Ka’b on Mercy: Blessed are those who are merciful to creation.

Ka’b reported: Allah Almighty said to Moses, upon him be peace, “O Moses, be soft in nature, for the most abhorred creation to me is one within whom is arrogance, in whose tongue is sharpness, and in whose heart is hardness. The most beloved character traits to me are mercy, compassion, kindness, and gentleness. O Moses, be merciful to my creation and I will have mercy on you. O Moses, I am merciful and I love those who are merciful. Blessed are those who are merciful. Again, blessed are those who are merciful. And again, blessed are those who are merciful.”

Source: Hilyat al-Awliyā 6/37

Allah, the Exalted, says: “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) “And follow not (O man, i.e., say not or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allah).” (17:36) وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ ٱلسَّمْعَ وَٱلْبَصَرَ وَٱلْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْـُٔولًۭا

“Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it)مَّا يَلْفِظُ مِن قَوْلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيْهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيدٌۭ.” (50:18) Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.” [Muslim] Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (radiallahu anh) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “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 (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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] What is between the jaws and what is between the legs refers to the tongue and the sexual organs, respectively. They should be guarded against every act that is prohibited by the Shari`ah. Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: I heard the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying, “A person utters a word thoughtlessly (i.e., without thinking about its being good or not) and, as a result of this, he will fall down into the fire of Hell deeper than the distance between the east and the west.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] This Hadith shows the disadvantages which can be caused by the improper use of the tongue. It is, therefore, essential that one should think before he speaks. Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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] Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman Bilal bin Al-Harith Al-Muzani (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “A man speaks a good word without knowing its worth, Allah records for him His Good Pleasure till the day he will meet Him; and a man utters an evil word without realizing its importance, Allah records for him His displeasure till the day he will meet Him.” [Imam Malik and At-Tirmidhi] This Hadith tells us a fact which can be observed in our everyday life. Sometimes a person utters a good sentence which pleases an individual and he reforms himself or holds himself from doing something wrong. Such a sentence or utterance is highly rewarded by Allah. Similarly, sometime a person utters a mischievous sentence, the ruinous effects of which he does not realize. This utterance hurts someone’s feelings and leads him to sin and evil. Almighty Allah is displeased with such a person.

The lesson that this Hadith has for us is that one should strictly guard his speech and weigh his words to avoid Allah’s Wrath. Sufyan bin `Abdullah (radiallahu anh) reported: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Tell me, of something to which I may remain steadfast.” He (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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 (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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] If one indulges in idle talk rather than the remembrance of Allah, his heart becomes hardened, which is a sign of being far from Allah’s Mercy. One should therefore occupy himself with the remembrance of Allah. Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “He whom Allah saves from the evil of that which is between his jaws and the evil of that which is between his legs will enter Jannah.” [At-Tirmidhi] ‘Uqbah bin `Amir (radiallahu anh) said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam),

“How can salvation be achieved?” He replied, “Control your tongue, keep to your house, and weep over your sins.” [At-Tirmidhi] Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (radiallahu anh) said: The Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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] Even the slightest carelessness on the part of the tongue can make all the organs suffer for it. Crookedness of the tongue means the careless use of the tongue which lands the whole body in trouble; and keeping the tongue straight means keeping oneself safe from all kinds of troubles and ordeals. Mu`adh bin Jabal (radiallahu anh) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “Inform me of an act which will cause me to enter Jannah and keep me far from Hell.” He (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “You have asked me about a matter of great importance, but it is easy for one for whom Allah makes it easy.” He added, “Worship Allah, associate nothing with Him in worship, offer As-Salat (the prayer), pay the Zakat, observe Saum (fasting) during Ramadan and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House of Allah, if you can afford it.” He (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) further said, “Shall I not guide you to the gates of goodness? Fasting is a screen (from Hell), charity extinguishes (i.e., removes) the sins as water extinguishes fire, and standing in prayers by a slave of Allah during the last third part of the night.” Then he recited:

“Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Rubb in fear and hope, and they spend (in charity in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.” (32:17,18) Then he added, “Shall I tell you of the root of the matter, its pillar and its highest point?” I replied: “Yes! Certainly, O Prophet of Allah.” He said, “The root of this matter (foundation) is Islam, its pillar (mainstay is) As-Salat (the prayer) and its highest point is Jihad (fighting in the Cause of Allah).” Then he asked, “Shall I tell you of that which holds all these things?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” So he took hold of his tongue and said, “Keep this in control.” I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Shall we really be accounted for what we talk about?” He replied, “May your mother lose you! People will be thrown on their faces into the Hell on account of their tongues.” Besides describing Articles of Islam, this Hadith mentions the dangers which lie in the careless use of the tongue.

