General Advice on some of the Major Sins – Fatwas of Ibn Baz (رحمه الله)
General advice Some of the Major Sins
 Backbiting,  Tale-bearing,  Envy,  Injustice
From `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz to those who see it of my Muslim brothers, may Allah grant me and them success in fulfilling what pleases Him, and keep us away from disobeying Him, Amen!
As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!), to continue:
I advise every Muslim to have Taqwa (fearing Allah as He should be feared) in all circumstances and guard his tongue from saying anything other than that which is useful, because Mubah (permissible) talk may lead to what is Haram (prohibited) or Makruh (reprehensible), and this is common among people, Allah the Exalted says: Not a word does he (or she) utter but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it). Allah (Exalted be He) also says: And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those one will be questioned (by Allâh). The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) also says in the Hadith agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim and narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him): “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either utter good words or stay silent…”.
There are things that may be a topic of talks but should not be spoken and one should be warned against talking about them, for they could lead to major sins, which would lead to displeasing Allah and to His Punishment. These things have become commonly widespread in some communities:
That is talking about your brother or sister in a way that they would dislike, if they heard about it, whether it be talking about their body, family, character, actions, sayings or about their religion or life, or even talking ill about their clothes, home or car.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Do you know what backbiting is? They (the Companions) said: Allah and His Messenger know best. Thereupon, he (the Prophet) said: Backbiting is talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like. It was said to him: What is your opinion, if I actually find (that failing) in my brother that which I made a mention of? He said: If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, then you in fact, backbit him, and if it is not in him, it is a slander against him. Reported by Muslim.
Backbiting is Haram (prohibited), no matter what the reason behind it; whether it is to calm down rage, or to compliment those present and make conversation with them, or reconciling or courtesy of companions. Or to encourage others to speak or to envy others or just for fun, or to waste time or if a person speaks ill of others to make those present laugh. Allah the Exalted forbade this, and warned His slaves against it, He the Exalted says: O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.
In a Hadith by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The Muslim is inviolable by his Muslim brother, with regard to his blood, wealth and honor. Reported by Muslim. He (peace be upon him) said in his final Khutbah (sermon) in his Farewell Hajj: Your blood, your properties and your honors are as sacred to one another as the sanctity of this day of yours in this month of yours in this town of yours. (Listen) Have I not conveyed Allah’s message to you? Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. It is also narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: The worst kind of usury is indulging in evil talk about the honor of your Muslim brother. Reported by Al-Bazzar and Abu Dawud. The authentic Hadiths of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that refer to the prohibition of backbiting and warning against it are so many.
2- Among vices that should be avoided, kept away from and warned against is tale-bearing.
It refers to the act of transferring conversations from one person to another, or from one group to another, or from one tribe to another with the intention of causing corruption and driving people away from each other. It includes disclosing what people dislike no matter if the person reported, the person informed, or even others may dislike it. This act of disclosing may be done verbally, written, or by using code, or gestures regardless of the subject reported whether it is a saying or an action and whether it is a defect or imperfection in the person reported or not. A person must refrain from talking about what he knows or sees in people, unless there is some benefit to Muslims in transferring information or that it will eliminate evil.
Motives behind tale-bearing is either to cause evil to the person being spoken about or to show love to the person who is being informed, or to engage in ones advantages and disadvantages; all of which is forbidden. No one should believe rumor mongers; because a person who gossips is considered a Fasiq (someone openly and flagrantly violating Islamic law), whose Shahadah (testimony of faith) is rejected. Allah the Exalted says: O you who believe! If a Fâsiq (liar — evil person) comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, one must forbid him from doing so, advise him against it, and condemn the act, for Allah (Exalted be He) says: …enjoin (on people) Al-Ma‘rûf – (Islâmic Monotheism and all that is good), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief in the Oneness of Allâh, polytheism of all kinds and all that is evil and bad) One should dislike him for Allah’s sake and should not think negatively of his brother, who is being spoken about. He should think good of his brother, Allah (Exalted be He) says: O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘Beware of suspicion, for it is the worst of false tales. Agreed upon its authenticity i.e. reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
He should not spy on the person who was spoken about or defame his self by committing the same forbidden act that the gossiper committed by repeating the gossip which he heard.
