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Guarding ones tongue

Shaykh Umar bin Muhammad As-Subayyil

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allah as He should be feared, for that is the vessel of all good and the only way to prosperity and happiness and salvation. It purifies the soul and puts the tongue aright. Fear Allah in all that you say or do.

"And be afraid of a Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he has earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly."? (Al-Baqarah 2:281)

Brethren in Faith! Islam is a complete and perfect religion in all its rules and laws. It guides man to the highest conduct and manners and forbids all kinds of obscenities in words and deeds.

Among the virtues that Islam teaches is the etiquettes of speech and guarding of tongue from idle and vain talks.

Allah has honoured man and distinguishes him from other animals with intelligence and the ability to speak. He reminds man of this favour when He says,

"Does not the man see that We have created him from mixed male and female sexual discharge (semen drops). Yet, behold, he (stands forth) as an open opponent."? (Yaaseen 36:77)

This great favour therefore, necessitates showing gratitude to Allah by using it in ways that please Him and not using it in sins and forbidden things. Tongue is a vital and critical part of the body. If it is used for the sake of the truth and to benefit people, it will be one of the causes of happiness and prosperity in this world and the hereafter. But if it is used in things that displease Allah and cause harm to His creatures, it becomes a curse to its owner. This is why Islam gives utmost concern to utterances. Allah urges us in His Book to guard our tongues, watch our words and abstain from immoral and obscene speech when He says: "And say to My slaves that they should say those words that are the best. Because Satan verily, sows a state of conflict and disagreement among them. Surely, Satan is to man a plain enemy."? (Al-Israa 17:53)

Allah also describes the faithful and pious people as those who keep away from idle talk and falsehood when he says: "Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their prayers with all solemnity and full submissiveness. And those who turn away from idle talk and falsehood."? (Al-Muminoon 23:1-3)

Guarding ones tongue from sinful utterances is a sign of religious righteousness and faith. The Messenger of Allah said, "The faith of a slave will not be upright until his heart is upright and his heart will not be upright until his tongue is upright."? (Ahmad)

As a matter of fact, the limbs of man are all connected to his tongue. The Prophet said, "At the start of each day, mans limbs surrender to the tongue and then tell it: Fear Allah in us, for our fate is dependent on your actions. If you are upright, we will all be upright but if you become crooked we will all become crooked."? (At-Tirmidhee)

Guarding ones tongue and saying fewer words are signs of intelligence and good manners. A wise man said, "When the wisdom becomes complete, the words become fewer."?

A conscious Muslim should be encouraged by his intelligence and faith to watch his utterances and say only beautiful words whenever he sees the need to speak, if not, he should keep quiet for the sake of safety and in accordance with the instruction of the Messenger of Allah that goes thus, "Let whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day say good words or keep silent."? (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)

Expressing ones feeling in the best possible form is a good manner that Allah enjoined on the people of the past religions and over which He took covenant from them. He says in His Glorious Book,

"And remember when We took a covenant from the Children of Israel, (saying): Worship none but Allah and be dutiful and good to parents, kindred, orphans and the poor and speak good to people."? (Al-Baqarah 2:83)

Good word is pleasing to both friends and foes. As with friends, it increase love and affection and with foes it removes the rancour and hatred. Allah says in this regard,

"Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity will become as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient and none is granted it except the owner of great potion."? (Fussilat 41:34)

Fellow Muslims! Vain talk has grave consequences. Umar bin Al-Khattaab said, "He who talks too much earns himself much mistakes and he who has much mistakes will have little modesty and he who has little modesty will have only little piety and he who has little piety, his heart is dead."? It is therefore wise to refrain from idle talk and guard ones tongue against vain utterances. This is an admonition that the Prophet gave to his nation when he said while pointing to his tongue, "Put this under control. Muaadh said, O Messenger of Allah! Are we going to be held responsible for that which we utter? The Messenger of Allah replied, Are the people going to be dragged unto Hell on there faces except by that which their hands have earned?!"? (At-Tirmidhee)

It is because of this that the righteous predecessors used to strongly fear the danger of the tongue and warn others against it. Abu Bakr would hold his tongue and say, "This is what put me in trouble."? Abdullaah bin Masood said, "By Allah, there is nothing on the surface of the earth that needs long incarceration more than the tongue."? Mans tongue is a rope in the hand of Satan with which he pulls him wherever he wants if he does not bridle it with the rein of piety. If he however let it loose to utter whatever occurs to it, it will ruin him and make him commit great sins like slandering, back-biting, saying obscene things and harming fellow Muslims in different ways without any regard for religion, morality and modesty. Allah says: "Not a word does he or she utters but there is a watcher by him (ready to record it)."? (Qaaf 50:18)

The Messenger of Allah also said, "Man may utter a word that displeases Allah and which he does not care about and on account of which he may be admitted to Hell-Fire."? (Al-Bukhaaree)

The matter becomes more horrible when one of those who are regarded as knowledgeable and righteous engages in saying immoral and obscene things, denying honour to whom it is due and attacking them because of a mistake they have done for personal reasons or for no reasons at all except out of jealousy and in transgression. How come do wisdom, cognisance of his own defects and good manners not prevent him from such acts?! One of the righteous predecessors, upon hearing a person speaking ill of others told the speaker, "We have now got to know your own defects from what you say about the defects of others."?

Fear Allah therefore, dear brothers, guard your tongues as well as your limbs from unlawful things and always remember the Word of Allah,

"O you who believe! Fear Allah and speak always the truth. He will direct you to the righteous good deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed achieved a great achievement."? (Al-Ahzaab 33:70-71)

Brethren in Faith! The observer of the situations of the present day societies will see that, what dominates the peoples meeting places are idle and vain talk which seems pleasant to hear but is absolutely devoid of any benefit and brings harm in this world and the Hereafter. This is in contradiction with the guidance of Islam and the noble manners that it teaches. Islam abhors vain talk and wasting ones time on useless things but encourages high-mindedness. Allah says,

"There is no good in most of their secret talks save in him who orders charity or good deeds or conciliation between mankind; and he who does this, seeking the good pleasure of Allah, We shall give him a great reward."? (An-Nisaa 4:114)

Dear brethren! Fear Allah and hold unto the teachings of Islam and the manners of the true believers. Guard your tongues against forbidden utterances for whoever is saved of the evil of his tongue has been saved of a great danger. Whoever uses his tongue to utter good words and in acts of obedience to Allah is indeed the successful one. That is however, the favour of Allah which He bestows on whomsoever He wishes and Allah is the Owner of the great bounty.


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