◄◄ Speak a good word or remain silent ►►


Abû Hurayrah relates that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent. And whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his neighbor. And whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest.” 
[ Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]  

The importance of this hadith:

This hadith discusses some of the ways a Muslim's faith should affect the way he relates to others. Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî writes: “This hadith speaks about three matters, and in doing so it brings together everything that good manners entail with respect to both word and deed.”


Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day…

This is a conditional sentence. It is repeated three times in this hadith, each time with a different condition. The first of these three conditions is to either speak a good word or remain silent, the second is to show hospitality to one's neighbors, and the third is to show hospitality to one's guests. This hadith is showing us that these three qualities are among the many qualities of faith. A person who fails to fulfill any of these conditions is a person whose faith is incomplete and in want of improvement.

Speaking a good word or remaining silent:

This is an encouragement to speak what is good and beneficial; at the same time it is a warning, cautioning us to be careful in what we say, lest we say something that is harmful or false.

It is part of a Muslim's faith to speak the truth and to say things that bring about benefit to others. Allah says:

﴿يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا ﴿٧٠﴾ يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا ﴿٧١﴾  

  "O you who believe! Fear Allah and speak a word that is right. He will set right for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great achievement.” [ Sûrah al-Ahzâb : 70-71]

Allah informs us in the Qur'ân some of what constitutes good in our speech and benefits other people. He says:

 ﴿لَّا خَيْرَ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّن نَّجْوَاهُمْ إِلَّا مَنْ أَمَرَ بِصَدَقَةٍ أَوْ مَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ إِصْلَاحٍ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ ۚ 
وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّـهِ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا ﴿١١٤﴾ 

“No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right, or bring reconciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking Allah's pleasure, then we shall grant him a great reward.” [ Sûrah al-Nisâ' : 114]

When we have nothing beneficial to say, silence is golden. Once, Mu`âdh b. Jabal asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to inform him of some good work that would admit him into Paradise and distance him from the Hellfire. The Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned to him the virtues of many good deeds, then said: “Shall I inform you of the foundation of all of that?”

Mu`âdh said: “Certainly.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) took hold of his tongue and said: “Restrain yourself from this.”

Mu`âdh then asked: “O Prophet of Allah! Are we held to task for the things that we say?”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “May your mother be bereaved of you, O Mu`âdh! Does anything topple people headlong into the Hellfire save the harvests of their tongues?” [ Sunan al-Tirmidhî and Sunan Ibn Mâjah ]

We should avoid speaking ill of others. We should rather remain silent unless we are seeking justice for some wrong that has been perpetrated against us. Allah says: “Allah does not like that evil should be mentioned in public except by one who has been done injustice. And Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing.” [ Sûrah al-Nisâ' : 148]

Our tongues are like double-edges swords. They can work for us and against us, both in this world and the Hereafter. We will be held accountable for what we say. Allah tells us:  

 يَلْفِظُ مِن قَوْلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيْهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيدٌ ﴿١٨  ﴿  “He does not utter a statement except that there is an observer by him ready to record it.” [ Sûrah Qâf : 18]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Indeed a servant will speak a word pleasing to Allah that he thinks to be insignificant, but because of it Allah raises him by many degrees. And indeed a servant will speak a word displeasing to Allah that he thinks to be insignificant, but because of it, He will consign him to the Hellfire.” [ Sahîh al-Bukhârî ]

We must be vigilant not to speak falsehood. We must think about what we are saying and the possible consequences of our words before we go ahead and speak. 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.” [ Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim ]

Al-Nawawî comments on the meaning of this hadith, saying: “This hadith encourages us to guard our tongues. A person who wants to speak should think upon what he is about to say before he utters it. If it then shows itself to have some benefit to it, he may speak it; otherwise he should refrain from doing so.” 
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1 comment:

  1. JazakAllah Khir sister Angel for sharing this hadith....appreciate it.
    As a pre-emptive for us to cautious, for whatsoever words that we utters will be make accountable.

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