Today I would like to talk about the issue of the tongue. For many of us our mouths are like machines, they are constantly moving and with it regurgitating things that for many once said it is impossible to take back. The following hadith covers many topics and InshAllah one day I will use it to tackle them but for today I would like to talk about the tongue.
Mu’adh Ibn Jabal reported: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Tell me of an act that will take me to Paradise and keep me away from the Hellfire.’ He said: ‘You have asked me about a major matter. But it is easy for he whom Allah, may He be Exalted, makes it easy for. You must worship Allah, associating nothing with him. You must perform the prayers and pay the Zakat. You must fast in Ramadan and perform the Hajj to the House (Ka’bah).’ Then he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: ‘Shall I not show you the gates of goodness? Fasting is a shield; charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire; and (so does) the praying of a man in the depths of the night.’ Then he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, recited: ‘(Those) who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of what We have bestowed upon them. No soul knows what is kept hidden for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.’ [Surah As-Sajdah: 16] Then he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: ‘Shall I not tell you of the peak of the matter, its pillar and its uppermost part?’ I said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allaah!’ He said: ‘The peak of the matter is Islam. The pillar is prayer and its uppermost part is Jihad.Shall I not tell you of what controls all that?’ I said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah.’ So he took a hold of his tongue, and said: ‘Restrain this!’ I said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, will we be held accountable for what we say?’ He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “May your mother be bereaved of you, O Mu’adh! Is there anything that causes people to be dragged on their faces – or he said – on their noses into Hellfire other than the harvests of their tongues?’” (Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ahmad- Sahih)
This hadith is so important because it evolves around the issue of one’s speech. Learning how to properly control one’s speech is very difficult to implement because of how often we speak. The hadith above expresses the importance of learning how to control one’s speech. The number one thing that leads people to hell fire is one’s speech.
Sahl Ibn Sa’ad reported that Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “Whoever can guarantee for me (that he will guard) what is between his jaws (tongue) and what is between his legs (private parts), I will guarantee for him Paradise.” (Bukhari)
So what is the sunnah regarding one’s speech? The sunnah of Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salam) regarding speech is based on the following hadith.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say what is good or remain silent.” (Bukhari)
The default of one’s speech is that one remains silent and one does not speak unless one is sure that his speech will be good. If one is unsure if it will be good or bad than one remains silent. So the sunnah is that one remains silent until one is sure.
An important related topic is of gossiping. We love to pass on things we hear even if we dont know if it is true or not. Look at what Nabi SAW says on this topic.
Nabi SAW said “it is enough to be called a liar if he narrates everything he hears” (Muslim).
And When asked if a believer can be a coward and Nabi SAW said yes. Can a believer be a miser and Nabi SAW replied yes. And when asked whether a believer can be a liar and He SAW replied no a believer can not be a liar. (mishkaat).
Some of the sins related to one’s tongue:
1) ghiba: (Backbiting)
2) namima: (Gossiping)
3) suma (showing off (riya) with speech)
4) iftikhar (boasting to others, making claims)
5) kadhib (lying)
6) khawd fi al-batil (mentioning the useless or immoral)
May Allah SWT give us the tawfeeq to watch what we say and may our tongue be the means to enter Heaven and not Hell, ameen.