Preserving the Tongue from Speech Except in Good
Allah said, (O you who believed, be godly to Allah and say a right word. ! He will A rectify your deeds for you and forgive your sins for you; and whoever obeys Allah and His messenger, then surely he has achieved a tremendous success) (33:70-71).
He said, (O you who believed, avoid much of the assumption! Surely, part of the assumption
is sin. And do not spy, nor backbite one another. Would one of you want to eat the
flesh of his dead brother? Surely you would hate it. And be godly to Allah; surely
Allah is an acceptor [of repentance, and] compassionate) (49:12).
He, exalted is He, said, (We have indeed created man and We know what his own soul whispers to him. We are closer to him than his jugular vein, ! since the two receivers [who] receive from
the right and from the left are supervisors. He does not utter a statement except that
he has a watcher prepared [to record it]) (50:16-18).
He, exalted is He, said, (And those who annoy believing men and women for other than
what they earned, indeed bear [the burden of] slander and manifest sin) (33:58).
In Ṣaḥîḥ Muslim (no. 2589) from Abî Hurairah, [it is recorded] that
Allah’s messenger [asked], «Do you know what backbiting is?» They said, “Allah
and His messenger are more knowledgeable.” He said, «[It is] your mentioning of
your brother with what he detests.» It was [asked], “So then do you see [it as
backbiting] if my brother has what I said?” He said, «If he had what you said, then
you have backbitten him. If he did not have it, then you have slandered him.»
Allah said, (Do not follow what you do not have knowledge of. Surely, the hearing,
the sight, and the heart, will all be questioned about it) (17:36).
From Abî Hurairah, [who] said, Allah’s messenger said, «Surely Allah is pleased with three [things] for you and He detests three [things] for you. He is pleased for you that you worship Him, that you do not associate anything with Him, and that you all adhere to Allah’s rope and not be divided. He detests for you ‘it was said’ and ‘it is said’, excessive questioning, and the wasting of wealth.» Muslim (no. 1715); these three detested things came in the ḥadîth of al-Mughîrah with al-Bukhârî (no. 2408) and Muslim.
From Abî Hurairah, from the Prophet, [who] said, «The son of Adam’s share of fornication was written for him, attaining that unavoidably. Indeed, the eyes’ fornication is the sight; the ears’ fornication is the hearing; the tongue’s fornication is the speech; the hand’s fornication is the touch; the foot’s fornication is the step; and the heart wishes and desires, the private parts
testify to that and deny it.» Narrated by al-Bukhârî (no. 6612) and Muslim (no. 2657); the wording is Muslim’s.
In his Ṣaḥîḥ (no. 10), al-Bukhârî narrated from ‘Abdillah bin ‘Amr, from the Prophet
[who] said, «The Muslim is whose tongue and hands the [other] Muslims are safe from.»
Imam Muslim narrated it in his Ṣaḥîḥ and its wording was: “that a man asked Allah’s messenger, ‘Which of the Muslims is best?’ He said, «Whoever’s tongue and hands the [other] Muslims are safe from.» Muslim also narrated from the ḥadîth of Jâbir (no. 65) with the wording of the ḥadîth of ‘Abdillah bin ‘Amr with al-Bukhârî.
In the ḥadîth’s explanation, Ḥâfiḍḥ [Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalânî] said, The ḥadîth is general with regards to the tongue with the exception of the hands, because [with] the tongue, speech is possible regarding those who have passed, those who are present and those who come after, unlike the hand. Yes! It is possible that the tongue shares in that by writing. And indeed, its affects in that are great.
In this regard, the poet says,
I wrote and have ascertained the day of my writing,
because my hand will perish and its writing will remain.
So if I did good, it will be rewarded with its like.
And if I did evil, then upon me is its reckoning.
In his Ṣaḥîḥ (no. 6474), al-Bukhârî narrated from Sahl bin Sa’d from Allah’s messenger [who] said, «Whoever safeguards what is between his jaws and what is between his legs for me, I safeguard Paradise for him.» The intent of what is between the jaws and legs is the tongue and the private parts, [respectively].
In [their] Ṣaḥîḥs, al-Bukhârî (no. 6475) and Muslim (no. 74) [narrated] from Abî Hurairah from Allah’s messenger [who] said, «Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him speak good or be silent,» [to the end of] the ḥadîth.
In Sharḥ al-Arba’în, regarding this ḥadîth’s explanation, an-Nawawî said, ash-Shâfi’î said, “The ḥadîth’s meaning is when one wants to speak, then let him ponder. So, if it became apparent that there is no harm upon him, he can speak. And if it became apparent that it contains harm and doubt, he should hold back.” And it was conveyed by some of them that he said, “If you were to buy the paper for the ḥafaḍḥah (the angels who record the people’s deeds), indeed you would remain silent over much of the speech.”
On pg. 45 of his book, Rawḍah al-‘Uqalâ’ wa Nuzhah al-Fuḍalâ’ , Imam Abū Ḥâtim bin Ḥibbân al-Bustî said, The obligation upon the sensible [person] is that he maintains silence until speaking
is necessary for him. For how many more are those who regretted when they spoke
and [how] fewer are those who regret when they remained silent. The longest of the
people in misery and the greatest of them in being tested are those who have been
tested by an unrestrained tongue and a closed heart.
