The fear of Allah [Taqwa] is a protection, a gift, a light from Allah, which He has bestowed exclusively to His friends. Allah says in His Noble Book:
“Yes, the friends of Allah will fear no fear and know no sorrow: those who believe and are godfearing.” (Surat Yunus 10:62-63)
One of the most evident signs that show the fear of a slave towards Allah, that he is among the fearful, among the friends of Allah, is that Allah gives him success and directs him towards the protection and observation of his tongue. It is a very difficult matter for a person and it requires great effort. One of the remedies for the human being to achieve this is to be aware that the tongue is the most effective weapon that the Shaytan uses to mislead him. Therefore, observing the tongue and having it under control, is a protection, a shield against the attacks of this clear enemy. We must know that death is just around the corner and that we are responsible for every word we utter.
In general the task is complicated, but by the help of Allah and by the Du’a, our supplication to Him, it may be achieved: “We ask you, oh Allah, to provide us with a tongue that reminds us of You a lot, and with a heart that humbles itself!” (Amin.)
The rightness of the tongue also makes the other members of the body right, for the tongue represents the fundamental organ by which the human body is upheld. According to an account by Abu Said Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, he said:
“The Messenger of Allah, Peace and Blessings be upon him said: ‘When the son of Adam awakens, his organs humbly say to his tongue, ‘Fear Allah for us, because we depend on you; if you stand firm, we too are firm; if you deviate, we will deviate with you.'” Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah said, ‘The faith of a slave will not be firm as long as his heart is not right, and his heart will not be right as long as his tongue is not right.'”
The language is the representative of the heart, its interpreter, all that the heart hides, the language reveals. Righteousness, the firmness of the tongue opens for man the doors of virtue, of goodness, and closes the doors of immorality.
Yahya Ibn Kathir, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “There are two qualities that only generate good things for a man: The mastery of his tongue and observing his prayers.”
Allah says in his Noble Book: “O you who believe, have Taqwa of Allah and speak words which hit the mark.” (Sura Al-Ahzab – The Confederates 33:70)
We should correct our language, only speak the word of truth and avoid uttering falsehoods, indecency, unlawful words and obscenities. The tongue is a small piece of flesh without bones, a small organ that does not require great energy, great effort like other organs, it moves easily and quickly in all directions. The tongue is the most dangerous organ that Allah has created within the human body, it represents a danger when it is used wrongly, i.e. in what does not please Allah.
How many words have been the cause of wars, separated families and marriages and have spread enmity! The word has a great influence, it has a force that should not be underestimated. The word is not mere sound waves or written letters, it is much more important. The word represents an enormous energy, on the basis of which the human personality is formed. It may even serve as a remedy!
Modern science can never create a tranquilliser for nervous diseases that is more effective than the word, than the sweet word at the right time. The proof, we have in the Noble Qur’an, the words of Allah that are a remedy for people and with which He has favoured us. Allah – may He be Exalted, He is the Most High – says:
“We send down in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to the believers, but it only increase the wrongdoers in loss.” (Surat Al-Isra’ – The Night Journey 17:82)
The word has an effect on the persons, above all, on children. How many words they have said to us as children, words that have been engraved in our hearts and have grown with us and have influenced our personality positively or negatively. The word remains, it settles in the most hidden place in our brain and transforms into behaviour.
The good words a person receives, generate happiness, liveliness, provide psychological health that positively affects physical health and our mood, which makes the chest expand and brings about self-esteem.
On the contrary, bad and harmful words produce, according to psychological studies, damage to the brain, destroying many of its cells or altering its functioning. Therefore, many people who have been victims of psychological harassment through harmful words become people imbued with a feeling of failure and end up socially isolated.
