EPISTLE ON SUFISM | CHAPTER 3 | BACKBITING | AL-QUSHAYRI
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GOD — Great and Exalted — said :
" Do not backbite one another ; would any of you like to eat the flesh of one's sibling dead ? " ( Quran 49:12 )
Abu Said Muhammad b Ibrahim al-Ismaili informed us : Abu Bakr Muhammad b al-Husayn b al-Hasan b al-Khalil informed us : Ali b al-Hasan told us : Ishaq b Isa b Bint Dawud b Abi Hind told us : Muhammad b Abi Humayd told us on the authority of Musa b Wardan , on the authority of Abu Hurayra , who said that when someone who had been sitting with The Messenger of GOD — may GOD bless and greet — rose and left , another one in the gathering said :
" How feeble this person is ! "
The Messenger — may GOD praise and greet — retorted :
" You have eaten your sibling alive , when you backbite ! " . . . .
Awf said :
" I came to Ibn Sirin and began to discuss the misdeeds of al-Hajjaj .
Ibn Sirin told me :
' GOD Most High is a just arbiter . GOD takes against al-Hajjaj as much as GOD takes for al-Hajjaj . As for you , if you were to meet GOD — Glorious and Magnificent — tomorrow , the smallest sin you have committed will be much more grievous for you than the greatest sin committed by al-Hajjaj ! ' "
It is said that Ibrahim b Adham was invited to a dinner , and attended it . They were discussing someone who did not come . Some of them said :
" So-and-So is boring ! "
Ibrahim said :
" This is what my soul has done to me ! I came to a party where people are slandered in their absence " .
Ibrahim left and would not eat for three days after that .
It is said :
" The backbiter is like one who has installed a catapult and started to shoot one's good deeds in all directions . One backbites one who is in Khurasan , another who is in Syria , one who is in the Hijaz , another who is in the land of the Turks .
One thus scatters one's good deeds , and when one finally finds oneself standing before GOD , one has nothing with one " .
It is said that a certain servant of GOD will be given one's ledger of deeds , see not a single good deed in it , ask GOD :
" Where are my prayers , my fasting and my acts of obedience ? "
and will be told :
" All your good works were invalidated due to your backbiting ! "
It is said :
" GOD will cut in half the sins of one who has suffered from backbiting " .
Sufyan b al-Husayn said :
" I was sitting with Iyas b Muawiyya and spoke badly of someone who was not there .
Sufyan asked me :
' Have you taken part in the holy war against the Turks and the Byzantines this year ? '
I answered : ' No , I have not . '
Sufyan said :
' So , the Turks and the Byzantines are safe from you , while your Muslim sibling is not ! ' "
It is said that a certain person will be given one's ledger and will find in it the good deeds one never did , and will be told :
" This is your reward for people's backbiting against you of which you were not aware ! "
Someone asked Sufyan al-Thawri about the saying of The Prophet — may GOD bless and greet —
" Verily , GOD hates the people of the house of flesheaters " .
Sufyan responded :
" That is , the ones who backbite ; as if they eat the other people's flesh " .
Someone mentioned backbiting in the presence of Abdallah b al-Mubarak , who commented :
" If I were ever to slander anyone in one's absence , I would slander my parents , for they are more deserving of my good deeds than anybody else " .
Yahya b Muadh said :
" Let each believer benefit from you in the following 3 ways :
If you cannot be of help , at least do not harm ;
If you cannot make happiness , at least do not make sadness ;
If you cannot praise , at least do not blame " .
Someone told al-Hasan al-Basri :
" So-and-so slandered you behind your back " .
So al-Hasan al-Basri sent the one who slandered a plateful of sweetmeats , saying :
" It has come to my attention that you have lavished your good deeds upon me , so I would like to recompense you " .
Ali b Ahmad al-Ahwazi informed me : Ahmad b Ubayd al-Basri informed us : Ahmad b Amr al-Qatawani informed us : Sahl b Uthman al-Askari told us : al-Rabi b Badr told us on the authority of Aban , on the authority of Anas b Malik that The Messenger of GOD — may GOD bless and greet — said :
" One who has renounced the veil of shame , cannot be an object of backbiting " .
I heard Hamza b Yusuf al-Sahmi say : I heard Abu Tahir Muhammad b Usayd al-Raqqi say : I heard Jafar b Muhammad b Nusayr say : al-Junayd said :
" Once I was sitting in the al-Shuniziyya mosque , waiting for the bier of a newly deceased to arrive , so that I could pray over it . The people of Baghdad were sitting there according to their social ranks waiting for the funeral bier to arrive .
Suddenly I saw a poor person who looked like an ascetic begging from people .
I thought to myself :
' If this one would work to sustain oneself , it would be better for one . '
When I returned home after that , I engaged in my usual routine of reciting a night litany , weeping , praying and so on . However , all my litanies weighed heavily on me . So I just sat there sleepless .
Then my eyes closed and , in my dream , I saw that poor person spread upon a table before me and I heard voices saying :
' Eat this flesh , for you have slandered ! '
The real state of affairs was revealed to me and I said :
' No , I did not slander . I only said something to myself . '
I was told :
' This sort of thing is not tolerated from the likes of you . Go and ask forgiveness ! '
So in the morning I left my house and began to go around until I saw the person at a place with running water where the person was picking up leaves from vegetables that were being washed there . I greeted .
The response was :
' Abul-Qasim you have returned to this again ? '
I said : ' No ! '
The response was :
' Then may GOD forgive both of us ! ' "
I heard Shaykh Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami — may GOD have mercy upon — say : I heard Abu Tahir al-Isfaraini say : I heard Abu Jafar al-Balkhi say :
" There used to be a person from Balkh who exerted in worshipping GOD , however , constantly slandering people behind their backs , saying ,
' So-and-so is like this , So-and-so is like that ' , and so on .
One day I saw the person coming out from a place frequented by gender-variant washers . I asked what had happened .
The response was :
' My speaking ill of other people has brought this upon me . I was attracted to one of them , and now I have to serve them because of that one . All of my old pious deeds have vanished , so pray GOD to forgive me ! ' "
SOURCE | SATYAVEDISM.ORG