Sunday, November 22, 2009


I didn't understand the concept for a while. English is not my first spoken language (it IS my first language in the written world though) and so I hadn't really heard of the word before Islam! I could imagine what it meant... Talking behind someone's back (in a way that would not please them - like getting bitten). But I had a difficult time knowing what to consider backbiting and what to consider just talking about someone... I guess the main thing is to think about if the person would want you to be saying that about them. If the answer is no, then it's backbiting. Backbiting is saying something that is true about someone that they wouldn't want you to be saying. If you are lying about someone and saying something they wouldn't want you to be saying, then it's slandering.

Slandering is not a problem for me. But with time, I realized that backbiting is. It's one person in particular who makes me do it the most... For the sake of demonstration (and hopefully making someone else out there realize that they're doing the same thing), I will give a brief anonymous idea of what I was doing and have trouble not doing that is backbiting...

She is my good friend and works with me and the thing is that she is not doing the job well. I don't feel it's my job to go up to her and tell her directly that she needs to change. I am not her boss... But the bosses are not doing it. So I am in a situation where I try to give her pointers but it just doesn't work. The other co-worker in our area also tries... It doesn't work. So we find ourselves discussing her and what she does... Mostly what to tell her, but sometimes getting our frustration out about the situation, simply, by going over things she does wrong. This part is backbiting because we are not doing anything else than just talking about her faults. It stops being to help her and becomes just venting at her expense.

The next part, because yes, there is more that I do, still related to this person, is that I love her, but I cannot find it in me to tell her to have some self-respect in the way she dresses and acts outside of work. I become so very frustrated that this person I love and know is so sweet and kind can act that way and have so little respect for herself. I can't tell her, so it comes out when I talk to my husband sometimes. Or my mom, who knows her and feels the same way. This is so totally backbiting...

Any advice? Should I get that second frustration out of the way and just tell her somehow? Might ruin the friendship and make work so very awkward (we are literally facing each other at work) if she takes it the wrong way, but if she learns from it, it could make her realize things... Or it might put her in a depression to see what she has been doing for so long... :(

Akh... All to say... I wish to not backbite and I'm trying, but I slip up way too much. I'm so glad at least to understand the term better and the position of Islam with regards to it. Thank you to all the sisters who have written posts about it in the past couple months because they helped me figure it out.

1 Comentário:

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

"Backbiting is saying something that is true about someone that they wouldn't want you to be saying."

I think that's exactly it.

About your situation, it's always tricky. I was in the same position earlier this year, but I knew that if I confronted her, she wouldn't believe me and it would just make things horrible between us. So I didn't, because I knew it wouldn't benefit her (or me). At the same time I did need to vent sometimes. I still don't know if what I did was right, but I felt at the time there was no point in confronting her.

So if you feel she will listen to what you have to say, maybe it's worth a try.

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