So… You heard a juicy story from your friend, who heard it from a friend, who heard it from her sister, who saw it on social media, who added some extra “spice” to make it sound more interesting, and the gossip eventually goes around town, does this sound familiar?

Gossiping, backbiting, slandering. It all starts with one tiny comment, and ends up going out of proportion. “Spill the tea” has become such a norm, and gossip magazines of celebrities have made gossiping into a lifestyle. Why do we talk about others, as though we are flawless and squeaky clean, indestructible, perfect? If somebody is telling you things about another, what makes you think they won’t talk about you, too?

Gossip is dangerous and harmful, it destroys the morality of a society. People tend to spread gossip for many reasons: to feel superior or they feel better if someone is worse off than them, or out of jealous, for attention, out of revenge or even, out of boredom. Perhaps you feel great when you have a juicy story to talk about, but do you ever think of the one on the receiving end, the person being talked about? There are just so many consequences, we don’t know what they are going through, and the side effects they might incur when she realizes that she feels bullied, made fun of, the victim.

To have faith means to bring out the best in ourselves and in others. Treating other people with kindness and respect is a sign of a believer. It is a sin for a Muslim to spread rumours, gossip, or engage in backbiting of another person.

We are all guilty of it, and there is no doubt about that. Gossiping is the disease of the heart. Why do we fall into the trap? Why do we love to gossip? It is just too tempting, even if we don’t know whether it’s true or not. It’s the devil’s work, and our faith is being tested.

How do we remain strong and try to improve ourselves by ignoring the petty things in life? Of course, we cannot be changed overnight, but we do have the ability to change what happens when it comes our way:

  1. Recognize that Allah sees and knows all things. Why judge others, if we can’t guarantee that we are 101% perfect, free from sin? Our own understanding and view is limited, while He is the One that knows everything.
  2. Speak well or keep quiet. There is a famous quote that we all should live by, said by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) “Speak good words or remain silent”.
  3. Be mindful of the company you keep. Stay away from the people who usually turns to gossiping as to making conversation. Reevaluate who you hang out with, and if you find that it’s better to be without them, do it.
  4. Change the topic. Find something else to talk about; come up with something that they might be interested in, or what they feel like eating, anything but other people!
  5. Leave. If all else fails, simply excuse yourself and leave the gathering. Allah has advised us in the Quran:

When you see men engaged in vain discourse about Our Signs, turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme. If Satan ever makes you forget, then after recollection, do not sit in the company of those who do wrong.” [Al-An’am 6:68]

I read an article about gossiping and it explained about how to respond to it and i thought it would be useful. It mentions that before anyone wants to share anything, they must pass the ‘Triple Filter Test’.

First filter: TRUTH. How true is it? If you just heard about it from someone, or it has been based on one’s assumptions, then it’s not worth telling.

Second filter: GOODNESS. Is there any good from telling this story? Is the world going to change to a better place because of it? If it is bad, there’s no use in telling and for you to hear.

Third filter: USEFULNESS. Will what you are going to tell, useful? If it is not useful, why bother telling?

Remember that

“great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.”

May Allah The Almighty guide and protect us all! Ameen.