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It is often said if we slander, or backbite a person whether it’s a Muslim, or a non-Muslim, we have to seek their forgiveness in order for Allah to forgive us. I know backbiting, it’s only if they know you backbit them, so the questions below are more in connection with slander.
How would be approach the following, or are we still expected to seek forgiveness we’re confronted with the following dilemmas?
الجواب وبالله التوفيق
Bothgheebat(backbiting) and buhtan (slander or defamation) are extremely major sins. However the method for repentance for both sins is quite different. The method to repent from gheebat is to ask for forgiveness from the person (whose gheebat was done) explicitly. If explicitly asking for forgiveness seems to be disadvantageous for one’s self, then cautious imprecision should be adopted while asking for forgiveness. For example, stating something like “please forgive me for any wrong I have done.” It is also instructed to praise this individual and words of appreciation should be uttered in their absence. If asking for forgiveness is not possible due to their demise, absence of a medium of communication with them or any other valid reason, then one should perform astaghfar for that individual and themselves in abundance and perform eesal-e-sawab(convening reward of virtuous deeds) for them. Additionally, asking for forgiveness from a namehram female is not out of the realm of possibility. Without meeting them, one can ask for forgiveness verbally or through writing, it is not mandatory to meet them in order to ask them for forgiveness. Finally, one should make every effort to refrain from falling prey to the fitnahand always keep in mind thatAllah Subhanahu Wa Ta‘alaknows what lies in all of our hearts.
In order to ask for forgiveness for buhtan, in addition to performing all the steps mentioned above with reference to gheebat, it is mandatory to express one’s remorse and the innocence of the falsely accused, in front of all those people in presence of whom the slander was performed in the first place. If explicitly asking for forgiveness seems to be disadvantageous for one’s self, they should not care about it and still perform the step as described. It is hoped that the result of this action will InshahAllah be better in the akhirah and for honoring the commandment of the Islamic Shari‘ah, InshahAllah the result in this world may also not turn out bad. The level of the sin dictates the level of required repentance and remorse. Since buhtan is such an extremely major sin, the method for its repentance is also big and structured.
قال بعض علمائنا فی الغیبۃ لا یُعلمہ بھا بل یستغض اللہ لہ إن علم أن إعلامہ یثیر فتنۃ (شامی، ص598، ج9)
ولا بدمق الإستحلالإن قدر علیہ فإن کان غائبا أو میتا فینبغی لہ أن یکثر لہ الاستغفار والدعاء ویکثر من الحسنات
(احیاء علوم الدین کتاب آفات اللسان)
أما إذا قال بھتانا۔۔۔فإنہ یحتاج إلی التوبۃ فی ثلاثۃ مواضع أحدھا أن یرجع إلی القوم الذین تکلم بالبھتان عندھم۔۔۔والثانی أن یذھب الی الذی قال علیہ البھتان ویطلب الرضی عنہ حتی یجعل فی حل منہ والثالث أن یتوب
(شرح فقہ اکبر ص 196، بحوالہ فتاوی محمودیہ ص 385، ج29)
واللہ اعلم بالصواب