It is common nowadays to hear stories that are casually related to others with important information missing, spiced-up details, or misunderstood messages. The result is utter chaos and grave sin. It is said that a tongue has no bones, but it is strong enough to break a heart. We let our tongues wag loosely, but consider the following Ahadeeth:
Sufyan bin Abdullah (rtam) reported: “I asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Tell me of something to which I may remain steadfast.’ He said: ‘Say: My Rabb is Allah and then remain steadfast.’ Then I asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! What do you fear about me the most?’ He took hold of his own tongue and said: ‘This.’” (Tirmidhi)
Sahl bin Sad (rtam) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Whosoever gives me a guarantee to safeguard what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I shall guarantee him Jannah.” (Bukhari)
Abu Hurairah (rtam) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.” (Muslim)
- Al-Khawd fil Batil (Useless Conversations)
On the Day of Judgement, the worst of all sins will be of those who engaged in vain talk. Muadh ibn Jabal (rtam) once asked the Prophet (sa): “Tell me something that brings me closer to Paradise and keeps me away from Hellfire?” The Prophet (sa) replied: “You have asked about a matter of great importance.” He then narrated a number of vital things, such as observing the four pillars of Islam, the significance of Qiyam-ul-Lail, and practicing Jihad. Finally, he mentioned what will hold all the above – to control his tongue. Muadh (rtam) was surprised and inquired further: “Will we be accounted for what we say?” The Prophet (sa) responded: “May your mother lose you, Muadh. People will be thrown on their faces in Hellfire on account of their speech.” (Tirmidhi)
- Al-Khawd fi A’raadinnisa (Accusation of Chaste Women)
“Verily, those who accuse chaste women, who never even think of anything touching their chastity and are good believers, are cursed in this life and in the Hereafter, and for them will be a great torment.” (An-Nur 24:23)
“And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever, they indeed are the Fasiqun (liars, rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” (An-Nur 24:4)
The above Ayahs from the Quran are distinctly clear about how a slanderer is to be punished for his accusations. Cooking up cock and bull stories about others to defile their reputation is a very serious business. This includes discussions about movie stars and other celebrities.
- Al-Jadal (Arguments or Disputes)
For some people, it is a personal agenda to prove others wrong. They will go to any length to argue and dispute over fickle matters. The Prophet (sa), however, said: “I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarrelling even if he is right.” (Abu Dawood
This must be very prestigious property in Jannah that Allah’s Messenger (sa) is promising by encouraging the believers to let go of their egos and refrain from an argumentative behaviour. If one feels that the matter is turning into ugly insults, the job to do is to end it there with Salam. In Islam, a decent debate is to find the truth together and not win the argument.
- Al-Badtha’ah (Indecent and Foul Language)
The Prophet (sa) said: “Allah (swt) hates an obscene and indecent person.” (Tirmidhi)
Aisha (rtaf) recorded about our Prophet (sa): “The Prophet (sa) was neither an obscene talker nor a user of bad words. He did not shout nor did he repay evil with evil. He used to forgive people and overlook their sins.” (Tirmidhi)
We all know the evil names our beloved Messenger (sa) was called. The Jews called him Raina, and the Mushrik (polytheists) referred to him as mad, a poet, a magician, etc. But never did the Prophet (sa) hurled abuse out of anger.
Alert: Following are the Sins that Can Lead to Hellfire
- Al-Sukhreyah (Mockery)
“O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former…” (Al-Hujurat 49:11)
Interestingly, Allah (swt) addresses the believers, which includes both men and women. But He further reinforces by exclusively addressing the women, as mockery is known to be an expertise of females in particular. They can utter a few words and hit hard. This doesn’t include uttering venomous phrases only, but also the kind of faces they pull, the looks they exchange, and the sly smiles they smile to ridicule people.
- Ifsha’ al Asrar (Revelation of Secrets)
If a person who shares something with you acts discretely, it means he prefers to keep the information he shares with you private. He does not need to say to you that you should keep it to yourself. It is understandable that you must not spill the beans before anyone. Exposing others and revealing their deep secrets is a despicable habit.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) was trusted by friends, foes, believers, and disbelievers with their wealth and inner secrets. He earned the title of Ameen – the trusted one – prior to his prophethood. Every believer must mirror that image.
- Al-Wa’d al Kadthib (False Promise)
A man met the Prophet (sa) and promised him something at a particular time and place. The Prophet (sa) waited for him, until three days had passed. The man remembered and went back only to find the Messenger (sa) still there. The Prophet (sa) said: “You are late.”
Accuracy of the five Salah timings, exactness of starting and ending the fast in Ramadan – this was a culture given to the Muslims so they can learn to observe their promises and be accurate in their conduct. On the contrary, one of the three signs of a hypocrite is that he dishonours his promise. And all hypocrites will be in the lowest level of Hell.
- An-Nameemah (Carrying Tales or Gossiping)
Those who gossip or who carry tales from one person to another with the intention to spread discord will not enter Paradise. This warning should be grave enough to enable us to leave aside what doesn’t concern us. Poking our nose in other people’s business and later broadcasting their secrets to the world is a sin that invites Allah’s (swt) wrath upon us.
- Al-Ghaybah (Backbiters)
Qeelwa Qaal means ‘sinful talk’, such as backbiting. This means to mention something concerning our brother/sister in his/her absence, which he/she will dislike. If what you said is true about him, you have committed backbiting. And if what you have said is not true, you have slandered him.
- Al-Kadthib (Lies)
Safwan bin Sulaim (rtam) narrated that Rasulullah (sa) was asked: “Can a believer be a coward?” He said: “Yes, he can be coward.” Then he was asked whether a believer could be a miser. He replied: “Yes, he can be a miser.” He was then asked whether a believer could be a liar. He replied: “No, a believer cannot be a liar.” (Malik)
The beloved Messenger (sa), who earned the title of Sadiq (the truthful one), confirmed that the one who claims to be a Muslim cannot utter falsehood. And there are no such things as white lies. A lie is simply false information and evil. One should not be deceived into thinking of it as an innocent act.
There are only three exceptions that permit lying. Umm Kulsum (rtaf) said: “I did not hear the Prophet (sa) permit untruths in anything people say except for three things: war, settling disagreements, and a man talking with his wife or she with him (in smoothing over differences).” (Muslim)
Luqman, the wise, as a young lad had an opportunity to serve as an officer. One day his master said: “Slaughter one of the sheep and roast the best part of its meat for me.” Luqman obeyed his order and roasted the tongue of the sheep for him.
The following day Luqman’s master said: “Roast the worst part of the sheep today.” Luqman again roasted the tongue of the sheep for his master. When the officer sat down to eat, he was surprised to see the roasted tongue again. He demanded that Luqman explain to him the reason of his choice.
Luqman said: “If a tongue is truthful and honest, it is the best part of the body. But when a tongue lies and utters dishonest words, it is the worst part of the body.”
“On the Day when their tongues, their hands, and their legs (or feet) will bear witness against them as to what they used to do.” (An-Nur 24:24)
Adapted from a workshop organized by LiveDeen. Transcribed for Hiba by Umm Amal.