The purpose of this week’s reminder is to explain what it means to protect your tongue. This means to ensure that any words that come out of it is for good, to avoid vile talk, to avoid backbiting, etc.
We are responsible for each word that we say, as they are all recorded and will be questioned on the day of Judgement. Allah SWT confirms this in the glorious Quran in Surat Qaaf ayat 18 which is translated to say:
Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared [to record].
The imam also reminded us of a hadith which is translated to say:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: ‘Fear Allah for our sake because we are with you: (i.e., we will be rewarded or punished as a result of what you do) if you are straight, we will be straight; and if you are crooked, we will become crooked.”‘
We also have the hadiths in which it is recorded to have said:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue or his hands. And a Muhajir (an emigrant) is the one who gives up (abandons) all what Allah has forbidden.”
And also one in which ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir narrated:
“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! What is the means to salvation?’ He said: ‘That you control your tongue, suffice yourself your house, and cry over your sins.'”
Dear brothers and sisters, from the signs of being a true believer is to protect their tongues from talking about other people. Gossip and backbiting has no place in our mannerisms and so we need to protect ourselves from this dangerous habit.
The imam reminded us of the 72nd ayat of Sura Al Furqan which is translated to say:
And [they are] those who do not testify to falsehood, and when they pass near ill speech, they pass by with dignity.
We know from the reminder last week that the heart is an organ which needs to be protected both physically and spiritually. Damages to the heart spiritually can be listed as things such as blasphemy, lies, backbiting, speaking unnecessarily, cursing and mocking of others.
Dear brothers and sisters, we can see that the heart is linked to the tongue in a way that one is capable of damaging the other. We need to be mindful of this so that we can protect both our heart and ourselves when we return to our Lord.
With that being said, this reminder concludes with 3 changes we ought to make if we are found to be guilty of doing them.
- Identifying and stopping the habit of backbiting. This warning has been given to us by the best of all creation, SAWS, and so we should identify and rectify this habit if it is one we are currently practicing. The best definition of backbiting is given through the hadith which is translated to say:
Do you know what is backbiting? They (the Companions) said: Allah and His Messenger know best. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Backbiting implies your talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like. It was said to him: What is your opinion about this that if I actually find (that failing) in my brother which I made a mention of? He said: If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, you in fact backbited him, and if that is not in him it is a slander.
- Be conscious of your motivation when speaking. We live in time where idle chat is considered normal and is often sought after. Talking nonsense or speaking for the sake of mocking others is nothing unusual in society. However, the tongue is capable of causing great damage to oneself and to others. It is for this reason we should be conscious of it’s use. We have a saying in English that says ‘Think before you speak’. This is true also for all believers.
The imam mentioned a hadith in relation to this which is translated to say:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain good relation with kins; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent.”
- Be known as someone from who’s tongue they are safe. This means, use the tongue to utter only truth, uphold justice, offer sincere advise and counsel to others and perform the remembrance of Allah SWT. We live in a society where this quality is hard to find and so we need to set that example so that our community is known by this characteristic.
Dear brothers and sisters, the tongue has both the potential to do great damage but also to do great things for oneself and for others. Be of those who are included in this hadith in which Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
“Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him.”