The evidence for the prohibition of tale-bearing in the Qur’an and Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) are many; for example, Allah (Exalted be He) says: And (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) obey you not everyone Hallaf Mahîn (the one who swears much and is a liar or is worthless). [Tafsir At-Tabari] A slanderer, going about with calumnies, Allah (Exalted be He) also says: Woe to every slanderer and backbiter. It is narrated by Hudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: The story-teller will not enter Paradise (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Should I inform you what slandering is? It is tale-carrying, which creates dissension amongst people. Reported by Muslim. Tale-bearing is one of the reasons of punishment in the grave, for Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed by two graves and said: “These two people are being tortured not for a major sin (to avoid).” The Prophet (peace be upon him) then added, “Yes! (they are being tortured for a major sin). Indeed, one of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine while the other used to go about with calumnies (to make enmity between friends).” (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Backbiting and tale-bearing are forbidden due to the damage they cause, the corruption between people and the divisions and chaos which it creates, igniting the fire of hatred, envy and hypocrisy, and eliminating all affection and fatality. Also causing quarrels and discord among brothers who were once close. It also involves lying, treachery, betrayal, deception and accusations of the innocent, which lead one to curse, abuse and insult. They are signs of cowardice, and pettiness and defect. In addition to this, the sinners who make these accusations will bear many sins, which will lead to the wrath of Allah, and indignation and painful punishment.
3- That which should be avoided and kept away from, a reprehensible trait, which is known as envy.
That is, a person wishing that a certain bounty and grace be removed from his brother in Islam, whether this grace and bounty is related to religion or is worldly. This is objecting to what Allah has destined and granted His slaves. This is injustice by the envious person to himself for his Iman (faith) is decreased due to this, causing calamities and concerns for himself, ruining him in a great way. Allah (Exalted be He) says: Or do they envy men (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and his followers) for what Allâh has given them of His Bounty?
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; and do not undercut one another in business transactions; and be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah. Reported by Muslim. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) also narrated that the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Avoid envy, for envy devours good deeds just as fire devours fuel. Reported by Abu Dawud.
4- A person is also required to stay away from injustice, which is being unfair and legal misbehavior.
The biggest of these is Shirk (associating others in worship with Allah) of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) through violation and sins. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: And (remember) when Luqmân said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allâh. Verily joining others in worship with Allâh is a great Zûlm (wrong) indeed. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: And it is the disbelievers who are the Zâlimûn (wrong-doers).
This also includes taking other people’s property without the right to do so, or taking something from one’s land or attacking or abusing them, which is also a major sin and disobedience of Allah. This is – we seek refuge in Allah – a result of the darkness of ones heart, for if one’s heart was lit with the light of guidance, then he would have reconsidered, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: There will be no friend, nor an intercessor for the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers), who could be given heed to. Allah (Exalted be He) also says: …and for the Zâlimûn (wrong-doers, polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh) there is no helper. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: Consider not that Allâh is unaware of that which the Zâlimûn (polytheists, wrong-doers) do, but He gives them respite up to a Day when the eyes will stare in horror. Allah (Exalted be He) also says: And whoever among you does wrong (i.e. sets up rivals to Allâh), We shall make him taste a great torment. It is reported in Sahih (authentic book) Muslim, from Abu Dhar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah (the Exalted) says: “O My servants, I have forbidden injustice upon Myself and have forbidden it for you, so do not wrong one another…” It is also narrated by Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Be on your guard against committing oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Recompense Likewise, `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`As (may Allah be pleased with them) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands. And a Muhajir (emigrant) is the one who gives up (abandons) all that Allah has forbidden. (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim). These Hadiths and others with the same meaning are evident that one should be warned of injustice in matters related people, their honor, and property, due to the great evil and great corruption and their dire consequences. They also indicate the obligation of Tawbah (repentance to Allah) to Allah, the Exalted, of past sins and advising others to leave all that Allah has forbidden of injustice and all other sins.
May Allah grant me and you good attitude and good deeds and keep us away from bad deeds and attitudes! May He guide us to His Straight Path, for He is All-Gracious and The Generous.
May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!
As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!).