Rasulullah (SAW) warned us that talk is very dangerous. In an authentic hadith reported by Imam At-Tirmithi and Ibn-Majah, that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “A person may say a word that is pleasing to Allah and he may not think much of it, but Allah will, (because of that word), bestow his pleasure upon him on the Day of Judgment, and a person may say a word that is displeasing to Allah and he may not think much of it, but Allah will have, (because of that word) his wrath and anger on him on the Day of Judgment.”
Talk can be dangerous. So, we should control it within the limits of Islam, guided by Allah and his Messenger Rasulullah (SAW).
Some of the ways to control our talk:
1) The goal of our talk should be good and beneficial: If we cannot intend to have a good talk, then we should remain silent and that is good by itself. This is because Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say good or remain silent.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
2) Be truthful in your talk and refrain from lying because the believer is always truthful, and does not lie even if he is joking: Rasulullah (SAW) said: “You must speak the truth for the truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise. One, who always speaks the truth and means the truth, is recorded as truthful with Allah. Keep away from the lie for the lie leads to evil and evil leads to the Hell Fire and one who continually tells a lie and intends to lie is recorded with Allah as a liar.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
3) Refrain from disobedience (against Allah) in we talk whether we are serious or kidding because Allah hates the disobedient, the curser: The talk of disobedience is every talk that involves disobeying Allah and the curse talk is cursing, cussing, and bad-mouthing others. For this reason Rasulullah (SAW) warned us in an authentic hadith: “The believer does not accuse, curse others, disobey Allah, nor bad-mouth others.” Prohibition of cursing is also applicable to the dead like it is applicable to the living people. Rasulullah (SAW) forbade us when he says: “Do not curse the dead; they went to what they had done (in this life).” Rasulullah (SAW) ordered us in another hadith: “Mention the good things about your dead.”
4) Refrain from Ghee bah or backbiting (Ghee bah is mentioning a Muslim in something he/she hates) in our talk, “and do not backbite one another”: Also refrain from Nameemah (Nameemah is spreading talk among people to make them hate one another) because Rasulullah (SAW) said in an authentic hadith: “He who makes Nameemah does not enter Paradise.” Also, refrain from listening without making our objection known to people who are making Nameemah. Because if we do, we will be sharing the sins.
5) Refrain from swearing unless it is necessary: Allah says:
وَلَا تَجۡعَلُواْ ٱللَّهَ عُرۡضَةً۬ لِّأَيۡمَـٰنِڪُمۡ أَن تَبَرُّواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ وَتُصۡلِحُواْ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ۬
“And make not Allah, by your oaths, a hindrance to your being righteous and observing your duty unto Him and making peace among mankind. Allah is Hearer, Knower.” (Surah Baqarah 2:224)
6) Talk only within our knowledge and expertise, and do not talk about what we do not know: Allah says:
وَلَا تَقۡفُ مَا لَيۡسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلۡمٌۚ إِنَّ ٱلسَّمۡعَ وَٱلۡبَصَرَ وَٱلۡفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ كَانَ عَنۡهُ مَسۡـُٔولاً۬
“(O man), follow not that whereof thou hast no knowledge. Lo! the hearing and the sight and the heart – of each of these it will be asked..” (Surah Isra’a 17: 36)
7) Do not talk to people about everything we hear without investigation and confirmation: We may hear from others the truthfulness and falsehood and what is true and what is doubtful. If we talk about everything we hear, we will be sharing the sins. Rasulullah (SAW): “It is enough sin a person commits when he talks about everything he hears.”
8) Make sure that the goal from our talk and conversation with others is to reach the truth, and reveal the falsehood: And do not be concerned whether the truth is reached and falsehood is revealed by us or by others.
9) Refrain from being involved in useless arguments which sole purpose is to put down and prevail over others: Because being aimlessly argumentative is from the signs of misguidance (We seek refuge with Allah from it). For this reason, Rasulullah (SAW) warned us: “A people did not get misguided after Allah had guided them, but they were aimlessly argumentative.” (Tirmithi) Abandon useless arguments even if the truth is on your side to prevent useless argument-full conversation. Rasulullah (SAW) said: “I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for the one who stopped being aimlessly argumentative even if he is right.” (Abu-Dawud)
10) Make our talk clear, simple, devoid of words that are difficult to understand, devoid of eloquence when it is not necessary, and devoid of anything that puts down others: Rasulullah (SAW) said: “The people whom I hate the most and who are the farthest from me on the Day of Judgment are those who talk uselessly, and those who put down others, and those who show off when they talk.” (Tirmithi)
11) Make our talk calm, clear, audible and understood by others: Rasulullah (SAW) used to repeat the word three times to make sure that it is understood and his talk was simple that everyone can understand.
12) Be serious when we talk and do not joke much: And if we joke, we should be truthful like Rasulullah (SAW) used to do.
13) Do not interrupt another person when he talks and listen to what he has to say till he finishes his point: Then follow up on what he said with what is good and beneficial if the follow-up is necessary or useful, not just because we want to talk aimlessly.
14) Talk and debate in a nice way which is devoid of harming, hurting, putting down, and making fun of others: This good way of talk was commanded by all messengers. Allah said to Moosa (AS) and his brother Haroon (AS), when he sent them to Pharaoh:
فَقُولَا لَهُ ۥ قَوۡلاً۬ لَّيِّنً۬ا لَّعَلَّهُ ۥ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوۡ يَخۡشَىٰ
“And speak unto him a gentle word, that peradventure he may heed or fear.” (Surah Taha 20: 44) We are not better than Moosa (AS) and Haroon (AS) nor is that person we are talking to worse than Pharaoh.
15) Do not reject everything others have said if you have noticed a mixture of right and wrong or a mixture of truth and falsehood, because right should not be rejected even if it is said along with some other things that are independently wrong: Truth should not be rejected if it is said along with some other things that are independently false. We should accept the right and the truth and reject only the wrong and falsehood, and this is the justice and fairness that Allah commanded us to do.
16) Do not complement ourselves and pat ourselves on the back in front of people: Usually this is a result of arrogance which Allah forbade us from:
ٱلَّذِينَ يَجۡتَنِبُونَ كَبَـٰٓٮِٕرَ ٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَٱلۡفَوَٲحِشَ إِلَّا ٱللَّمَمَۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَٲسِعُ ٱلۡمَغۡفِرَةِۚ هُوَ أَعۡلَمُ بِكُمۡ إِذۡ أَنشَأَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَإِذۡ أَنتُمۡ أَجِنَّةٌ۬ فِى بُطُونِ أُمَّهَـٰتِكُمۡۖ فَلَا تُزَكُّوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمۡۖ هُوَ أَعۡلَمُ بِمَنِ ٱتَّقَىٰٓ
“Those who avoid enormities of sin and abominations, save the unwilled offences – (for them) lo! thy Lord is of vast mercy. He is best aware of you (from the time) when He created you from the earth, and when ye were hidden in the bellies of your mothers. Therefore ascribe not purity unto yourselves. He is best aware of him who wardeth off (evil).” (Surah An-Najm 53:32)