what is the philosophy behind the prohibition of Backbiting in Islam?


Backbiting is a prohibited act in Islam; this forbidden act is translated in the jurisprudential books as following:

To talk about your brother or sister in faith in words that if he/she hears that, he/she will be upset.

Backbiting can be committed through talking, painting, pointing, writing etc.

The holy Quran says about backbiting in chapter Hojorat verse 12:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“Believers, abstain from most suspicion, some suspicion is a sin. Neither spy nor backbite one another, would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Surely, you would loathe it. Fear Allah, without doubt Allah turns (in mercy) and He is the merciful”.

It is said while describing the resemblance between backbiting and eating the flesh of dead brother that in both cases the dead or backbitten person cannot defend from him/herself.

It is mentioned in Islamic sources that the one who backbites the other, in the reality is transferring the reward of him/herself to the backbitten person and if the backbiter does not have good deeds, the punishments of the sins of the backbitten will be transferred from him/her to the person who has committed backbiting.

Some people might ask, is it justly that we lose by a backbiting, the rewards of our good deeds that we have obtained them especially those deeds that we have paid so much money and affairs to do them?

As the answer to this question we say:

Yes. Because you ruin the reputation and honor and credit of the backbitten person; the reputation or honor that he/she might has obtained it through several years and you just ruined it in a second, so it is completely just for the same treatment to be done to you.

The holy Prophet of Islam had at least one elevation (in both physical and spiritual meaning) to the highest levels of paradise and this event is known as Miraj and it is mentioned in the Quran and the description of that in the Narrations and I advise my dear brothers and sisters to read it because it is full of lessons for both physical and spiritual perfections of mankind.

On that journey the Prophet of Islam saw very informative scenes.

One of these events is related to our topic.

He said I saw a group of people that were stretching their faces with their nails.

I asked Gabriel (the angel of revelation): who are they?

And he replied they are the people that were backbiting others and ruining their face.

Backbiting is considered as a kind of hypocrisy, because the one, who backbites others, usually does not do that in front of that person and it is a kind of paltriness and littleness of the backbiter.

If the society gets full of backbiting, no one trusts the others, the hidden faults of every one are revealed and it causes the remoteness of the hearts of the believers from each other and it is completely against the unity and sympathy between people that Islam has ordered us.