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15 August 2010

Ramadan : Controlling the Tongue

Controlling the tongue is a characteristic that is required to be adopted, especially relevant in Ramadan, as one of the objectives of the fast is to control the tongue. Ibrahim al-Nakha’i, on of the teachers of Imam Abu Hanifa, may Allah have mercy on them both, mentioned: “The people ruined before you were done in by three characteristics: too much talking, too much eating, and too much sleeping.” Al-humdolillah, the Fast of Ramadan, when properly engaged in, cuts down on all three of these ruinations.
"Silence is to refrain from speaking falsely; not truthfully."

Silence differs from not speaking in three ways:

  • Not speaking is to leave off speech despite being capable of it. Capability is not a consideration in defining silence.
  • Silence also involves a relative period of time. If someone were to close his lips for a brief moment he would be described as not speaking. He would only be described as silent if the period of his being closed-mouthed endured for an extended period of time.
  • Not speaking involves a failure to speak, whether one refrains from uttering truth or falsehood; whereas silence involves refraining from speaking falsehood.

Protecting the Tongue is protecting the tongue from lying, slander, tale-carrying, false speech and other things that have been forbidden in the Divine Law.

Etiquette and conditions for protecting the tongue from slipping into sin

  1. There has to be an issue that calls for the speech; either to secure a benefit or to repulse harm.
  2. To speak in a manner appropriate for the subject and to speak at the proper time.
  3. To limit the speech to exactly what is needed.
  4. To carefully choose ones words.
  5. Not to allow fear or hope to push one to make promises or threats one will not be able to fulfill.
  6. That ones actions are consistent with ones speech.

Texts From the Hadith Concerning Silence and Holding Ones Tongue

The Prophet, peace upon him, said, “From a person’s Islam being good is his leaving* what does not concern him.” (Tirmidhi, #2318)
*Note: This includes leaving speech that does not concern him.

Narrated by Abu Huraira: "The Prophet said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should not hurt his neighbor and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should talk what is good or keep quiet."" (Sahih Bukhari, Book #73, Hadith #158)

The Prophet, peace upon him, was asked, “Which Muslim is best?” He responded, “One who the other Muslims are safe; from his tongue and his hand.” (Tirmidhi, #2504)

Ibn Mas’ud mentioned that he asked the Prophet, peace upon him, "“Which action is best?” He replied, “Prayer performed on time.” He asked, “Then which, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “That people are safe from your tongue.”" (Mundhari, al-Targhib, 3:523)

The Prophet, peace upon him, said, “All of the speech of the Child of Adam will be held against him, it will not be in his favor; except commanding good, forbidding wrong, or the remembrance of Allah.” (Tirmidhi, #2412)

The Prophet, peace upon him, mentioned, “Do not speak excessively in other than the remembrance of Allah, for verily excessive speech in other than the remembrance of Allah hardens the heart, and the heart most distanced from Allah is the hard heart.” (Tirmidhi, #2411)
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