[Friday Sermon] Speak Good Or Remain Silent By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
All thanks and praise is due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds.
Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger.
“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” (3:102)
“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [4:1]
“O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment .” [33:70 – 71]
Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.
Brothers and Sisters! The topic for my today’s Khutbah (Sermon), will Inshaa Allah, be about the importance of guarding our tongues.
Servants of Allah! If care is not taking, our tongues are weapons of mass destruction (WMD): They destroy so many things! They destroy our good deeds, they destroy our Iman, they destroy our peaceful living, they destroy our politics, they destroy our community, they destroy our brotherhood, they destroy our family relationships, they destroy people’s reputations, they destroy people’s honour, dignity, self-respect etc. Our tongues destroy people. And also know that the First Person we destroy with our tongues is ourselves!
Allah the Most High said in Surah Infitar, 80:12
“But verily, over you are appointed angels to watch over you. Kind and honourable, writing down your deeds. They know all that you do.”
And Allah the Almighty said in Surah Qaf, 50:18
“Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).”
And his companion (angel) will say: “Here is (his record) ready with me!”
And Allah the Most High said in Surah Al Ahzab (The Confederates), 33:70-71
“O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah and speak (always) the truth (a straight forward word, a right word, a just word).”
In this Qur’anic verse, Allah is warning us to fear Him as He should be feared and then He tells us to always speak a straight forward word.
Brothers and Sisters! We need to be mindful of the things that come out of our mouths because we are going to be questioned about these things.
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.” [Muslim]
Imam Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah said:
“Every gulp of air, that goes out in a cause other than the cause of Allah (SWT) will turn to sorrow and regret on the Day of Judgement.”
Servants of Allah! It’s easy to open our mouths and say whatever comes to mind. But how hard is it for us to keep our mouths shut? To keep our bad words to ourselves?
We use our tongues to say bad words. We use our tongues to put people down. We use our tongues to backbite people, to dishonour them. We use our tongues to remind people of the favours that we’ve done for them. We use our tongues to undo the good that we may have done.
How many times have we opened our mouths and let something out, and then wished we could take it back, wish we could undo the harm that we had done with our tongues.
It only takes a few seconds to undo with our tongues what may have taken years to build up.
Once something comes out, it can’t be undone. At best all we can do is to try to do some damage control. At best all we can do is apologize, but we can’t undo it.
Imam At-Tirmidhi has recorded that:
“I said: “O Messenger of Allah! Inform me about a matter that I may hold fast to. He said: ‘Say: My Lord is Allah, then be steadfast. I said: “O Messenger of Allah! What do you fear most for me?” So he took hold of his tongue and said: ‘This.’”
Brothers and sisters! Our tongues are our destroyers! They destroy our good deeds and our good works.
How many of us can think back to something that we may have said that caused harm. And years later when we think about it, we still feel bad about it, we still feel the regret, wishing we could take back our words? The pain stays, the memories stay fresh. The bad effects of our words linger on, years after they come out of our mouths.
It is reported that a man saw Ibn Abbas (RA) holding the tip of his tongue saying:
“Woe to you, say what is good and you will reap gain, and be silent from speaking evil and you will be safe.” The man asked him, ‘O Ibn Abbas, what is the matter that I see you holding the tip of your tongue saying such and such?’ He replied; “It has reached me that the servant of Allah will not be as angry at anything on the Day of Resurrection, as he will be at his tongue.”
Umar ibn Khattab (RA) once entered upon Abu Bakr (RA) and found him pulling at his tongue. He said:
“Oh, what are you doing?” Abu Bakr replied, “It is this (his speech) that has brought me so much trouble.”
Imam Al Hasan al Basri (Rahimahullah) said:
“The intelligent person’s tongue is behind his heart; when he wants to speak, he first thinks. If his words will be in his favour, he says them, and if they will be against him, he does not speak. And the ignorant person’s heart is behind his tongue; when he merely thinks of saying something, he says it, whether it is for him, or against him.”
Allah gave us two gates, checks, locks…our lips and our teeth. He has given us a chance to stop ourselves before we open our mouths to let something out. How many of us could use a third lock?
Imam Ash-Shafi’i (Rahimahullah) said:
“Be aware of your tongue, it’s dangerous! It’s like a snake, and so many people have been killed by their tongues.”
Brothers and sisters! Guarding our tongues is a hard thing to do, and it’s part of our test.
Narrated Sahl bin Sa’ad: Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
“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.” [Al-Bukhari]
Brothers and Sisters! Without a doubt, it’s a hard thing to do, and so we should ask Allah, over and over again to help us with this fitnah. And with Allah lies all strength and success.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah was asked about that for which people are admitted into Paradise the most, so he said: “Taqwa of Allah, and good character. And he was asked about that for which people are admitted into the Fire the most, and he said:” The mouth and the private parts.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Brothers and Sisters! Be mindful of the things that come out of your mouths because the things you say today, will be waiting for you on the Day of Judgement. And when you stand before Allah, you will have to answer for these words. And this is why the Prophet (Peace be upon him) advised us by saying that he who keeps silent, keeps safe.
