Wisdom By Guarding one’s Tongue Against Abuse
One should avoid unkind words, useless talk, slander, and detraction. Imam Nawawi said: “You should know that one should not talk except to say something beneficial. When one is undecided whether to speak or keep quiet, according to the sunnah it is better to keep quiet, since the allowable saying will probably lead to the unlawful or doubtful.” Many ahadith of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) state that the tongue could lead to disaster and calamity.
Some of these are given below:
“The abuse of their tongues causes them to be thrown into the fire on their faces; the believer does not like to accuse, curse, and use foul language.” [Reported by Tirmidhi]
“Anybody who speaks a lot will have a lot of mistakes, and those who commit a lot of mistakes will have a lot of sins, and those who have a lot of sins will be in the Hellfire.”[Reported by Baihaiqi]
A Muslim must always be modest, but this should not prevent a Muslim from telling the truth. Modesty prevents one from meddling in other people’s affairs and from raising one’s voice. Modesty produces infaq (the tendency to give rather than take in life) and contentment with what one has achieved after putting forth one’s best effort.
The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Faith (iman) consists of more than sixty or seventy branches, the greatest of these is the kalimah, “there is no god but Allah” – and the lowest is removing an obstacle from the way; modesty is one of the branches.” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
A truly modest person would always avoid evil and be careful regarding the rights of other people.
A most important characteristic of a Muslim is fortitude, which is the strength to persevere in the good with kindness and patience. Good deeds are hated by most people, and teaching the truth is full of hardship, torture, oppression, blame, humiliation, and degradation. The dai’ or caller to Islam faces all of these obstacles, and because of them, some of these people retreat from their commitment of daw’ah and abandon their mission to preach the good news of Islam.
It is clear that the duty and responsibility of a dai’ are very challenging. They are responsible for bringing the message of Islam throughout the world so that all human beings can receive this message. In doing so, the caller has to encounter people of different backgrounds, the arrogant and knowledgeable, as well as the educated and the sensitive, the hard-hearted and the responsive. Therefore, the callers to Islam must communicate its message in a manner most fitting to win their hearts. They need a high degree of fortitude. Many verses of the Qur’an and ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) encourage Muslims to persevere in kindness and fortitude. Allah, the Almighty, has said:
“But, indeed, if anyone shows patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs.” [Qur’an Surah Ash-Shurah, 42:43]
“So overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Hijr, 15:85]
“Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure.” [Qur’an, Surah Az-Zumar, 39:10]
“… forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you?” [Qur’an, Surah An-Nur, 24:22]
“And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who…… when the ignorant address them, they say, “peace!”” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Furqan, 25:63]
The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu Alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Verily, whoever has a character of kindness will achieve the same level (of righteousness) as those who fast and engage in constant prayer. Do you want me to tell you what will cause Allah to secure your future and advance your cause in heaven?” They replied: “Truly, yes, O Messenger of Allah!” He said, “Behave politely to those who do not know you; forgive those who have oppressed you; give to those who have never given anything to you; and make brothers of those who have denied their brotherhood with you. When all creatures are gathered on Day of judgement, a caller will announce: “Where are the privileged people?”
The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Then a group of people, consisting of a small number, will rise and go to Heaven.” Then the angels will say to them: “What are your privileges?” They will answer, “During the past, when we were oppressed, we were patient; when something bad was done to us, we behaved kindly.” Then the angels will say: “Enter Heaven and get the reward you deserve.”
The following illustrate the Prophet’s demonstration of fortitude:
- After the Battle of Hunain, a man said, “By Allah this division of war booty is unjust and not for the sake of Allah.” When the Prophet heard this, he said, “May Allah be merciful to Prophet Moses. Indeed, he was tortured more than I am now, but he kept patience.”
- Anas narrated: “One day the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) entered the mosque with clothes containing a piece of course cloth made in Najran. Then an Arab (bedouin) came from the back and yanked the cloth until a scratch was visible on the neck of the Prophet. Then the bedouin said: “O Muhammad, give me all the wealth of Allah that you have.” The Prophet turned to him, smiled, and said: “Give him what he wants.”
- Abu Hurairah narrated: “A Bedouin came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Muhammad give me two camels loaded with goods. Verily such a gift won’t make a dent on either your or your father’s wealth.’ Then he approached the Prophet and yanked his cloth until a scratch was visible on his neck. The Prophet told his companions to give the bedouin a sack of flour and dates.”
- At-Tabarani narrated: “There was a woman who used to talk nonsense to men. One day, she passed by the Prophet while he was sitting on the ground eating bread and said, ‘Look, the Prophet is sitting and eating like a slave’.”
- Abu Hurairah narrated: “Amansaid, ‘O Muhammad, I have relatives with whom I always try to keep good relations, but they break relations with me. I behave politely to them, but they behave badly to me. I behave kindly to them but they behave harshly to me,’ Then the Prophet said, ‘If this is true, it seems that you are too much for them, so Allah will help you with them if you continue such behaviour.’”
- A Jew came to the Prophet asking for his debt and said: “You are from the tribe of AbdManaf whose tribe likes to delay paying debts.” When Umar heard this, he swore that he would cut off the Jew’s head. The Prophet said to him, “O, Umar, you should have told him to ask for his debt politely, and you should have asked me to pay him immediately.”
- It has been narrated that the Prophet Isa (alaihis salam) always travelled from one place to another to spread his message with his disciples. He was constantly speaking good to his people but they replied with insults, jesting, and shouts. His companions were surprised to see this and asked him what was the cause. The Prophet Isa (‘alaihis salam) replied, “Every person acts in accordance with what is in him.”All of these incidents
prove the importance for the callers to Islam to behave kindly, patiently, and openheartedly, especially in response to aggravation from relatives, friends, and loved ones. Such behaviour will generate love and can avoid divisions and argument. The caller to Islam need only act as Allah wants.