Imam Nawawi: “Forty Hadeeths” – Hold Your Tongue!

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Eman Al Obaid conducts classes on Quranic exegesis (Tafseer), Hadeeth, Fiqh and other Islamic themes at AlHuda Sisters, Dubai.

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 مَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيَقُلْ خَيْراً أَوْ لِيَصْمُتْ، وَمَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيُكْرِمْ جَارَهُ، وَمَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيُكْرِمْ ضَيْفَهُ

 رَوَاهُ البُخَارِيُّ وَمُسْلِمٌ

Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Let whosoever believes in Allah (swt) and in the Last Day either speak good or be silent. Let whosoever believes in Allah (swt) and in the Last Day honour his neighbour. Let whosoever believes in Allah (swt) and in the Last Day honour his guest.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

TougueOur job in life is to increase our faith in Allah (swt). Faith is in the heart and the indicator is outside the heart. No one can see the faith in the heart but the indicator is seen from outside.

We know that there are six pillars of faith, but here only two are mentioned — belief in Allah (swt) and belief in the Day of Judgment. We can use the world around us to strengthen our belief in Allah (swt). A scholar said that he used everything that he saw in Duniya (world). He used it to think about Allah (swt), so we should use the signs in Duniya for getting to know Allah (swt).

Moreover, when we know that one day we have to depart from this world, we will be at stand-by all the time. It will make our vision clearer that a person’s Day of Judgement will start the moment he dies.

When everyone remembers that one day we will die, then all issues will be easily resolved. For instance, we have seen that people spend years fighting amongst themselves, which is just a waste of energy… What we should remind them is that one day both parties in a conflict/quarrel will die – so why should they waste time bickering over petty matters?

If you want to reform your Ikhlaaq, quickly resolve any issues you might have with another person –  find a quick-fix, as you might be meeting this person for the last time.

Remember, we cannot resolve all issues on our own, so we must ask for Allah’s (swt) help.

1) Fal yaqul khayran aw yasmutt .او ليصمت فليقل خىر

Let him speak good — meaning start with something positive, always start by giving possibilities, give good alternatives and options.

‘Kalaam’ means speech or statement and it can be of three kinds:

  • Kalaam Khair: good talk – will give you rewards (+)
  • Kalaam Sharr: evil talk – will give u minus ( -)
  • Kalaam Laghuw: vain talk – neutral (zero)

Kalaam Khair: The first option is to speak Khair or if not, then remain completely silent, extremely quiet. This means that we should think twice, before we speak. Kalaam Khair can be of two types:

  • Kalaam al Zaathee  الزاته: is good by itself like Quran, praising Allah (Subhan Allah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar) making Duaa, spreading knowledge, narrating Ahadeeth, advising people, doing Amr bil Maaruf, all this is good by itself.
  • Khayrun fi Muraadihi  في المرادبه :  Out of love saying words, that will make a person happy.

Kalaam Sharr: Examples of evil talk are mocking, insulting, backbiting, spreading rumours, scolding people, reminding people of favours, slandering and cursing people.

Kalaam Laghuw: Some examples of vain talk are: discussing politics, cricket, or football match. Laghuw is tricky as it can lead to backbiting or towards evil.

It is said in Arabic, that if the Kalaam is made out of silver, then remaining silent is made out of gold (i.e., more valuable).

Muadh bin Jabal (rta) narrates: I said: “O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an act which will take me into Paradise and will keep me away from Hellfire.” He said: “…. The peak of the matter is Islam; the pillar is prayer and its topmost part is Jihad.” Then, he said: “Shall I not tell you of the controlling of all that?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah,” and he took hold of his tongue and said: “Restrain this.” I said: “O Prophet of Allah, will what we say be held against us?” He said: “May your mother be bereaved of you, Muadh! Is there anything that topples people on their faces – or he said on their noses into Hellfire other than the jests of their tongues?” (An Nawawi, “Forty Hadeeths”)

Kalaam is a desire of human beings just like food and drink. For this reason, the Salaf said that excessive eating, drinking and talking lead to hardening of the heart. For instance, if you want to pray, your heart will not be in the prayer! Thus, guarding the tongue is an indicator, a Daleel, a proof of steadfastness of the heart.

  1. A very good article. I think if we could be able to analaze our dail talk percentage whether it is kalaam khair or kalaam sharr/laghwa, we would be able to control our tongue.

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