My Dear and Respected Brothers and Sisters in Islam! We need to work hard to guard our tongues because by guarding our tongues, we are helping to ward off the Hellfire from us.
“… a slave (of Allah) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the HellFire.” [Al-Bukhari]
Allah the Almighty said in Surah Hujurat (the Dwellings), 49:12
“And do not backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.”
Narrated Abu Musa:
“Some people asked Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), “Whose Islam is the best? i.e. (Who is a very good Muslim)?” He replied, “One who avoids harming the Muslims with his tongue and hands.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
“All of the Muslim is sacred to the Muslim, his wealth, honour and his blood. It is evil enough for someone to belittle his Muslim brother.” [Abu Dawud]
Brothers and Sisters! Don’t backbite one another. Don’t talk about your brothers and sisters, unless it’s in something good.
And the definition of backbiting has been explained in a Hadith collected by Abu Dawud that Abu Hurairah said:
“It was asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! What is backbiting’ He said: “Mentioning about your brother in a manner that he dislikes.” He was asked, ‘What if my brother was as I mentioned’ He said: “If he was as you mentioned, you will have committed backbiting. But if he was not as you say about him, you will have falsely accused him (slandered him).”
Backbiting was sternly warned against, and this is why Allah the Exalted and Most Blessed compared it to eating the flesh of a dead human being.
Brothers and Sisters in Islam! Be careful of what comes out of our mouths!
Amr ibn Al-As (RA) said:
“Words are like medicine, little is enough and too much destroys you.”
Brothers and Sisters! Guard your tongues, and measure your words. Think before we open our mouths and don’t backbite one another. And I know that it’s a hard thing to resist, but bite your tongues if you have to, because on the Day of Judgement, you’ll be wishing that you had.
Abu Said Al Khudri said: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: ‘Fear Allah for our sake because we are with you: (i.e., we will be rewarded or punished as a result of what you do) if you are straight, we will be straight; and if you are crooked, we will be crooked.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Subhanallah! Brothers and Sisters!! Think about this for a moment. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is telling us that our own bodies are afraid for us for what our tongues may do. They warn our tongues to fear Allah, and they seek refuge from the evil that they may send forward.
So my Dear and Respected Brothers and Sisters in Islam! I encourage us all to guard our tongues, and fear the day when we will be called to account for the things that we have said.
I ask Allah to help us to benefit from what we have heard here today.
And to help us to guard our tongues.
And I ask Allah to turn to us with Forgiveness and Mercy on the day that we meet Him, and to exchange our places in Hellfire, for places in Jannah. Ameen.
Servants of Allah! Know that the tongue is one of the greatest blessings of Allah, it is small but does great deeds and great damage in the same time. Through the tongue, true faith unfolds and infidelity emerges, its extent is endless like a vast arena. The interpreter of Hearts and Thoughts, machine of speech and statement, the good it made carved on the tablets of time and the evil it caused echoes through the eras. Whomever employs it wisely and for the sake of useful utterance, commencing his affairs, restraining it with religious bond and placing it where it belongs is worthy of salvation. Whoever liberates it, not monitoring what it utters, the devil will be his guide misleading him in different paths. People stumble in Hellfire due to their tongues’s yields. Moreover, all the human body parts affected by the tongue through its straightness or its straying as confirmed by the words of the Prophet (Peace be upon him):
“When the son of Adam (any human) rises in the morning his body parts calls out to the tongue saying “Fear Allah in us, for we are affected by your utterance, if you go steadfast so do we, but if you go astray so do we.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Brothers and Sisters! Islam gave an attentive care to the manner of speech and the way it functions, as the word coming out indicates an individual’s level of intellect and manners. The level of conversation judges its general standard and the extent that good virtues fuse in it’s environment.
A person must ask himself before preaching to others, is there any purpose of talking? If there is any sound reason to talk then be it, if not then silence is preferable where it’s not necessary, thus he will be rewarded heavily performing a pleasant worship.
Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud said:
“In the name of Allah the only Creator, nothing is most deserving of imprisonment than a tongue.”
Ibn Abbas May Allah be pleased with him said:
“Five matters that outweighs owning black stallions:
1 – Do not speak on matters that don’t concern you, its trivial for you and I am afraid that you would sin because of it.
2 – Do not interact in a topic that concerns you unless there is meaning and effect to what you are going to say, you might be of concern but there is no effect to what you are saying thus subjected to criticism.
3 – Do not quarrel a man of patience or a foolish man, the patient would hate you, and the foolish would harm you.
