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The Prohibition of Abusive Language, Insults and Curses

By Sh Abdul-Hameed Ad-Daaghistaani – Imaam Haram

Thanks be to Allaah Who prohibited harming the Muslims in all cases and said in this regard which means: “And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a glaring sin.” (Al-Ahzaab: 58).

I testify that there is no God but Allaah, Who ordered us to perform good deeds and prohibited us from evil acts, and that Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam is His Prophet and Messenger who never hurt nor humiliated others. He, as well as his Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them all, never cursed any person.

When we examine closely our Islaamic laws, we find that they are most protective of the purity of Muslims, in both the abstract and real sense of the word. They cover every type of moral filth and impurity, even extending to the act of insulting people, cursing them or calling them abusive names. These laws also prohibit scoffing at or ridiculing individuals or Muslim societies. Speaking unfavorably of others is lawful in a few essential cases, such as declaring a witness unreliable in a case of law, exposing one or more narrators of the Prophet’s Ahaadeeth if any of them are inaccurate, speaking frankly about a Muslim when marriage is involved, in matters of financial or real estate trust, or employment. In such necessary cases, it is lawful to expose the truth even if such persons have moral defects. This is not a form of slandering or backbiting.

Unfortunately, on the streets, in official organizations or popular gatherings, one may hear people reviling others, calling them names, or scoffing at them. All this happens despite the fact that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “A believer is never a person who scoffs at others, calls them names, or utters vulgar and obscene phrases” (Tirmithi).

This Hadeeth indicates that slandering people, belittling them and cursing them are all prohibited acts. A true believer is a decent person who uses polite phrases when he talks. The Holy Qur’aan taught us to use decent phrases as evidenced in its discussion of delicate acts, such as expressing the act of having marital relations with one’s spouse is described by the use of the term “touch” your wife.

Abu Tharr Al-Ghifaari RA reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “If a person accused another person of depravity or atheism, such an accusation applies to the accuser unless the accused is actually immoral or rejects faith”. (Bukhaari).

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: “Reviling a Muslim is an act of outrage (moral depravity) and fighting against him is an act of disbelief (Kufr)”. (Bukhaari & Muslim).

In the case of a dispute arising between two persons, neither should have recourse to using vulgar and obscene phrases, reviling the other party or calling him names. Acting in this manner makes the dispute more complex and difficult to settle. One of the disputants may have been the victim of injustice, but this does not grant him the right to abuse the other party or call him names.

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The one who starts abusing his fellow Muslim and calling him names bears the sin of both, unless the abused person uses more vulgar phrases than the first”. (Muslim) Imaam Al-Nawawi explained this prophetic saying as thus: “This means that the person who starts insulting a Muslim or calling him names will bear the sin incurred by such an act for both of them, unless the second party uses more severe and vulgar phrases than the first”. Yet, sticking to patience and forgiving people is far better for the Muslim. Allaah said which means: “But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs.” (Al-Shooraa: 43).

Our religion does not even allow us to revile and abuse the sinner. Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported: “A man drank alcohol so he was brought before the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam who said: “Beat him (according to the rules set by Allah).” Abu Hurayrah, said: Some of us beat him with our hands, others with their sandals and still others with pieces of cloth. When the man went away, some said: May Allaah humiliate you! Whereupon, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Do not say that. Do not support Shaytaan against your fellow brother”. (Bukhaari).

Imaam Ibn `Illaan Al-Siddeeqi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “The meaning of this prophetic saying is that the aim of Shaitaan, when he opens the gates of sins to the believers, is to heap humiliation upon them. Invoking Allaah against the sinner, as the Companions did, leads to humiliating the sinner, which is the very aim of Satan. Therefore, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam prohibited them from invoking Allaah against the drunkard”.

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: “If a person accused his slave of adultery, he will be punished with the retribution set by Allaah on the Day of Judgment unless his slave is really an adulterer.” (Bukhaari & Muslim).

This great prophetic saying points out the crime of the person who accuses others of adultery even if the accused is a slave. So what about those people who consider that one of the proofs of a strong relationship between them is their reviling and abusing each other? Such a person may accuse the other’s mother or sister of adultery while the other side is content and he may even laugh considering that this is a sign of a lasting friendship and strong relationship.

