GUARDING THE TONGUE
Abu Malik Ashjai (ra) quoted from his father who said: ‘We used to sit in the company of the Prophet (pbuh) and I was still a small boy then. I did not see anyone observing silence more than the Prophet did. Whenever the companions talked too much, the Prophet used to smile’ Al Haithami, Vol X p 298
Ubadah ibn Samit (ra) says: That one day the Prophet came out and rode on his mule. His companions (ra)accompanied him and none of them went ahead of him. Muadh ibn Janbal said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I pray that Allah cause me to die before your death. Tell me if I survive after your death, and may Allah not show us such a day, then which act should we do after your death? Muadh then asked the Prophet if that act was jihad (fighting for the cause of Allah). The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Jihaad too is a good act. But cultivating the habit of doing something to strengthen The religion is far better than this.’ At this Muadh said, ‘Is it fast and charity?’. The Prophet replied, ‘The fast and charity are too are good things or acts. But it is better to cultivate the habit of doing one thing which is more helpful to religion.’ At this Muadh began telling the Prophet about other acts of virtue and asking him if those acts were better. The Prophet always told him that each of those acts was good; but one thing which was more helpful to the religion was the best of them all. At this Muadh asked the Prophet which was that thing or habit which he should cultivate with other people. Then the Prophet pointed toward his mouth and said, ‘Silence is the best of them all. But not in good and virtuous matters’. Muadh then said, ‘Shall we be held responsible for all that which our tongues utter?’ At this the Prophet patted on the thigh of Muadh and said, ‘May thy mother loose thee. Dont you know that on the day of judgement many people will be dragged to hell by their nostrils and bellies and will be put or hurled into it merely because of what their tongues had uttered. A man who has firm faith in Allah and the last day says everything good and virtous or noble and observes silence will be saved from destruction. You should utter every word that is good and should avoid evil words then you will be quite safe fand immune (in the hereafter). Tabrani and Al Haithami Vol X p 299
Abu Idris Khaulani (ra) says that: Once he entered into the mosque of Damascus and there he saw a man whose two teeth were visible. He observed silence too much. People accompanied him. When there was any difference among the people, they sought and acted upon it (i.e. his knowledge). On his asking he was told that the man was Muadh ibn Jabal (ra). Al Hakim Vol III p 269
Abu Wail (ra) says that: Abdallah (ra) climbed up on the hillock of Safa, and holding his tongue said, ‘Always speak good words and thus collect musch good. Observe silence in matters of evil and thou wilt be safe, before thou art forced to repent.’ Then he added further, ‘I have heard the Prophet saying that most of the sins of the offspring of Adam were committed by the tongue’ Tabrani and Haithami Vol X p 300
Isa bin Uqbah (ra) said: That Abdallahibn Masud (ra) is reported to have said, ‘By Him Who alone is worthy of worship on earth, no sin deserves severer and lengthier punishment than the sins committed by the tongue’ Ibn Kathir, Vol II and al Hilyah Vol I p 134
Ali (ra) said: ‘Tongue rectifies and keeps correct all other parts of the body. But when the tongue falls into trouble and distress, then no organ or limb of the body can work correctly’ Ibn Abi Dunya, in the chapter of silence
Ibn Umar (ra) said: ‘The tongue of a man is entitled to be kept clean more than any other part of his body’ Al Hilyah Vol I p 307
GUARDING THE TONGUE
From Al-Adhkaar of Imam An-Nawawi
© Al-Muntaqaa Newsletter Volume1 Issue 1 January 2000
Allaah the Most High says: “Not a word does one utter, except that there is an (angel) Watching, Ready to record it.” [Surah Qaaf: 18]
Know that every individual who falls under the category of being responsible for his actions (mukallaf) must safeguard his tongue from all types of speech , except for that speech which consists primarily of some benefit. So when speaking and refraining from speech are both found to contain the same amount of benefit within them, then the Sunnah is to refrain from it, altogether. This is because the allowable speech (equal in benefit and harm) paves the way towards that which is forbidden as well as disliked. Rather, in most cases, this will be the outcome and applying safety, at that point, will not be able to soothe it in the least.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Whosoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, then let him speak good or remain silent.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree] This hadeeth, of which the scholars have agreed upon its authenticity, is a clear proof that one should not talk, unless his speech is good—and that is the speech that consists primarily of benefit. So if one has doubt as to whether or not his speech consists of benefit, then he should not speak. Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) said: “When one desires to talk, then it is upon him to think before he speaks. If there is beneficial good in what he will say, then he should speak. And if he has doubt about that, then he must not speak until he clears that doubt (by making his speech good).”
