Watch What You Say: Don’t Poke Fun or Be Sarcastic


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Nouman Ali Khan is the founder and CEO of Bayyinah, , an Islamic educational institute in the USA, and serves as a lead instructor for several programmes including Dream, travelling seminars and Bayyinah TV.

Colorful speech bubbles“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, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: “O sinner”, or “O wicked”, etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.).” (Al-Hujurat 49:11)

I wanted to share with you a reminder that we all need, in regards to guarding and respecting the gift Allah (swt) has given to us- our tongues. The ability to speak is an incredible gift from Allah (swt), and it’s an honour from Allah (swt). And, what we learn from the verses is that, the best use of our speech is to remember Allah (swt) by the words He taught us. Our speech, in any matter, should be inspired by the speech that Allah (swt) has honoured us with, i.e., His Quran.

we sometime don’t realize the value of things that we have, specially our tongues.

Now, we’re all humans and we make mistakes. And, we sometime don’t realize the value of things that we have, specially our tongues. We say things, we make comments and social settings among family and friends and things like that. We completely cross the line sometimes that we don’t realize the magnitude of that problem. And because, Allah (swt) takes good time to mention this particular problem in the Quran, it should make us appreciate that this is not a light matter.

In this regard, there is a reminder from Surah Al-Hujurat, verse number eleven. It is addressed to those who believe, and the first thing Allah (swt) says is that, those of you who believe, don’t let any group among you or any nation, collectivity poke fun at any other group. Don’t be sarcastic against each other. Now, making fun of someone and being sarcastic against someone, especially nowadays, is considered as a sign of intelligence… ‘that guy is really funny!’, ‘ that guy makes a lot of funny jokes!’, or ‘he makes lot of sarcastic remarks that are like a rapid fire, they come out of him one after another!’. And, when people around you laugh at your joke, it’s pretty much an ego boost; so you come up with a next disc or a next sarcastic remark or an inappropriate joke, and you feed off the humour, and you get caught up with it.

Allah (swt) is telling us in this Surah that this is something that can take away the very fabric of brotherhood that we enjoy among each other. Allah (swt) says right before this verse that believers are nothing, but brothers among each other; so make reconciliation among your brothers. And, fear Allah (swt) so you are shown mercy. Be conscious, aware and in awe of Allah (swt) so you may be shown mercy.

The previous verse tells us to make reconciliation among each other, and the very next verse reminds us to watch the way we speak to each other.

The previous verse tells us to make reconciliation among each other, and the very next verse reminds us to watch the way we speak to each other. Don’t be sarcastic with each other. Don’t make insulting comments in the name of humour against each other. It is very casual to say or talk about how short someone is, or how ugly they are, or how they dress, or what kind of car they drive, or what school they go to, or what kind of a job they have. It’s very easy to pick on someone’s flaws and make them the point of ridicule.

An excerpt from a lecture transcript published on www.nakcollection.com – edited and posted by Hiba with permission.

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