Not making empty and trivial statements
Because those who do not believe in Allah think their lives are limited to the life of the world, they feel no need to make preparations for the everlasting existence they will lead in the next world. They do not reflect upon the way they behave, what good they do during their lifetimes, or what end they are approaching. In fact, every act, every word and every thought is recorded, and with these each will be reminded on the Day of Judgment. Every good and wise word uttered will be to a person's benefit in the afterlife, helping that person to gain Allah's approval, His mercy and His Paradise.
While those who do not ponder about the afterlife waste their time by faltering into empty words and embroidering them into conversations which are of no use to themselves or anyone else, the faithful pass every moment of their time in beneficial and wise conversation.
In the Qur'an, we are told about those who forget about the afterlife by wasting their words the following manner: "... Then leave them in their empty discourse, amusing themselves." (Surat al-An'am: 91) The Muslims' careful avoidance of empty and useless words is expressed in another verse: "When they hear worthless talk they turn away from it and say, 'We have our actions and you have your actions. Peace be upon you. We do not desire the company of the ignorant.' " (Surat al-Qasas: 55)
As to what words are empty and vain, Muslims use the Qur'an as their measure. Because they know that every moment they spend in the life of this world is dear, with regards to determining their lot in the afterlife, they take great care in order to avoid empty words by always first referring to their conscience. In a verse of the Qur'an, we are told that when they hear empty words they pass by honorably: "Those who do not bear false witness and who, when they pass by worthless talk, pass by with dignity" (Surat al-Furqan: 72)
Not interrupting and speaking calmly
Muslims approach each experience throughout the day with the question, "How should I behave to earn the approval of Allah?" One way of behaving in a way, which is hoped will earn Allah's approval, is listening politely to a person without interrupting. This shows respect for the speaker and what he or she is saying.
In contrast, in places where the morality of the Qur'an is not adhered to, turning a deaf ear to the speaker, not properly listening to one another, arguing simultaneously and speaking louder than the opponent are commonplace. In particular, on television talk-shows, such examples are quite frequent. Even those who are experts in their own specific fields may at times show forth behavior which is fundamentally impolite and disrespectful. Instead of benefiting from what others have to say, these people try arrogantly to make their own words heard and accepted.
As for Muslims, they are not swayed by aims of the lower-self such as to bring attention to themselves, to be in the limelight or have the last word. Because of this, their way of speaking is measured and calm. By reason of the courtesy which arises from the morality of the Qur'an, they always acknowledge one another, try to benefit as far as possible from what others are saying, and avoid behaving ignorantly.
Another defining characteristic of those who are far from the morality of the Qur'an is the tone of their voice. To feign that they are in right, to intimidate the other person, or win the argument by forcing the other to surrender, they speak very loudly. Allah advises Muslims of this matter in the Qur'an, by relating the advice given by the Prophet Luqman (as) to his son:
Be moderate in your tread and lower your voice. The most hateful of voices is the donkey's bray. (Surah Luqman, 19)
Employing a style of speech appropriate to the level of knowledge of the person addressed
One of the appealing features of the speech of Muslims is that they use the way of speaking that is the most appropriate, most considerate comprehensible. It is the intelligence that results from faith which endows them with this ability to address people of all ages and circumstances. The manner used to address a person with an open mind and broad level of knowledge is different from that used towards one who is not well cultured and with limited ability of comprehension. For example, it is not correct to explain a subject pedantically to an intellectual with detailed knowledge of it. It is the basis of consideration and politeness to speak without forgetting that the other knows the subject far better and while appreciating his or her superior qualities.
In contrast, when speaking to a person who is less cultured and who has far less knowledge and experience, where care needs to be taken is in being comprehensible. Speaking to such a person in a manner he or she cannot understand or decipher, not being careful of the explanations he may need, and speaking in a way that is ambiguous and confusing way, is wrong. For example, using sophisticated language with an uneducated person is pointless. Those who try to make a show of themselves in the eyes of others on a subject about which they are not informed only actually make them look small. As a requirement from the intelligence they have gained by following the Qur'an, the faithful always use the way of speaking that is most appropriate, taking into account the needs, knowledge and cultural level of the person they are addressing.
Avoiding speaking hypocritically
In the Qur'an, those who describe themselves as believers but who, in truth, do not believe, are referred to as "hypocrites." Although they are invited to belief, the fact that they remain bound to the life of this world, and have adopted a way of life contrary to the morality of the Qur'an leads these hypocrites to adopt an insincere way of speaking, because there is a profound difference between their true sentiments and the ones they try to show to the faithful.
