Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on the Tongue
الحَمْدُ للهِ، الحَمْدُ للهِ الذي خَلَقَ الإِنْسانَ، وجعل له العقل واللسان، وأنطقه وعلّمه الكلام، نَحْمَدُهُ تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، مَنْ يَهْدِ اللهُ فلا مضل له، ومَنْ يُضلِلْ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ، ونَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، له الملك وله الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشْهَدُ أَنَّ سَيِّدَنَا ومولانا مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُه وَرَسُولُهُ، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمّة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحقّ، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعَلَى آلِهِ وأَصْحابِهِ ومَنْ تَبِعَهم بإِحْسانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّيْنِ. أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَيَا عِبَادَ اللهِ اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون، يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا، يُصْلِحْ لَكُم أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا، يا أيها المسلمون اتقوا الله فيما أوصى وأمر، وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
Of the many gifts that Allah has showered upon the human race - gifts that are so numerous they are almost without number, perhaps one of the most wondrous of them is the tongue - the ability to put one’s feelings and thoughts into words and communicate them to others. It is the vehicle for the conveying Allah’s Message and bearing witness to His Oneness. And it requires little physical effort to use it, being one of the smallest muscles in the human body. Even the most unfit couch potato who cannot even bring himself to walk as far as the fridge finds little difficulty in exercising his tongue. Furthermore, it is one of the most far-reaching of Allah’s blessings to us since there is nothing in existence or even outside of existence that the tongue cannot talk about. It is a powerful tool. Indeed, it has the potential to be one of the most valuable tools you have as you make your way through life. But if it has its benefits, then so too does it have its dangers and drawbacks.
When Luqman, عليه السلام, was asked to bring his master the best part of a sheep that he had slaughtered, he brought the heart and tongue. Then when he was asked to bring him the worst part of the sheep, he again brought the heart and tongue. When his master asked him why he did that, he replied,
إِنَّه لَيس شيءٌ أَطْيَبَ مِنهما إذا طابا ولا أَخْبثَ منهما إذا أخبثا
“When they are good, there is no part of the body that is better, but when they are bad then there is no part of the body that is worse.”
The tongue is a two-edged sword, but if you do not use it right then all you will end up doing is cutting yourself. And it will be one of the main witnesses against you on the Day of Rising: Allah says:
يَوْمَ تَشْهَدُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَلْسِنَتُهُمْ وَأَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
the translation of which is, “on the Day when their tongues and hands and feet will testify against them about what they were doing” To use it right the first thing you must have is mastery over it, not let it have mastery over you. That is the hallmark of the believer. The Prophet said,
إن لسان المؤمن وراء قلبه فإذا أراد أن يتكلم بشيء تدبره بقلبه ثم أمضاه بلسانه، وإن لسان المنافق أمام قلبه، فإذا هم بشيء أمضاه بلسانه ولم يتدبره بقلبه
“The tongue of the believer lies behind his heart - for whenever he wants to say something he reflects upon what he is going to say with his heart before letting his tongue speak. The tongue of the hypocrite, however, lies in front of his heart - whenever he decides on something, he lets his tongue run without reflecting upon it first in his heart.” As believers, it is incumbent upon us to measure up our words before we let them pass our lips. We have to guide our tongues and not let them guide us and take us to places we would rather not be. For make no mistake, the organ of the body that most swiftly leads a person to the Fire is the tongue. The Prophet said to one of his companions, Mu‘adh ibn Jabal,
ثَكِلَتْكَ أمُّك يا معاذ، وهل يَكُبَُ الناسَ في النار على وجوهِهم إلا حصائدُ ألسنتِهم؟
“May your mother be bereaved of you, Mu‘adh! Is there anything other than that which is reaped by the tongue that causes men to be dragged through the Fire on their faces!?” And he also said,
“أكثرُ خطايا ابْنِ ءادمَ مِن لسانِه”
“Most of the wrong actions of the sons of Adam are from the tongue.” And, as we mentioned before, these wrong actions require little effort to commit, which is what makes them so insidious. And they are so numerous that they are difficult to avoid: lying, backbiting, slander, telling tales, speaking without knowledge, disclosing others’ secrets, using obscene language, ridicule, valueless argumentation, blasphemy etc. etc. These are just the uses of the tongue that are forbidden, but even using it in ways that are permitted can get one into trouble.
A good example of that is divorce, which only requires the utterance of a simple phrase to come into effect. Simply say the words, ‘I divorce you’ and the deed is done. And once uttered, those words cannot be taken aback. There is no requirement of witnesses, no necessity for the signing of papers. Once uttered, you have lost one of your three divorces. And even though you may be able to get back together with her that time and even after a second time, if you utter those words on a third occasion, your marriage is finished and you can never get back together unless she first marries another man and consummates her marriage with him. That is the only way that you can ever get back together with her and all because of a few words you said in the heat of the moment. And if you do get back together with her and she has not married another, then you are living in zina. So a few ill-spoken words have led you into a life of major wrong action. Thus is the danger of the tongue.
And while we are on the topic of divorce. I would like to add that while divorce is permissible in the deen, it is the most hated of all the permissible things. The Prophet said,
أبغض الحلال إلى الله الطلاق
“The most hated lawful thing with Allah is divorce.” So, divorce is never the first option that a couple takes when they are having problems in their marriage, but rather is the very last option after all avenues and attempts at reconciliation have been exhausted. So never rush into it and always be mindful of the consequences. As we mentioned earlier, the believer thinks and reflects before he acts.
We ask Allah to always guide us to what is best for us.
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه، إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيمالحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.
