Guarding The Tongue

(Hifdh Al-Lisaan)

Guarding the tongue is a requirement to make it to Allah's paradise.   The Prophet (SAS) said: 

"Man yadhman liy maa baina lihyaihi wa maa baina rijlaihi, adhmanu lahu al-janna."
"Whoever can guarantee to me what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I guarantee him paradise."  Muslim & Bukhari

A Muslim needs to control and hold back his power of speech and restrain it only to praiseworthy and beneficial use.  To use this faculty in "neutral" speech - which is neither praiseworthy and beneficial nor harmful and forbidden - is frivolity or "lahw".  To use it in harmful and forbidden ways is one of the most dangerous activities humans can engage in. 

The tongue (i.e., speech) is one of the most profound faculties in benefit when it used for good.   Allah brings each of us (including the Prophet (SAS) into this world completely devoid of knowledge - knowing nothing.  By hearing the truth in the form of speech and writing, we can insha Allah acquire beneficial knowledge and the taqwa to which it leads.  The tongue is also one of the most profound faculties in harm when it is used incorrectly.

A simple statement - which the speaker may think nothing of at the time - can raise a person's station with Allah or doom them to the hell-fire.  The Prophet (SAS) said:  

"Inna al-'abda layatakallamu bil-kalimati min ridhwaan Allah ta'ala laa yulqiy lahaa baalan yarfa'uhu Allah bihaa darajaat.  Wa inna al-'abda layatakallamu bil-kalimati min sakhati Allah ta'ala laa yulqiy lahaa baalan yahwiy bihaa fiy jahannam."
"A slave may utter a word of that which is pleasing to Allah without attaching importance to it yet Allah raises him by it several levels.   And a slave may utter a word of that which Allah hates without attaching importance to it yet it sends him down to hell-fire."  Al-Bukhari.

Speech and communication by language is the way humans may receive the Communication of Allah.  Getting, understanding and implementing this Communication is the only way to success and safety in the hereafter.  Allah tells us that:

{Akhrajakum min butooni ummahaatikum laa ta'lamoona shai'an.}
{He took you out of your mothers' stomachs in complete ignorance (knowing nothing)}

Each messenger came with a message in the language of their people so that they may understand.  Muhammad is the last Messenger of Allah, we are his Ummah and our language is the Arabic language.  Allah said:

{Innaa anzalnaahu qur'aanan 'arabiyyan li tubash-shira bihi al-muttaqeena wa tundhira bihi qauman luddan.}
{We have sent it down as an Arabic recitation so that you may give glad tidings to the people of taqwa and that you may warn a hard-headed people.}

The worst crime which can be committed with the tongue is to speak about Allah (or his Prophet (SAS)) without knowledge of that of which you speak.  Allah said:

{Wa yaj'aloona lillahi maa yakrahoona wa tasifu alsinatuhum al-kadhiba anna lahum al-husnaa.  Laa jarama anna lahum an-naara wa annahum mufratoon.}
{And they assign to Allah that which they despise and their tongues lyingly ascribe to themselves the best.  There is no doubt that for them is fire and that they have gone to extremes.} 
An-Nahl: 62

The Prophet (SAS), in one of the most authentic of all hadith (mutawaatir) said: 

"Man kadhiba alayya muta'ammidan fal yatabawwa'a maq'adahu min an-naar."
"However lied about me intentionally, let him prepare himself for his place in hell-fire."

Allah informs us that these same tongues which were misused in this life will come to "testify" and bear witness against us in the hereafter along with our other body parts:

{Yauma tash-hadu 'alaihim alsinatuhum wa aydeehim wa arjuluhum bimaa kaanoo ya'maloon.}
{On the day when their tongues bear witness against them, along with their arms and legs, regarding that which they used to do.}
An-Nur: 24

Every use we make of our tongues is recorded by Allah and we will be held accountable for that.  Allah said:

{Maa yalfiidhu min qaulin illa ladaihi raqeebun 'ateed.}
{He can make no utterance but there is with him a fastidious recorder.}
Qaf: 18

{Waa inna 'alaikum lahaafidheen * Kiraaman kaatibeen * Ya'lamoona maa taf'aloon.}
{And surely there are guardians over you * Noble writers * They know all that you do.}

In addition to harming himself, a Muslim can also do major harm to others with mere words which roll so easily off the tongue.  This is another required aspect of guarding the tongue.   The Prophet (SAS) said about the best Muslims:  "The one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe."  Muslim & Bukhari

Not only evil speech, but also frivolous speech must be avoided and we must always be conscious of the consequences of what rolls off our tongues.  Every use of this faculty of speech given to us by Allah must be with the intention of doing some good.  In the following hadith, the Prophet (SAS) did not simply warn us about speaking evil or committing sins by speaking.  Rather, he advises us that either what we want to say is "khairan" - i.e., IS good or produces some good - or else we should refrain from speaking and just keep quiet.

A Muslim should never engage in speech which has no good purpose with the justification that there is no sin involved (no evil).  The Prophet (SAS) warned us that we will be questioned about all of the time, age, wealth and health we were given.  What did we use it for?  So, frivolous talk, talking about nothing or excessive talking about things which are of no concern to Muslims like sports is an abuse of the gifts of Allah of time, the ability to speak, etc.  Secondly, speech which has no purpose of "good" because of human weaknesses and desires will quickly degenerate into something sinful such hurting someone's feelings, backbiting and other such sins.

The Prophet (SAS) said:  

"Man kaana yu'minu billahi wa al-yaumi al-aakhir fa laa yu'dhiy jaarahu. Man kaana yu'minu billahi wa al-yaumi al-aakhir fal yukrim dhaifahu.  Man kaana yu'minu billahi wa al-yaumi al-aakhir fal yaqul khairan au li yasmut."
"Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not harm his neighbor.  Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him honor his guest.   Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or keep quiet."


Tamil Article by Rajeswari

Courtesy: Dinamani Tamil Newspaper

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