Abu Darda on Backbiting: Loan them your reputation until the Day of Judgment

Yahya ibn Sa’id reported: Abu Darda, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I realized that people were like leaves with no thorns among them, but then they became thorns with no leaves among them. If you criticize them, they will criticize you. If you leave them alone, they will not leave you alone.” They said, “What shall we do?” Abu Darda said, “Loan them some of your reputation until the Day on which you are impoverished.”

Source: Mudārāt al-Nās 13

عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ سَعِيدٍ قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو الدَّرْدَاءِ رضي الله عنه أدْرَكْتُ النَّاسَ وَرَقًا لا شَوْكَ فِيهِ فَأَصْبَحُوا شَوْكًا لا وَرَقَ فِيهِ أَنْ نَقَدْتَهُمْ نَقَدُوكَ وَإِنْ تَرَكْتَهُمْ لا يَتْرُكُوكَ قَالُوا فَكَيْفَ نَصْنَعُ قَالَ تُقْرِضْهُمْ مِنْ عِرْضِكَ لِيَوْمِ فَقْرِكَ

13 مداراة الناس لابن أبي الدنيا