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  Opinion   Oped  23 Jun 2017  Mystic Mantra: Trolling during the holy month of Ramzan

Mystic Mantra: Trolling during the holy month of Ramzan

The writer is an alim (classical Islamic scholar) and doctoral scholar with Centre for Media, Culture & Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia. Contact him at grdehlavi@gmail.com
Published : Jun 23, 2017, 2:50 am IST
Updated : Jun 23, 2017, 2:50 am IST

Both backbiting and slandering are strictly forbidden in the Koran.

(Representational image)
 (Representational image)

What does Ramzan has to do with anyone wearing a swimsuit? It seems as if those who trolled a Muslim woman celebrity on the social media during Ramzan would have overlooked her swimsuit if she wore it in other months.

As a matter of fact, such trolling is nothing short of slandering and backbiting, which the Koran has declared as the “most vile of things”. It says: “Backbiting and gossiping are the most vile and despicable of things, yet the most widely spread among mankind, such that no one is free from it except for a few people.”

As we are nearing the end of the sacred month of spiritual exercise, a note of introspection is required in our daily struggle. It is high time we question ourselves as to why our fasts often go in vain without the achievement of its ultimate objective — God-consciousness (taqwa). Certainly, even the month-long fasts will earn us no gain if we do not give up slandering, backbiting and trolling others, that too in the holy month of Ramzan.

Trolling is a form of backbiting that is castigated in the Koran as gheebat. If anyone utters an inauspicious word about a person in his/her absence by criticising his/her physical appearance or other characteristics, it is gheebat according to the Koran. Such nefarious forms of trolling are severely discouraged in Islam. A troller is considered to be the one who likes to eat the flesh of his dead sibling. The Koran says: “O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion. And spy not neither backbite one another. 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, the Most Merciful” (49:12).

However, there is a thin line between gheebat and slandering (iftir’a), as reported in a prophetic tradition. Once, a companion of the Prophet asked: “O’ Messenger of Allah, what is gheebat?”

The Prophet answered: “If you mention about your brother or sister anything which s/he detests, it is gheebat.

The companion then asked: “But what if that which is mentioned of him/her is actually found in him/her?”

Prophet replied: “When you mention that which is in him/her, you have committed his gheebat, and when you mention that which is not in him, you have slandered him/her.”

Both backbiting and slandering are strictly forbidden in the Koran. In fact, the entire month of Ramzan is observed to ignite the spark of taqwa (God-consciousness) in letter and spirit, as the Koran clearly states in its verse 2:183. One cannot achieve taqwa without giving up slandering and backbiting.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has warned against it: “Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e., telling lies) and evil deeds, and speaking a bad word to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink.”

Tags: ramzan, prophet muhammad, koran