Abu Moosaa Al-Ash’aree said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah Which of the Muslims is best?’ He (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: ‘He whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe from.'” [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
Sahl Ibn Sa’ad reported that the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Whosoever can guarantee for me (that he will safeguard) what is between his jaws (tongue) and what is between his legs (private parts), I will guarantee for him Paradise.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree]
Abu Hurairah reported that he heard the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) say: “Indeed, the servant will speak a word, while being unaware of (its consequences), and due to it, he will be cast into the Hellfire, farther than the distance between the east and the west.” [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim] The meaning of “while being unaware” is that he does not stop to consider whether his speech is good or not.
Sufyaan Ibn ‘Abdillaah reported that he said: “O Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) , tell me of a matter that I may cling tightly onto.’ He (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: ‘Say: I believe in Allaah and then remain steadfast (upon that).’ I said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) , what is the most serious thing that I should fear for myself?’ So he (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) took a hold of his tongue and said: ‘This.'” [An authentic hadeeth reported by At-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah and others]
‘Uqbah Ibn ‘Aamir reported: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) , how does one attain salvation?’ He r said: ‘Restrain your tongue, remain in your home and weep over your sins.'” [An authentic hadeeth reported by Ibn Al-Mubaarak in Az-Zuhd and it has support in Ahmad] A
bu Sa’eed Al-Khudree reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “When the Son of Aadam wakes from his sleep, all of his body parts seek refuge from his tongue, saying: ‘Fear Allaah with regard to us, for indeed we are part of you. So if you are correct, then we will be correct and if you are corrupted, then we shall be corrupted.” [A hasan hadeeth reported by At-Tirmidhee and others].
THE PLEASANT WORD
By Shaykh Salaah Al-Budayr
All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.
Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah as He should be feared, for that is the best provision and leads to pleasant end. Allaah says, “The good end is for those who are pious.” (Hood 11:49)
Dear Muslims! The uttered word is an _expression of what is in the heart. It is an indication of one’s intellect and origin. The mouth of wise person is put under the rein, if he attempts to talk he does so cautiously, but the mouth of the ignorant one is let loose, he talks whenever he wants. The wise person is the one who always keeps silent except for a truth he wants to explain, a falsehood he wants to repel, a righteousness he wants to spread, a knowledge he wants to mention or a favour he wants to show its gratitude. Aboo Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allaah said, “Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day should utter only good words or keep quiet.” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)
It is by shunning idle-talk that intelligence is perfected. Keeping quiet is better than uttering falsehood. Being unable to talk is better than speaking falsehood. The worst of all people is the one who is biased in his speech, deviated in his tongue and mischievous in his utterances. The worst of all speech is that which goes against the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger. The worst speech is that which is disgusting to the nature and abhorrent to the ear.
Fellow Muslims! Stumbling of the tongue leads to regret. Corrupt speech has no control or order. It is a sign of deprivation and disappointment. ‘Aboo Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allaah said, “A slave of Allaah may utter a word without thinking whether it is right or wrong, he may slip down in the Fire as far away a distance equal to that between the east and west.”
In At-Tirmidhee’s version, he said, “A man utters a word in which he sees no harm but which could plunge him into the Hell-Fire for seventy years.”
And according to Ibn Maajah, The Messenger of Allaah said, “One of you may utter a word of what pleases Allaah without him knowing how excellent the word is and for which he will continue to attain Allaah’s pleasure until the day he will meet Him. And someone among you may utter a word that displeases Allaah without him knowing how grievous the word is and on account of which he will continue to earn Allaah’s wrath until the day he will meet Him.”
Mu’aadh ibn Jabal narrated that he asked the Messenger of Allaah, “Would we be held responsible for what we utter?” The Messenger of Allaah replied, “May your mother be bereaved of you, O Mu’aadh! Are people cast to Hell except on account of the earnings of their tongues?” (At-Tirmidhee)
Brethren in faith! The good word is rewardable and the evil word is a sin. Allaah lays example for both in His glorious Book when He says, “See you not how Allaah sets forth a parable? A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky (i.e. very high). Giving its fruit at all times, by the Leave of its Lord, and Allaah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember. And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree uprooted from the surface of earth having no stability.” (Ibraaheem 14:24-26)
The most pleasant word is to testify that there is no deity worth of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah. It is the statement of Islaam and the most truthful word. It is the greatest proof, the strongest handhold and the statement of piety. It is the just word that protects the wealth and blood. Its conditions are:
-knowledge of the word
-having certain belief in it
-accepting it wholeheartedly
-submitting to all that it necessitates
-saying it truthfully
-being sincere with it; and
-loving it and all that it entails.
The meaning of this word is: there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah; prostration, slaughter and vowing should be done for Allaah alone. Swearing should be done only in His Name. He alone should be sought for refuge in times of difficulties. It is forbidden to seek assistance from a dead or an absent creature or to seek assistance from anyone or anything besides Him in things that He alone can do.
