Pick your teeth!
It's one of the greatest sins and yet it's something we do day after day. Sometimes we don't even realize it. You're just chatting away with your friends and you begin to talk about somebody else. Our whole lives are based around 'Home and Away' and 'Neighbors', soaps based on lying, backbiting and cheating. But look at what the Prophet (saw) said about it:
The Prophet (saw) was sitting with his companions one day and one of them was speaking badly about someone who wasn't there. As the man got up to leave the Prophet (saw) said to him: "Pick your teeth!" "But I haven't eaten anything", the man protested. "No", the Prophet (saw) said "you have eaten the flesh of your dead brother!"
As Allah tells us in the Qur'an: "Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would hate it." [al-Qur'an 49:12]
But what if it's true?
The Prophet (saw) told us, "Backbiting is to say something about someone they wouldn't like said about them ... If what bad you said about them is true, then you have backbitten and if it is false then you have slandered them!" [Muslim]
If you're still not convinced of how big a sin backbiting really is, then look at the punishment Allah has in store for the backbiters. The Prophet (saw) described: "On the night of Miraaj (the Prophet's ascension to heaven), I passed by some people who had metal hooks in their hands and were clawing at their faces and their necks with them. I asked Jibraeel 'Who were these people?' He said 'These are the people who eat the flesh of human beings and disgrace them' " [Abu Dawud].
This is how big of a sin backbiting is looked upon and yet we continue to backbite without a second thought, next time you lie, talk about somebody, remember Allah (swt) and the Prophet (saw) and put them in front of you before you speak.
Just having a laugh!
May be we think it's all right to take the mick out of someone so long as we say it to their face. We'll make fun of the way someone talks, walks, or how they look. Allah warns us against such behavior:
"O you who believe, let not some men laugh at others, it may be the that they are better than you. Nor let some women laugh at others it may be that they are better than you. Nor abuse each other, nor be sarcastic to each other by using offensive nicknames..." [al-Qur'an 49:11]
Don't forget that Allah made us the way we are, so how can you even think of making fun of his creation?
Cool to swear?
Listen to yourself and to your friends speaking one day - nearly every sentence will have a swear word in it, thinking it's cool and macho to swear, copying the idols of TV and the cinema. Is it really 'cool' to swear? The Hellfire is far from being cool. People will wish they were cool then rather than being cool in this world. Remember! That every time you speak , an angel writes down what you say, and that one day you will have to answer for every single word you ever uttered. So if you swear at someone then it's written down as a sin against you. You're only harming yourself. The Prophet (saw) said that "abusing a Muslim is a sin and fighting with him is disbelief" [Muslim].
But sometimes you just have to swear!
We've all been there - you're just so angry with somebody and the only way you can express yourself, is to swear at them. The solution? Don't get angry in the first place. A man came to the Prophet (saw) one day and said "Advise me". The Prophet (saw) said "Don't become angry. Don't become angry. Don't become angry... when one of you gets angry while he is standing up, he should sit down. Then anger will leave him, and if not then he should lie down" [Ahmad].
So let us follow this beautiful advice of the Prophet (saw) and remember that anger is from Shaytan. If someone angers you or swears at you then don't harm yourself by doing the same but respond in a better way as Allah says in the Qur'an "Repel evil with what is better. Then he who was your worst enemy will become your best friend." [al-Qur'an 41:33]
It wasn't me who said it!
How often do we say such a phrase or say that "I was only joking". We treat lies as being trivial. However we are told that Allah's messenger did not hate anything more than lying [Ahmed]. The Prophet (saw) was once asked "Can a Muslim be a coward?" He (saw) replied "Yes". He was then asked "Can a Muslim be a miser?" and the reply was "Yes". The Prophet (saw) was again asked "Can a Muslim be a liar?" The Prophet (saw) replied "No! A Muslim can never be a liar".
Furthermore, he said "Truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to paradise... Lying leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to the hellfire" [Bukhari]. As we know that one lie leads to another ten lies which lead to bad actions. Remember you can lie and think that you have got away with it but on the day of Judgment your hands, tongue and feet will bear testimony against you and tell the truth.
But it's only words!
One day, one of the Companions asked the Prophet (saw): "O Messenger of Allah, will we be called to account for what we say?" He replied "May you be lost to your mother! People will be thrown, faces down into the hellfire, only on account to what their tongues said!" [Tirmidhi]
Indeed the tongue controls the rest of your body. A well controlled tongue will keep us within Islam but a loose tongue will destroy us. The Prophet (saw) said: "When a person gets up in the morning, all the parts of his body make a plea to his tongue saying 'Fear Allah regarding us, because we follow you. If you are right then we shall also be right , and if you are wrong then we shall also be wrong'." [Tirmidhi]
Instead of swearing, lying and engaging in useless talk we can use our tongues in better ways and what better than telling people about Islam. Allah says: "Who is better in speech than one who calls (people) to Allah and works righteousness and says I am one of those who bow down in Islam" [al-Qur'an 41:33]
Your tongue can save you!
Indeed if you control your tongue and speak good
then paradise can be yours. The Prophet (saw) said: "Whoever can guarantee
me two things I can guarantee them
I must be doomed!
"I have lied, backbitten people, and swear all the time. I must be going to hell!"
No! Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur'an: "O my servants who have wronged themselves, never despair of the mercy of Allah - for truly He forgives all sins. He is the Forgiving, the Merciful." [al-Qur'an 39:53]
So if you really repent and turn back to Allah and promise not to commit the sin again then truly Allah's promise is true and He will forgive you. If you've backbitten someone - go and tell the person whom you backbitten and apologize sincerely and ask them to forgive you. But if you think that the situation will get worse then turn back to Allah sincerely begging for his forgiveness then to make up for what you said, go around and talk good of him.
The best example
As we know that the best person to have ever lived is the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and he is the best of example for mankind. If we follow him we can never go wrong. Aisha (ra), the Prophet's wife, described the Prophet's conduct as follows "He was neither an obscene talker nor a user of bad words. He did not shout nor did he repay evil with evil. He used to forgive people and overlook their sins" [Tirmidhi].
Final word of advice
A beautiful saying of the Prophet (saw) that will ensure the protection of our tongue. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said
"Whoever believes in Allah and the Last day, LET HIM EITHER SPEAK GOOD OR KEEP SILENT!" [Agreed upon]
The tongue: a mere piece of meat with no bones in it.but like a work-horse, it carries you forward–it speeds you to
So how do you steer this beast? Read on!
Pick your teeth!
Backbiting: one of the greatest sins, yet something we fall into, time after time, often without realizing. You chat away with your friends, you mention somebody else, and suddenly, the horse is out of control.
Our societies revolve around shows like “Friends” and “Sienfeld”, shows based on lying, backbiting and cheating. But look to the best generation instead: when one of the companions spoke badly about someone who wasn't there, the Prophet (), the Prophet () said to him: "Pick your teeth!" The companion said "but I haven't eaten anything!" The Prophet () said "You have eaten the flesh of your dead brother!"
As Allah tells us in the Qur'an: "Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” The number three combo, a double McRotty, extra putrified, with a side order of squirmy white maggots? “No, you would hate it." [Surah Hujuraat, verse 12]
But they deserve it!
Ok, back up a second. Is it still backbiting if it's true? What if it's only half true?Or what if they deserved it? They're just mean, vicious little creatures who ruined your entire day with their attitude, their demands, or something else--and you just had to tell somebody!
Well, the Prophet () made it clear for us: "backbiting is to say something about someone they wouldn't like said about them. [...] If what bad you said about them is true, then you have backbitten them, and if it is false, then you have slandered them!" [Sahih Muslim]
”So what,” you might say, “it's not a big deal. Everybody does it!”
On the night of Miraaj (the Prophet's ascension to heaven), he passed by some people with metal hooks in their hands who clawed at their faces and their necks with them. When he inquired about them, Jibraeel said, 'These are the people who eat the flesh of human beings and disgrace them.'" [Abu Dawud].
So don't worry about “everybody” yet. Worry about yourself first!
Maybe we think it's funny to trash-talk someone to their face. Maybe their clothes smell like curry, or maybe their beard needs a weed-whacker, or maybe niqaab actually makes them look better!
Allah warns us about this type of rudeness directly in the Qur'an, when He says:
"O you who believe, let not some a party of you laugh at others, it may be the that they are better than you. [...] Nor abuse each other, nor be sarcastic to each other by using offensive nicknames ... And whosoever does not repent (from these things), then such are the wrong-doers." [Surah Hujuraat, verse 11]
Besides, Allah made us the way we are. Humans have no control over their height, their flappy ears, or their pug-noses. What's more, one of the characteristics of munafiquwn (hypocrites) is that they mocked the believers.So when your tongue insists on remembering other people's shortcomings, remember your own shortcomings to keep it in line.
You know, it's cool to swear ...
If you listen to some of your friends (or maybe yourself!) speak one day—you may notice, nearly every other sentence contains swear words. Maybe you think it's cool to swear, to copy the idols of TV and the cinema. Is it really “cool” to swear? The Hellfire is far from being cool--people will wish they were cool then, rather than being cool in this world!Remember: an angel writes down every single word you say, and one day, you will have to answer for all of it.
But sometimes they make you so—so—mad!
Sometimes you're so angry with someone, the only way to express yourself is to swear at them or hit them. The solution?
Be strong. The Prophet () said: the strong man is not the one with the best Kung-Fu, but the one who controls himself in a fit of rage. [Muslim]
It's ok to feel angry. But learn to channel it properly. If someone angers you or swears at you, step back. Take deep breaths. Walk away, if you have to. Make wudhu with icy-cold water.
When you feel better, then respond in a better way, as Allah says in the Qur'an: "Repel evil with what is better. Then he who was your worst enemy will become your best friend!" [Surah Fussilat, verse 33]
Moi? I never said
How often do we say "I was only kidding" or “just joking”? We treat the biggest lies like the smallest flies, gnats to be waved away until we get caught out. By then, it won't matter, right?
Wrong! The angel on your left shoulder is scribbling, scribbling, writing everything you say and do against yourself. Even if you're the only person on the Earth who knows, the All-Seeing and All-Knowing is watching you.
One of the companions of the Prophet () asked, straight-up: “Can a Muslim be a liar?” He () said “No! A Muslim can never be a liar!” [Malik's Muwatta]
He () also
said: "Truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to
One lie leads to ten. Ten lead to 100. More and more and more lies, until you're caught in a web that not even you can remember the truth about. Save yourself now! Don't be recorded a liar in your eternal biography!
But it's only words!
You're just flapping your gums, right?W--you don't mean any of it! What does it matter?
Remember: people enter into Islam through words (the shahada), and leave Islam through words (of disbelief). The
power of words seals marriage between two unrelated people, or shatters their
relationship forever in.
All through words.
So if you think you won't be held accountable for your words, think again: the Messenger of Allah () told us that people will be flung face-down into the Hellfire, only on account to what they said! [Tirmidhi]
I must be doomed!
"I lie, backbite, and swear all the time. I must be going to Hell!" A one-way ticket to a place where they serve you boiling water and devils-heads for sustainance. You're doomed, right?
No! Allah tells us in the Qur'an: "O my servants who have wronged themselves, never despair of the mercy of Allah, for truly He forgives all sins. He is the Forgiving, the Merciful." [Surah Az-Zumar, verse 53]
If you repent and turn back to Allah, and promise not to commit the sin again, never ever, for as long as you live, and mean it, then He will forgive you. And whose mercy is greater than Allah's?
Make ammends! If you've backbitten someone, go and tell the person, apologize sincerely, and ask them to forgive you. (If they say “no”, don't worry about it—you've done what you can.)
But, if you think that might worsen the situation, then turn sincerely to Allah and beg for His forgiveness. Then to make up for what you said--go and speak good of the person behind their back.
Key to Paradise
If you control your tongue and speak good,
The Prophet () said:
Whoever can guarantee me two things I can guarantee them
Even more amazing, he () said: whoever prevents sending gossip against his brother, Allah puts down a right upon Himself to relieve that person from the Hellfire.
So remember next time you feel like spouting at or about someone:
if you remain patient,
A Shovelful of Good Deeds
Your tongue can be a shovel. You now know all the ways to shovel the bad stuff, and get yourself in deep, deep doo. But how can you use it shovel up piles and mountains of good deeds for yourself?
One Tongue to Rule them All
Finally, if you remember anything, remember this one statement. It will ensure the protection of your tongue, bi idhnillah!
Are you ready for it?
Here it is: the Messenger of Allah () said: "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last day, let him either speak good or keep silent!" [agreed upon]
(Inspired by YMUK)