Dictionary / Arabic - Turkish Terminology

GHIYBAH – غيبة

A speaking ill of a person behind his back. Also, any tale told about an absent person. Backbiting. Calumny. To speak disparagingly of a person during his absence. To backbite.


On Ghiybah

بِاسْمِهِ وَاِنْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ اِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ

Since in the Fifth Point of the First Ray of the First Light of the Twenty-Fifth Word, a single âyah, which is an example in the category of censure and restrain, raising a feeling of aversion about ghiybah in six miraculous ways shows how detestable a thing ghiybah is in the view of the Qur'an, there is no need for any further explanation. Indeed, after the declaration of the Qur'an, there is neither the possibility nor the need for any further explanation.

Thus the Qur'an censures the disparagement with six degrees in the âyah: اَيُحِبُّ اَحَدُكُمْ اَنْ يَاْكُلَ لَحْمَ اَخِيهِ مَيْتًا 1 and restrains from ghiybah severely with six levels. When the âyah is directed to those who commit ghiybah, its meaning is the following:

As is well-known, the hamza2 at the beginning of the âyah has the meaning of interrogation (âyâ). This meaning of interrogation penetrates all the words of the âyah like water. In each word, there is an implied injunction.

Thus the first says, with the hamza: "Have you no mind, the place of question and answer that it does not understand such an ugly thing?"

The second says with the wordيُحِبُّ 3 : "Has been your heart, the place of love and hate, corrupted that it loves the most loathed thing?"

The third says with the wordاَحَدُكُمْ 4 : "What has happened to your social life and civilization, which receives its life from the community (jamâ’ah), that they accept an action poisoning your life in such a way?"

The fourth says with the wordاَنْ يَاْكُلَ لَحْمَ 5 : "What has happened to your humanity that you are beastly tearing your friend apart with your teeth?"

The fifth says with the wordاَخِيهِ 6 : "Do you have no compassion towards your fellow-human beings, no mercy for Muslims and your parents and kindred (sila ar-rahm), that you are unjustly biting the ma’nawî personality of an aggrieved, who is your brother in so many aspects? And have you no mind that you are insanely biting your own limbs with your own teeth?"

The sixth says with the wordمَيْتًا 7 : "Where is your conscience? Has been your fitrah corrupted that you do the most loathed thing against your honourable brother as to eat his flesh?"

That is to say, according to the expression of the âyah and the indication of each word, disparagement and ghiybah are censured by the mind, heart, humanity, conscience, fitrah and nationhood. Now, look! By succinctly censuring the disparagement in six levels, how the âyah miraculously restrains men from such crime in six degrees.

Ghiybah is a vile weapon used mostly by the people of enmity, envy and obstinacy. An honourable person would not stoop to use this filthy weapon. A celebrated person once said: اُكَبِّرُ نَفْسِى عَنْ جَزَاءٍ بِغِيْبَةٍ ٭ فَكُلُّ اِغْتِيَابٍ جَهْدُ مَنْ لاَ لَهُ جَهْدٌ  

That is "I do not stoop to punish my enemy with ghiybah. For ghiybah is the weapon of the weak, the low and the vile."

Ghiybah is this: If the person, whose ghiybah is committed, were to be there and heard, he would dislike and vex. If what is said is true, it is already ghiybah. If a lie is told, it is both ghiybah and slander. It is a doubly ugly sin.

Ghiybah can be permissible (jâiz) in a few special cases:

First: In the form of the complaint, he says to an official so that he may help and remove that offence and that thing Allah disapproved, and he may take his right from him.

Second: A person wants to cooperate with him. He consults with you (mashwarah). If you say purely for the communal benefit and fulfil the consultation (mashwarah), without any grudge: "Do not cooperate with him, for you will be harmed."

Third: If his purpose is not insulting or exposing but rather describing and making him recognized, and he says: "That crippled or vagrant man went to such-and-such a place."

Fourth: The one, whose ghiybah is committed, is a Mutajahir bi’l fisq. That is, he is not ashamed of evil but rather takes pride in the sins he commits; he finds pleasure in his dhulm, without being embarrassed, he sins in an evident fashion.

Thus, in these particular cases, ghiybah can be permissible (jâiz), if it is done without a grudge and purely for the sake of haqq and communal benefit. Or else ghiybah devours ‘amal as-sâlih just like the fire devours wood.

If a person has committed ghiybah or willingly listened to it, then he should say: اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْلَنَا وَ لِمَنِ اغْتَبْنَاهُ 8 and whenever he meets with the one whose ghiybah was committed, he should say: "Forgive me."

اَلْبَاقِى هُوَ الْبَاقِى

Said Nursî



1 (Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?)

2 (The letterا  )

3 (Like)

4 (Any of you)

5 (To eat the flesh)

6 (Of his brother)

7 (Dead)

8 (O Allah, forgive me and him concerning whom I spoke ill)

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