Servants of Allaah! Cursing people as well as calling them names is a type of verbal abuse.

Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “A true believer is never used to cursing others”. (Muslim)

Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allaah be pleased with him, also reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “People who curse others will never be witnesses or intercessors on the Day of Judgment” (Muslim).

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam also said: “Do not curse each other and do not summon the wrath of Allaah or His Hell on each other”. (Abu Daawood & Tirmithi)

Thaabit Ibn Al-Dahhaak, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “If a person perjures himself by swearing by a religion other than Islam, then he is as he professed. Whoever kills himself with a tool, he will be punished with the very same tool on the Day of Judgment. A man should not make a vow regarding things that he does not possess. Cursing a believer is just like the act of killing him” (Bukhaari & Muslim).

The meaning of the first sentence of the above-mentioned prophetic saying is as follows: If a person said, “If I have done so and so, I am a Jew or a Christian” and he did, he is a Jew or a Christian as he professed. If he meant this and insists that he’s telling the truth, then he becomes a disbeliever (Kaafir). However, if he just wanted to exaggerate so as to prevent himself from doing a certain act and therefore never intended to desert the Islamic religion, then he is just a sinner who should ask Allaah for forgiveness because of the sin he has committed.

The meaning of the last sentence in the above Hadeeth is that the crime of cursing a believer is similar to the crime of killing him.

Also, a Muslim may not curse his riding animal, car, house or any of his personal belongings. This is, again, a prohibited act in Islaam.

`Imraan Ibn Al-Husayn, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was traveling when a woman of the Ansaar cursed her she-camel because it made her furious. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam heard the curse and upon this he said: “Take away the luggage which the she-camel carries and let her away, because she is cursed”. `Imraan said: I have seen the she-camel walking in the streets and nobody ever pays attention to her” (Muslim).

It is allowed to curse sinners in general (and not in particular) as Allaah said which means: “Behold! The curse of Allaah is on those who do wrong!” (Hood: 18).

“The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam cursed the one who indulges in usury, the agent, the witness and the one who writes up the contract. (Bukhaari).

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said that Allaah curses the person who changes the boundaries of the land (as a sort of deceiving others).

He also said: “Allaah curses the thief who steals (even) an egg.” (Bukhaari).

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: “Allaah curses the one who curses his parent” (Muslim).

“He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam invoked curses on the tribes of R’al, Thakwaan and ‘Aseyyah who disobeyed Allaah and His Messenger” (Muslim).

He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: “Allaah cursed the men who imitate women and the women who imitate men” (Bukhaari).

In all these Ahaadeeth, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam did not curse a certain person, rather he cursed whoever commits such evil deeds as a sort of warning against them.

I seek refuge in Allaah and hope that we will not be damned. I invoke Allaah, the All Merciful, to guide us so that we could escape the path of the damned. Hereby I end my first Khutbah and I invoke Allaah to grant you and me forgiveness.

The Islaamic law prohibits the act of unjustifiably reviling and abusing the dead and it warns against harming the dead because of his innovation in religion or immorality.

‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaih wa sallam said: “Do not revile the dead, because they have already faced their destiny (be it good or bad).” (Bukhaari).

The meaning of the Hadeeth is that the dead has already been commissioned with the consequences of his deeds, whether good or bad; accordingly, the Hadeeth warns against reviling them especially if they are Muslims.

Sadly, some people may insult or verbally abuse their children as well as invoke Allaah against them. Some may even curse themselves, their servants and even invoke ruin against their property.

Jaabir bin `Abdullaah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: Do not invoke ruin against your property for when you do so, it may be an hour of accepting invocation (and you face such disaster) (Muslim).

Ubay, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “There are three invocations which Allaah will undoubtedly accept: the invocation of the oppressed, that of the traveler and the father’s invocation against his son” (Tirmithi).

Glory be to Allaah. What a great religion! What a supreme law! Only the pious people will stick to this religion that gives us a full account of even minute details of this life. Are we going to stick to this religion? Yes, God willing. We shall stick to the path of Allaah and follow the example of Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.


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