THINK! Before you utter

-By Mawlana Thaqib Mahmood | Rabi’uth Thani 1438

images-1Allah has blessed the Human race with many outstanding abilities. Amongst those features, the most defining feature is our ability to communicate our thoughts. The amazing thing is that we can do this almost instantly without much effort. The mind thinks it and the tongue translates it.

This blessing – like all blessings – is also a great test for us. If it is not harnessed correctly it can be a malicious weapon which could break many hearts and could result in a stern test in the hereafter.

To encourage restraint on our tongues, the Qur’an and Hadeeth have emphasised on the importance of its correct usage by reminding us of the consequences of its misuse.

Aayah of the Quran

Not a single word is uttered by one but there is a watcher near him, ready (to record).”(Quran 18:50)

Hadeeth of the Messenger (Peace be upon Him)

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) said:

Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him honour his guest. And whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him say what is good or remain silent.”(Tirmidhi Vol. 4, Book 11, Hadith 2500)

Some sayings of the Pious

Hasan Al Basri once said;

The tongue of the believer is behind his heart. He ponders over his thoughts with his heart before he let’s it speak. Whereas the tongue of a hypocrite is in front of his heart, he speaks without any pondering of the Heart”.

Imam Shafi was a great scholar in the 2nd century of the Hijri Calendar. He was renowned for his outstanding knowledge in all sciences related to Islam. I’m sure he had many good things to say and very rarely would falter in his statements. His student mentions that it was his habit, to pause for a short duration whenever he was questioned about any issue. His students requested a reason for this from their honourable teacher. Upon this he replied

Before I make any statement, I ponder over the existence of Heaven and Hell and decide whether this statement will result in my achieving Heaven or dwelling in Hell. Then I reply.”

Imam Shafi once said to his student Rabi’

O Rabi’ Do Not talk about that which does not concern you! For when you make an utterance, the statement owns and you no longer own it” (meaning that you will be held accountable for it)

Concerns for Us

We are living in a time where a lot of our statements are made and recorded both in this world and certainly in the Aakhirah (Hereafter). This is often our predicament when using social media and when in a comfortable environment of friends and family. It is our responsibility to be vigilant of the harms a wrong statement can do to us without us even realising it.

Family Life

The issue of controlling our tongues at home with our families is the most serious of issues. We rarely cause any physical harm to those we are close to, however the damage we could do with our words are sometimes longer lasting wounds.

Our children are precious and we must ensure that they are addressed respectfully and wisely. Our parents are honourable and nothing we say should tarnish their status and position. Most importantly our spouse with whom we communicate with in all emotions. It is vital that we do not say something that will damage our bond. Remember whatever we say or utter cannot be retracted from, or replaced.

2 Step process

From all the advice and warning above it is possible for someone who has the fear of reckoning to become selectively mute. This is of course not in the teachings of Islam. We must converse by utilising this blessing of Allah cautiously.

The simple 2 steps to take are:

  1. Think!
  2. Review if it is the right thing to say
    Then talk!

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