Muslims, the truth of the matter is that for the vast majority of us, our tongue is one of our biggest and most implacable enemies. Abdallah ath-Thaqafi said,
قلت: يا رسول الله ما أخوف ما تخاف علي؟ فأخذ بلسانه وقال: هذا
When I asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, what thing should I be frightened of the most?’ he took hold of his tongue and said, ‘This!’ And it is for that reason that the Companions and many men of Allah were so wary of it. It is narrated that Abu Bakr used to fill his mouth with stones in order to stop himself talking, and that he would point to his tongue and say, ‘This is what gets me into bad situations.’ And Tawus said, ‘My tongue is a wild animal - if I let it loose it will eat me up.’ There are but two ways to combat this wild animal: silence or speaking well. the Prophet said,
" من كان يؤمنُ بالله واليومِ الآخر فليقلْ خيراً أوِلْيصمُتْ"
“Let whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day say something good or remain silent.” The path of safety lies in silence, while the path of gain lies in saying in something good. Both paths lead to the Garden. As for the third path, its destination is the Fire. It is narrated that Ibn Mas‘ud used to say while he stood on Safa,
يا لسانِ قل خيراً تغنم واسكت عن شر تسلم من قبل أن تندم
“O my tongue, speak well and you will receive the spoils, and remain silent and do not say anything bad and you will be safe and will not have cause to regret.”
There are many ways of speaking good: reciting the Qur’an, doing dhikr of Allah, saying salawat on the Prophet, calling people to Allah, teaching the useful knowledge that one has learnt, offering sincere advice and nasiha, speaking kind words, giving greetings, speaking up against injustice or for your brother when he has been insulted etc. But in a great many situations, the best option is silence. For, often nothing that you will say will make the situation better but rather will simply end up making it worse. A good example of that is miraa/ argumentation or engaging in heated debates with stubborn opponents who refuse to budge an inch so that in the end all you end up doing is insulting each other. And that is why many of the great people of Allah chose the path of silence, including many of the Companions like Abu Bakr who, as we mentioned earlier, used to put stones in his mouth to stop himself speaking, or Ibn Mas’ud who used to say that there was nothing more in need of being imprisoned than the tongue. That is why as mentioned in the Ihyaa Uloomideen it is mentioned that Mansur ibn al-Mu’taz chose not to speak after Isha for forty years and why ar-Rabi’ ibn Khaytham went twenty years without talking about any worldly matter. These men heeded the words of the Messenger of Allah when he said,
من سره أن يسلم فليلزم الصمت
“He who desires to be safe should hold fast to silence’ And the words Prophet Isa is narrated as having said when he was asked for that which will guarantee admission to the Garden,
لا تنطقوا أبداً، قالوا: لا نستطيع ذلك، فقال: فلا تنطقوا إلا بخير
“Never speak” They said, ‘We cannot do that!” So he said, “Then only speak good.”
What is clear from all of this is that the tongue poses a great danger to us if we let it run free and do not guard it and keep it under lock and key. Unless we are in control of it, it will be in control of us and that is the third path. So measure your words carefully before uttering them - and if you find them to be good and not detrimental to the situation you are in, let them out; and if you find them to be bad or harmful, then lock them away and remain silent. Therein lies the key to safety and salvation.
May Allah protect us from our tongues and make them the means for us to gain His Pleasure and not His anger. May He make them witnesses for us on the Day of Rising and not witnesses against us. May He protect our community from those who misuse it and use it to spread lies and discord. And may He make our tongues a means of reuniting the Muslims and healing their divisions. Amin
إنَّ اللهَ ومَلائِكَتَهُ يُصلُّونَ على النَّبِي يَا أَيُها الذينَ آمنوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وسَلِّمُوا تَسْليماً. اللهمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّم وبارِك عَلَيْهِ وعلى آلِهِ وصَحْبِهِ أجمعين.
وارض اللهم عن الخلفاء الراشدين أبي بكرٍ وعمرَ وعثمانَ وعلي ، وعن سائر الصحابة أجمعين، خصوصا الأنصارَ منهم والمهاجرين، وعن التابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
اللهم اهد أولات أمور المسلمين لما يرضيك ولاتباع سنة نبيك صلى الله عليه وسلم وثبت أقدامهم على الصراط المستقيم وأصلحهم يا رب العالمين.
اللهم بارك على شيخنا، و على أميرنا، وعلى جميع أمراءِ وزعماء المسلمين.
اللهم بارك على المسلمين في هذه المدينة ووفقهم لما تحبه وترضاه يا أكرم الأكرمين.
اللهمّ أَعِزَّ الْلإسلامَ والمُسِلمينَ (3) واَخْذُلِ الكُفْرَ والكافِرينَ، وانْصُرِ المُجاهِدينَ في سَبِيلِ اللهِ. واجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وكَلِمَةَ الكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلى.
ربنا ءاتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الأخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار.
اللهم لا تضعْ في مقامِنا هذا ذنبا إلا غفرْتَه، ولا عيبا إلا سترْتَه، ولا مريضا إلا شفيتَهُ وعافيتَه، ولا مسجونا إلا طلَّقْتَ سراحَه، ولا مسافرا في برِّك وبحرِك إلا سلِمتَهُ وغنِمْتَه.
إن الله يأمر بالعدل والإحسان وإيتاء ذي القربى وينهى عَنِ الفحشاءِ والمُنكَرِ والبغي، يعظكم لعلكم تذكرون، ولَذِكْرُ اللهِ أكبر والله يَعْلَمُ ما تَصْنَعُون. وقُومُوا إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يرحمكم الله