As human beings, we are very quick to judge. The perfect human being would remain neutral, keeping opinions and prejudices firmly locked away. This is the ideal and we should all aim towards this. But why? Catty remarks and indulgence in gossip keep life interesting – it fills in those girly coffee sessions and tea breaks in the office kitchen. Our insecurities are given a reassuring hug when we put down others, as another person’s faults can make us feel just a little bit better about ourselves. Ultimately, gossip and judgement of others is a sign of bad character. Nobody likes to be spoken about in a negative way, yet so many of us are free with our tongue when it comes to talking about others.
When one has faith in a divinity, we are able to work towards avoiding idle gossip. Our motivation is to please our Lord and develop a positive attitude towards others, however waywardly their character may be. The bottom line is that only God can judge and it is this belief that should keep the person of faith away from degrading their character. It is said that breaking somebody’s heart is worse than breaking the Kabah – a powerful comparison.
It is reported by Al-Bayhaqi in “Shu’ab Al-Eemaan”, and it was also reported by Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya that the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Beware of Gheebah (backbiting), indeed backbiting is worse than Zina (fornication and/or adultery); a person may commit Zina and Allaah accepts his repentance, but Allaah does not forgive the backbiting until the person whom he backbit forgives him.”
The above hadith is difficult to absorb. When do we ever walk up to somebody and say ‘I said such and such a thing about you yesterday, can you forgive me please’? Surely, our best option is to avoid back-biting and judging others – not an easy task, but the road to faith is full of mercy and taking the journey will inspire a life of positivity if Allah wills. May we all be given the strength to protect our character.