“…and who refrain from vain things (al-laghw)”
Al-Laghw refers to falsehood, which includes:
- Lies: Al-Hasan al-Basri said: “The believer reserves judgement until the matter is proven.”
- Any words or actions that are of no benefit (idle talk/nonsense) – Islam teaches us to focus our efforts on Ilm-Naafi – knowledge that benefits us and not to get involved in Laghw – useless discussions.
- Something which is not befitting: Rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength
- Cursing and harm from non-believers and the believers do not let it overtake them
Research records that we spend 60% of our time talking about other people. Gossip is negative conversation, usually with bad intentions, that is spread and is a source of much hatred in our families and communities. Research also shows that those who gossip the most, have high levels of anxiety, are not popular
Omar Bin Khattab(RA) offers this deep advice to Al-Ahnaf Bin Qays(RA):
When one’s speech increases, his mistakes will also increase,
And when one’s mistakes increase, his modesty will decrease,
And when one’s modesty decreases, his piety will decrease,
And when one’s piety is lessened, his heart will die…
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “It is sufficient for a person to be a liar that they speak of everything he hears.” kafaa bil mar’i kadhiban an-yuhadditha bikulli maa sami’ [Saheeh Muslim: 5]
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Part of the perfection of one’s Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him.” [Tirmidhi] As-samt is to remain silent rather than speaking evil, and also speaking good, unlike sukoot in Arabic which means to stay quiet all the time.
In Mustadarak al-Haakim. Abu Hurayrah said the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said fasting is not just abstaining from food and drink, rather fasting is abstaining from idle and foul, vain and obscene speech. Remember, the first of those who’s mentioned fasting in the Qur’an is Maryam(AS) who fasted by remaining silence, as did Zakariyya (AS).
Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever restrains his tongue, Allah Almighty will cover his faults. Whoever controls his anger, Allah Almighty will protect him from His punishment. Whoever apologizes to Allah Almighty, He will accept his apology.” [al-Ṣamt li Ibn Abī Dunyā 21]
Sufyan(rh) said: “backbiting destroys the fast.” Layth quotes Mujahid as saying : “Two habits destroy fasting: backbiting and telling lies.’
The Prophet said: ‘ Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is fasting he should not use foul or foolish talk. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say:”I am fasting, I am fasting!”
As-samt is to remain silent when speaking vain, and also speaking good, unlike sukoot in Arabic which means to stay quiet all the time.
Luqman(AS) was asked how did you get your wisdom. He replied “I closed my mouth, Allah SWT opened my heart”. We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.
Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another. The quieter you become, the more you can hear. Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools because they have to say something.
Three things to control your tongue:
- Think before you speak: do I need to say it in this way, at this time, in front of these people, in silence, more words, less words. The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessaryImam Shafi(rh) said “A believer when he advises, he conceals. The transgressor announces the sin before others in order to disgrace.” All of those narrations where someone interrupted the Prophet(SAW) was from the desert arabs, who lacked etiquette.
- Everything you say is being recorded. Be careful with your words once they are said they can only be forgiven not forgotten.
- If by chance, your tongue slips. Apologise. Give some sadaqah. And do tawba.
A man said, “O Messenger of Allah! There are two women who are fasting and they have nearly perished out of thirst.” Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) remained silent. The man returned midday and said, “O Prophet of Allah! They are near death.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) called for them and they came. A bowl was brought. The Prophet commanded one of the two women to vomit in the bowl. She vomited pus, blood and flesh until half the bowl filled. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then commanded the second to vomit in the bowl. She vomited pus, blood and flesh until the bowl was full. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then said, “These two have fasted from that which Allah has permitted for them and have indulged in that which Allah has forbidden upon them. They sat together feasting on the flesh of people [backbiting]”. (Musnad Ahmad, vol. 5 pg. 431, Although the chain consists of an unnamed narrator, it is still suitable to quote and referenced in Targhib, vol. 2 pg. 148 and Majma’uz Zawaid, vol. 3 pg. 171)
As Allah says: when they pass by laghw, they pass with dignity [Surah Furqan 25:72]
They do not attend where falsehood occurs, and if it so happens that they pass by it, they do not let it contaminate them in the slightest. At-Tabari (rh) wrote, “This is sometimes achieved by abstaining from listening to the falsehood, like the case of singing, or by self-restraint and pardoning (people’s offenses), like the case of hearing people’s reprehensible speech and offenses, or sometimes by forbidding people from committing such an evil by speaking out. It could also be achieved by changing the evil with the sword (i.e. taking action), like the case of someone witnessing a robbery and the victims seek the person’s help, so he rushes to help them. All these are manifestations of passing by falsehood with dignity.”