Good Deed: #61 Control your tongue

  • “And backbite not one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (49:12)
  • “Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).” (50:18)
  • “When thou seest men engaged in vain discourse about Our signs, turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme. If Satan ever makes thee forget, then after recollection, sit not thou in the company of those who do wrong. (The Noble Quran, 6:68)”
  • “And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: ‘To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.’ (The Noble Quran, 28:55)”
  • “So leave them to plunge in vain talk and play about, until they encounter that Day of theirs which they have been promised!- (The Noble Quran, 70:42)”
  • “(The sinners will say:) ‘But we used to talk vanities with vain talkers;’ (The Noble Quran, 74:45)”
  • Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.”[Muslim].
  • Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): “Who is the most excellent among the Muslims?” He said, “One from whose tongue and hands the other Muslims are secure.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
  • Sahl bin Sa`d (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Whosoever gives me a guarantee to safeguard what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I shall guarantee him Jannah.”[Al-Bukhari].
  • Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “A man utters a word pleasing to Allah without considering it of any significance for which Allah exalts his ranks (in Jannah); another one speaks a word displeasing to Allah without considering it of any importance, and for this reason he will sink down into Hell.”[Al-Bukhari]
  • Sufyan bin `Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Tell me, of something to which I may remain steadfast.” He (PBUH) said, “Say: My Rubb is Allah and then remain steadfast.” Then I said: “O Messenger of Allah! What do you fear most about me?” He took hold of his own tongue and said: “This.” [At-Tirmidhi].
  • Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Do not indulge in excessive talk except when remembering Allah. Excessive talking without the Remembrance of Allah hardens the heart; and those who are the farthest from Allah are those whose hearts are hard.”[At-Tirmidhi]
  • Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: `Fear Allah for our sake because we are with you: (i.e., we will be rewarded or punished as a result of what you do) if you are straight, we will be straight; and if you are crooked, we will become crooked.”'[At-Tirmidhi].
  • Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “During the Mi`raj (the Night of Ascension), I saw a group of people who were scratching their chests and faces with their copper nails. I asked, `Who are these people, O Jibril?’ Jibril replied: `These are the people who ate flesh of others (by backbiting) and trampled people’s honour.”'[Abu Dawud].


source of Hadith – Riyadus Saaliheen

Action Plan

Imam al-Ghazali , identifies 8 common diseases of the tongue in his Ihya Ulum Al-Din, “Revival of Religious Sciences.”

1) Lying: Considered one of the worst sins in Islam, and the Prophet (s) even warned against telling false stories in order to make people laugh, because once the tongue becomes used to lying it will spread to other spheres of your life.

2) Breaking promises: Do not break your promises for it is a sure sign of hypocrisy in the heart.

3) Backbiting: Allah (swt) likens the one talking ill about another behind their back as disgusting and blameworthy as one who eats the dead flesh of his brother or sister.

4) Wrangling, arguing and disputing with others: This does nothing but increase enmity between the hearts and pride within oneself. Therefore, abandon argumentation and disputation with others, especially when you know it is of no use or benefit.

The Prophet (s) said, “If a man avoids disputing when he is in the wrong, God builds for him a mansion in the middle part of paradise. And if a man avoids disputing when he is in the right, God builds for him a mansion in highest part of paradise.

5) Self-justification or self-praise: Praising yourself is a sign of arrogance, and the Prophet (s) said that a person with even a seed of arrogance in his or heart will not enter the gates of paradise. Self-praise is something that brings both people’s dislike and God’s dislike upon you both in this world and in the next.

6) Cursing: Do not curse anyone or even anything that Allah has created. Even when you are wronged, respond with peace and kindness not with the same ignorance that was hurled at you. Allah (swt) says about the servants of the Merciful, “And when the ignorant call upon you, reply to them “Peace.”

7) Invoking evil on creatures: Pray even for your worst enemies and those who hurt you rather than evoking some sort of evil upon them. In the end invoking evil on people hurts no one but your own soul and your own destiny on the day of judgement.

8. Jesting, ridiculing, and scoffing at people: Allah (swt) says, “Believers, people should not ridicule other people; these maybe better than they are. And women should not ridicule other women, these maybe better than they are. And don’t defame each other, or call each other insulting nicknames. Evil the name of impiety after faith; and any who do not refrain are doing wrong.”

And the Prophet (s) once chastised his wife Aisha when she called made fun of another person’s short height by saying, “You have indeed uttered a word which would pollute the sea if it were mixed in it.”

So, now that we know the 8 major diseases of the heart, it is important to know how to purify our tongues of these spiritual diseases that will enable us to gain mastery over our tongues.

1) First we must remain conscious of these diseases, and refrain from allowing any of them to take residence in our tongues.

2) Secondly, and most importantly we must adopt silence, silence, and more silence. Know that every word that is uttered is recorded, so be sure that whenever you do speak, you speak words that are pleasing to God. As our spiritual masters teach us, speak little, think much. And this is why Abu Bakr (ra) would place a rock in his mouth and remove it only when he found it useful and beneficial to talk. This is the extent to which our role models went to discipline their tongues, and we should follow these examples.

3) Increase our fasting for fasting teaches us self-control and teaches us to gain mastery over our own souls. In fact, before the shariah (law) of Prophet Muhammad (s) it is evident in the story of Maryam (as) that fasting also consisted of remaining silent for long periods of time. So, fasting is a natural way to train the tongue in self-control.

4) Keep good company, for it is natural to adopt to the company of the people you are with. If you are with company that uses the tongue loosely, it is likely that you will also become loose with your tongue because of the culture that is created among your circle. On the other hand, if your company is good and the culture among your circle is such that the tongue is only used for good purposes, it is also likely that you will become used to using your tongue for pure purposes only.

5) Finally, and most importantly, train your tongue to be in constant dhikr, remembrance of Allah (swt), especially before going to bed in the night and when waking up in the morning.

source: Harvesting a pure tongue

6) I would like to add, control your thoughts because even thinking bad about someone can be a form of backbiting.

Other resources

Control the Use of your Tongue – Yahya Ibrahim

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  1. Adeeb says:

    Excellent article, alhumdulilah. May Allah bless you, and all of us.

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