In a world that thrives off backbiting and slander, we often find ourselves on the receiving end of it. At times it might distress us or lead us into a sorrow state, and question why it happens to us. Imam al-Sadiq (as) speaks about the consequences of those who backbite about the sins that believers do in private, and of the backbiting that are lies. He furthermore explains how the Prophets and Imams (as) were also not immune from lies, slander and backbiting – and how Allah (swt) supported them and exposed the truth:
Alqamah asked al-Sadiq Jafar ibn Muhammad (as): “Oh son of the Messenger of Allah (sawa), inform me whose testimony is accepted and whose testimony is not accepted”, so He (as) said, “Oh Alqamah, whoever is on the fitrah of Islam, his testimony is valid.”
I said, “is the testimony of one who sins accepted?” He (as) said, “Oh Alqamah, if it wasn’t for the acceptance of the perpetrators of sins, then none would have been accepted but the testimonies of the Prophets and the Successors (as) because they are infallible unlike other creations, so the one you do not see sin with your own eyes or none other witness him doing so – so he is from the people who are just and (the people of) protection, and his testimony is accepted. And if he was unjust on his own soul (with sin) – whoever backbit regarding this, then he has left the guardianship (wilayah) of Allah (swt) and entered into the guardianship (wilayah) of Shaytaan.
And my father has narrated to me, from his father, from his fathers (as), that the Messenger of Allah (sawa) said, “whoever backbites a believer (regarding a sin he has committed), Allah (swt) will never gather them together in paradise, and whoever backbites a believer about (a sin he has NOT committed), verily the divine protection between them is cut, and the one who committed the backbiting will reside in Hell, for eternal riddance.”
Alqamah said: “So I said to al-Sadiq (as), oh son of the Messenger of Allah, the people accuse us of big things, and our chests have become narrow and constricted from that (hurt us a lot).”
Then he (as) replied, “Oh Alqamah, the desires of the people is not an authority, and their tongues do not dictate – so how will you be at free from what the Messengers and the Proofs were not free from? Did they not accuse Yousef (as) that he intended to fornicate? Did they not accuse Ayuub (as) that he was overwhelmed by his sins? Did they not attribute to Dawood (as) that he observed the bird until he gazed at the wife of Uriya and he desired her? And that he presented her husband in front of the coffin until he died so he may marry her? Did they not accuse Musa (as) that he is impotent and they hurt him until Allah (swt) cleared him from what they accused, and He was with Allah (swt) honourable. Did they not attribute to all Prophets that they were magicians, seeking the Dunya? Did they not attribute to Mariam bint Imran (as) that she fell pregnant with Isa (as) with a carpenter named Yousef? Did they not attribute to our Prophet Muhammad (sawa) that he is a mindless poet? Did they attribute to him that he desired the wife of Zaid bin Haritha and that he did not give up on her until he freed her for himself? Did they not attribute that on the day of Badr that he took for himself as war booty a red cloak? Until Allah (swt) made clear regarding the cloak and cleared His Prophet from the treachery, and He revealed regarding this in His book, “And it is not attributable to a prophet that he should act unfaithfully; and he who acts unfaithfully shall bring that in respect of which he has acted unfaithfully on the day of resurrection; then shall every soul be paid back fully what it has earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.” (3:161).
Did they not accuse him of speaking from his desires regarding cousin Ali (as)? Until Allah (swt) falsified them so the Glorified said: “Nor does he speak out of desire, It is naught but revelation that is revealed” (53:3-4)
Did they not attribute to him that he lied in his saying: “And certainly messengers before you were rejected, but they were patient on being rejected and persecuted until Our help came to them; and there is none to change the words of Allah, and certainly there has come to you some information about the messengers.” (6:34)
And He said one day: “Last night he ascended me to the skies”, So it was said: “By Allah he did not separate from his bed the whole night.”
And what they said about the Successors (as) was greater than this, did they not accuse to the Master of the Successors (as) [Imam Ali (as)]that he desired the Dunya and governorship, and that he used create fitnah instead of harmony, and that he shed the blood of the Muslims in a non-permissible manner, and that if their was any good (in him), then Khaled ibn al-Walid would not have been commanded to strike his neck?
Did they not attribute to him that he desired to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl (la) rather than (keeping) Fatima (sa) (happy), and that the Messenger of Allah (sawa) complained about him on the pulpit to the Muslims and said, “Verily Ali wants to marry the daughter of the enemy of Allah over the (pleasure of the) daughter of the Prophet of Allah (sawa). Verily Fatima (as) is a part of me, so whoever hurts her has hurt me, and whoever pleases her has pleased me, and whoever angers her has angered me?”
Then al-Sadiq (as) said, “Oh Alqamah, how strange are the sayings of the people about Ali (as)! How many between those who say: “He is a worshiped Lord”, and between those who say, “He is a slave that is disobedient to the worshiped!” And certainly the saying of whoever attributed him to disobedience was easier on him than the saying of whoever attributed him to Lordship.
“Oh Alqamah, do they not say about Allah (swt) that he is the third of three? Do they not liken him to His creation? Do they not say that He is limited by time? Do they not say that He is the bound by the Universe? Do they not say that He has a body? Do they not say that He has an image? Far above is Allah from this.
“Oh Alqamah, verily the tongues speak of the essence of Allah, may his rememberace be increased, about what does not befit His essence – so how will restrain what (the tongues) speak regarding what you dislike! So seek help in Allah (swt) and be patient, surely Allah gives to inherit the Earth to whom he wills from his slaves, and in the end it is for the pious.
Surely the children of Israel said to Musa (as) “We have been persecuted before you came to us and since you have come to us” So Allah (swt) said to them oh Musa “It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you rulers in the land, then He will see how you act.” (7:129)
Sanad: My Father, from Ali bin Muhammad bin Qutayba, from Hamaad ibn Sulaymaan, from Nuh bin Shu’ayb, from Muhammad bin Isma’eel, from Saleh who narrated the above hadith
Source: al-Amaali al-Sadooq, Assembly 22, Hadith #3