Namima (Talebearing)

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Namima [“calumny”] or Nammami is among greater sins and refers to mentioning someone’s words to others in order to ruin their friendly relationships. Namima is a sin of the tongue and is criticized in the Qur’an and hadiths. It usually accompanies some other moral vices such as ghiba [“backbiting”] and tuhma [“slander”] and originates from vices such as hasada [“envy”]. Murder, humiliation, and debasement are mentioned among its consequences in this world and the hereafter.


Namima refers to mentioning someone’s words to others in order to ruin their friendly relationships. However, it is not limited to speech and includes writing and making gestures as well. Disclosing some issues a person does not want other people to know is also called namima. The person who mentions someone’s words to another in order to ruin their friendly relationships is called Nammam. In some cases, namima accompanies with disclosing a person’s secrets, slander, hypocrisy, envy, lying or backbiting.

Differences with Sa’aya

Sa’aya [“tale-bearing”] is a kind of namima. Mentioning someone’s words to a person they are afraid of (such as kings) is called sa’aya. Naraqi considered sa’aya the worst kind of namima and regarded its wrongness greater than other kinds of namima. He believed that sa’aya originates from greed and envy.

In the Qur’an and Hadiths

The word “namim” is mentioned once in the Qur’an. In sura al-Qalam, following namims [“calumniators”] is prohibited. It is said that the word “humaza” in the first verse of sura al-humaza is namim. Also, some exegetes interpreted the expression “hammalat al-hatab” about Abu Lahab’s wife in the Qur’an referring to her namima [“calumny”].

Some scholars of ethics considered a namim among those criticized in the sura al-Baqara, verse 27 and sura al-Shura, verse 42.

Namima in hadiths has been criticized as one of moral vices and greater sins. In al-Kafi, Kulayni has mentioned three hadiths under the title of al-namima. In these hadiths, a namim has been mentioned the worst of people and deprived of entering the paradise. Some hadiths have mentioned namima among the causes which bring about the punishments of the grave. In some others, the tendency toward practicing it has been mentioned among characteristics of hypocrites.

In Fiqh and Ethics

In the books of ethics, namima is mentioned under moral vices and sins of the tongue (harms of the tongue). Also in the books of fiqh, it has been mentioned in discussions about hudud and ta’zirat [penal laws] and makasib al-muharrama [forbidden businesses].

Rulings in Fiqh

Namima is among greater sins and is forbidden. In Irshad al-qulub, Daylami has mentioned it a sin greater than backbiting. ‘Allama Hilli said that an army commander should not include a namim in his army; and, if a namim participates in the war, he should not receive a share of booties.

In the views of Shi’a fiqh scholars, earning property through namima is forbidden. Also, if someone attributes namima to another, he will receive a ta’zir [punishment decided by the judge].


In some cases, namima is permissible; including practicing namima among enemy’s forces in order to make divisions among them.

Cause and Origin

Naraqi mentioned the origin of namima, raging and sensual faculties. In some books of ethics, some causes have been mentioned for it including:

  • Harming someone whose words are reported.
  • Showing affinity to someone, before whom, another person’s speech is mentioned
  • Fun and amusement
  • Telling nonsense
  • Making divisions among people
  • Envy


Some consequences are mentioned for namima in hadiths, some of which are:

  • Punishment of the grave: Ibn ‘Abbas narrated that one-third of the punishment of the grave is because of namima.
  • Deprivation of entering the paradise: In a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a), namim is mentioned among those who will be deprived of entering the paradise.
  • Failure in fulfillment of supplications: According to Ka’b al-Ahbar, Israelites were afflicted with famine. Prophet Moses (a) several times asked God for rain, but God did not fulfill his request. Then, God revealed it to Moses (a) that, “there is a namim among your people, and for as long as he insists on namima, I will not answer your requests.” Then, Prophet Moses (a) asked God to introduce that namim to him. God said, “I prohibit you of namima, how should I practice it?!”
  • Humiliation and debasement: It is narrated that namima is based on lying, envy, and hypocrisy and it is an oven in which the fire cooks humiliation and debasement.
  • Bringing about hatred and division: It is narrated from Imam Ali (a), “Avoid namima, because it sows the seed of hatred and divides between people and God.”


The cure of namima is possible by eliminating its causes such as envy and hatred. Also, it has been recommended in hadiths to reflect upon the consequences of namima in this world and in the hereafter. Feyd Kashani has given recommendations to deal with a namim, which are:

  • Not approving the words of namim
  • Prohibiting him of namima (forbidding from evil)
  • Not having bad assumptions about others after hearing a namim’s words
  • Not investigating about the correctness or incorrectness of a namim’s words
  • Not reporting the speech of a namim
  • Taking him an enemy