Allah says in the Noble Qur’an:
“Do you not see how Allah makes a metaphor of a good word: a good tree whose roots are firm and whose branches are in heaven? It bares fruits regularly by its Lord’s permission. Allah makes metaphors for people so that hopefully they will pay heed. The metaphor of a corrupt word is that of a rotten tree, uprooted on the surface of the earth. It has no staying-power.”(Surat Ibrahim 14:24-26)
Muslims! The good word is a Sadaqa, a gift. The good word penetrates hearts, strengthens bonds, closes the doors to Shaytan. It has been mentioned several times in the Qur’an for its effect and importance. Allah, the Exalted and Most High, says:
“All good words rise to Him and He elevates all virtuous deeds.” (Surat Al-Fatir – The Bringer into Being 35:10)
It is a spiritual breath that unites the hearts in love and harmony. With the good word, Allah sent His Messengers and Prophets to call people to the worship of Allah, the One, the Dominant.
Allah ordered Musa to go and speak to the oppressor, the tyrant Pharaoh, to call him to the truth, him, the unjust one who murdered women, slayed children and enslaved peoples. Allah is exalted, He said to Musa and his brother Haroun:
“Go to Pharaoh, he has overstepped the bounds. But speak to him with gentle words so that hopefully he will pay heed or show some fear.” (Surat Ta Ha 20:43-44)
In spite of the crimes, the barbarities that Pharaoh had committed, Allah ordered Musa and Haroun to use soft words towards him. Allah also said to Muhammad:
“Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way.” (Surat An-Nahl – The Bee 16:125)
In this verse, Allah commands His Messenger to call people to the Din of Truth, taking as a means, the Qur’an, sweet words, correct expressions without aggression, harshness or repulsion.
This message is also addressed to every Muslim, because man has been created to worship Allah and call people to the truth.
The good word brings joy both to the one who hears it and to the one who utters it. It emanates from the heart, is vocalized by the tongue and returns to the heart. Allah urges us to choose the most beautiful terms, the sweetest conversations in our conversations with others. Allah says in the Surat of the Night Journey:
“So to my slaves that they should only say the best. Shaytan wants to stear up trouble between them. Shaytan is an outright enemy to man.” (Surat Al-Isra’ – The Night Journey 17:53)
If Allah commands that the behaviour among us, among people in general, be based on the good word, it is obvious and paramount that in marriage that should also be the case.
Gratitude and praise gives the marriage relationship a new air, gives it life and protects the flame of love and mercy from being extinguished. Marriage is similar to a plant, which must be watered from time to time to prevent it from dying. When the husband thanks his wife for some effort or the wife praises her husband for some work he has done, the roots of love between them reach deeper into their hearts and their bond is strengthened.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) was the best example. He praised his women, expressed his love for them and showed them their importance. One day Amr Ibn Al-Aas asked the Prophet: “Whom do you love the most?” The Prophet answered: “Aisha.”
Servants of Allah!
If we look at the situation of most people, how they spend their time, how they spend their free time, we will be amazed by the amount of empty, meaningless conversations, full of empty words, based on falsehoods, gossip, bickering, insults, threats, mockeries, lies, slander, unfounded accusations, revelations of secrets, excessive jokes and so on. All this hardens the hearts. And hard hearts are farther away from Allah.
Have you not heard the words of Allah saying:
“He does not utter a single word, without a watcher by him, pen in hand!” (Surat Qaf 50:18)
Allah has placed for each of us a guardian, an angel who watches over us day and night, 24 hours a day without interruption. And who writes down all our deeds without leaving a single detail.
Allah says: “Everything is recorded, big or small.” (Sura Al-Qammar – The Moon 54:53)
And He also says: “on the day when their tongues and hands and feet will testify against them about what they were doing.“ (Surat An-Nur – Light 24:24)
For this reason, the Muslim must analyse his words before pronouncing them, he must reflect on the possible consequences that they may have. If he sees something good in them, he says so. Otherwise, silence is preferable.
Reflection should occur before pronouncing one’s words, speech should be anticipated by thoughts. The Arabs say: “The tongue of the person endowed with intellect, of the intelligent person, is always behind his heart.” When a person decides to speak, he reflects first. When he sees that his words will benefit him, he speaks, otherwise he remains silent. As opposed to that the heart of the ignorant is always behind his tongue, when he decides to speak, he speaks without prior reflection”.
