Look At Our Tongue And Our Hands
Rasulullah (SAW) said: “The best believer according to his practice of Islam is one from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe.” (Al-Bukhari)
O’believer! Don’t we want be the best in our practice of Islam? Don’t we want be those who enter Jannah and live in delight and ecstasy forever? Then look at we should look at our tongue and hands! Are our brothers and sisters safe from the nastiness of our tongues and the evil of our hands? Are our tongues and hands a danger to them and a cause of pain to them? Are we, through our actions, purifying our souls or destroying them? Are we truly racing towards Jannah or advancing towards Hell? Let us look to our tongues first of all. We know full well that backbiting is a major sin. Yet how minor is our resolve to guard against it! A gossip-filled comment here of there may seem harmless, but it is a dangerous path to tread. We are belittling that person in another’s eyes. We may have raised our egos high only to plunge our hearts into darkness. In this earthly life, such comments serve to destroy trust and mutual affection between Muslims, leaving rancor and suspicion to settle in their hearts. We also cause those around us to ‘take sides’ in this battle of the tongues. Thus a ‘seemingly harmless’ comment has caused corruption and hatred in society. And Shaytaan is ever ready to pounce, igniting a fiery word until it turns into a blaze, so much so that words can even lead to wars. so let us urgently reflect on the seriousness of this vice, and understand why Allah has compared it to the vile and sickening act of eating the flesh of one’s dead brother:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱجۡتَنِبُواْ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعۡضَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِثۡمٌ۬ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُواْ وَلَا يَغۡتَب بَّعۡضُكُم بَعۡضًاۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُڪُمۡ أَن يَأۡڪُلَ لَحۡمَ أَخِيهِ مَيۡتً۬ا فَكَرِهۡتُمُوهُۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬
“And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting)” (Surah Al-Hujurat 49:12)
Let us realize the consequences for our ‘Akhirah also. Rasulullah (SAW) has warned us: “When I was taken up into heaven, I passed by people who had copper claws tearing at their faces and chests. I asked, ‘Who are these O Jibraeel?’ He replied: ‘They those who ate the flesh of people and insulted their honor.” (Abu Dawud
How will we fare on the Day when tongues are torn apart and faces ripped open? So how can we dare to let our tongues roam so freely? Rather than listening to such evil talk, let us use our tongues to secure great reward, by opposing all forms of backbiting, and with beautiful manners, correcting it. These situations are opportunities from Allah to perform Jihaad, for indeed trying to keep our tongues is truly a Jihaad al-Nafs.
Let us hasten to correct our everyday speech. When we speak, have we ever scrutinized how little sincerity there is in our voices? How mechanical our speech has become! Our words emanate from our throats and not from our hearts. How easily do our tongues hurt others? We feign care and concern for our fellow Muslims, but our hearts may be empty. Yet these are our very brothers and sisters! We should love them and desire the best for them. Tongues are sharp and hearts are cold, because the love of self has left no room for others…
Let us examine our words more carefully. Do they bring comfort and relief to those around us or do they fall sharply and heavily on their hearts? On harsh word from us sends those gentle servants of Allaah plummeting into sadness and grief. But know that Allah hears everything. And the angels are recording every utterance:
مَّا يَلۡفِظُ مِن قَوۡلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيۡهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيدٌ۬
“Not a word is said except there is a watcher by him ready to record it” (Surah Qaf 50:18)
How will we fare when all our unkind words appear in front of our eyes the moment we are given our scroll of deeds? What terror-stricken state shall we experience on that Day, when it dawns on us that we too could be sent plummeting, into far greater grief…? We seek Allah’s refuge! Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that he heard Rasulullah (SAW) say: “Indeed a servant may say a word which he doesn’t realize and it will make him fall into the fire further than the East and West.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
We must realize dear Muslims, and realize it now, that our words hurt and maim our brothers and sisters more severely than knives. Would we ever dream of cutting them with a blade? Yet with our tongues we cut deeply into their hearts. Know that we cannot be the best in our Islam if we fail to guard our tongues. Indeed our Imaan is in peril if we remain heedless. And if our Imaan is lost, we have lost everything… The Rasulullah (SAW) confirmed:” The Imaan of Allah’s servant will not be upright until his heart is upright and his heart will not be upright until his tongue is upright.” (Ahmad)
Consider how many times in the day and night we use our tongues! So let us not delay in looking to see how they may be destroying us. Let us strive to use them in ways that will, Insha’Allah, save us, for indeed countless are the ways our tongues can secure Jannah, Insha Allah!
