I understand that backbiting is a very serious sin and in fact it is the same as eating one's dead brother's flesh. Alhamdulillah, I am aware of the definition of backbiting. However my question is on whether a husband and wife are able to talk about other people. For example, let's say the husband or the wife encounters something new and comes across someone who does something silly. Is he or she able to share this information with his or her spouse? By way of another example, lets say the husband and the wife both attend a particular place and they both witness odd things, are they both able to talk about it later, even if it is something that person would not like us to talk about. Kindly clarify this for us.
The closest concept I can explain "backbiting" with is slander. This includes, but is not limited to, defamation. Add to that the purposeful maligning of the person's character especially with information given to people who should not know it. Keeping the explanation above in mind one can appreciate that discussing matters at work with a spouse cannot be deemed backbiting. Our spouses are who we share our deepest concerns and unleash our tensions by expressing ourselves. So long as we do it in an appropriate way without trying to destroy someone else's character then it is fine. The concept of "backbiting" consists of some sort of damage. Speaking factually about a circumstance or an event cannot be considered as backbiting. If this were the case there would be very little if anything to discuss. Hence, both your examples cannot be considered backbiting.
I hope I have clarified the issue.
God knows best.
February 16, 2005
Answer published by Ronnie Hassan