Once the word is out of the mouth, it doesn’t come back. It’s a word that can be either for or against you. Allah does not judge His servants by their thoughts, until they manifest them. According to an account by Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, he said: “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him said: ‘Allah does not take into consideration what the Nafs [ego] whispers to the people of my Ummah, [community] as long as it does not turn into deeds or words.'”
Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, would hold his tongue, pull it out and say: “THIS is the cause of my downfall”. These were the words of one of the most beloved people of the Messenger of Allah, the most fearful companion, his khalifa, one of the ten whom the Prophet announced in life that they will be among the people of the garden. So what shall we say?
Language is a favour from Allah, a huge favour for His slaves in order to be a means of expression and communication between them.
Allah says in His Noble Qur’an: “Have We not given him two eyes, and a tongue and two lips and shown him the two highways?” (Surat Al-Balad – The City 90:8-10)
This favour shows the power, wisdom and wonder of Allah’s creation. Allah has distinguished man from the rest of His creation with this favour. The Bayan, the ability to express himself through language, to be able to distinguish things and explain them, allowing man to express his feelings, his intentions, his reactions, his desires and goals.
Allah says: “The All-Merciful taught the Qur’an. He created man and taught him clear expression.” (Surat Ar-Rahman – The All-Merciful 55:1-2)
Many scientists do not find an explanation for this miracle, they ask: Why is man the only living being able to express himself? The answer is found in the Qur’an, where Allah says:
“We have honoured the sons of Adam, and conveyed them on land and sea and provided them with good things and favoured them greatly over many We have created.” (Surat Al-Isra’ – The Night Journey 17:70)
Any Divine favour, as we said in a previous Khutba, requires gratitude to Allah. This gratitude is demonstrated by making good use of language, in using appropriate expressions that do not cause harm to others, whether they are Muslims or not.
This way we can avoid enmity. Allah says:
“And speak good words to people.“ (Surat Al-Baqara – The Cow 2:83)
Language should be used to command what is acknowledged and to forbid what is reprehensible, to spread peace among people, to establish justice, to recite the Qur’an, to ask forgiveness of Allah, which is what we really need most to do is: Dhikr [remembering Allah], Tasbih [repeating “SubhanAllah” – “glorified is God”], Tahlil [repeating “La ilaha illa’llah” – “There is no deity but God”], Tahmid [repeating “Alhamdulillah” – “praise be to God”]. According to an account by Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, he said: “There are two phrases loved by Allah that are most loved by the Merciful, light on the tongue and heavy on the scale:
Praise be to Allah in His glory, praise be to Allah the Great:
Subhana’llahi wa bihamdihi, subhana’llahi adhiim.
Muslim brother, beware of your tongue, it is a viper with poison that can annihilate you. Don’t be one of those who have a wicked tongue. You have to know that with the tongue you build and destroy. Strive to make your mouth a source from which comes a pleasant perfume, from which comes only good words. “Allah is good and accepts only good things.” (Hadith)
Treat people with good character, good words and a sincere smile. Allah has made man have one tongue, but He gave him two eyes and two ears – to observe more, listen more and to speak less. Measure your words before you utter them. Don’t be a chatterbox, one of those who talk too much. The Prophet said: “Surely those most hated by me and furthest from me on the day of judgment are the chatterboxes, the boasters when they speak, as well as those who pretend when they speak.”
The sincere believer is the one who is constantly paying attention to his tongue, the one whose deeds are more than his words. The believer should speak words that benefit him, his family, and his community. Those who speak excessively may regret their words; but those who keep silent at the times when it is required, and only open their mouths to express something good, are unlikely to repent.
Don’t forget that all your words are recorded in a book that you will read yourself after death, your own book. The Prophet said: “Most of the faults of Adam’s sons come from their tongues.”
And prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of God.