All legally obligated Muslims should purify the acts of worship for Allaah alone. Whoever performs an act of worship in order to gain the wealth of this world or in order to be praised or in order to show off and boast, will have the act of worship rejected. The Prophet said, “Allaah the Most High and Exalted said: I am the One, One Who does not stand in need of a partner. If anyone does anything in which he associates anyone else with Me, I shall abandon him with one whom he associates with Me.” (Muslim)
He also said that the best word of remembrance is to say: Laa ilaaha illaa Allaah.” (At-Tirmidhee)
Dear brethren! Let your tongues be filled in the morning, in the evening and during the noon with glorifying Allaah, reciting statement of Tawheed, and praising Him. The Messenger of Allaah said, “Saying: Subhaanallaah, wal-hamdulillaah, walaa ilaaha illalLaah, wallaahu akbar is dearer to me than this world and all that is in it.” (Muslim)
He also said, “Whoever makes his last word ‘laa ilaaha illalLaah’ shall enter Paradise.” (Ahmad and Aboo Daawood) “To Him ascend (all) the goodly words; and the righteous deeds exalt it (i.e. the goodly words are not accepted by Allaah unless and until they are followed by good deeds).” (Faatir 35:10)
“And they are guided (in this world) unto goodly speech (i.e. Lâ ilâha ill-Allâh, Alhamdu lillâh, recitation of the Qur’ân, etc.) and they are guided to the Path of Him (i.e. Allaah’s religion of Islaamic Monotheism), Who is Worthy of all praises.” (Al-Hajj 22:24)
Fellow Muslims! As for the filthy word, it is a word of disbelief in Allaah. It is to utter what negates belief and submission to Allaah; it is to mock the religion and attack it. Whoever mocks Allaah or His signs or His command or His reward or His punishment; or mocks His Messenger Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him or mocks anything of Islaamic rules has gone out of the fold of Islaam. Such a person has renounced faith and become a disbeliever after he had been a Muslim. Allaah says, “Say: “Was it at Allaah (glorified and exalted be He), and His Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger (peace be upon him) that you were mocking?” Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed.” (At-Tawbah 9:65-66)
Allaah also says, “They swear by Allâh that they said nothing (bad), but really they said the word of disbelief, and they disbelieved after accepting Islâm.” (At-Tawbah 9:74)
Anyone who regards implementation of Allaah’s law and the Sunnah of His Messenger as narrow-mindedness, cultural and intellectual rigidity, autocratic monopolization or a clerical path has uttered a destructive word of disbelief and has committed one of the major sins. Hypocrisy is shown vividly in the tone of their speech however hard they try to feign reform and good intention. Allaah shall reveal what they hide in their hearts. Allaah says, “Or do those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy) think that Allaah will not bring to light all their hidden ill-wills? Had We willed, We could have shown them to you, and you should have known them by their marks, but surely, you will know them by the tone of their speech!” (Muhammad 47:29-30)
Their words and thoughts are wretched and senseless jabbers that indicate their inner corruption and their hidden deception. Allaah says, “The hypocrites, men and women, are from one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief and polytheism of all kinds and all that Islaam has forbidden), and forbid (people) from Al-Ma’rûf (i.e. Islaamic Monotheism and all that Islaam orders one to do), and they close their hands (from giving (spending in Allaah’s Cause) alms.). They have forgotten Allaah, so He has forgotten them. Verily, the hypocrites are the Fâsiqûn (rebellious, disobedient to Allaah).” (At-Tawbah 9:67)
Fellow Muslims! The word of excessive transgression that no one can utter it but the doomed, the ignorant and the losing erroneous is the word of polytheism that is the greatest lie and falsehood.
Whoever claims that it is lawful to seek help by the souls of the dead or to seek assistance from the dead or claims that the dead have any say in the universe or in its affairs or that they have the knowledge of the unseen or claims that they come out of their graves with their bodies and souls to help a distressed and rescue the drowned is a fool who commits an excessive transgression and lie against Allaah. He has spread the worst falsehood and prevented people from the straight path. He is a caller to superstition and does not give Allaah His due estimation nor fear Him. Allaah says, “Then who does more wrong than one who invents a lie against Allaah, to lead mankind astray without knowledge. Certainly Allaah guides not the people who are Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers).” (Al-An’aam 6:144)
Brethren in Islaam! Calling upon the dead during afflictions for one’s needs or to remove distress is a clear act of shirk and disbelief. This is the very act the Messenger of came to eradicate and to protect the Ummah from its evils. Aboo Tameemah narrated from a man among his people who said, “I was there when a man came to the Messenger of Allaah and said: “Are you Messenger of Allaah?” The Prophet answered in the affirmative. He then asked, “What are you calling to?” The Prophet said, “I am calling unto Allaah alone Whom you call when a calamity befalls you and He removes it; when you suffer from drought and you call Him, He grows food for you; and when you are in a desolate land or in a desert and your she-camel strays and you call Him, He returns it to you.” The man then embraced Islaam. (Ahmad and Aboo Daawood)
Fellow Muslims! The word of iniquity means: inclining towards sins, renouncing uprightness, persisting in evils, spreading immoral words and promoting vicious sound that encourages immorality.
