‘A Muslim’s Attitude’
We avoided committing sins during the day in Ramadan, such as swearing or insulting others as that detracts from the reward for fasting. We knew the purpose behind fasting was not simply to refrain from eating and drinking, rather the purpose was to refrain from disobeying Allah and to achieve piety or fear of Allah. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious.)” [al-Baqarah 2:183]
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” (Sahih Bukhari)
False speech includes all kinds of speech that are haram, such as lying, backbiting, slandering, insulting and cursing.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
From the above ahadeeth we should take three lessons,
Prohibition against obscene speech or ignorance : Only in Ramadan?
If the fasting person is commanded not to react to one who insults him, how can it be appropriate for him to mistreat people or be the first to insult them or use obscene speech?
To reiterate, Ramadan was a time we are to use to bring about change and make good habits. The prohibitions against obscene speech, ignorant action, argument and insults is not restricted only for one who is fasting, rather each of these things is forbidden in general, but the prohibition is stronger in the case of one who is fasting.
Lying is one of the characteristics of the hypocrites, and it is a blameworthy trait which encourages one to commit evil and prevents one from doing good. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “I enjoin you to be truthful, for truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man may continue to tell the truth and endeavour to be truthful until he is recorded with Allah as a speaker of truth. And beware of lying, for lying leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to Hell. A man may continue to tell lies and endeavour to tell lies, until he is recorded with Allah as a liar.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
The worst kind of lying is telling lies about Allah and His Messenger ﷺ , then spreading lies among people in order to cause trouble between them. Habitually telling lies when speaking is one of the characteristics of the hypocrites, as the Prophet ﷺ said: “There are four characteristics, whoever has them all is a pure hypocrite, and whoever has one of them has one of the characteristics of hypocrisy, until he gives it up: when he is entrusted with something, he betrays that trust, when he speaks he lies, when he makes a covenant he betrays it, and when he disputes he resorts to obscene speech.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
What the one who has lied must do – even if he told a single lie – is repent to Allah, may He be exalted. ‘Aa’ishah said: No characteristic was more hateful to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ than lying. If a man told a lie in the presence of the Prophet ﷺ, he would continue to feel some unrest in his heart until he knew that the man had repented. (At-Tirmidhi; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani).
One of the most important forms of both being truthful and lying is in the area of promises and covenants. Being truthful in promises and covenants is one of the characteristics by which the believers are known. Both promises and covenants involve saying something about an issue to confirm that you will do it, especially with regard to one’s duties towards Allaah. Allaah says, praising some of His slaves (interpretation of the meanings):
We ask Allaah to make us sincere and truthful in word and deed. And Allaah knows best.
The Muslim has to guard his tongue and avoid things that have been forbidden. Among these forbidden things which people often take lightly are gheebah (backbiting), buhtan (slander) and nameemah (malicious gossip).
Gheebah or backbiting means speaking about a Muslim in his absence and saying things that he would not like to have spread around or mentioned. Buhtan or slander means saying things about a Muslim that are not true, or in other words telling lies about him. Nameemah or malicious gossip means telling one person what another said in order to cause trouble between them.
There is a great deal of evidence to show that these actions are haram (impermissible). It will suffice for us to mention just a few of them in order to demonstrate that they are haram.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful” [49:12]
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Do you know what gheebah (backbiting) is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger ﷺ know best.” He ﷺ said, “Saying something about your brother that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He ﷺ said, “If what you say is true then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.” (Sahih Muslim)
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ passed by two graves and said, “They are being punished, but they are not being punished for anything that was difficult to avoid. One of them used to walk about spreading malicious gossip (nameemah), and the other used not to take precautions to avoid getting urine on himself when he urinated...” [al-Bukhaari, Muslim]
For a person to say of another, “He cannot control his tongue (or he has a loose tongue)” is undoubtedly one of those things that a person would dislike to have said about him. If it is true, then it is gheebah (backbiting), and if it is not true then it is buhtan (slander).
How to make up the mistake
Everyone who does any kind of backbiting, slander or malicious gossip has to repent and pray for forgiveness, and that is between him and Allaah. If he knows that any of his words reached the person about whom he was speaking, then he should go to him and ask him to forgive him. But if he does not know, then he should not tell him; rather he should pray for forgiveness for him and make du’a(supplication) for him, and speak well of him in his absence just as he spoke against him. Similarly, if he knows that telling him will provoke more enmity, then it is sufficient to make du’a for him, speak well of him and pray for forgiveness for him.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever has wronged his brother with regard to his honour or anything else, let him seek his forgiveness today, before there will be no dinar and no dirham, and if he has any good deeds to his credit they will be taken from him in a manner commensurate with the wrong he did, and if he has no good deeds, then some of his counterpart’s bad deeds will be taken and added to his burden.” (Sahih Bukhari).