Hypocrites interpret the Qur'an in a corrupt manner. This distorted logic is also reflected in their speech. They interpret the verses of the Qur'an according to their own desires and passions. However, such ways of speaking are a sign of their true selves. This situation, which is highlighted in this verse of the Qur'an, "If We wished, We would show them to you and you would know them by their mark and know them by their ambivalent speech. Allah knows your actions." (Surah Muhammad: 30) is a help to believers from Allah. In this way, the faithful may recognize the insincere who are trying to infiltrate themselves amongst them.
Sometimes, hypocrites try to make their insincere speech seem reasonable by ornamenting it. But when examined closely, it can be seen that this is a Satanic form of speech which only encourages further insincerity:
When you see them, their outward form appeals to you, and if they speak you listen to what they say. But they are like propped-up planks of wood. They imagine every cry to be against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. Allah fight them! How they are perverted! (Surat al-Munafiqun, 4)
Muslims immediately detect the way of speaking of insincere people and carefully avoid speaking in a similar way.
However, if some of the faithful behave like hypocrites, this does not definitely establish that they are hypocrites. Believers are progressively educated throughout their lives. During that time, they may make many mistakes or behave wrongly, and of these mistakes may be some similar to those of hypocrites. However, what is important is for those believers to be able to see their mistakes, and correct them and to achieve a level of morality by which they will not repeat the same errors. That one feels a sincere regret and changes one's behavior, in keeping with the Qur'an, shows that he or she has purified himself and sought to act sincerely. If hypocrisy in speech is stubbornly adhered to, however, that is a very different matter.
Avoiding a way of speech which gives rise to doubts
Another way of speaking which Muslims must avoid is that peculiar to hypocrites, which is full of doubt and causes doubt. Because hypocrites are in serious doubt about the existence of Allah, about the afterlife and about Allah's promises, their speech reflects these doubts and insecurities. They are never able to explain the morality of the Qur'an as openly, clearly and definitely as the faithful can. This deep-seated doubt, which reflects itself in their speech, aims also to cast doubt in the hearts of those who listen to them. However, the faithful, who believe sincerely and with certainty, are not affected by their speech, because they are convinced that the Word of Allah is true. If there is one who speaks in a way to reflect these doubts, they know it is the result of the person's insincerity and corrupted way of thinking.
Such errors are never found in the speech of Muslims; because there is no doubt in their hearts, their words are definite and unambiguous. Nevertheless, they take care not to speak in a way such as to give rise to any misunderstandings among their listeners, because sometimes, even with the best of intentions, several sentences set together or two subjects mentioned successively may be open to different interpretations.
Even if it is not intended, speech may give rise to uncertainty amongst the listeners. Thus, the Muslim way of speaking requires using a manner of speech which will not give rise to confusion by taking into consideration of how each word, one by one, may be interpreted, what types of connotations may arise, and the context of the situation. A contrary approach would reflect a disposition peculiar to the "secretly doubting character" of hypocrites. For this reason, taking great care to not make speeches that are particular to hypocrites, even without intending to do so, is a requirement of faith.
In addition, using expressions like "If only that hadn't happened," "Damn, we lost," and "Oh, what a shame," which do not demonstrate acquiescence to Allah's will, reflects again another hypocritical way of speaking. We are told in the Qur'an that the hypocrites in the midst of the believers try to break their resolve by acting as bearers of bad news:
Say: "I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind, the God of mankind, from the evil of the insidious whisperer who whispers in people's breasts and comes from the jinn and from mankind." (Surat an-Nas, 1-6)
Allah warns against such vile morality, and advises the avoidance of khannas; that is, from being of those who "whisper evil into the breasts of mankind." Hypocrites are those who have assumed the role of the khannas to the faithful; through furtive, secretive and ill-intentioned methods, they act as Satan's spokesmen, and try to sow seeds of doubt in people's hearts. As for the faithful, they carefully avoid a way of speaking which may reflect such deviance and instead take refuge in Allah from speech which gives rise to doubts.
Avoiding a probing and prying speech
Another thing which Muslims ought to avoid is speaking in a prying and deceptive way. We have mentioned in previous sections that sincerity and honesty are amongst the finest characteristics of the Muslims, qualities which are also reflected in their speech. Saying what they want to say directly, without hiding behind false pretenses, is also a requirement of sincerity and honesty. The intention of Muslims can be easily discerned from their speech.
People who are far from the morality of the Qur'an generally do not say what they want to say directly. The reason for this is that they have formed a number of ill-intentioned pre-calculations. When they want to learn something, instead of asking openly, they prefer to go by devious routes. On a subject on which they want information, they try to lead the conversation towards it, and lead the other to talk about it by deceptive tactics. They also believe these ruses are not noticed by other people. However, such a cunning and deceptive way of speaking makes itself immediately apparent through its evident insincerity.
This is the behavior of those far from the Qur'an and of the hypocrites. Muslims, who see everything in the light of the Qur'an, immediately detect the Satanic motives in such ways of speaking, and are not deceived by them.
