Ads by Muslim Ad Network

Speak Good or Keep Silent

Prophet Muhammad said:

“Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbor, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet. (i.e. abstain from all kinds of evil and dirty talk).” (Al-Bukhari)

This hadith discusses some of the ways a Muslim’s faith should affect the way he relates to others. Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani writes:

“This hadith speaks about three matters, and in doing so it brings together everything that good manners entail with respect to both word and deed.”

Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day…

Ads by Muslim Ad Network

This is a conditional sentence. It is repeated three times in this hadith, each time with a different condition. The first of these three conditions is to either speak a good word or remain silent, the second is to show hospitality to one’s neighbors, and the third is to show hospitality to one’s guests. This hadith is showing us that these three qualities are among the many qualities of faith. A person who fails to fulfill any of these conditions is a person whose faith is incomplete and in want of improvement.

Speaking a good word or remaining silent

This is an encouragement to speak what is good and beneficial; at the same time it is a warning, cautioning us to be careful in what we say, lest we say something that is harmful or false.

It is part of a Muslim’s faith to speak the truth and to say things that bring about benefit to others. Allah says:

{O you who believe! Fear Allah and speak a word that is right. He will set right for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great achievement.} (33: 70-71)

wordsAllah informs us in the Quran some of what constitutes good in our speech and benefits other people. He says:

{No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right, or bring reconciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking Allah’s pleasure, then we shall grant him a great reward.} (4: 114)

When we have nothing beneficial to say, silence is golden.

Once, Mu’adh ibn Jabal asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to inform him of some good work that would admit him into Paradise and distance him from the Hellfire. The Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned to him the virtues of many good deeds, then said:

“Shall I inform you of the foundation of all of that?”

Mu’adh said: “Certainly.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) took hold of his tongue and said:

“Restrain yourself from this.”

Mu’adh then asked:

“O Prophet of Allah! Are we held to task for the things that we say?”

The Prophet replied:

“May your mother be bereaved of you, O Mu’adh! Does anything topple people headlong into the Hellfire save the harvests of their tongues?” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi and Sunan Ibn Majah)

We should avoid speaking ill of others. We should rather remain silent unless we are seeking justice for some wrong that has been perpetrated against us. Allah says:

{Allah does not like that evil should be mentioned in public except by one who has been done injustice. And Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing.} (4 : 148)

Our tongues are like double-edges swords. They can work for us and against us, both in this world and the Hereafter. We will be held accountable for what we say. Allah tells us:

{He does not utter a statement except that there is an observer by him ready to record it.} (50: 18)

The Prophet said:

“Indeed a servant will speak a word pleasing to Allah that he thinks to be insignificant, but because of it Allah raises him by many degrees. And indeed a servant will speak a word displeasing to Allah that he thinks to be insignificant, but because of it, He will consign him to the Hellfire.” (Al-Bukhari)

We must be vigilant not to speak falsehood. We must think about what we are saying and the possible consequences of our words before we go ahead and speak. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said:

“The servant speaks words that he does not understand its repercussions but he sinks down in Hell-Fire farther than the distance between the east and the west.” (Muslim)

Al-Nawawi comments on the meaning of this hadith, saying:

“This hadith encourages us to guard our tongues. A person who wants to speak should think upon what he is about to say before he utters it. If it then shows itself to have some benefit to it, he may speak it; otherwise he should refrain from doing so.”

Showing hospitality to the neighbor and the guest

From the perfection of a person’s faith is his showing kindness to those with whom he has dealings, especially his neighbors and his guests.

Allah says:

{Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and show kindness to parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, the near neighbor, the distant neighbor, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are conceited and boastful.} (4: 36)

Islam emphasizes the right of the neighbor. Ibn Umar reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Gabriel impressed upon me (the kind treatment) towards the neighbour (so much) that I thought as if he would soon confer upon him the (right) of inheritance.” (Muslim)

There are many forms that this hospitality can take. It can take the form of help in times of need. The Prophet said:

“He is not a believer who lets himself be satiated while his neighbor goes hungry.” (Al-Hakim)

It can mean making allowances for the neighbor’s needs, even by waiving some of one’s own rights. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said:

“None among you should prevent his neighbor from fixing a beam in his wall.” (Muslim)

It can take the form of gift giving. Prophet Muhammad said:

“O Muslim women! None of you should look down upon the gift sent by her she-neighbor even if it were the trotters of the sheep (fleshless part of legs).” (Al-Bukhari)


Republished from