“What the ———-!” “Hey you, ———-, how are you?” “Where in the ——– have you been?”
If you listen to the conversation of the average Muslim youth (or even adults) talking to each other, unfortunately this is what you will hear…….expletives, bad words and cusses. In fact, foul language is often heard as part of their everyday life at school, universities and work place.
What’s worse is that they use these words without thinking…..without remorse and without even realizing that these words are obscene, filthy or repulsive….using four letter words in every sentence and in every conversation.
SubhaanAllaah! Calling each other bad names and using foul language!
Since when did that become a ‘joke’? Or even worse, how can we think that is a way to be cool? Since when did cussing become part of a Muslim’s vocabulary?
What a stark contrast between this and what the Prophet ﷺ used to do.
The behavior of the Prophetﷺ
Anas bin Malik said: “The Prophet ﷺ was not one who would abuse (others) or say obscene words, or curse (others)…” (Bukhaari)
And Abdullah bin ‘Amr said: “The Prophet ﷺ never used bad language neither a ‘Faahish nor a Mutafaahish. He used to say ‘The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character.’ (Bukhaari)
And he ﷺ said: “The believer is not a slanderer, one who curses a great deal, one who indulges in obscenity or who in engages in foul talk.” (Tirmidhi– saheeh by al-Albaani)
Hellfire because of cussing
Realize, dear brother/sister, that using foul language and cussing is a sin, even in joke and this is a characteristic of the people of Hellfire.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
Bad words show disrespect to those being spoken to and a total lack of self-respect. The one who stays away from filthy language is not being a prude or old-fashioned; rather he /she is a Mu’min and a follower of the one with the best manners ever…that is, the Prophet ﷺ. Use of such evil words is disrespectful, plain and simple. It is not to be tolerated nor is it an acceptable behavior in Islam.
If a person turns away from the truth, seeking knowledge and does not engage his tongue with remembrance of Allaah, his tongue will be engrossed with matters besides it such as backbiting, slander, mockery, lies and obscene language. This is because the slave cannot but speak. Thus, if he does not speak with the remembrance of Allaah and of His commands, he will speak of these things.
Ibn al-Qayyim says: “For the tongue does not keep quiet at all. It is either a tongue that remembers or a tongue that is frivolous and it has to be one of these two.
It is the (nature of the) soul; if you do not preoccupy it with truth, it will occupy you with falsehood. It is the (nature of the) heart; if you do not accommodate it with love of Allaah, it will dwell with love of creation and this is a certain reality. It is the (nature of the) tongue, if you do not preoccupy it with remembrance, it will most definitely occupy you with frivolity.
Thus, choose for your own self one of the two courses and confer upon it one of the two standings.” [Al-Waabil as-Sayyib, pages 166- 167 and also see page 87]
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or else keep silent …”
1. Remember these beautiful words of the Prophet ﷺ and either speak good or keep quiet.
2. Stay away from foul language, cussing, evil words or slander & insulting someone, because YOU are a Mu’min and a Mumin does not utter filthy words or cuss at anyone or slander.
3. Equally important is to stay away from people who speak such bad language, or those who slander and gossip a lot. Because the more you hear it, the more desensitized one becomes to its evil, until a time comes when it’s not bad anymore.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Truly a man utters words to which he attaches no importance, and by them he falls into the Fire of Jahannam, and truly a man utters words to which he attaches no importance, and by them Allah raises him into the Garden.” (Bukhaari)
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Not a word does he (or she) utter but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it)’ (Surah Qaaf:18)
The Prophet ﷺ commanded us to control our tongues in more than one hadeeth, such as that narrated by al-Tirmidhi from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is salvation?’ He ﷺ said, ‘Control your tongue, keep to your house and weep over your sin.’” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albani).
Al-Tirmidhi also narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said to Mu’adh (may Allah be pleased with him), after teaching him some of the laws of Islam, “Shall I not tell you what is the foundation of all that?” I [Mu’adh] said: “Of course, O Prophet of Allah ﷺ .”He ﷺ took hold of his tongue and said, “Control this.” I said, “O Prophet of Allah ﷺ , will we be held responsible for what we say with it?” He ﷺ said, “May your mother be bereft of you, O Mu’adh! Will the people be thrown into Hell on their faces or on their noses for anything other than the harvest of their tongues?” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albani).
