Hateful & hurtful speech: Why can't people either say good or keep silent
Isn’t it evil enough for a Believer to misuse his/her tongue to enter the fire? Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Most of the people who will enter the fire, will do so due to their tongues”
Post by DR. FIAZ MAQBOOL FAZILI on Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Why can't people either say good or keep silent? Whenever, someone or the other uses a proverb like “Sau Chuhe Khake Billi Hajj Ko Challi” to highlight someone's past shortcomings and faults, in such a way that he or she is mocked at- I dislike it! The quote hints that those people who have previously been sinful, done a lot of wrongs are now acting innocent by doing a pure, clean act. I dislike it even more when it is offered by anyone intended for negative publicity to ridicule or mock a penitent. Isn’t it evil enough for a Believer to misuse his/her tongue to enter the fire? Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, ”Most of the people who will enter the fire, will do so due to their tongues.”
Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I respect that. However, I draw the line when my character is questioned. I may be part of an industry that is seen to be glamorous or full of contradictions as politicians or film actors have but it doesn't mean that we have forsaken our morals. What gives anybody the right to drag my name into the gutter? The people must control their speech. "Let whosoever believes in Allah and on the Last Day either speak good or be silent.” These Hadiths contain the rulings concerning the tongue and the behaviour of faithful towards others. It also emphasizes our responsibilities for what we say.
But the Big Question is: Do Ridicule, Taunting, Sarcasm and Mockery have a Place in Believer’s life? This time the victim was an actress and a politician who remained in negative publicity for their controversial statements, attire, and screen roles. No sooner had a photograph of these appeared on FB pages while they were on their journey of faith (UMRAH), a lot of absurd stuff filled with taunt and ridicule were mercilessly posted on their status. It is not first time that people on the path of transformation become target of discouraging remarks of mockery, ridicule, sarcasm, and speaker often forgets that Allah the Merciful may bestow His grace on whomever He wills and replaces bad deeds with good deeds and put people in hell fire for sins of tongue.
While most of us may have a natural tendency to react through comments/remarks/opinions in normal life or social media (FB-Twitter etc) about what’s going on among people in the surroundings. Arguably, such things are a privilege, not necessity. Be curious, not judgmental: The main problem I have with the "don't be a judge" line of argument is that people become suspicious and judgmental on the sincerity of the intentions of people express often post opinions or through absurd comments not conforming with social norms .We all value the free expression of unpopular ideas, and I think that some judgmental remarks demand introspection. If I judge somebody’s present status based on his/her past shortcomings now reformed or on a path of transformation, Am I actually judging God's work?
Avoiding Sins of tongue through suspicions: The Holy scriptures tell us not to tear down our brethren through criticism, judgment, or discouraging them by reminding them of sinful past as this can pose as a discouragement of serious stumbling-block in their transformation and cause irreparable damage to their faith in returning to Allah.
Words don’t hurt people, messages do: ‘Sau Chuhe Khake Billi Haj ko Challi’. Whether it’s a bad phrase or not, sarcasm or slander, taunt or ridicule by assigning a mark of suspicion with remarks like “ephemeral” on the sincere intentions of any person, we don’t hurt only the person but acquire sin against Allah (SWT). Only Allah knows the secrets of the hearts. This knowledge has not been granted to anyone, not even the Messengers. Our faith Islam forbids us from suspicion and hurting the feelings of other people. No matter, if we use a bad word against any person even in a harmless context to get people to laugh.
Actions Manifest the Belief: Words are tools of our messages revealing the underlying belief and our psyche. Why would people still comment irresponsibly around by saying the absolute opposite of what our religious teachings say when we have nothing beneficial to say, isn’t silence golden? Not a word does he utter but there is a watcher by him ready to record it. (Quran Sura 50). Words can either, if they are pleasing to Allah, raise him to a higher level; or if his words displease Allah, they may cause him to be thrown into the Hellfire (Bukhari). So, the speaker must restrain his/her tongue. “Allah does not like that evil should be mentioned in public except by one who has done injustice. And Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing. (Quran Ch 4)
Light comes after Darkness, Why Can’t I Change? We all sin. We’ve all been put in that situation many times – the one with the friend or family member, neighbour or colleague, who has done something in darkness, and you think, he or she just can't get it right.
Believe that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful answer prayers for forgiveness offered by His people in penitence and no sinner can remain in that state forever. A bright dawn follows every dark night. Allah the Almighty declares in Holy Quran-Ch 39: Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful”.
The Message is loud and clear. Allah the merciful likes penitence and the penitents and is often shown to answer prayers for forgiveness offered by His people. “Except for those who repent, believe, and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful (Quran Ch 25). Don't judge others just because they sin differently than you."
The true purport of teachings from Quran and Hadith explains to us it is natural for man to commit sins, and that Allah loves whenever a slave commits a sin to rush and beg for His forgiveness. What makes it so easy to overlook our own flaws and yet outwardly judge others for theirs? How could anyone write that one person, who they perceived sinned, did not have the mercy of God? “Every careless word,” to emphasize that everything we say is scrutinized by God- The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and west” (Bukhari). To get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform ourselves first even if a little by way.
(Author is a Consultant Surgeon and has a Diploma in Islamic studies from Islamic University. His work has been published in local and international Journals. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Box: “Every careless word,” to emphasize that everything we say is scrutinized by God- The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and west” (Bukhari)