#16 – The importance of Guarding One’s Tongue
Nov 22 – 28, 2021
Rabi ul-Thaani 17 – 23, 1443


The importance of Guarding One's Tongue

What have Allah and His Messenger said about

The importance of Guarding One's Tongue

وَقُل لِعِبادي يَقولُوا الَّتي هِيَ أَحسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ الشَّيطانَ يَنزَغُ بَينَهُم ۚ إِنَّ الشَّيطانَ كانَ لِلإِنسانِ عَدُوًّا مُبينًا
Tell My servants that they should speak that which is best. Surely, Satan creates discord among them. Indeed, Satan is an open enemy to mankind

[Surah Al Isra, Ayah 53]
…وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ ٱللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ
أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْوَٰرِثُونَ
ٱلَّذِينَ يَرِثُونَ ٱلْفِرْدَوْسَ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـٰلِدُونَ
And they who turn away from ill speech …
Those are the inheritors
Who will inherit al-Firdaus. They will abide therein eternally.

[Al-Mu’minun, Ayah 3, 10-11]
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدٍ، قَالَ‏:‏ حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، قَالَ‏:‏ حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ سَابِقٍ، قَالَ‏:‏ حَدَّثَنَا إِسْرَائِيلُ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، عَنْ عَلْقَمَةَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ‏:‏ لَيْسَ الْمُؤْمِنُ بِالطَّعَّانِ، وَلاَ اللِّعَانِ، وَلاَ الْفَاحِشِ، وَلاَ الْبَذِي‏.‏
‘Abdullah reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said. “The believer is neither a defamer nor a curser nor outrageous nor obscene.”

[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 332]
عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ مَنْ يَتَكَفَّلُ لِي مَا بَيْنَ لَحْيَيْهِ وَمَا بَيْنَ رِجْلَيْهِ أَتَكَفَّلُ لَهُ بِالْجَنَّةِ ‏”
Sahl bin Sa’d narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said:

“Whoever guarantees for me what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I shall guarantee Paradise for him.”

[Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2408]
Foul or Harsh Language is Not Correct, Even Against non-Muslims

The first verse (53) prohibits Muslims from talking harshly to disbelievers. By using foul language and harsh words, neither a castle stands conquered nor anyone guided right, therefore, it has been prohibited. Imam al-Qurtubi said that this verse was revealed in the background of an event relating to Sayyidna ‘Umar (RA). It so happened that someone used foul language against Sayyidna ‘Umar (RA) who retaliated harshly and wanted to kill him. This posed the danger of a war breaking out between their two tribes. Thereupon, this verse was revealed. And according to the interpretation of Imam al-Qurtubi, this verse contains a guideline for Muslims as to how they should address each other. It suggests that they should not speak harshly at the time of mutual difference, for this is a trap door through which the Shaitan pushes them into mutual infighting and disorder.

[Above sections taken from Maarif ul Quran]

Observing Silence

Every day, we are faced with many circumstances and situations in which we have a choice to speak or remain quiet. What people normally do is they speak when they feel like speaking and are quiet when they do not feel like speaking. This is the normal trend. However, one step beyond that, a step which is a sign of intelligence and Iman, is that a person is not just speaking when they feel like it, but rather, when it is appropriate to speak. They do not remain quiet because they do not feel like talking, but rather, they remain quiet when it is more appropriate for them to remain quiet. If people started implementing this one simple principle, many problems of the world would go away. But, we act on impulse, and we act on our emotions. Usually, this ends up dictating what are choices are. We learn from what the Prophet (SAW) says, “Someone who truly believes in Allah (SWT) and the last day should either speak good or remain silent.”
Knowing When To Speak

The question to ask when we have the opportunity to speak is if we have something good to say or not. Is what we are about to speak good or beneficial? Is it partially good and partially not good? Is it not good at all? This is where the mind of a believer is supposed to be according to the mind of the prophet (SAW). A person who is not even thinking of whether their speech is good or not is in a very lowered state of Iman and they are not using the intelligence Allah (SWT) has given to them. Some occasions where silence is better than words are when what we are about to say is either, untrue, or damaging to their reputation or feelings and cause fights and mistrust in people and is better left unsaid.