Avoiding statements that lead to evil
Muslims try to speak every word in a way which conforms to the instructions of the Qur'an, and which sides with Allah's religion. They try to bring up matters which will be useful to other believers, draw them closer to Allah, give them peace and contentment, encourage them and console them. They take care to avoid matters which will diminish their inner-peace, occupy their minds unnecessarily, or awaken doubt or anxiety in their hearts
In the conversations of hypocrites, this way of speaking is often found. With their speech, they try to provoke one another into opposing Allah, to encourage sin, and through devious methods to make others excessively attached to this worldly life. They do not speak so as to encourage others to approach Allah, live a moral life, and better understand fate and the afterlife. On the contrary, they try to enter every deviant thought as the topic of every of conversation. These people can often be observed venturing carelessly into subjects completely incompatible with the morality pronounced in the Qur'an. They employ a way of speaking which seeks to spread among the faithful that type of behavior which Allah has forbidden.
On matters which Allah has commanded them clearly in the Qur'an, the faithful are not adversely tempted by the wiles of the hypocrites. They are continually vigilant of such tactics. The hypocrites persist in these efforts because they cannot understand how devoted the faithful are to Allah, and the sincere and honest way they live according to the morality of the Qur'an. The ideas they present to the faithful, and the false logic they employ, persistently contrary to the Qur'an, reflect the spiritual darkness of those who resist faith. The faithful, who are aware of the fallacy of this manner of speech, listen cautiously when another begins speaking, recognizing that he or she may be promoting Satanic ideas, and summon people to adhere to the morality of the Qur'an.
Another matter which the faithful carefully avoid is that described in the Qur'an as "distorting the Book." Speaking with a twisted tongue is the attempt to bring different interpretations to verses of the Qur'an, though they are otherwise clear and unambiguous. In a verse of the Qur'an, Allah tells us that speaking in a manner to obfuscate is a characteristic of hypocrites and represents a deviation from faith:
It is He Who sent down the Book to you from Him: verses containing clear judgements—they are the core of the Book—and others which are open to interpretation. Those with deviation in their hearts follow what is open to interpretation in it, desiring conflict, seeking its inner meaning. No one knows its inner meaning but Allah. Those firmly rooted in knowledge say, "We believe in it. All of it is from our Lord." But only people of intelligence pay heed. (Surah Al 'Imran, 7)
Knowing Allah's verses well, but acting instead in accordance with the desires of their lower-selves, those with deviation in their hearts try to distort the meaning of the verses. In particular, in matters where it conflicts with their interests, instead of conforming to Allah's commands, they seek to adapt the religion to their desires. In a verse of the Qur'an, it is explained that, when speaking with twisted tongues, these people are in fact aware that they are lying:
Among them is a group who distort the Book with their tongues so that you think it is from the Book when it is not from the Book. They say, "It is from Allah," but it is not from Allah. They tell a lie against Allah and they know it. (Surah Al 'Imran, 78)
In employing this way of speaking, one of the greatest errors into which such people fall is their false belief that they will be able to win over the faithful through what they say. They believe they will be able to interpret the verses according to their corrupted logic and make the faithful accept their interpretations. Yet, the verses revealed by Allah are clear, and because of their faith the believers are able to understand their intended meaning. Though hypocritical people distort their words, believers immediately recognize their aims. In the end, all such people are able to accomplish through such ways of speaking is to expose their own insincerity.
In the Qur'an, there are many examples of the manner of speaking of hypocritical people. When the Prophet Muhammad (saas) called on the faithful to stand together, and oppose the attacks of those who resisted faith, those with a sickness in their hearts immediately set out to twist their tongues, putting forward hypocritical excuses such as "our houses are exposed" (Surat al-Ahzab:13) and "do not go out to fight in the heat" (Surat at-Tawba:81).
Unaware of their own impudence, they believed their excuses would be accepted. However, for devoted believers, neither heat nor the condition of their house is more important than the call of Allah's Messenger. Sincere believers never try to escape from a task of which Allah approves, or to twist their tongues to make insincere pronouncements. They know that this way of speaking is a trait known of the hypocrites. At all times, they speak in a way in keeping with the teachings of the Qur'an. Before saying a word on any subject, the faithful refer to their consciences, asking themselves questions such as, "Is there any insincerity in what I'm saying?," "Does it conform to the Muslim way of speaking defined in the Qur'an?" and "Is there something here inspired by my lower-self?" If they recognize even a single insincere word which their consciences are opposed to, they take refuge in Allah and speak in a way which conforms to the morality of the Qur'an.
