UNIT SIXTEEN – THE TONGUE

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It was related from Abdullah ibn Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “A Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe. An emigrant (muhajir) is someone who abandons what Allah has forbidden.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Iman 4, 5 Riqaq, 26; Sahih Muslim, Iman, 64–65. See also: Sunan Abu Dawud, Jihad, 2; Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Qiyama, 52, Iman, 12, Sunan an-Nasa’i, Iman 8, 9, 11).

 

NARRATOR

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As 1. Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As was the son of Amr ibn al-As. 2. Due to his exceptional generosity and open-handedness, he used to distribute everything that he acquired and thus made everyone happy. 3. The most significant battle that Abdullah ibn Amr participated in following the Age of Happiness was Yarmuk. 4. He passed away at seventy-five years of age (684 CE) in Fustat, Egypt, where he was buried.

 

EXPLANATION

1. In this hadith, Allah’s Messenger describes the Muslim as one who does not harm others. Being a person from whose tongue and hand all Muslim men and women, and according to another narration all other people, are safe and secure, is not as easy as it is supposed. A person cannot be of benefit and do good all the time, but it is possible for no harm to come from them. The fact that the tongue is mentioned before the hand in the text of the hadith is due to the harm caused with the tongue, such as insult, backbiting, slander, and rumor, being comparably easier, more common and irreparable. Harming others with one’s hand or physically persecuting others is not that simple. That a person who holds their tongue is saved (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Qiyama, 50), and those who believe in Allah and the Last Day must speak good or keep silent (Sahih al-Bukhari, Adab, 31) are again among the Prophetic counsel.

The hadith under consideration presents the emigrant as a person who steers well clear of what Allah has prohibited. This tradition, on the one hand, points out that it is possible to emigrate at all times and places; on the other hand, it illustrates that a person who takes pains not to harm others and adheres to the command in this regard has attained the status of the true emigrant in this sense.

2. In many verses of the Qur’an, the Almighty has stressed the need for being soft-spoken and gentle in speech. But if you (must) turn away from those (who are in need, because you are yourself in need, and) seeking mercy from your Lord in hopeful expectation, then (at least) speak to them gently and well-meaning. (al-Isra 17:28) A true Muslim is a person who inspires complete trust and confidence, so much so that all other Muslims can rely on them without a second thought.

3. In another hadith related by Imam Bukhari in his Sahih, Allah’s Messenger says, “Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him.”

4. Speaking little: Excessive speech neither makes one more eloquent nor increases their influence. On the contrary, one’s purpose needs to be explained in a manner that is clear, concise, and intelligible. Just as there is no need to leave unsaid what needs to be said in order to be eloquent in speech, there is also no sense in straining others’ patience and wearing them by being repetitive or tedious with unnecessary information.

5. Silence is a very important characteristic. Speaking little indicates good conduct. The tongue’s talking about Allah is better than empty talk and affords tranquility and repose to the heart. If speech is silver, silence is gold. Holding one’s tongue when it is necessary to remain silent is elemental. The most perfect being in the universe has not been created to be preoccupied with futile and useless things.

 

LESSONS FROM THE HADITH

1. A Muslim is a trustworthy person. 2. A good Muslim is a person from whose tongue and hand all other Muslims are safe and secure. 3. Disturbing, harassing or offending Muslims either verbally or physically has been prohibited. One needs to adhere to this prohibition if they are to be a good Muslim. 4. The true emigrants are those who abandon what Allah has forbidden.

 

EVALUATION

1. “A Muslim is the one from whose ……… and ……… the Muslims are safe. An emigrant (muhajir) is someone who abandons what Allah has ……… .”

2. What was the most important battle in which Abdullah ibn Amr participated after the Age of Happiness?

3. What has the Prophet said that those who believe in Allah and Last Day must do?

4. Through the guarantee of which two organs has the Prophet guaranteed Paradise?

5. In what manner has Allah enjoined that calling people to His way must be realized?

6. To what does Allah’s Messenger liken an assembly, which disperses without Allah’s Name having been invoked therein?

7. A person must always speak the ………, but it is not right to speak every ……… everywhere.