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Categories of Gheebat (Backbiting)

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'Allamah Ibnu 'Aabideen Shaami رحمة الله عليه has written that there are different categories of gheebat:

  1. Upon hearing the praise of another person someone sarcastically says, “Yes, but I know what type of a person he is.”
  2. Committing gheebat by writing the faults of others.
  3. Talking of the faults of others.
  4. To explain the faults of others by gestures. 

He has further written that the worst form of gheebat is when one is cautioned for having made gheebat and he replies, “I am not making gheebat. I am only speaking the truth.”

The reason for this being the worst form of gheebat is because gheebat means to speak about the actual faults of others and it has been explicitly prohibited in the Qur’aan as Allah Ta`ala says: و لايغتب بعضكم بعضا (Do not backbite one another.). This person has indirectly refuted the explicit wordings of the Qur’aan by such a statement. (It is obvious that the worst crime would be to refute the clear text of the Qur'aan.)

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