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Sins of the tongue

26/06/2013 A.D 17/8/1434 H

By: Amin Dagher

Imam Ali (a.s.) explains that: “The heart of the stupid is in his mouth, and the tongue of the wise man is in his heart.” The aforementioned quote emphasizes the importance of pondering on words before one articulates them. Generally speaking, people do not really contemplate what they have to say. They forget that each and every word and action is accounted for on the Last Day. The same concept has been expounded on by Ismail Kamdar in his book “Having Fun the Halal Way.” 

Kamdar’s book provides an insight on how one can enjoy life and have fun and yet maintain his principles and avoid sins. He explains that “There are many forms of sinful speech, the most common of which is gossip. Gossip can be of two types: Backbiting, which means to talk negatively about a person who is absent, even if what is being discussed is true.

The second type is slandering, which means lying while speaking negatively about others. This category includes suspicion without evidence, mockery and looking for faults in others. Allah has prohibited all of the above in the following verse: “O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is accepting of repentance and Merciful.” (49:12)

These sins of the tongue, which people treat lightly, are actually the root causes of disunity among the Muslims. If we are constantly thinking negatively about, looking for faults in, and spreading rumors about our fellow Muslims, how can we ever expect our hearts to be united?”

Imam Ali (a.s.) related that: “Muting is better than the ill speech.” In other words, it is better to remain silent than to speak in an ill manner of another person, as that compromises a sin that is punished by God. Not only does it invoke punishment in the Hereafter, but it also causes enmity and discordance between people.  

In accordance to His Eminence, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra), one of the major sins in Islam is falsehood that constitutes backbiting and lying, as well as violating the rights and honor of fellow Muslims. In addition, even in humor, one is not allowed to violate the honor of other Muslims.

Thus, one must be moderate in his humor. Kamdar expounds on the matter saying: “It is human nature to enjoy a good joke and laugh. Islam does not prohibit this; it does not expect us to be strict and serious all the time. It allows laughter and humor.

However, there are limits. The Prophet (p) has forbidden us from joking too much because it deadens the heart.

He said: “Do not laugh too much, for excessive laughter kills the heart [spiritually].”

He also said: “If you knew that which I know, you would laugh little and weep much.”

Thus, moderation is required even in humor. It is also vital to understand that there is a time for laughter and humor, and a time for seriousness and sobriety. The reason for this prohibition is that excessive laughter makes people take life less seriously, and they begin to see humor in everything.

It also makes them so accustomed to humor that they are unable to sit through any serious speech. Such people find lectures boring and do not attend anything beneficial simply because they do not find it funny. This is what is meant by excessive laughter killing the heart.”

Regarding mockery and degradation, Allah has informed us: “O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name [that is, mention] of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent — then it is those who are the wrongdoers.”  (49:11)

Islam wishes man to be a man of moderation, respect and decency. Islam is not a religion that wants its followers to be uptight, however, it wants them not to take things to the extreme.



Name: fatima awali
Subject: can we swim during ramadan?
Comment: Al salamou 3alaykom my question is ? thank you
Answer: It is preferred as an obligatory precaution not to immerse the entire head under water while fasting, but it does not break the fast.

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