Is the following hadith authentic?
Backbiting is worse than adultery?
These words have been reported as a hadith via several very weak chains. It is therefore not suitable to quote this statement as a hadith of Nabi (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
However Imam Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) has recorded these words in Shu’abul Iman as the statement of Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah (rahimahullah). Hafiz Mundhiri (rahimahullah) says that this is more correct.
(Targhib, vol. 3 pg. 511)
The complete narration is as follows:
Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah (rahimahullah) says: “In the sight of Allah, backbiting is worse than adultery and consuming alcohol because adultery and consuming alcohol is between you and Allah, if you repent, Allah will forgive you. However backbiting is never forgiven until the person you spoke against forgives you”.
(Shu’abul Iman, hadith: 6314)
This narration is suitable to be quoted as the statement of Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah (rahimahullah) and not as a hadith of Nabi (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar