We adopt the act of kindness

Sins of the Tongue in Islam

The tongue is one of the greatest blessings of Allah, small but does great deeds and damage at the same time. Through the tongue, true faith unfolds and infidelity emerges, its extent is endless like a vast arena. The dangers of the tongue cannot be compared to the dangers of any other body part, and the major sins which can be committed by the tongue. Allah says:

وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُمْ يَقُولُونَ إِنَّمَا يُعَلِّمُهُ بَشَرٌ لِّسَانُ الَّذِي يُلْحِدُونَ إِلَيْهِ أَعْجَمِيٌّ وَهَٰذَا لِسَانٌ عَرَبِيٌّ مُّبِينٌ

“And certainly, We know that they say, “Only teaches him a human being.” (The) tongue (of) the one they refer to him (is) foreign while this (is) a language Arabic clear.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:103)

The tongue is always at the disposal of the person. The tongue is a tiny organ, the person who uses it to comply with the orders of Allah, the teachings of the Qur’an, and the teachings of the Prophet may earn blessings in this world and the in Hereafter. Blessed is the man who speaks good and is triumphant, or keeps silent in the face of evil and is secure.  Allah says:

لُعِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَلَىٰ لِسَانِ دَاوُودَ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا عَصَوا وَّكَانُوا يَعْتَدُونَ

“Were cursed those who disbelieved from (the) Children (of) Israel by (the) tongue (of) Dawood and Isa, son (of) Maryam, that (was) because they disobeyed and they were transgressing.” (Surah Al-Ma`idah 5:78)

One should be aware some of these sins take the person out of Islam. Lying is also among the sins of the tongue. It is to utter false information while knowing that what one is saying is not the truth. It is sinful (haram) whether done seriously or jokingly. Moreover, swearing by Allah to a lie is one of the major sins. It is better to remain silent if you cannot speak the word of goodness.

Advice for avoiding sins of the tongue includes the following ten tips:

  1. The evil tongue is the tongue given to boasting
  2. The evil tongue is the tongue given to cursing
  3. The evil tongue is the hasty or angry tongue
  4. The evil tongue is the murmuring tongue
  5. The evil tongue is the flattering tongue
  6. The evil tongue is the earthly tongue
  7. The evil tongue is the lying tongue
  8. The evil tongue is the silent tongue
  9. The evil tongue is the vain tongue
  10. The evil tongue is the cruel tongue
  11. The evil tongue is the unjust tongue
  12. The evil tongue is the unclean tongue
  13. The evil tongue is the scoffing tongue
  14. The evil tongue is the swearing tongue
  15. The evil tongue is the censorious tongue
  16. The evil tongue is the slanderous tongue
  17. The evil tongue degrade through your words
  18. The evil tongue is sworn or uses obscene language
  19. The evil tongue is arguing, even if you are in the right
  20. The evil tongue is use language to try to impress people

People who are careful about their words enjoy many benefits. Those known for being gentle, kind, good speech and avoiding unnecessary and negative talk earn respect and trust from other people. Friends will feel safe with them, and people will be more at ease to do business with them. They will enjoy a good reputation. It is better to remain silent if you cannot speak the word of goodness. Allah says:

وَقُل لِّعِبَادِي يَقُولُوا الَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَنزَغُ بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ كَانَ لِلْإِنسَانِ عَدُوًّا مُّبِينًا

“And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy.” (Al-Isra’ 17:53)

They hear more good things and thus learn more and are more likely to have an expansive and enlightened heart. No other part of the body commits more sins than the tongue, but if we are diligent, we can make ourselves the exceptions. Allah says:

فَإِنَّمَا يَسَّرْنَاهُ بِلِسَانِكَ لِتُبَشِّرَ بِهِ الْمُتَّقِينَ وَتُنذِرَ بِهِ قَوْمًا لُّدًّا

“So, only We (have) made it easy in your tongue, that you may give glad tidings with it (to) the righteous and warn with it a people hostile.” (Surah Maryam 19:97)

Islam gave attentive care to the manner of speech and the way it functions, as the word coming out indicates an individual’s level of intellect and manners. We must make sure that all of that which we speak in this world is limited to these three issues and if we fall out of this boundary, then we will incur a loss. Allah says:

فَإِنَّمَا يَسَّرْنَاهُ بِلِسَانِكَ لِتُبَشِّرَ بِهِ الْمُتَّقِينَ وَتُنذِرَ بِهِ قَوْمًا لُّدًّا

“So, only We (have) made it easy in your tongue, that you may give glad tidings with it (to) the righteous and warn with it a people hostile.” (Surah Maryam, 19:97)

If a person is good, it reflects in their saying. Allah has made it very easy for the tongue to move, and it is not difficult to realize that a person’s tongue moves much more as if compared to the limbs. So if a person is not careful about what he says, even a single saying of his can invalidate his actions. It is for this reason that the whole body warns the tongue

Allah, the Exalted, says in The Holy Quran:

  • “And a tongue, and a pair of lips?” (Al-Balad, 9)
  • “In the perspicuous Arabic tongue.” ( Ash-Shura, 195)
  • “Not move with it your tongue to hasten with it.” (Qiyamah 75:16)
  • “Move not thy tongue concerning the (Quran) to make haste therewith.” (Qiyama, 16)
  • “Indeed, We have made it easy in your tongue so that they may take heed.” (Dukhan 44:58)
  • “And this Book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and as Glad Tidings to those who do right.” (Al-Ahqaf, 12)
  • “It is a man that teaches him.” The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic, pure and clear.” (An-Nahl, 103)

We must realize through the misuse of the tongue that we can end up doing Gunaah-e-Kabira, for example lying. One of the remedies for getting rid of lying is to punish yourself whenever you utter such a statement. Among the best characteristics of a Muslim is to speak only the words of goodness and reconciliation. Allah says:

وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُم مِّن رَّحْمَتِنَا وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ لِسَانَ صِدْقٍ عَلِيًّا

“And We bestowed to them of Our Mercy, and We made for them a truthful mention, high.” (Surah Maryam 19:50)

However, the one who uses his tongue in disobedience to Allah would not be displaying thankfulness to Allah and would be heading towards his destruction. Certainly, being thankful to Allah means not to use the endowments bestowed by Allah in what is forbidden. Allah says:

مَّا يَلْفِظُ مِن قَوْلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيْهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيدٌ

“Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared [to record].” (Surah Qaf 50:18)

A Muslim cannot accomplish the five aforementioned qualities unless he restrains his tongue and leads it firmly curbing it where silence is needed, and seizing for fruitful speech. As for those who are led by their tongues they are led astray. If our hearts are impure, then automatically what we say will also be impure. Allah says:

 وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ

“And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it.” (Al-Hujurat 49:12)

There is no downside to guarding your tongue, and everyone can do it with practice and effort. Therefore, we must get rid of negative feelings in the first place about anyone that we have and only then will it be easier for us to control our tongues. Allah says:

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا

“And follow not (O man, i.e., say not or do not or witness not) that of which you do not know. Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those will be questioned (by Allah).” (Surah Al-Isra 17:36 17:36)

Thus, it is clear that the sins for which a person will be thrown into the hellfire – face first – are not related to the sins performed by the chest, feet or hands – rather it is that which he has earned through his tongue. We ask Allâh to protect us from falling into gossip, tale-bearing, and other sins. May Allah protect us and keep us away from every sin of the tongue and help us become those who have the similitude of looters of war booty. Ameen