Abu Huraira (raa) reported Allah’s Messenger (saws) as saying: “Do you know what is backbiting?”
They (the Companions) (raa) said: “Allah and His Messenger know best”.
Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) (saws) said: “Backbiting implies your talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like.”
It was said to him (saws): “What is your opinion about this that if I actually find (that failing) in my brother which I made a mention of?”
He said (saws): “If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, you in fact backbited him, and if that is not in him it is a slander.”
The Book of Virtue, Good Manners and Joining of the Ties of Relationship (Kitab Al-Birr was-Salat-I-wa’l-Adab) – Sahih Muslim: Book 32, Number 6265
Commentary: The Book of Prohibited Actions – Exaltation of Modesty
The Prohibition of Backbiting and the Commandment of Guarding one’s Tongue
Riyadh as-Saaliheen (The Gardens of the Righteous), by Imam an-Nawawi
This Hadith elaborates the meaning of backbiting and calumny and points out the difference between the two along with the evils of each one of them. Both these evils are mischief of the tongue and entail great troubles. May Allah save us from both.