When backbiting Permitted in Islam
In Islam, backbiting is a major sin. It is defined as to talk about someone, in his/her absence which
he/she will dislike hearing, even if it is true and if it is not true then it is a slander which is more severe than backbiting.
- Complaining by an oppressed person against his oppressor to a person(s) who can help him/her
- Complaining about someone in front of a Mufti or a Judge to get justice. “So and so/my father/my brother has wronged me by doing such and such, does he have the right to do that? How can I solve this problem and ward off his harm from me?”
- Informing people about a person(s) who can harm them in any way.
- Informing people about someone with information related ONLY to the subject of marriage, a business transaction, neighbors
- Informing people about someone who is spreading shirk, bida’h, magic or any wrong information in the name of Islam such as drinking alcohol and seizing people’s wealth unlawfully, it is permissible to speak of what he is doing openly, but it is not permissible to speak against him any other way unless it is for another reason.
- For identification, if someone is known by a nickname such as the dim-sighted one, or the blind man or the one-eyed or the lame one, it is permissible to identify him as such, but it is haraam (impermissible) to mention that by way of belittling him, and if it is possible to identify him in some other way, that is better.
- Lastly, if you are in a company where someone is backbiting, except for the above reasons, first try to stop him/her, but if he/she does not stop, leave that company, because the person who is backbiting and the one who is listening is committing the same sin.
It says in Fatawa al-Lajnah al-Daimah li’l-Ifta: Speaking about a person in his absence is permissible in certain situations as indicated by shar’I Islamic legal) evidence, if there is a need for that, such as if someone consults you about arranging a marriage to him, or entering into a business partnership with him, or if someone complains to the authorities to put a stop to his wrongdoing. In that case, there is nothing wrong with saying things about him that he may not like to be said because there is an interest to be served by that. One of the scholars summed up in two lines of poetry the situations in which it is permissible to talk about a person in his absence and said:
Criticizing is not gheebah in six (cases) – complaining, identifying, warning,
When the person is committing evil openly, when advice is sought, and when one is asking for help in removing an evil.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Excerpted, with slight modification, from “The Meaning of The Qur’an” by S. Abul A’la Maududi Vol. 5 Pg. 97 and Islamqa.infoRead Next: Hadith About Punishment of Hell-fire