In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger
In Islam, backbiting is a major sin. It is defined as to talk about someone, in his/her absence which he/she will dislike to hear, even if it is true and if it is not true then it is slander which is more severe than backbiting. However, backbiting is allowed in the following six cases:
1. Complaining by an oppressed person against his oppressor to a person(s) who can help him/her
2. Complaining about someone in front of a Mufti or a Judge to get justice
3. Informing people about a person(s) who can harm them in any way
4. Informing people about someone with information related ONLY to the subject of marriage, business transaction, neighbors
5. Informing people about someone who is spreading shirk, bida’h, magic or any
wrong information in the name of Islam
6. Using nicknames only to identify him/her and not to make any fun of him/her
Lastly, if you are in a company where someone is backbiting, except for above reasons, first try to stop him/her, but if he/she does not stop, leave that company, because the person who is backbiting and the one who is listening are committing the same sin.
Allah knows best
Source: Excerpted, with slight modification, from “The Meaning of The Qur’an” by
S. Abul A’la Maududi Vol. 5 Pg. 97