By Ayesha Pervez
Once, Sufyan ibn Abdullah (rta) asked the Prophet (sa) what could be the most harmful thing for him. To this, the Prophet (sa) held his tongue and replied: “This.” (Tirmidhi)
Today, in the age of personality ethics, everybody wants to be a marketer. Appreciation and awe is reserved for the loud, talkative and glib spokesperson. Nobody gives a second thought to someone possessing such ethical characteristics as quiet, wise and calculated demeanour.
In the past, speaking wisely was considered to be a trait of successful men. Khalil Gibran once said: “In much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.” Shakespeare has stated: “Talkers are no good doers.” Furthermore, Lowell has said: “In general, those, who have nothing to say, contrive to spend the longest time in doing it.” Even an English proverb states that “talk is cheap.”
Blabbering away may win us quick friends or short term successes, but they are just like ice cubes in our hand – short lived, and exposing an insincere and untruthful side of our personality.
We, as Muslims, must realize the consequences of speaking too much. It is very important for us to be able to control our tongues. The one who speaks too much often says many unnecessary and unsavoury things, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Idle talk is highly discouraged in Islam. We must not burden the angels sitting on our shoulders to record our useless words. Each and every sentence that leaves our lips is recorded and we will be accountable for them in front of Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgment. Idle talk is never beneficial; in fact, it is always destructive. Shaitan intervenes in indulgence of idle talk and leads to talking about un-Islamic things.
When speaking excessively, we not only disclose the secrets of others but our own as well. Thus, those who chatter away are often not trusted with secrets. Moreover, disclosing someone’s secret is a grave sin, which those, who talk a lot, may unintentionally bring upon themselves.
A good Muslim should not only speak less but also utter only what is agreeable. One should not say anything, if one cannot say something good. Abu Hurairah (rta) has reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “He, who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him show hospitality to his guest…; and he, who believes in the Last Day, let him maintain good relation with his kin; and he, who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The tongue can be much more wounding than the hand. Our thinking ability should be ahead of our speaking capability. Will our words hurt someone? Are we mocking someone? Are we slandering someone, who is not present? Is it a lie or a half-truth? Is it an exaggeration? Will it defame someone’s reputation? Will it cause disruption between others?
Remember, the Prophet (sa) has said:“He (Allah) guarantees Paradise to those, who give him the guarantee of two of their parts: the private parts and the tongue.” (Bukhari and Muslim)