Why the Harsh Reality of More Women in Hellfire Due to Backbiting Isn’t Scaring Us Away from Gossip?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

  • The article explores the prevalence of gossiping among women.
  • It reflects on the negative consequences of gossiping, including perpetuating learned behaviour across generations, and the implications in Islam.

I recently attended a wedding in a boujee hotel in central London. I was minding my own business, devouring my paapri chaat and enjoying life, when all of a sudden, I overheard a conversation between some aunties whom I don’t know. They were seated on the same table as me.

One of the aunties said, indicating towards the bride as if to make an announcement, “Kaafi tandrust hain magar dil di changi lagdhi hain”, (a somewhat polite way of saying in Punjabi that the bride was overweight but seems to have a good heart). “Kuri naal munda ziyada sohna ve,” the other aunty responded. “Kuri di maa kaafi chalaak lagdhi hain’” (more shots fired towards the poor bride and her mum).”

It’s not like I’m unfamiliar with the mechanics of my culture, but desi aunties generally tend to go home and gossip on the phone to one another following a wedding they’ve attended. These aunties, however, had no chill and were happily eating the flesh of their younger sister there and then, all while tucking into their third helping of fish pakoras.

Of course, not all Pakistani aunties can be tarnished with the same brush. There are many wonderful, God-fearing, beautiful, and wise aunties who are great role models from my community too.

However, gossiping perpetuates a cycle of learned behavior among the children of these aunties, spanning generations and wreaking havoc that spirals into chaos. Unfortunately, even as these offspring become more versed in matters of faith, they sometimes overlook the opportunity to gently guide their mothers or aunties with wisdom (hikma) when they observe them gossiping.

Similar to instances where a desi aunty expresses anti-black sentiments, excuses often follow, such as, “They don’t know any better; that’s how they were raised” or “They’re old.” I’ve always found it perplexing how one can profess love for their mother or aunty, knowing that backbiting is a grave sin, yet hesitate to gently correct them with wisdom (hikma).

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: We were sitting with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, when a man stood to leave, then another man spoke badly about him after he left. The Prophet said, “Pick your teeth.” The man said, “O Messenger of Allah, why should I pick my teeth when I have not eaten meat?” The Prophet said, “You have eaten the flesh of your brother.”

Source: al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr 9951

We ourselves aren’t exempt from the whisperings of Shaytan.

Choose your friends wisely

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 34, Number 314:

Abu Musa narrates: 

Allah's Apostle said, "The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is I like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith's bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof."

Hence, it is indisputable that our habits are influenced by the company we choose to associate with.

On the contrary, there are those who unwittingly oppress themselves by remaining silent when speaking up is imperative. We’ve all encountered challenging bosses or individuals who attempt to infringe upon our rights. In such instances, and others cited, Imam an-Nawawi permits certain discussions that may seem like gossip. Here’s a more accessible version for those who prefer it:

Throughout our lives, we craft our book of deeds through our words and actions. This narration highlights the profound truth that on the Day of Judgment, each of us will be answerable for the fruits reaped by our tongues.

Understanding the Link Between Gossip and Personal Well-being

Psychologist, Deborah Byrne says:

“People who do gossip often struggle with low self-esteem and in establishing their own identity. These people may have high levels of anxiety and hope to divert attention away from them.”

Gossip leading to Slander

One of the most poignant examples of slander’s devastating impact occurred with our revered mother, Aisha (RA), and the false accusation of infidelity against her. This incident serves as a profound lesson for us all. In her response, we witness her unwavering trust in Allah, remarkable resilience, and enduring patience.

In this holy and blessed month of Ramadan…

We all harbour sicknesses in our hearts, myself included. We therefore, ought to try to partake in Tazkiyaa this Ramadan and deal with the ills of our hearts. Moreover, we are all cognisant of the individual battles we are trying to overcome in order to get closer to Allah. If you are someone who struggles with gossiping, now is the opportune time to stop.

The contents of this article are a reminder to myself first and foremost.


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