4 – Mention your brother in a manner you would like to be mentioned, and forgive him from what you would like to be forgiven.
5 – Act upon things knowing you will be rewarded for a kind act and held accountable for bad deeds.”
Servants of Allah! A Muslim cannot accomplish the five aforementioned qualities unless he restrains his tongue and leads it firmly curbing it where silence needed, and seizing for fruitful speech. As for who are led by their tongues they are lead astray.
A Hadith worthy of contemplating narrated in the two Sahih books by Abu Hurairah May Allah be pleased with him that the prophet said:
“The servant of Allah would utter a word that pleases Allah, not knowing it would, Allah would elevate his rank for it. A servant (another) of Allah would utter a word that would discontent Him while not noticing it would, it will lead him to fall deep in Hell.” [Al-Bukhari]
This is great advice from the Prophet (Peace be upon him):
“… O Muadh halt this and he held his tongue then continued saying that why people stumble on their nose in Hellfire due to their tongue’s yield. [At-Tirmidhi]
My Respected people! As a result of the severity and magnitude of this issue, the companions may Allah be pleased with them have set the best examples in restraining one’s tongue.
Words are your captive, unless it departs the mouth you would be their captive. Allah almighty said:
“Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared (to record).” [Qaf, 50:18]
So if you wanted to know what lies in the hearts of beings, deduce it from the movement of the tongue (what it utters), it will tell you what lies in a person’s heart whether he displayed or concealed it.
The sin of uttering could contain Shirk (Polytheism), and it’s one of the greatest sins to Allah Almighty. Such as talking about Allah without knowledge, this is the KIN of Shirk. Therefore the tongue is like a dagger with two blades, for the wise it is an instrument of Good and kindness, a ferry of salvation and success. To the snobby fool person it is a malicious scorpion, sticking to the flesh of a prey wickedly stinging it.
From the Lesions of the Tongue are the following:
1 – Seeking Deity with Allah (Shirk)
The knowledgeable Imam Ibn Hajar says:
“The sin of uttering could contain Shirk (Polytheism), it’s one of the greatest sins to Allah Almighty. speaking on Allah’s account with no knowledge.”
2 – Talking about Allah without knowledge
Talking about Allah without knowledge is one of heaviest sins, rather its greater than Shirk as stated by Imam Ibn Qayyim may Allah have mercy on him:
“It is so because it’s the reason behind shirk, this specific reason behind is speaking on Allah’s account without knowledge.”
3 – Slander
Its citing other’s flaws, referring to his brother with bad qualities whether he carried it or not, that’s how our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) recited the revelation of Allah:
“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.” [Al-Hujurat, 49:12]
Slandering is of three types:
Gheebah (Backbiting): If what you said about your brother is true behind his back.
Ifk (falsehood): Transmitting backbiting made about your brother behind his back.
Buhtan (Defamation): Mentioning false features about your brother.
These are the categories of slandering, categorized by Islamic scholars, any statement that is meant to dispraise either by words, gestures, a wink, signal or writing is a slander.
4 – Lying
In a hadith reported by Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) mentioned what he saw from the torments of the people of Hellfire:
“As for the one whose cheek you saw being torn away, he was a liar and he used to tell lies, and the people would report those lies on his authority till they spread all over the world. So, he will be punished like that till the Day of Resurrection.”
He also said:
“Never lie, for lying leads to lewdness, and lewdness leads to Hell. A man continues lying and seeking falsehood he will labeled by Allah as a liar.” [Muslim]
5 – Defamation of character
Allah almighty said:
“And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses – lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient.” [Al-Nur, 24:4]
This type of Lesion is almost practiced by everyone except who is fortunate by the will of Allah as the most fall in the trap. Defamation of the believers by their chaste, their religion, or accusing them with false claims are heavy sins and considered as a Major Sin (Al kaba’ir).
6 – Perjury
Allah Almighty said praising one of his servants:
“And [they are] those who do not testify to falsehood, and when they pass near ill speech, they pass by with dignity.” [Al-Furqan, 25:72]
Allah Almighty also said:
“And do not conceal testimony, for whoever conceals it – his heart is indeed sinful, and Allah is Knowing of what you do.” [Al-Baqara, 2:283]
7 – Insult, cursing and ridiculing the people
Allah Almighty said:
“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 of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” [Al-Hujurat: 11]
8 – Making an Oath in the name of other than Allah
Swearing with things other than Allah like trust, integrity, oneself, father, children, honour, tribe, king, town, life or the Prophet’s life. He (Peace be upon him) said:
“Who swore with something other than Allah has committed shirk.” [Authenticated by Al-Albani]
He Also said:
“Who is about to make a swear, let it be in the name of Allah or hold silent.” [Authenticated by Al-Albani]
9 – Falsehood and holding the truth
Imam Ibn Qayyim may Allah have mercy on him said:
“There are two big lesions of the tongue that if one is avoided the other won’t miss you, the lesion of speaking and the lesion of silence, both could be greater in sin than the other in its timing. Holding back the truth, not saying it, this person considered a dumb devil, disobedient to Allah, hypocrite bootlicker not fearing that it would affect him. Who utters falsehood is a speaking devil that disobeys Allah. Most people are deviant in their speech and silence, so they are swinging between these two lesions. People of the middle path are the people of the righteous path, keeping silent from falsehood and spoke with what would benefit them in the Hereafter.”
