| 2 Summary of Ethics


Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Gossiping

Namimah linguistically: is temptation, adorning speech through lying. al-Nammam (gossiper, talebearer) is the tattler (qattat). It is said about a person that he qatta if he goes around gossiping. Nammam takes the morphological form implying excess and exaggeration in the verb. [1263] al-Nihayah, Ibn al-Athir (5/256); al-Misbah al-Munir, al-Fayyumi (2/626).

Namimah technically: is transferring talk from one person to another with the intent of corruption and evil. It is also said that it is exposing secrets, divulging what is disliked to be exposed. [1264] Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (3/156); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (12/592). The Difference between a Gossiper and a Tattler (Qattat)

They hold the same meaning. It is also said that the gossiper is he who is with some people talking, so gossips to them. The tattler is the one who lends them an ear without them realising, then gossips about what he hears. [1265] al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib, al-Mundhari (4/839). Dispraise of Gossiping and its Prohibition in the Qur’an and Sunnah

❖ Allah, exalted, says: “Do not yield to any contemptible swearer, to any backbiter, slander-monger, or hinderer of good, to anyone who is sinful, aggressive, coarse, and on top of all that, an imposter.” al-Qalam: 10 - 13.
❖ Allah, exalted, says: “Woe to every fault-finder (humazah), badmouther.” al-Humazah: 1. Muqatil said: “Humazah is the talebearer (nammam), gossiping about and to the people.” [1266] Tafsir Muqatil ibn Sulayman (4/839).
❖ Hudhayfah, Allah be pleased with him, said: “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “No gossiper (nammam) will enter the Garden.” [1267] Reported by Muslim (105). In another narration, it’s “Tattler (Qattat).” [1268] Reported by al-Bukhari (6057) and Muslim (105).
❖ Ibn Abbas, Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet ﷺ happened to pass by two graves and said: ‘They their occupants are being tormented, but they are not tormented for a grievous sin. One of them carried tales and the other did not keep himself safe from being defiled by urine.’ He then called for a fresh twig and split it into two parts, and planted them on each grave and then said: ‘Perhaps, their punishment may be mitigated as long as these twigs remain fresh.’” [1269] Reported by al-Bukhari (6052) and Muslim (292). Quotes of the Predecessors and Scholars on Dispraising Gossiping

