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Question: If you commit backbiting but from the heart but you dont want to reveal to the person what you said because you are unsure how they will handle it how can you repent

Backbiting is a major sin in Islam. Allah says “O YOU who have attained to faith! No men shall mock [other] men: it may well be that those [whom they mock] are better than themselves, and no women [shall mock other] women: it may well be that those (whom they mock) are better than them¬selves.  And neither shall you defame one another, nor insult one another by [opprobrious] epithets: evil is all imputation of iniquity after [one has attained to] faith, and they who [become guilty thereof and] do not repent - it is they, they who are evildoers!

O you who believe! Avoid most guesswork [about one another] for, behold, some of [such] guesswork is [in itself] a sin; and do not spy upon one another, and neither allow your¬selves to speak ill of one another behind your backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would loathe it! And be conscious of God. Verily, God is an accep¬tor of repentance, a dispenser of grace!” (Qur’an: 40: 11-12). 

Allah compares backbiting to eating the flesh of one’s brother who is dead!  We can infer from us detestable and grave a sin backbiting is.  

The Prophet warned us against sullying the honor of others; we are not to shed blood, robe the wealth or tarnish the reputation of anyone. If we do, we will be called to give justice to the victims. He said, “If anyone has hurt or injured or deprived anyone of his rights, let him know he will have to redeem himself by giving justice to the victims when there is no material payment is accepted. Therefore, he is paid off from the rewards of his good deeds. If he has no good deeds to his credit, then the sins of his victims will be imposed on him, and then he would be flung to the fire of hell.”

In light of these, no Muslim should take backbiting lightly.

The only way to guard against backbiting is to control one’s speech. By conditioning oneself in doing so, one can protect against a whole series of sins such as backbiting, idle speech, gossip, lying, etc.

It is rather easy to do so when we know that there are scribes around us recording every word we utter. 

The Prophet also said, “Most people find themselves in hellfire because of their misuse of tongues."

Therefore, if you have been guilty of backbiting someone, you ought to ask forgiveness of the person, if you can. If you think it will make it worse, then you ought to compensate for your action by doing any one or more of these actions you can afford to 1. By speaking good of him and praying for him. 2. By giving charity on his behalf. 

Furthermore, you ought to repent and ask forgiveness of Allah. Repentance proper entails the following steps: 1. Feeling sincere remorse for the sin or sins; 2. Refraining from everything associated with it; 3. Resolving never to repeat the same; 4. Finally, following it up with good deeds as much as possible.

In this way, you can hope for the forgiveness of Allah. 

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