Sins of the Tongue in Islam
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
Praise be to God the Creator of the world, the One Who exists without beginning, without end, without location, without a "how" and Who does not depend on time. Nothing resembles Him in anyway and He hears and sees everything without organs. Whatever you imagine, God is different from that. May the elevation in degree and preservation of his community of what he fears for it, be granted to our master Muḥammad Al-'Amin, the Honest One, who called for following Islam, the religion of truth, the religion of all the Prophets: of the first, Adam, to the last Muḥammad.
I start with the name of Allâh, praise be to Him. I humbly ask Allâh to raise the rank of Prophet Muḥammad and his kind Al and Companions and to protect his nation from that which he fears for them. May Allâh grant us sincere intentions and facilitate for us rewardable deeds and their acceptance.
Dear brothers, Allâh, the Exalted, endowed upon His slaves uncountable endowments. Allâh said:
﴿ وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّـهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ ﴾
which means: « Should you attempt to count the endowments of Allâh upon you, you would be unable. » [Ayah 34 of Surat Ibrâhîm]
The tongue is one of many endowments Allâh bestowed upon His slaves. Although the tongue is a tiny organ, the person who uses it to comply with the orders of Allâh, the teachings of the Qur’ân, and the teachings of the Prophet may earn blessings in this world and the in Hereafter. However, the one who uses his tongue in disobedience to Allâh would not be displaying thankfulness to Allâh and would be heading towards his own destruction. Certainly, being thankful to Allâh means not to use the endowments bestowed by Allâh in what is forbidden. One needs to know the sins of the tongue could be small or enormous.
One should be aware some of these sins take the person out of Islam, as the Prophet, said in the Hadîth related by At-Tirmidhiyy:
« إِنَّ العَبْدَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالكَلِمَةِ لا يَرىَ بِهَا بَأْساً يَهْوِي بِهَا فِي النَّارِ سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفاً »
(‘inna l-`abda layatakallamu bil-kalimati lâ yarâ bihâ ba’san yahwî bihâ fi n-nâri sab`îna kharîfâ)
which means: « A person may utter a word he thinks harmless, which results in his falling the depth of seventy (70) years into Hellfire. » This Hadîth clearly refers to the bottom of Hellfire a place only the blasphemers will reach.
Included among the sins of the tongue are gossip (ghibah) and tale-bearing (namimah). Gossip (ghibah) is a disease prevailing in many societies. In addressing this issue, let us remind ourselves and others to be cautious of spreading this disease.
Allâh said in Ayah 12 of Surat Al-Hujurat:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿12﴾
Allâh forbade the believers from gossiping their Muslim brothers and drew an analogy between gossiping one’s brother and eating his flesh after his death to show the ugliness of this sin. There are many Hadîths of the Prophet highlighting the unlawfulness of gossip one of which is related by Al-Bukhâriyy and Muslim from the route of Abu Musa Al-Ash`ariyy.
Sins Of the Tongue
The Hadîth refers to one of the companions who asked the Prophet about the best among the Muslims, to which the Prophet replied: « He whom the Muslims are safe from his hands and his tongue. »
The Prophet defined gossip as mentioning something about your Muslim brother that he hates such as to say ; He is short, he is cross-eyed, he is rude, he likes to sleep a lot, he eats too much, his house is messy, his son is rude, he is controlled by his wife, and the like.
Among the sins of the tongue, there is
As for tale-bearing, (namîmah) it is defined as spreading words among the believers with the purpose of stirring up enmity and problems between them. This matter is unlawful and sinful. Allâh dispraised such people in the Qur’ân. Also in the Hadîth related by Al-Bukhâriyy, the Prophet said:
« لا يَدْخُلُ الجَنَّةَ قَتات »
(lâ yad-khulu l-jannata qattât)
what means: « The one who commits tale-bearing (namimah) shall not enter Paradise with the first group. » That is, the Muslim who died without repenting of his sin of tale-bearing deserves to be tortured in Hellfire before entering Paradise.
The lying and the false oath
Lying is also among the sins of the tongue. It is to utter false information while knowing that what one is saying is not the truth. It is sinful (Haram) whether done seriously or jokingly. Moreover, swearing by Allâh to a lie is one of the major sins.
To swear at, curse or ridicule a Muslim
It is also unlawful to swear at, curse or ridicule a Muslim. The Prophet, Salla l-Lâhu `alayhi wa sallam, said what means: « Swearing at a Muslim is a major sin. » [Al-Bukhâriyy]
Any statement that attributes someone to adultery or fornication
Also among the sins of the tongue is any statement that attributes someone to adultery or fornication.
Al-Bukhâriyy and Muslim related from the route of Abu Hurayrah, that the Prophet said:
« مَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَاليَومِ الآخِرِ فَإِذَا شَهِدَ أَمْراً فَلْيَتَكَلَّمْ بِخَيْرٍ أَوْ لِيَسْكُتْ »
which means: « Let the one who believes in Allâh and the Hereafter utter good words, otherwise be silent. »
In a Hadîth narrated by At-Tirmidhiyy, the Prophet answered the question of Mu`adh Ibn Jabal, confirming what makes the people fall into.
Hellfire on their faces is the reaps of their tongues.Hence, wisdom entails that one uses his tongue in praising Allāh, performing obedience, ordering the lawful, and forbidding the unlawful.
Imam al-Ghazaliyy, said about the tongue: « The tongue is a great endowment from Allâh ; though small in size, its crime is enormous. »
I ask Allâh to protect us from falling into gossip, tale-bearing and other sins. May Allâh make us among those who soundly prepare themselves for the Day of Judgment, Ameen.
الحمد لله رب العالمين