وَمَنۡ أَحۡسَنُ قَوۡلاً۬ مِّمَّن دَعَآ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِى مِنَ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ
“And who is better in speech than him who prayeth unto his Lord and doeth right, and saith: Lo! I am of those who surrender (unto Him).” (Surah Fussilat 41:33)
So heed this advice, before your opportunity is gone and your tongue falls silent in the grave…
And what of our hands? Are they stretched out offering help and charity to the needy? And are they being used to perform the best of good deeds? Or are they grasping and taking what does not belong to them? Are our hands selling doubtful food and drink to others? Do these same hands angrily hit our children for shortcomings we once had ourselves…? Let us examine our hands closely. If they are taking more from others and giving less, or harming more and comforting less, then realize that we may be oppressors! Our hands are oppressing our dear brothers and sisters and ultimately, damaging our own souls. Take heed lest these hands carve out a path to misery…
Understand that we must all remain on our guard against Shaytaan and realize how he uses the hands of men to fulfill his evil designs. Men like Abu Lahab, whose two hands will roast in the flames:
تَبَّتۡ يَدَآ أَبِى لَهَبٍ۬ وَتَبَّ (١) مَآ أَغۡنَىٰ عَنۡهُ مَالُهُ ۥ وَمَا ڪَسَبَ (٢) سَيَصۡلَىٰ نَارً۬ا ذَاتَ لَهَبٍ۬
“Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he! his wealth and his gains will not benefit him! He will be burnt in a fire of blazing flames!” (Surah Lahab 111:1-3)
Know that Shaytaan seeks to fling your hands into the fire too! So be aware! Let us recognize that our two hands are an immeasurable blessing from Allah. How beautifully has our Lord and Cherisher constructed them! And how diverse and complex the tasks they can perform! Consider what great good they can do, by the permission of Allah and how much of the Akhirah they can gain! Let us go out of our way in using our hands to help our brothers and sisters, near and far. And let us not forget the simple things, for even the smallest deeds can yield the biggest rewards. Rasulullah (SAW) said: “A man passed a branch of a tree lying in the road and said, ‘By Allah, I want to remove this out of the way of the Muslims so that it will not hurt them’, and he was admitted to Paradise.” (Muslim)
This Hadith should inspire us to race to pick up something fallen on the road or sidewalk, or even in the grocery store. Consider that we are not only saving the Muslims from harm, but many other beautiful creatures of Allah – like the insects and birds, the animals and the plants. (For example, the simple act of throwing empty drink cans into these empty trash cans, with painful consequences.) Let us not scorn any kind of opportunity to use our hands in good works, for Allah showers us with such opportunities every day and night. Even if it is just cooking a nice meal, thus bringing friends or family together, blessings may come from on high, Insha Allah:
“The best among you are those who feed others and respond to the salaam.” (Ahmad)
And let us not forget the one who does the dishes afterwards, and the reward for them, Insha Allah, for they use their hands to ease other of this chore! Subhaan Allaah! How easy it is to earn Paradise!
O friend! Reflect on this Hadith, for in it may lie one of the keys to your salvation and success, in this life and the next. Following its wisdom may, Insha Allah, permit us to receive our books of good deeds in our right hands and joyfully respond with our tongues, to the salaams of the angels as they bring us to the gates of Paradise! So let us never be harsh with our innocent children, who are our beautiful flowers. And never let us be indifferent to our wise and caring elders. Let us strive with these duties now, while we still have these precious gifts from Allah – our tongue and our hands.