The sincere servants of Allaah do not tarnish themselves with idle and immoral talk. They do not boast with sins, because when sins are pronouncedly committed they are spread. And if they are not discouraged they bring about punishment, loss and perdition. Allaah says, “And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allaah and be righteous) to those among them (or We (first) increase in number those of its population) who lead a life of luxury. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Then We destroy it with complete destruction.” (Al-Israa 17:16)
Zainab bint Jahsh, the wife of Allaah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him), reported that one day Allaah’s Messenger came out in a state of excitement with his face quite red. And he was saying: There is no god but Allaah; there is destruction in store for Arabia because of the turmoil which is near at hand. Today, the barrier of Gog and Magog has been opened like this [explaining that with] making a ring with his thumb and index finger. I said: Allaah’s Messenger, would we be destroyed despite the fact that there would be pious people amongst us? He said: Yes, when the evil would predominate.” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)
The Messenger of Allaah also said, “If acts of disobedience are done among any people and they do not change them though they are able to do so, Allah will soon punish them all.” (Aboo Daawood)
And he said, “Allaah does not punish the populace because of the sin committed by the leaders until they see it vividly and publicly been committed in their midst and they fail to criticize it though they are able to do so. If they then do so [i.e. fail to criticize it], Allaah will punish them all.” (Ahmad)
Therefore, repel punishments and afflictions by condemning vices and keeping away from unlawful things. Beware of boasting with acts of disobedience. Bring about blessings by shunning things that remove them or diminish them.
Fellow Muslims! Mischief-making, inciting troubles and spreading unfounded rumours cause disunity and enmity and turn the Muslims against one another and against their rulers, scholars, countries and teachings.
Sahl ibn Abdullaah At-Tasturee said, “People are always blessed as long as they honour and respect their ruler and their scholars. If they honour these two, Allaah will put the affairs of their worldly and Hereafter life aright for them. But if they disrespect these two; they have destroyed their own worldly life and their Hereafter.”
The Messenger of Allaah said, “Let him who wants to admonish the ruler not do so in the public. He should rather hold his hand, take him to a secluded place and admonish him. If he accepts his admonition, that is alright, but if he rejects it, he has fulfilled his own obligation.”
Giving sincere admonition to the rulers is certainly obligatory and criticizing them concerning things that contradict the Sharee’ah is also a necessary religious obligation. However, this should be done with wisdom, better admonition and with gentleness. Supplication should be made for their uprightness and safety; and the Muslims should bear their acts of injustice with patience. It is unlawful to revolt against them or to fight them or to wrestle power from them. Whoever does so is a heretic who altered the Sunnah and the way of the righteous predecessors.
The Messenger of Allaah said, “The best of your rulers are those whom you love and who love you, who invoke Allaah’s blessings upon you and you invoke His blessings upon them. And the worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and who hate you and whom you curse and who curse you. It was asked (by those present): Shouldn’t we overthrow them with the help of the sword? He said: No, as long as they establish prayer among you. If you then find anything detestable in them, you should hate their administration, but do not withdraw yourselves from their obedience.” (Muslim)
Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah, be conscious of Him and obey Him. Know that there are two noble angels who write down your sayings and record all your utterances. Allaah says, “Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).” (Qaaf 50:18)
Brethren in faith! The Muslim is the one from the harm of whose tongue and hand other Muslims are safe. The one who gossips, slanders and spreads unfounded rumours that cause division and hatred among people is threatened with the punishment of Hell and horrible fate. The Messenger of Allaah said, “The one who gossips shall not enter Paradise.”
Backbiting, scorning and slandering people are like eating the carcass and putrid things. The punishment for doing so is severe and the end of those who engage in such vicious acts is terrible. The Messenger of Allaah said, “When I was taken up to the heaven, I passed by a people who had nails of copper and were scratching their own faces and breasts. I asked about these people and Angel Gabriel told me that they are those who use to backbite people and slander them.” (Aboo Daawood)
Dear brethren! Is there any threat more serious than this? When are you going to rein in your tongue from these filthy things?
Fellow Muslims! The maligner and the slanderer have failed, and the obscene is defeated. The Messenger of Allaah said, “The Muslim should not be a maligner, a curser or a foul-mouthed.” (At-Tirmidhee)
May Allaah protect us against sins!