This is why, in Arabic, they say, “If words are worth its weight in silver, silence is worth its weight in gold.” There will be many occasions where a person speaks and regrets it. It is hardly that a person will stay silent and regret being silent. This is our default mode, and with this, it is very easily to regulate behavior and create a sense of order in our movements. It is the useless and needless talking that gets people into trouble. This is something we all need to work on. This is why Abu Bakr (RA) would sometimes sit holding his tongue, saying, “If there is something that will ruin me, it is this tongue.” Take control over the tongue and Iman is protected and the pleasure of Allah (SWT) is secured. Let the tongue go and damage occurs in Iman and the world. May Allah (SWT) enable us to speak when it is necessary to speak and speak smarter and may Allah (SWT) enable us to abstain from the usage of the tongue that causes pain and hurt to others and brings the displeasure of Allah (SWT).

[Above sections from a talk delivered by Mufti Aasim Rashid]

Spiritual Reminders

Effects of Vulgar Talk
Islam came to bring people, not just to the correct beliefs, but also to the best behaviors. Whoever was accepting Islam was transforming into a much better individual than how they were before Islam. The prophet (SAW) kept a watchful eye on this transformation that his followers were going through, and whether they were going through a complete transformation or there was some things left over from the days of ignorance. Once, he passed by Abu Dharr (RA) and observed that he was having some very harsh words with a slave of his. The swear that he used mentioned the name of the slave’s mother. The prophet (SAW) heard him and verified what happened. Abu Dharr (RA) said, “Yes, this is what happened. I cursed at him.” The prophet (SAW) noted, “You are a person who still has remnants of those old behaviors in you.” Behaviors of ignorance included foul language, swearing and vulgar talk. This was not tolerated by the prophet (SAW); rather, the Qur’an wanted Muslims to have the best and most noble speech. “Tell my slaves to speak in the best way possible. Indeed, Shaytan will come and provoke them and instigate things against each other, but tell them to control themselves and maintain a beautiful and noble language.” The prophet (SAW) told us that the heaviest thing on the scale of deeds on the Day of Judgement is conduct. “There is nothing heavier on the scale of deeds than good conduct, good behavior and nice characteristics.” At the same time, he warned in the same hadith, “Allah (SWT) despises someone who is vulgar and someone who uses foul language.” In another hadith, we learn, “Modesty and the ability to pull back from that which brings shame ends up in Jannah.” In contrast, “Foul language is from rudeness, and rudeness ends up in Jahannam.”

The thing that holds you back from rudeness is a characteristic of Iman, and Iman will take us to Jannah; but to be foul mouthed is a characteristic of rudeness, and rudeness takes us to Jahannam. We learn from what the prophet (SAW) said, “A true believer will never curse things, use bad language, be vulgar or be foul mouthed.” What happens with us when we listen to certain people, watch certain things or be in the company of certain people who use a certain type of foul, vulgar or filthy language? We also get inclined in the moments where we are going through similar moments to use similar language. A believer will never let themselves fall into that trap. If you think of all bad words, it is exactly that – a bad word. Think of what it means. Think of what it implies. All these bad words are speaking of filth and dirt, and speaking of something that is very low. Why would a person talk about such things? Every word we say is documented. Imagine, on the Day of Judgement, someone opens up their book of deeds, and they find all this swear words and curses, and their sahifa of deeds is filled with it.
What will this person do on the Day of Judgement? Allah (SWT) has announced through the prophet (SAW) that he hates such people. Why would you allow your tongue that you say shahada with to say such filth? How could you bring yourself to that? Imagine, if you are taking an impact from someone else’s foul language, and tomorrow, someone takes an influence from your foul language, then you have become a source of someone else displeasing Allah (SWT), and it could be that one day you make tawbah and istighfar, but if someone picks up your bad habit, whatever sin they incur will keep coming back to you, and if someone else took a bad influence from them, it accumulates, and this person gets the sin of that person and you will get the sin of both people. It goes on and on. How can we face that on the Day of Judgement? We cannot.