The hadeeth enjoins refraining from indulging in specific things, because this is something that is of no benefit to a person, and indeed it may cause him a great deal of harm in his spiritual and worldly affairs.
Now to the last part of the Hadeeth where the Prophet ﷺ said: “….if anyone insults him or wants to fight him, let him say, I am fasting.” This is teaching us patience and forbearance while we are fasting but something that we should learn to implement throughout our lives.
The Muslim is the brother of his fellow Muslim; he loves for him of good what he loves for himself, and he hates for him of evil what he hates for himself.
Undoubtedly there is no one among us who does not make mistakes and fall short, and does not wrong other people or transgress their rights to some extent; each of us would like people to forgive him for all the wrongs he has done to them, so that they will not ask for restitution thereof on the Day of Resurrection, which is the time when he will be most in need of his good deeds.
Allah, may He be exalted, urges us in His Book to forgive people and be patient with their annoyance, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
This is something that is also mentioned a great deal in the Sunnah. Muslim (4689) narrated from The Prophet ﷺ said:
When Mistah ibn Uthaathah indulged in gossip during the slander incident, and Allah sent down revelation confirming the innocence of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), Abu Bakr, who had been spending on Mistah because he was his relative and was poor, said: By Allah, I shall never spend anything on Mistah again after what he said about ‘Aa’ishah. Then Allah revealed the words (interpretation of the meaning):
“And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah , and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” [an-Noor 24:22].
Abu Bakr said: Yes indeed, by Allah, I would like Allah to forgive me. So he resumed spending on Mistah as he used to do, and he said: By Allah, I shall never deprive him of it. (This hadith was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim).
Undoubtedly Allah does not bestow such a great characteristic upon anyone except the elite and best of His creation. The Muslim should take the righteous as his example. What could be more difficult than having a poor relative on whom you spend and whom you treat kindly, then he casts aspersions on your honour by speaking ill of it? Yet despite that, Abu Bakr resumed spending on Mistah (may Allah be pleased with them both) and swore that he would never stop doing so. This can only be due to his purity of heart and his love of doing good, pardoning and forgiving, otherwise he would not have sworn to never stop spending on him.
One of the best ways in which a Muslim can help himself to bear with patience whatever befalls him of annoyance and mistreatment from other people is to think of his own shortcomings in his duties towards Allah, and how much he would like Allah to pardon him and conceal his faults. This is how Allah, may He be exalted, encouraged Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq to forgive Mistah, as He said: “and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful”. In other words, deal with people on the basis of pardoning and overlooking, as you would like them to treat you in the same manner, for the reward is of the same nature as the deed.
Hence Allah, may He be exalted, promised the one who would behave in this manner (forgiving people) a high status, for his reward is due from Allah. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah” (ash-Shoora 42:40).
One of the greatest means that will help the Muslim to free his heart of grudges and rancour is to be keen to show sincerity towards the Muslims in general, and to do that for the sake of Allah, because he knows that Allah is pleased with that and loves it.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:“The gates of Paradise will be opened on Mondays and on Thursdays, and every servant [of Allah] who associates nothing with Allah will be forgiven, except for the man who has a grudge against his brother. [About them] it will be said: Delay these two until they are reconciled; delay these two until they are reconciled”. (Sahih Muslim, also by Malik & Abu Dawud).
Also once a man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said: “O Messenger of Allaah ﷺ , I have relatives with whom I try to keep in touch, but they cut me off; I treat them well, but they treat me badly; I try to be kind to them, but they are cruel to me.” He ﷺ said: “If you are as you say, it is as if you are putting hot ashes in their mouths. You will continue to have support from Allaah against them so long as you continue doing that.” (Sahih Muslim)
How good is the believer’s condition, as he has a sound heart and is sincere to the people around him, and he calls them to Allah, bears their annoyance with patience and forgives them, and when he goes to bed he has no resentment or rancour in his heart towards anyone. It is sufficient reward for patience that the patient person will be given his reward without measure on the Day of Resurrection.
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We ask Allah, may He be exalted, to improve our attitude and to make us among those who possess these noble characteristics, May Allah make us all Good Muslims around the year and make us better in Ramadan to be consistent in it the following year.
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