On pg. 47, he also said, The sensible [person’s] tongue is behind his heart. So when he intends the statement, he returns to the heart. If it was for him, he spoke, and if not, then no. The ignorant person, his heart is on the tip of his tongue; whatever comes upon his tongue he
speaks with. Whoever does not preserve his tongue does not make sense of his
In [their] Ṣaḥîḥ s, al-Bukhârî (no. 6477) and Muslim (no. 2988) narrated from Abî Hurairah that Allah’s messenger said, «Surely, the servant will certainly speak a word not noticing what it contains. Due to it, he will be thrown into the Fire farther than what is between the east and the west.» (The wording is Muslim’s.)
At the end of the ḥadîth of the Prophet’s counsel to Mu’âdh,(at-Tirmidhî (no. 2616), and [concerning the ḥadîth], he said, “An authentic good ḥadîth.”) in reply to Mu’âdh’s, “O Prophet of Allah, will we be held accountable for what we speak with?” he r said,
«Are people thrown down into the Hellfire upon their faces—or upon their noses—except [by]
the harvests of their tongues?»
In his explanation from his book, al-Jâmi’ al-‘Ulūm wal-Ḥikam (2/147), Ḥâfidh Ibn Rajab said, The intent of ‘the harvests of the tongues’ is the forbidden speech’s reward and
punishment, because the person plants the good deeds and the misdeeds with his
statement and his deed. On the Day of Standing, he then harvests what he planted. So
whoever planted good from a statement or a deed, he will harvest the honour, while
whoever planted evil from a statement or a deed, he will harvest the tomorrow of
He said, “This indicates that restraining the tongue, seizing it and confining it is the basis of all the good and that whoever controlled his tongue has controlled his affair, fortified it and seized it.” (al-Jâmi’ al-‘Ulūm wal-Ḥikam, (2/146)
He conveyed from Yūnus bin ‘Ubaid that he said, “I have not seen from anyone whose tongue was on a mind (I.e., he was mindful of what he says), except [that] I saw that as goodness in the rest of his deeds,” and from Yaḥyâ bin Abî Kathîr that he said, “The speech of a person is not proper unless you recognize that in the rest of his deeds, while the speech of a person is not corrupted at all unless you recognize that in the rest of his deeds.” (al-Jâmi’ al-‘Ulūm wal-Ḥikam, (1/149))
In his Ṣaḥîḥ (no. 2581), Muslim narrated from Abî Hurairah that Allah’s messenger r
«Do you know who the bankrupt [person] is?» They said, “According to us, the
bankrupt [person] is whoever does not have a dirham, nor any property.” So he said,
«Surely, the bankrupt [person] from my nation comes on the Day of Standing with
prayer, fasting and zakâh, while he comes having abused this [person], slandered this
[person], having eaten the wealth of this [person], having shed the blood of this
[person], and having beaten this [person]. So this [person] will be given from his
good deeds and this [person] from his good deeds. Then if his good deeds are spent
before he settles what is upon him, it is taken from their sins. So they are flung upon
him, then he is thrown into the Fire.»
In his Ṣaḥîḥ (no. 2564), Muslim narrated a long ḥadîth from Abî Hurairah. At its end came, «It is enough evil for a person that he despises his Muslim brother. Everything of the Muslim is sacred to the Muslim: his blood, his wealth and his honour.»
In their Ṣaḥîḥs, al-Bukhârî (no. 1739) and Muslim narrated from Ibn ‘Abbâs that Allah’s messenger addressed the people on the Day of Slaughter and [asked], «O people, which day is this?» They said, “A sacred day.” He [asked], «Which city is this?» They said, “A sacred city.” He [asked], «Then which month is this?» They said, “A sacred month.” He said, «Then surely your blood, your wealth, and your honours are sacred to you just like the sacredness of this day of yours, in this city of yours, in this month of yours.» Then he repeated it several times, raised
his head and [asked], «O Allah, have I conveyed?» Ibn ‘Abbâs C said, “For, by the
One whose hand my soul is in, indeed, it was certainly his counsel to his nation. ‘So
let the witness convey to the absent. Do not return as disbelievers after me, some of
you striking the necks of others.’
In his Ṣaḥîḥ (no. 2674), Muslim narrated from Abî Hurairah that Allah’s Messenger said,
«Whoever called to guidance will have the likes of the rewards of whoever followed
him and that would not diminish anything from their rewards. And whoever called to
misguidance will have upon him the likes of the offences of whoever followed him
and that would not diminish anything from their offences.»
In at-Targhîb wat-Tarhîb (1/65), commenting on the ḥadîth, «When the son of Adam dies, his deeds cease except from one of three … ,» [to the end of] the ḥadîth, Ḥâfiḍḥ al-Mundhirî said,
The transcriber of beneficial knowledge has his reward and the reward of whoever
read it, copied it, or acted upon it after him, as long as his writing and the acting upon it remains, because of this ḥadîth and its likes. The transcriber of [what is] non-beneficial from what obligates offence, upon him is his burden and the burden of
whoever read it, copied it, or acted upon it after him, as long as his writing and the
acting upon it remains, because of what has preceded from the ḥâdîths, «whoever
established a good or evil sunnah.» And Allah is more knowledgeable.
In his Ṣaḥîḥ (no. 6502), al-Bukhârî narrated from Abî Hurairah [who] said, “Allah’s messenger said, «Surely Allah said, “Whoever makes an ally of Mine an enemy, then I will surely declare war on him,”» [to the end of] the ḥadîth.