you should hide the faults of others.

In Dua e Kumail, we say to Allah (SWT), "O He who covers defects ... " In the Noble Qur'an, Allah (SWT) tells us: "... And do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the dead flesh of his brother?" (49:12)

This shows us that backbiting is as bad as eating the flesh of your dead brother. This means that once someone you know, i.e., your brother/sister in Islam has done something bad, they have killed their own reputation. By telling others what they have done, you are enjoying and gaining at their loss. It is as if you are eating and feasting on the reputation they have already destroyed.

In the early days of the first few Imams, there were two men. Let us call the fist one Haroon and the second one Khalid. One day Khalid started telling everybody bad things about Haroon. Khalid was spreading lies all around. After a few days Haroon heard about this. The first thing he did was to go home and put all his money, valuable gold and silver in a big bag and then took the bag to Khalid's house.

When Khalid saw Haroon coming he became scared because he thought that Haroon had come to beat him up. Khalid came out of his house and fell on his knees and begged to Haroon, "O Haroon, I am really sorry, I did not mean to tell tales about you, O please do not beat me!"

Haroon said, "I have not come to beat you, I have come to give you this money, and this wealth."

Khalid had the shock of his life. Haroon continued, " Khalid, I have come to thank you, here have this wealth of mine."

Khalid stood up and asked, "Why are you giving me wealth when I have insulted you and spoilt your name among the people?"

Haroon replied. "The Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) has said that if one person TALKS BEHIND THE BACK of another, the thawaab (reward) of the first person gets transferred to the second." he continued, "So now that you have spoken bad of me behind my back, I am thanking you for giving me all your thawaab. This money is too little for the amount of thawaab that you have given me."

This shows how bad Gheebat and Tohmat are.

Once there was a man who did Tohmat of our Sixth Imam Sadiq (a.s.). Imam Sadiq (a.s.) did no know about it until a few days later when one of his 'friends' came to him and said, "Oh Imam, I have heard terrible news. This person has been going around and saying this about you."

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) became angry at his 'friend'. He said, "Think of the person who did Tohmat towards me as if he shot an arrow at my body. I did not hear him so it is as if the arrow missed me; But by telling me this news, you have picked up the arrow from the ground and have hit me with it."

It is the duty of a good Muslim to stop others from speaking ill of a person, and if that is not possible he should go away from the people who are talking ill.

Islamic Ethics and Morality: Why are Gheebat and Tohmat Haraam?

Islamic Ethics and Morality: Why are Gheebat and Tohmat HaraamThey are Haraam because they spoil people's names and characters. When you speak badly of someone, you make others think badly of them. Another reason why it is bad is because the people are not there to defend themselves. If you hear wicked things about others, you should give the others a chance to defend themselves by explaining, before you believe what you hear.

Gheebat and Tohmat are a result of Jealousy. If a person is respected, has done good, has helped others, there will always be people who are angry and bitter that such a person is respected by all. The result is to try and slander and destroy this reputation by sowing seed of venom in their character, by telling the world lies so that the respect turns to outrage and shame. Such people are cursed by Allah (SWT), and are referred to as the evil whispers of mankind.

Allegation is more severe sin than backbiting. It is clear from traditions that anyone who levels allegations against a believer is condemnable.

Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) declared, If a person levels an allegation against a believing man or woman for an act, which he/she has not done, then on the Day of Judgment, Allah, the Almighty, shall put him on a piece of fire until he is chastised for leveling that allegation.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) narrates, When a believer levels an allegation against another believer, his faith dissolves just as salt dissolves in water.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said further, If a believer accuses another believer (while the latter is innocent), then the honour and dignity that exists between two believers will vanish.

That is why we have been instructed in traditions to restrain ourselves to the best of our ability from thinking evil of a believer.

Rely on the positive points of your believer brother's conduct until you don't get confirmed evidence which prevails upon your existing knowledge of the brother. Do not think evil about the words of a believer in whose defense you can find at least one good fact.

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) exhorts, Consider the word or action of a believer brother to be good, even if you are offended, and always think optimistically (about him) to the utmost. Do not think bad about him. If you do not get excuse in good actions, search for it over and over again, until the number (of excuses) reaches 70, if you still cannot find it, then think that we ourselves cannot think good about him.

