By Umm Abdur-Rahmaan
The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said:
“The best believer according to his practice of Islaam is one from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe.”
[Collected by At-Tabaraanee in Al-Kabeer (S.J.S. 1129). Also collected by Al-Bukharee, Vol 1 No 9, Muslim Vol 1 No 64 & Abu Dawud No 2475. Also see Mishkat Al Masaabih Vol 1]
So believer, don't you want be the best in your practice of Islaam? Don't you want be among those who enter Jannah and live in delight and ecstasy forever? Then look at your tongue and hands!
Are your brothers and sisters safe from the nastiness of your tongues and the evil of your hands? Are your tongues and hands a danger to them and a cause of pain to them? Are you, through your actions, purifying your souls or destroying them? Are you truly racing towards Jannah or advancing towards Hell?
Let us look to our tongues first of all. We know full well that backbiting is a major sin. Yet how minor is our resolve to guard against it! A gossip-filled comment here of there may seem harmless, but it is a dangerous path to tread. We are belittling that person in another's eyes. We may have raised our egos high only to plunge our hearts into darkness.
In this earthly life, such comments serve to destroy trust and mutual affection between Muslims, leaving rancour and suspicion to settle in their hearts. We also cause those around us to 'take sides' in this battle of the tongues. Thus a 'seemingly harmless' comment spreads corruption and hatred in society. And Shaytaan is ever ready to pounce, igniting a fiery word until it turns into a blaze, so much so that words can even lead to wars. So let us urgently reflect on the seriousness of this vice, and understand why Allaah has compared it to the vile and sickening act of eating the flesh of one's dead brother:
And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting)...
Let us realize the consequences for our 'Aakhirah also. The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم has warned us:
When I was taken up into heaven, I passed by people who had copper claws tearing at their faces and chests. I asked, 'Who are these O Jibreel?' He replied: 'They are those who ate the flesh of people and insulted their honor.
[Ahmad, Abu Dawood]
How will we fare on the Day when tongues are torn apart and faces ripped open? So how can we dare to let our tongues roam so freely? Rather than listening to such evil talk, let us use our tongues to secure great reward, by opposing all forms of backbiting, and with beautiful manners, correcting it. These situations are opportunities from Allaah to perform Jihaad, for indeed trying to keep our tongues in control is truly a Jihaad, (Jihaad al-Nafs).
Let us hasten to correct our everyday speech. When we speak, have we ever scrutinized how little sincerity there is in our voices? How mechanical our speech has become? Our words emanate from our throats and not from our hearts. How easily do our tongues hurt others? We feign care and concern for our fellow Muslims, but our hearts are empty. Yet these are our very brothers and sisters! We should love them and desire the best for them. Tongues are sharp and hearts are cold, because the love of self has left no room for others...
Let us examine our words more carefully. Do they bring comfort and relief to those around us or do they fall sharply and heavily on their hearts? A harsh word from us sends those gentle servants of Allaah plummeting into sadness and grief. But know that Allaah hears everything. And the angels are recording every utterance:
‘Not a word is said except there is a watcher by him ready to record it.’
[Surah Qaf 18]
How will we fare when all our unkind words will appear in front of our eyes the moment we are given our scroll of deeds? What terror-stricken state shall we experience on that Day, when it dawns on us that we too could be sent plummeting, into far greater grief!!!! We seek Allaah's refuge! Hazrat Abu Harayrah رضی اللہ عنہ reported that he heard Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم say:
“Indeed a servant may say a word which he doesn't realize and it will make him fall into the fire further than the East and West.”
We must realize dear readers, and realize it now, that our words hurt and maim our brothers and sisters more severely than knives. Would we ever dream of cutting them with a blade? Yet with our tongues we cut deeply into their hearts. Know that we cannot be the best in our Islaam if we fail to guard our tongues. Indeed our Eemaan is in peril if we remain heedless. And if our Eemaan is lost, we have lost everything. Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم confirmed:
“The Eemaan of Allaah's servant will not be upright until his heart is upright and his heart will not be upright until his tongue is upright.” [Ahmad]
Consider how many times in a day and night we use our tongues wrongly. So let us not delay in looking to see how our tongue may be destroying us. Let us strive to use it in ways that will, Inshaa'Allaah, save us, for indeed countless are the ways our tongues can secure Jannah, Insha Allaah!
O you who want to be the best believer! Run and rush towards gentle speech and good words. Call to tawheed, enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and teach others with your tongue. Allaah has shown us the way, if we would only try:
“Who is better in speech than he who [says: “My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness),” and then stands firm (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah’s (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds and says: 'I am one of the Muslims?’”
[Surah Fusillat 41:33]
So heed this advice, before your opportunity is gone forever and your tongue falls silent in the grave...
And what of our hands? Are they stretched out offering help and charity to the needy? And are they being used to perform the best of good deeds? Or are they grasping and taking what does not belong to them? Are our hands selling doubtful food and drink to others? Do these same hands angrily hit our children for shortcomings we once had ourselves...?
Let us examine our hands closely. If they are taking more from others and giving less, or harming more and comforting less, then realize that we may be oppressors! Our hands are oppressing our dear brothers and sisters and ultimately, damaging our own souls. Take heed lest these hands carve out a path to misery...
Understand that we must all remain on our guard against Shaytaan and realize how he uses the hands of men to fulfill his evil designs. There are men like Abu Lahab, whose two hands will roast in the flames:
“Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he! His wealth and his children will not benefit him! He will be burnt in a fire of blazing flames!” [Surah Lahab 111:1-3]
Know that Shaytaan seeks to fling your hands into the fire too! So beware!
Let us recognize that our two hands are an immeasurable blessing from Allaah. How beautifully has our Lord and Cherisher constructed them! And how diverse and complex the tasks they can perform! Consider what great good they can do, by the permission of Allaah and how much of the Aakhirah they can gain!
Let us go out of our way in using our hands to help our brothers and sisters, near and far. And let us not forget the simple things, for even the smallest deeds can yield the biggest rewards. Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said:
“A man passed a branch of a tree lying on the road and said, 'By Allaah, I want to remove this out of the way of the Muslims so that it will not hurt them', and he was admitted to Paradise.”
[Muslim No 914]
This hadeeth should inspire us to race to pick up something fallen on the road or sidewalk, or even in our own homes. Consider that we are not only saving the Muslims from harm, but many other beautiful creatures of Allaah ----- the insects and birds, the animals and the plants. The simple act, for example, of throwing empty drink cans into trash bins saves even the grass from harm. Let us not scorn any kind of opportunity to use our hands in good works, for Allaah showers us with such opportunities day and night. Even if it is just cooking a nice meal, thus bringing friends or family together. Blessings may come from on high, Inshaa Allaah:
“The best among you are those who feed others and respond to the salaam.”
[Ahmad, Al Haakim, Saheeh ul-Jaami' As Sagheer No 3318]
And let us not forget the ones who wash the dishes afterwards, and the reward for them, Inshaa Allaah, for they use their hands to ease others of this chore! Subhaan Allaah! How easy it is to earn Paradise!
O friend! Reflect on this hadeeth, for in it may lie one of the keys to your salvation and success, in this life and the next. Following its wisdom will, Inshaa Allaah, permit us to receive our record of good deeds in our right hands and joyfully respond with our tongues to the salaams of the angels as they bring us to the gates of Paradise! So let us never be harsh with our innocent children, who are our beautiful flowers. And never let us be indifferent to our wise and caring elders. Let us strive to fulfill these duties now, while we still have these precious gifts from Allaah ----- our tongue and our hands.