What is backbiting? It is the "denigration of a neighbor's reputation by means of secret words." Specifically, there are 8 ways someone can backbite:
- When a person "imputes things against his neighbor that never happened, or when he adds tot he truth imaginary circumstances that constitutions either a lie or detraction."
- "When he brings a hidden or unknown fault to light."
- "When he exaggerates a crime, be it true, or false."
- When he insinuates an impious or evil motive.
- By spreading or creating rumors.
- By means of a simple gesture such as raising an eyebrow or shaking the head.
- By saying, "nothing about the integrity or morals of his neighbor, especially when he is questioned about them or when his neighbor is accused of some crime."
- By being publicly blamed for something he is guilty of, but calling his accuser a liar.
Furthermore, we are guilty of backbiting if we listen to the backbiters and allow them to carry on with their backbiting. We should not give other's a forum for their poison.
"The passion of this evil has so infested the world that people who have totally renounced other vices still fall into this one. One might say it is the last trap the devil sets for them." - St. Jerome