Importance of controlling the tongue

By Syed Hussain ibn Imamuddin | 18 Dec 2020

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Allah Almighty has blessed us and bestowed upon us with countless blessings and bounties. Amongst them one is the tongue.  Allah has bestowed this blessing to fulfill the multiple needs of us by utilising it in the correct manner. It plays a leading role in expressing the sorrows, laughter and tears of the human mind. It can be said the tongue is the best human resource. It can be used to utter good or bad. Duty of a Muslim is to utilise the tongue for good purposes and safeguard it from evil.

Only he who has lost this blessing of the tongue for some reason, can understand the value of this blessing. But we are constantly oppressing the tongue indiscriminately. We are often using it in disobedience to Allah Almighty.

Most fights, quarrels, conflicts, oppression etc. in the current world start with the misuse of the tongue resulting in calamities. In ahadeeth, the Prophet (ﷺ) gave a lot of advice on the preservation of the tongue.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “He who truly believes in Allah and the last day, should speak good or keep silent” (Bukhari-6018)

Imam an-nawawi says, “This hadeeth clearly states that one should not speak unless what he wants to say is good, and that is clearly of benefit. If there is any doubt about its benefit, then he should not speak.” (Riyadussaliheen)

Controlling the tongue is one of the characteristics of a believer. At the beginning of Surah Muminun in the Holy Qur’an, the Almighty Allah mentions seven qualities of a successful believer; the second quality is that those believers who turn away from useless talk.

In another hadith the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘The real Muslim is that person; from whose tongue and hands other people are safe’ (Nasai-5005)

A true Muslim is careful that his tongue does not speak a sarcastic word, anything that may be construed as a curse on somebody or immorality or abuse.

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) him said, “A believer is not one who taunts, who curses, who speaks indecently, and immorally”. (Tirmidhi-1977)

These are four things all of which origin from the tongue. A poet says: ‘Wounds caused by weapons heal but the wounds of the tongue do not heal.’ If you break someone’s heart then the wound is not repaired. People remember it for long.

In today’s age of technology, social life has changed us severely. Our existence and presence in life is divided into two, we now live in two types of society; real life and virtual life. Following the Islamic guidelines for guarding the tongue are as important in our virtual life or on social media as they are important in our real life. In real life, many people are aware of the evils of backbiting, slander, contempt, etc., but in the virtual life, they are very careless regarding it. This kind of mentality is the cause of trolling and mutual conflicts.

But how firmly Alllah Almighty says in the holy Qur’an, “O you who believe! No men should mock other men, perhaps they may be better than the mockers, and no women should mock other women, perhaps they may be better than the mockers, and do not defame one another, nor call each other by offensive nicknames. How evil it is to act rebelliously after having faith! And whoever does not repent, it is they who are the wrongdoers.” (Hujraat-11)

In this verse Allah Almighty commanded that one group of people should not ridicule another group, one group should not raise its voice over the other, one group should not try to find fault with the other, nor should one group address the other with evil names and titles.

Abu Huraira narrated, that he heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “A slave of Allah may utter a word without thinking whether it is right or wrong, he may slip down in the Fire as far away a distance equal to that between the east.” (Bukhari-6477)

A Muslim should always be very careful about what he says; a single word uttered carelessly can be so serious that it leads one to Hell fire. May Allah protect us all.

On the contrary, there is great news in controlling the tongue. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “whosoever gives me the guarantee that he will safeguard what is between his two jaw-bones (i.e. his tongue) and what is between his two legs (i.e. his private parts), i will guarantee him Paradise.” (Bukhari-6474)

Using the tongue in the right way, keeping the tongue away from injustice, untruth, backbiting, slandering and haram is an easy way to gain the pleasure of Allah.

In short, controlling the tongue is a very important thing in the life of a believer. It is a great grace of Allah Almighty to be able to guard one’s tongue from unjust and obscene speech. It is the nature of lovers of Allah to speak well, speak less and remain silent.

Those who are able to take proper care of the tongue will be considered as believers first.  Secondly, he will be free from all evils of the world. And in the Hereafter there will be unlimited success.

May Allah Almighty grant us the ability to guard our tongue and utilise it for beneficial acts. Aameen.