The Prohibition of Listening To Backbiting
By Al-Imam An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh)
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of al-'ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger
Allah, the Exalted, says:
"And when they hear Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk) they withdraw from it." (Al-Qasas, 28:55)
"And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood, and all that Allah has forbidden)." (Al-Mu’minun, 23:3)
"Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allah)." (Al-Isrā’, 17:36)
"And when you (Muhammad (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) see those who engage in a false conversation about Our Verses (of the Qur'an) by mocking at them, stay away from them till they turn to another topic. And if Shaitan (Satan) causes you to forget, then after the remembrance sit not you in the company of those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers)." (Al-Anam 6:68)
1528. Abud-Darda' (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who defends the honour of his (Muslim) brother, Allah will secure his face against the Fire on the Day of Resurrection."
Commentary: If someone says something disgraceful against a Muslim, one must defend his Muslim brother (or sister, for that matter) and say that what has been stated about him or her is wrong and that he (or she) is free from the accusation made against him (or her).
1529. 'Itban bin Malik (radiyallāhu`anhu) said in his long Hadith cited in the Chapter entitled 'Hope' reported: When the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) stood up to offer As-Solat (the prayer) he asked, "Where is Malik bin Ad-Dukhshum?" A man replied: "He is a hypocrite. He does not love Allah and His Messenger." The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "Do not say that. Do you not know that he said: La ilaha illallah (there is no true god except Allah),' seeking His Pleasure. Allah has made the fire of Hell unlawful for him who affirms that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah."
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: "Allah has made the fire of Hell unlawful" means that a Muslim will not abide in Hell for ever. The reason is that if a Muslim has committed some major sin and Allah has not pardoned it, then he will certainly suffer its punishment in Hell. He will stay there as long as Allah will. However, he will be later on shifted to Jannah. This Hadith also leads us to the conclusion that the backbiting of a Muslim is forbidden. See the explanation of this Hadith under Hadith No. 418.
1530. Ka'ab bin Malik (radiyallāhu`anhu) said in his long story about his repentance: The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) was sitting among the people in Tabuk. He (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "What happened to Ka'ab bin Malik?" A person from the tribe of Banu Salamah said: "O Messenger of Allah! the embellishment of his cloak and an appreciation of his sides have allured him, and he was thus detained." Mu'adz bin Jabal (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: "Woe be upon you! You have passed indecent remarks. O Messenger of Allah! By Allah, we know nothing about him but good." The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) remained silent.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith has already been mentioned in detail in the Chapter on Repentance. Here it is repeated to show how important it is to defend a Muslim when someone accuses him in his absence. In the presence of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) a person expressed misgivings about Ka'ab bin Malik that his obsession (for fine dress) had prevented him from coming to the battlefield. Mu'adz immediately defended him saying that there was no justification for such misgivings. The Prophet's silence endorsed the stand taken by Mu'adz (radiyallāhu`anhu). This goes to prove that if a Muslim brother or sister is disgraced in his or her absence in a gathering, then it is incumbent on others to defend his or her honour.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[The Book of the Prohibited Actions, Chapter # 255, Riyad-Us-Saliheen, Compiled by Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi]