Posted by: alqamardesigns | October 22, 2007

Evils of the Tongue!!!!


All Praise is due to Allah the Most High and may peace and blessings be upon the final Prophet Muhammad (sa), his family, his companions and on those who follow his footsteps until the day of Judgement.

Islam is a religion of peace, love and compassion. Islam demands that our relationship with mankind should be one of sincerity, responsibility and justice. It should be one where we have respect for the honour, reputation and privacy of others. Islam teaches us that we should observe righteousness and forbid evil deeds as not only will we be held accountable for our own attitudes and actions but also for anything else over which we have control or influence over, in our society or the world around us.

There are many trials we endure when meeting and dealing with others, backbiting and misuse of the tongue in general being one. Imagine for a moment you have invited relatives around, say your aunt and her daughters come to your house for lunch. Then lets say you, your sisters, your mother and aunt and cousins are sat around the table, laughing, talking and listening to one another getting along famously as usual. You’re in the midst of enjoyable conversation and you can feel the bond between you all. Suddenly it begins, the gossip, now come on how boring is it if you don’t have a good chinwag about someone else? You all lean closer and off you go, the juicy gossip begins. How so and so wore this and so and so had lost that much weight and so and so said this and so and so did this…how easy is it to talk about others? It is too easy!!!!

Shaikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah bless his soul) said: “It is strange that a person may find it easy to protect himself from eating Haraam, oppression and injustice, adultery, theft, drinking Khamr, and from unlawful looking, but it is hard for him to restrain the movement of his tongue. How often do we see people who are very cautious about falling into shameful deeds or injustice, but their tongue lashes against the living and the dead and they don’t mind it?” He further said: “Some people have the disease of criticizing all the time. They forget the good about others and only mention their faults. They are like flies that avoid the good and pure places and land on the bad places and on wounds. This is because of the evil within the self and the spoiled nature.”

As Muslims we should be above this nonsense. Sadly, many of us are not. Many of us cannot control our tongues. From sunrise onwards people’s bad work starts, lying, backbiting, dishonesty, deceit and so on. There’s something inexplicably enjoyable (come on admit it) about backbiting and gossiping about others and maybe it makes us feel superior somehow. Women are quick to point out which woman needs to lose weight, which woman has a big behind or which woman has the most hideous dress sense.

Backbiting has been mentioned numerous times in the Holy Quran and has been described by Prophet Muhammad may Allah bless him and grant him peace in the hadith of Sahih Muslim.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “God and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of God said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.” (Muslim)

Backbiting can take many forms. Some people may backbite for the sake of humour, playfulness and light heartedness. A person finds a certain amount of satisfaction from being appreciated for his story-telling abilities; speaking ill of someone in a humorous fashion adds flavour to a tale. One may also praise another person but the intent is to criticize, such as saying: “How good such-and-such person is, he never had a shortcoming in his worship but now he is being lazy.” Other forms of evils of the tongue include tale carrying, bearing false witness, mocking and debasing Muslims, singing, shameless and vulgar talk, boasting and disclosing and spreading of secrets.

Allah Ta’ala mentions in the Quran: “Behold two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings) learn (and not them) one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him ready (to note it).” (Sura 50 V17,18)

That two angels are constantly with us, day and night, no matter where we are, and they are recording every word we utter and we will be questioned in regard as to how we use this tongue of ours. Furthermore, backbiting is not done by the tongue alone, it can also be done with the eyes, hands and other movements. For example, copying somebody who is limping, in order to insult him. Also listening to backbiting is the same as backbiting somebody. It is better to walk away from such individuals.

Allah Ta’ala warns us that we must not mock and disgrace other people because it could be possible that the people we mock could be better than us. To taunt, backbite, pass sarcastic and biting remarks is not ethical of a Muslim. Don’t call people by nicknames if they dislike it, they have beautiful Islamic names, then call them by such names. These are all sins committed by the tongue. Allah Ta’ala further goes on to say: “O ye who believe! avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay ye would abhor it…but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning Most Merciful.” (Sura 49 V12)

In Sura Hujraat Allah Ta’ala mentions: “O ye who believe! let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (Indeed) doing wrong.” (Sura 49 V11)

The Prophet (sa) wanted to drive home the meaning of backbiting to his Companions through questions and answers. When a person dislikes someone, he is likely to find faults in his appearance, behaviour, lineage, and anything else, which pertains to him. `A’ishah narrated that she said to the Prophet (sa), ‘Do you see that Safiyyah (another wife of the Prophet) is such and such?’ meaning that she was short. The Prophet (sa) replied, ‘You have spoken a word such that, if it were mixed in the water of the ocean, it would darken it.’ (Reported by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and Al-Bayhaqi)

It is no wonder then, that the Qur’an paints such a repulsive picture of this vile habit as would make people shrink from it in horror: “And do not backbite one anther; would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor that.” (Al-Hujurat: 12)

Since one feels sick at the very thought of eating human flesh, how much more revolting it is to think of eating the flesh of one’s dead brother?

The Prophet (sa) said: “Backbiting is a worse sin than adultery!” It is further explained in a saying of the Prophet (sa), narrated by Abu Sa’eed and Jubair in Bayhaqi: “Allah may forgive a person if he repents after committing adultery. However, Allah will not forgive the one who backbites, till his victim forgives him.”

One time, the Messenger of Allah (sa) pointed towards two graves and said to his companions that both of these people are being punished in their graves. One of them used to backbite people and the other was not careful about spilling drops of urine on his clothes and body whilst urinating.

During Me’raj, the Prophet (sa) saw some people who had nails made of red copper. They were tearing apart their faces and chests with these nails. The Holy Prophet (sa) asked the Angel Jibrail (a.s) about them, He said, “They are being punished because they used to eat people’s flesh in their lives, i.e. used to backbite and defame others.”

Whenever an opportunity arose, the Prophet (sa) him stressed this Qur’anic imagery in order to imprint it on peoples’ hearts and minds. Ibn Mas`ud narrated, ‘We were sitting with the Prophet (sa). Then a man got up and left. Whereupon another person spoke ill of him. The Prophet (sa) told him, ‘Pick your teeth.’ The man replied, ‘Why? I haven’t eaten any meat.’ The Prophet (sa) replied, ‘You have eaten your brother’s flesh.’ (Reported byAt-Tabarani)

Jabir narrated, ‘While we were with the Prophet (sa) the wind brought a foul odour in our direction, whereupon the Prophet (sa) said, ‘Do you know what this odour is? It is the odour of those who backbite the Believers.’ (Reported by Ahmad)

It is narrated on the authority of Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal (May Allah pleased with him), that he asked the Messenger of Allah (sa): “O messenger of Allah, tell me an act which will take me to Paradise and keep me away from the Hell-Fire.” “Shall I not tell you about the peak of the matter, Its pillar and Its top-most part.” I said: “Yes 0 Rasoolullaah.” He said: “The peak of the matter Is Islaam,, the pillar Is salaah; and Its top-most part is Jihaad. Then he said: Shall I not tell you of the controlling of all that?” I said: “Yes 0 Rasoolullaah,” and he took hold of his tongue and said: “Restrain this.” I said: “0 Nabee of Allaah, will what we say be held against us ?” He said: “May your mother be berieved of you, 0 Mu’aadh! Is there anything which topples people on their faces (- or he said : On their noses -) Into Hell-Fire other than the harvests of their tongues.” Saheeh – narrated by at-Tirmidhee 121 101, Ibn Maajah (39731 and Ahmad 15/23 11 from Mu’aadh – and the isnaad is hasan as al Albaanee says in ((al-‘Irwaa’)) [413]

People often talk about others fearlessly but they do not like it if they become the subject of such talk. Therefore, as a rule, one should never participate in any activity that would be hurtful if someone else does the same to you.

Children from the very early stage should be trained not to participate in any gathering where such conversations are taking place. It seems that backbiting is more common amongst women and so they should make an extra effort to refrain from it. There is a hadith that states that in Paradise, there will be an abundance of poor people, whereas in Hell, an abundance of women. Some vices are more common among women, such as vanity, superiority complex, backbiting, rivalry, etc. Whether it is a male or a female who possess these weaknesses, they should strive against them.

It seems we are still attached to those poisonous words which spoils our personality, and the strange thing is, we deep inside enjoy it. Is it an everlasting opium or what, that we could not detach ourselves from such an evil? Why do we speak of evil of others, what is the reason, is it because we hate or love, or we do not know the reason? All people whether they are educated or not, black or white, man or woman, child or adult, all human do practice it, it is a universal evil and problem, which may need universal remedy. Many people knew that it is so painful, but they are still doing it, why?

It is not our education, wealth, social status that makes us a great person, but rather it is our characters and deeds that certify our true reality.

The tongue is a great gift from Allah Ta’ala and a marvellous creation. The size may be small, but its capacity to obey or disobey can be great. If this tongue is used to make the Zikr of Allah Ta’ala, to glorify Allah Ta’ala, to praise Allah Ta’ala, to make Tilaawat of the Quran, to make Ibadaat, to invite people towards good and forbid the evil, for the upliftment of the name of Allah Ta’ala, for the upliftment of the Deen of Allah Ta’ala, in giving naseehat, then this is proof of appreciation of this bounty of Allah Ta’ala. This shows that one is grateful to Allah Ta’ala for this bounty, which Allah Ta’ala has bestowed us with. And by being grateful Allah Ta’ala will shower us with his Blessings and Rahmaah and will grant us success both in this world and the hereafter, Insha-Allah. On the other hand, if this very tongue is used for slandering, backbiting, telling lies, for cursing, taunting, mocking, ridiculing, passing sarcastic remarks, swearing, uttering words of kufr, then this is totally opposed to showing one’s gratitude to Allah Ta’ala for this bounty.

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. Allah says “Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah and works righteousness and says I am one of those who bow down in Islam” (41:33).

Hazrat Abdullah ibn Busr (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) says that a man asked the Prophet (sa), “Messenger of Allah (sa), the ordinances of Islam appear to me a multitude of affairs, so kindly tell me something to which I should hold fast.” He answered him, “Let thy tongue be constantly occupied with the remembrance of Allah.”

In conclusion, if you remember only one thing today, let it be the following words of Rasul Allah (sa). Take it as your motto until it carries you to Jannah: He (sa) said:

“Whoever believes in Allah and the last Day, let him say good things or keep quiet!”

May Allah save us from being amongst the heedless. May He helps us all be disciplined and discerning with what he commands. May He bless us all and help us to live in peace and harmony with each other. May He save us from the most evil and the least evil of actions and protect us from their temptations. May Allah’s peace and blessing be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad and upon his family and companions and all those that follow him, and all praise is due to Allah. AMEEN.


By Sister S

Sources Used


  1. Thank you so much sister. May Allah bless you with paradise for sharing this article with the Muslim Ummah.

    JazzakAllahu Khair

  2. Ameen.. May Allah reward you and sister Sameha.

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