Therefore, we need to clean our tongues. These tongues were created for the dhikr of Allah (SWT) and to say beautiful things and spread good things. A true believer will never allow their tongue to move with such filth and vulgarity that a decent person will not be able to withstand it. We are an Ummah, a people of decency. We have a deen of nobility; do not use your mouths for filthy things. May Allah (SWT) enable us to use our tongues responsibly, because just how we will account for everything else, we will have to account for our tongues. Sometimes, you do not intend to swear, but it does not matter; a swear is a swear. It is still filth that has rolled off your tongue. Think about this and do not entertain people that are using vulgar language. They are not worthy of your company. Someone who cannot control their tongue is not worthy to sit with. It does not matter who they are. They are just not worth your time until they fix themselves. May Allah (SWT) purify our mouths and hearts and enable us to create an environment where we will never have to hear filthy words or vulgar things. May Allah (SWT) keep our ears, tongues, and hearts free from filth and evil.

[Above sections from a talk delivered by Mufti Aasim Rashid]



Hardship of The Prophet (ﷺ)
It is recorded that the Prophet [pbuh] was one day seated on the hillock of Safa when Abu Jahl happened to pass by and accused the religion preached by him. Muhammad [pbuh] , however, kept silent and did not utter a single word. Abu Jahl went on unchecked, took a stone and cracked the Prophet’s head which began to bleed. The aggressor then went to join the Quraishites in their assembly place. It so happened that shortly after that, Hamzah, while returning from a hunting expedition, passed bythe same way, his bow hanging by his shoulder. A slave-girl belonging to ‘Abdullah bin Jada‘an, who had noted the impertinence of Abu Jahl, told him the whole story of the attack on the Prophet [pbuh] . On hearing that, Hamzah was deeply offended and hurried to Al-Ka‘bah and there, in the courtyard of the Holy Sanctuary, found Abu Jahl sitting with a company of Quraishites. Hamzah rushed upon him and struck his bow upon his head violently and said: “Ah! You have been abusing Muhammad [pbuh] ; I too follow his religion and profess what he preaches.” The men of Bani Makhzum came to his help, and men of Bani Hashim wanted to render help, but Abu Jahl sent them away saying: “Let Abu ‘Ummarah alone, by All? I did reveal his nephew shamelessly.

[Ibn Hisham 1/291; Rahmat-ul-lil’alameen 1/68; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.66]

Read Next Blog: The Prohibition of Lying

Sunnah Acts

Practicing Patience in Speech
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that a man abused Abu Bakr while Nabi (SAW) was sitting. Appreciating (the forbearance and patience of Abu Bakr (RA), he kept smiling, but when the man went on at length and Abu Bakr (RA) replied to some of what he said; Rasulullah (SAW) became angry and left. Abu Bakr (RA) went after him and said: O Rasulallah! He was abusing me in your presence but when I replied to some of what he said, you became angry, and left. He replied: There was an angel with you, replying to him on your behalf but when you replied to him, Shaitan got in, and I am not supposed to sit with Shaitan. He then added: Abu Bakr! There are three things, all of which are true:

Anyone who is wronged and he ignores it for the sake of Allah (SWT), Allah will help him out and strengthen him

Anyone who begins to give intending thereby to unite ties of relationship, Allah provides him with much more because of it

Anyone who opens a door of begging, desiring to increase his wealth, Allah (SWT) increases his scantiness because of it.

[Musnad Imam Ahmad, Hadith 9624]


Dua for Fluent Speech
رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي
Rabbish rah lee sadree Wa yassir leee amree Wahlul ‘uqdatan milli saanee Yafqahoo qawlee

My Lord! Uplift my heart for me, and make my task easy, and remove the impediment from my tongue, so people may understand my speech.

[Quran, Verses 25-28]

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