Many times we find that our conversation with somebody about another believer turns out to be completely false. A person asked Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), What is the distance between right and wrong? Imam Ali (a.s.) replied, 'Four fingers'. Imam Ali (a.s.) then placed his four fingers between the eye and ear and said, 'that which is seen by the eye is true and that which is heard by the ear is mostly wrong or false.'

That is why before accusing anybody we should ponder on this fact.

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) reveals, Happy is that person who is busy in searching for his own defects and is unaware of the defects of others.

Make your intellect suspicious (accuse yourself) of your own defects, for in most cases, self-confidence and self-reliance are the chief causes of mistakes.

In another tradition it is narrated, One who calls himself bad, is saved from Satan's deception.

Just as leveling allegations against someone is prohibited, in the same way a person should refrain from going to places where he may become the target of accusation.

Imam Ali (a.s.) advises: Refrain from the assemblies of allegation and suspicion because the companion of bad people is often deceived by them.

Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) said, He is more accused of Tohmat (allegation) who sits with the gathering of accusers.

Imam Ali (a.s.) revealed, He who sits in a place where Tohmat (allegations) are leveled, should not blame those who entertain bad ideas about him.

The one who is seen in the assembly of dubious and suspicious characters will find himself a target of accusations and allegations. These traditions highlight that even sitting or being seen with evil people can be harmful for our reputation (even if we don't participate in their evil).

Ridiculing others - a despicable trait: Satan rules when the hearts are constricted and thoughts are perverted. Then man tends to exaggerate even the smallest of matters. Under Satan's domination, he begins to humiliate and ridicule his friends and colleagues. He brands this ridiculing as bravery and courage and prides himself on it. As a matter of fact, he even expects praise and acclaim for this.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) narrates on the authority of the Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.): O Ali, there is no poverty greater than ignorance and there is no wealth superior to intellect.

According to the prophetic tradition narrated above, the most ignorant of all people today are the Muslims because we have lagged the others in pursuit of knowledge. We have embraced this world as if earning money is the sole objective of life. To acquire money we are prepared to forego religion, faith, certainty and intellect, while the Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) has made intellect the most superior wealth. Indeed we must reflect on the fact that with the wealth of intellect, the world will be at our feet and we will not have to chase the world.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) relates from Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), Pride and egotism are signs of weak intellect.

It is a fact that arrogance, pride and egotism may apparently make a man seem very successful in this world, but these very traits are the root cause of his destruction. Pride and conceit are the best indicators of a weak intellect and a person with a weak intellect is capable of initiating a step that can prove ruinous for him socially and/or personally. This is the disease that afflicts most Muslims. We have been split into so many groups and sects because of these evil traits. The soul of Islam has been torn apart due to this and what little dignity and honour is left in it also seems to be waning fast. That is why it is important for us to maintain its (soul of Islam's) dignity and nobility.

The Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) declared, The most humiliating of men is the one who ridicules others.

These words of the Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) highlight the fact that there is no place for narrow-mindedness, prejudice and bias in Islam. On the one hand, Islam emphasises the Majesty and Glory of Allah and on the other hand highlights brotherhood and fraternity between the creatures. The level of ethics and morals in Islam can be gauged from the saying of the Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) when he (s.a.w.s.) calls the ridiculing person as the most degraded of people. That is why as believers and Muslims, it is important for us to respect and uphold the dignity and honour of others around us.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) exhorts the Shias: Fear Allah! Be a source of ornamentation for us and do not be a source of disgrace for us.

These words of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) not only are an invitation towards goodness and virtue, they are also an indication of the standard of love and Wilayat of Ahle Bait (a.s.). Being Shias of Ahle Bait (a.s.), it is important that we always keep these standards in mind.

The true Shia of Ahle Bait (a.s.) always abstains from sins and abominable acts (makroohat). At the same time, they always hasten towards the obligatory and recommended (mustahabbat) acts. That is why if we truly love the Ahle Bait (a.s.), we must observe the laws of Shariat at all times and try to be a source of pride and happiness for them. With this, even the people of the world will be able to appreciate the true greatness of the Ahle Bait (a.s.).

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016