All good actions can go to waste if one does not guard his speech. One should, therefore, guard his tongue against that which Allah has made prohibited. Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Do you know what is backbiting?” The Companions said: “Allah and His Messenger know better.” Thereupon he said, “Backbiting is talking about your (Muslim) brother in a manner which he dislikes.” It was said to him: “What if my (Muslim) brother is as I say.” He said, “If he is actually as you say, then that is backbiting; but if that is not in him, that is slandering.” [Muslim] This Hadith elaborates the meaning of backbiting and calumny and points out the difference between the two along with the evils of each one of them. Both these evils are mischief of the tongue and entail great troubles. May Allah save us from both.

Abu Bakrah (radiallahu anh) said: Delivering the sermon during the Farewell Pilgrimage on the day of Sacrifice at Mina, the Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Verily your blood, your property and your honour are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this town of yours. Verily! I have conveyed this message to you.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] A Muslim should neither kill another without any lawful reason nor should he usurp his property nor should he disgrace him. Since backbiting is also a kind of tyranny which defames a person, it should be strictly avoided. `Aishah (radiallahu anha) said: I said to the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “Such and such thing of Safiyyah (radiallahu anha) is sufficient for you.” (She means to say that she was a woman with a short stature). He said, “You have indeed uttered a word which would pollute the sea if it were mixed in it.” She further said: I imitated a person before him and he said, “I do not like that I should imitate someone even (if I am paid) in return such and such.” [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi] In Arabic, the word “Muhakat” is often used for imitating someone’s defect or deformity, etc. Every imitation of this kind also amounts to backbiting. This is the reason the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used the analogy stated in this Hadith when `Aishah (radiallahu anha) said that Safiyyah (radiallahu anha) was short-statured. Imam An-Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) regarded this analogy as based on Wahy and supported his contention by the Verse of the Qur’an: “Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only a Revelation revealed.” Thus, it is evident from this Hadith that to speak of somebody in a scornful manner, or ridicule someone’s physical defect, or to imitate someone’s deformity, or talk disparagingly about someone, is a great offense which should be avoided by every Muslim. Anas (radiallahu anh) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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] “These are the people who ate flesh of others” is a metaphor for backbiting. “To trample people’s honour” is akin to harming their goodwill and honour. The punishment for these things mentioned in Hadith makes their seriousness obvious. Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The blood, honour and property of a Muslim is inviolable for another Muslim.” [Muslim]

The Tongue Expresses what is in the Heart:
If a person is good, it reflects in their saying. Allah has made it very easy for the tongue to move, and it is not difficult to realize that a person’s tongue moves much more as if compared to the limbs. So if a person is not careful about what he says, even a single saying of his can invalidate his actions. It is for this reason that the whole body warns the tongue saying, “Fear Allah concerning us, for we are (dependant) upon you. If you are upright then we will be upright and if you are corrupt then we will be corrupt.” – Sunan at-Tirmidhi (1912), Mishkaat (4838) and Riyaadh as-Saleheen (2/1521)

And at the same time, the tongue is a great blessing from Allah. If we look at the animals, who are unable to speak, we realize the importance of this great tool of communication.
The gratitude that we should show for this great blessing should include, using it for the obedience to Allah, for reading the Qur’aan, for seeking Knowledge, to enjoin good and forbidding evil. The prohibitions of the tongue are that you do not lie, abuse, use foul language, backbite and slander.

Allah says in the begining of Soorah al-Mumineen, “Indeed successful are the Believers, those who in their prayer have Khushoo’ (fear of Allah) and those who refrain from vain talk.” [Soorah Mumineen : 1-3]

Here Allah mentions that refraining from vain talk is a sign of the successful believers. Allah also mentions refraining from vain talk after he mentions al-Khushoo’. This is because too much talk makes the heart hard. It is not possible to reach the level of Khushoo’ (fear of Allah) unless one refrains from vain talk.

Imaam an-Nawawee – rahimahullah – mentions “Know it is incumbent upon all to guard their tongues from most speech, except a word that has some benefit in it….” – Kitaabul-Adhkaar

And for those who take heed there is a constant reminder in the verse, “Not a word is said except that there is a watcher by him ready to record it.” – [Soorah Qaf (50):18] The Messenger of Allah, Muhammed – SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam – said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or keep silent.”

Imaam ash-Shafiee – rahimahullah – said. “If you wish to speak then it is upon you to think before you speak. If you think there is good in it then speak and if not then do not speak.”

The earlier mentioned Qur’aanic verses, Hadeeth (sayings) of our noble Prophet and advices by the scholars of Islaam are a guide for those searching for salvation against vain talk. So before we talk, we should ask ourselves…

? Will this saying of mine please Allah?

? Will this saying of mine bring me closer to Allah?

? Does this saying earn with it obedience to Allah?

If yes, then speak, otherwise one should keep quiet.

Abu Aminah Elias
Mission Islam



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