10 – Cursing
Narated Abu Al-Darda’ May Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah said:
“Cursers are expelled giving intercession or being Martyrs in the day of resurrection.” [Muslim]
Narated by Aby Al-Darda’ May Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah said:
“If the slave (worshiper of Allah) curses something, this curse rises to the heavens (skies) to find the doors of the heavens closed in its way, then it descends to earth to find its door also closed, roaming to the right and the left not finding a place to settle it will settle to the person cursed if he is worthy of it, if not then it will return to the person who uttered it.” [Abu Dawud]
Brothers and Sisters! A type of lying, widespread amongst people nowadays, it’s Joking. Where a person makes up a story with no root in real life, mocking other nationalities, tribes, race, lineage and countries all for the sake of making people laugh while it is not true. This is impermissible because it consisted of slander and lying for all the aforementioned individuals in these jokes.
Its doer threatened by the words of the Prophet:
“Woe (Al Wayl) to whom tells false stories to folks to make them laugh, woe to him woe to him.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Al Wayl; is a valley in Hell.
* Accustom yourself to pleasant speech
It is very pleasant to accustom one’s tongue to tender speech, thus whenever he speaks he only utters good. The pleasant and pure words respected by friends and foes and have good impact on people. With friends, it maintains intimacy and strengthens the bonds of friendship and a safeguard against the traps of the devil trying to plant hatred amongst them. Allah Almighty said:
“And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy.” [Al-Isra’, 17:53]
Tender speech with enemies calms down their dispute and breaks their sharp attitude or halts the evil and its development. Allah Almighty said:
“And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” [Fusilat, 41:34]
* Beware of staining the Scholars with mischief
One of the most dangerous mischief widely spread these days, even amongst the people labeled as pious, misfortunate chitchat that results in slandering the people of knowledge (Ulama’). Leading to a greater drawback, slitting confidence in the people of knowledge and causing repulsive environment between the knowledgeable brothers and Du’aat (Islamic preachers) to Allah almighty. All this is a result of carrying news and talks without awareness or verification.
Brothers and Sisters! We have to know that behind every word uttered a responsibility lies beneath, thus acknowledging the effect and realize how to deal with it. Many a time a tiny improper word, that could lead to cutting ties. Many a time a harsh word said breaking up a whole family. Many a time a misleading word that leads whom utters it out of the folds of Islam. We Ask Allah refuge from that.
On the other hand, many a time a tender word said saving a life. Many a time a pleasant word said that would help hold family ties. Many A time a sincere word said leads who utter it to paradise. We ask Allah to make us be amongst the dwellers of paradise.
For the importance of the word and its effect, the Messenger of Allah said:
“Whoever believes in Allah and hereafter must utter good or hold his tongue.” [Agreed upon]
If people put this Hadith in context and cleared their intention in accordance with it, they would overcome a number of tragedies. In more than an occasion a rude not thought of word could spoil the intimacy between people, penetrating like a poisoned arrow, separating what was united and spoil the good.
* A Moment with the kind Sheikh
The kind Sheikh Ibn Baz May Allah have mercy on him said:
“Mentioning a person’s good qualities is not considered as slandering, like saying he is kind, good and maintains his prayers. This example is not slandering, slandering is mentioning your brother with things he would hate, like what the Prophet said: “Slandering is citing your brother with what he would hate.” [Authenticated by Al-Albani] The following is considered as slandering; stingy, coward, dirty tongue and of the kind; anything that he would dislike to be referred as. If a person slanders his brother, it’s his duty to go to him apologizing and say, “forgive me may Allah reward you, I spoke evil of you…”. However, if he feels that there would be a draw back in such step it’s better not go forth telling him, instead he could Ask forgiveness of Allah and supplicate for him. Moreover, mentions his good qualities in the same places he slandered him, this would be sufficient and praise Allah for it. If he is mocking something with his tongue, then he is labeled as a mocker and if he mocks the religion then he is turned infidel even if no one witnessed that, he must repent to Allah and return to righteousness. Whoever turns back to Allah and repents Allah will forgive him.”
I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.
O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us. Ameen Yaa Rabb!
My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.
May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.
With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Muharram 22, 1439 AH (October 13, 2017), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: +2348038289761.