I want to share with you a strange story I once heard. Two brothers were at a bus stop, when a young lady approached them. Her arms were laden with groceries. Indicating her apartment behind them, she asked if they could help her. One of the brothers agreed, while the other stayed at the stop. Fifteen minutes later, the brother at the stop began to worry – his sibling had not yet returned. What was taking him so long to drop off some groceries? He ran to the apartment the young lady had pointed out and knocked on the door. A child, with a bone in his hand and fresh blood dripping from his teeth, answered it. Terrified, the young man pushed past him into the apartment. To his horror, he found a group of people feasting on the body of his dead brother!
I was really disgusted when I heard this! Then, after the story, I got a real shock. I was told that I do this all the time! Eat human flesh? Me? No way! I faint at the sight of my own blood.
It was explained that Allah has said: “…And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting)…” (Al-Hujurat 49:12)
So every time I invite my friends over for some ‘juicy gossip’, I am actually inviting them to dig into a ‘juicy human steak’! I remember how I mimicked that teacher with the accent. My classmates thought I was so cool. Some even said: “You’re so smart.” Now, I am not sure if I really was.
Our beloved Prophet (sa) warned us: “A man may be so close to Paradise such that the distance between him and it is one arm’s length and he speaks a word and he becomes distant from it further than Sanaa (referring to a great distance).” (At-Tirmidhi)
Subhan’Allah! One word! The jokes I cracked about my over-weight cousin had several words!
When I fasted in Ramadan, I never tasted a single morsel of food. To me that was an accomplishment. However, I relished those hot angry words I dished out to everyone, who suggested I do something other than sleep the day away. I controlled my hunger but not my tongue, so my fasts became a farce.
The Prophet (sa) said: “When a man gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: ‘Fear Allah for our sake, for we are dependent on you; if you are straight we are straight, but if you are crooked we are crooked’” (At-Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (sa) even once took hold of his tongue and said: “Exercise restraint on it…Will anything else besides (irresponsible) talk cause the people to be thrown into the Hell-Fire upon their faces or on their nostrils?” (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn-Majah)
Allah’s Messenger (sa) also said: “Whoever guarantees me (the chastity of) what is between his legs (i.e., his private parts), and what is between his jaws (i.e., his tongue), I guarantee him Paradise.” (At-Tirmidhi)
From now on, I shall no longer give my tongue free reign to babble away, Insha’Allah (and I mean it), till I have something good to say. It is confined to its place, in my mouth, behind my teeth.