The Venting Epidemic

We all know of the dangers of backbiting. In the Qur’aan, Allah subhaana wa ta’aala likened it to eating the flesh of your dead brother. Allah says: “Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (49:12)

A lot of the times, you might here a brother or sister say something bad about another person and then add offhandedly at the end, “I’m not trying to gossip about him/her. It’s true.” Did the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say that we can say something bad about somoene behind their back as long as it is true? 

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Do you know what gheebah (backbiting) is?” The Sahabah said, “Allah and His messenger know best.” He said, “Saying something about your brother which he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He said,

“If what you say is true, then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.” (Muslim, 2589)


Recently, it’s begun to bother me alot: what about venting – complaining to someone just to “get things off your chest? Women do it all the time. As I tell my husband, it’s therapeutic. We just want to say our mind and have someone listen, possibly sympathize, and then we feel much better and can move on.

But is venting/complaining a sin?

The most simple way of resolving that, that I could think of, is asking yourself: are you backbiting? Usually, when we are venting, our complaints can be categorized into 3 categories: 1) we are complaining about someone, 2) we are complaining about something that happened that day or a situation or 3) we are complaining about physical ailments. If the answer is 1, we most definitely know that it’s wrong. As my son would say, “Hakka makka!” (Which translates to “Haram ‘alayk”).

Then comes scenario two and three… Those I have no clue about. Both situations seem to be complaining about the qadr of Allah and will probably overlap with ungratefulness…So over all, not looking too good 😦

The best thing to do when your heart feels uneasy about something is to avoid it.

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Both legal and illegal things are evident but in between them there are doubtful (suspicious) things and most of the people have no knowledge about them. So whoever saves himself from these suspicious things saves his religion and his honor. […] [Bukhaari, 1/2/49]

It’s easier said than done, I know. The tongues are the easiest things to be careless about, yet they will get us into the most trouble. May Allah subhaana wa ta’aala purify our hearts, our actions and the words that come from our lips.

Also see: Exceptions of backbiting (post 22) and Backbiting

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