❖ A man said to `Umar ibn al-Khattab, Allah be pleased with him: “Commander of the Faithful, beware the killer of the three.” He said: “Woe to you, who is this killer?!” He said: “A man who comes to his chief with false statements, so the chief kills the one about whom the false claim was. This man has killed himself, his companion, and his chief.” [1270] Reported by al-Khara’iti in Masawi` al-Akhlaq (p. 107); al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (8/289) (16677).
❖ al-Hasan said: “Whoever gossips to you, gossips about you.” [1271] Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (3/156).
❖ It is said: “The talebearer’s work is more harmful than the devil’s. The devil whispers, and the talebearer confronts.” [1272] al-Zawajir, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (2/571).
❖ It is said: “Gossiping is a lowly trait. It implies a diseased soul, ignoble disposition that indulges in uncovering the concealed and exposing secrets.” [1273] Bariqah Mahmudiyyah, Abu Sa`id al-Khadami (3/193). Forms of Gossiping
Unlawful tale-bearing: this is negative, malicious talk which begets harm on others, usually by making mention of their private affairs and hidden faults.
Obligatory whistleblowing: it is when one informs another of some harm that may afflict him, so warns him of it.
Permissible gossiping: Ibn Kathir said about tale-bearing: “If it is for the sake of amiability among Muslims and is in the narration: ‘He is not a liar, the one who gossips for goodness.’ [1274] Reported in meaning by al-Bukhari (2692) and Muslim (2605) from the narration of Umm Kulthum bint `Uqbah, Allah be pleased with her. It may also be a form of separation and misinformation in the ranks of the disbelievers. This is praiseworthy as described in the Hadith 'War is deception.’ [1275] Reported by al-Bukhari (3030) and Muslim (1739) from the narration of Jabir ibn `Abdillah, Allah be pleased with them both. [1276] Tafsir Ibn Kathir (1/371). Reasons for Falling into Gossiping
That one is raised in an environment where gossiping and tale-bearing is the norm, and so emulates what he observes and gets affected by his surroundings. Maleficence to others, wishing evil for them. This is a malicious animus in the hearts of evil men. Pretending to love the one about whom one speaks, gaining his love. Delving into falsehood and curious, useless talk, with the excuse of relaxation. Fulfilling societal bonds with others that are negative and come at the price of people’s honour. Not punishing the tale-bearing tattler nor publicly rebuking him, rather liking this trend and engaging him in his sin. Having too much free time, so one ends up filling it up by speaking ill of others. Anger and vengeance against some person, wishing to ruin his reputation. Following up on people’s private affairs. Working for doubtful individuals or bodies. The gossiper having weak faith, lack of fear of Allah, and heedlessness of the punishment, grave and the torment of the Fire. His ignorance of the gossiper of the evil consequences he brings about to individuals and society. Envy for others, and not wishing goodness upon them. Impacts and Harms of Gossiping
Is a sure path to the Fire. It gives firewood to the fire of animosity among those who love each other. It harms, hurts, and begets opposition and repulsion. It is a sign of its possessor’s bad ending, and it does away with a person’s glow. It is a clear sign of debasement, cowardice, weakness, deceit, scheming, silver tongue, and being miscreant. It removes all love, and distances one from every affectionate, caring, and brotherly relationship. It is a shame upon the one who says it and the one who attentively receives it. It incites one to spying and following up on others’ affairs. It severs others’ provision and sustenance. It cuts up and divides what may initially be a cohesive, united society. Benefits of Desisting from Gossiping

❖ The one who desists from tale-bearing is among the best of the Muslims. Abu Musa, Allah be pleased with him, said: “Messenger of Allah, which of the Muslims is best?’ He said: ‘He from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe.’ [1277] Reported by al-Bukhari (11) and Muslim (42).
❖ Abandoning gossiping enters one into the Garden. Sahl ibn Sa`d said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever guarantees for me what is between his jaws and what is in between his thighs, I guarantee the Garden for him.” [1278] Reported by al-Bukhari (6474). Curing Gossiping
Making the gossiper aware of the dangers of gossiping. Appreciating the magnitude of this sin, that it's a major act of disobedience. Preserving the tongue from gossiping and not following up on others’ privacies. Conceptualising one’s evil in committing it, that hearts are repelled from one another therefrom. Seeking proximity to Allah, sanctified and exalted, through abundant good deeds, prioritising His pleasure over that of the creation. One appreciating that preserving his tongue from gossiping is a cause for his being admitted to the Garden. Strengthening faith through beneficial knowledge and righteous action. Not listening to the words of the gossiper which he has to share about others. Raising children upon sound Islamic values, teachings, and etiquettes. Embarrassing the tale-bearer by requesting that he instead mention the virtues of the one he is gossiping about. Adages, Proverbs, and Poetry about Gossiping [1279] Maqayis al-Lughah, Ibn Faris (1/93); Adab al-Dunya wa al-Din, al-Mawardi (p. 268).

❖ A proverb goes: “Tale-bearing is the begetter of enmity.”
❖ In a non-poem adage, it is said: “Gossiping is a killer sword.”
❖ Some writers said: “There is no more evil walker (mashin) than a scandal-monger (washin).”
❖ Some sages said: “The courier is between two ugly stations: he is either truthful, in which case he has betrayed his trust, or he lies, in which case he has breached decency.”
❖ A poet said:

“Move away from gossiping and avoid it
For gossiping wipes away all reward.

Gossiping’s brother incites all evil doing it,
Exposing secrets to every group and horde.

He kills himself unjustly, and other than it:
Nay! Gossiping is to the free but fraud.” [1280] Mawarid al-Zam'an, `Abd al-`Aziz al-Salman (5/10).

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