Not holding secret meetings
In the Qur'an, Allah points out that most secret conversations are not intended for any good, with the followings verse: "There is no good in much of their secret talk, except in the case of those who enjoin charity, or what is right, or putting things right between people. If anyone does that, seeking the pleasure of Allah, We will give him an immense reward." (Surat an-Nisa': 114) According to this verse, so long as they are not carried out for sincere purposes, such as leading people towards good, or establishing peace among them, secret meetings are of no benefit to anyone. Satan regards such situations as prime opportunities for deceiving people, whereby he tries to draw them into a way of speaking opposed to Allah. That that which is said at secret meetings is done so under the influence of Satan is pointed out in the following verse of the Qur'an: "Conferring in secret is from Satan, to cause grief to those who believe; but it cannot harm them at all, unless by Allah's permission. So let the believers put their trust in Allah." (Surat al-Mujadala: 10) Because of this, Allah warns people and advises them of what to avoid when they find themselves involved in secret meetings:
You who believe! When you confer together secretly, do not do so in wrongdoing and enmity and disobedience to the Messenger; rather confer together in goodness and through a sense of duty. Heed Allah–Him to Whom you will be gathered. (Surat al-Mujadala, 9)
The truth which all need to know is that, while talking in secret we are in the presence of Allah. Words believed to be secret are actually spoken in the presence of Allah. Though they think where were none by themselves privy to their conversation, we are informed that they were not alone:
Do you not see that Allah knows what is in the heavens and on the earth? Three men cannot confer together secretly without Him being the fourth of them, or five without Him being the sixth of them, or fewer than that or more without Him being with them wherever they are. Then He will inform them on the Day of Rising of what they did. Allah has knowledge of all things. (Surat al-Mujadala, 7)
Allah hears all that is said in secret meetings. But, those who fail to take this into account inaccurately presume that it is sufficient to keep their conversations secret from other people.
Many examples are given in the Qur'an of those habitual to secret conversations. These examples all show us that, as we are told in the following verses, secret conversations are not for any good:
We know how they listen when they listen to you, and when they confer together secretly, and when the wrongdoers say, "You are only following a man who is bewitched." (Surat al-Isra, 47)
Their hearts are distracted. Those who do wrong confer together secretly, saying, "Is this man anything but a human being like yourselves? Do you succumb to magic with your eyes wide open?" Say: "My Lord knows what is said in heaven and earth. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing." (Surat al-Anbiya, 3-4)
Do you not see those who were forbidden to confer together secretly returning to the very thing they were forbidden to do, and conferring together secretly in wrongdoing and enmity and disobedience to the Messenger? And when they come to you they greet you with words Allah has never used in greeting you, and say to themselves "Why does Allah not punish us for what we say?" Hell will be enough for them! They will roast in it. What an evil destination. (Surat al-Mujadala, 8)
When they meet those who believe, they say, "We believe." But when they go apart with one another, they say, "Why do you speak to them about what Allah has disclosed to you, so they can use it as an argument against you before your Lord? Will you not use your intellect?" Do they not know that Allah knows what they keep secret and what they make public? (Surat al-Baqara, 76-77)
Musa said to them, "Woe to you! Do not fabricate lies against Allah or He will annihilate you with His punishment. Fabricators of lies are bound to fail." They argued among themselves about the matter and had a secret conference. They said, "These two magicians desire by their magic to expel you from your land and abolish your most excellent way of life." (Surah Ta Ha, 61-63)
All these examples given in the Qur'an should show people that there is no good in secret meetings, and that they should avoid them. In these examples is also indicated how this way of speaking is insincere and contrary to the Qur'an. Thus, the faithful are those who heed these warnings and avoid secret conversations. Wherever they are or whoever they may be talking with, they speak in a way which conforms to the Qur'an, they follow the path of Allah and our Prophet (saas), and they summon others to the morality of the Qur'an. Because of this, they have no need of secret conversations.
In contrast to the faithful, insincere people feel a need to conceal their deviousness. Even if for some reason a believer finds himself in their company, for reasons beyond his control, he will certainly recognize the evils of their conversation, never going along with them, but rather trying to draw those around him into virtue.
Speaking so as to defend and to support our Prophet (saas)
Allah sent His messengers to show humanity the true path, to warn them of His punishment, and to bring them the good news of the reward believers will enjoy in the afterlife. The messengers were men whose lives exemplified true faith, inviting people to virtue and morality, and leading them to a degree of faith by which they were able to attain the greatest reward. In the Qur'an, we are told that Allah's messenger (saas) brought people from darkness to light, lifted and eased their burdens and led them to salvation:
Those who follow the Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel, commanding them to do right and forbidding them to do wrong, making good things lawful for them and bad things forbidden for them, relieving them of their heavy loads and the chains which were around them. Those who believe in him and honor him and help him, and follow the Light that has been sent down with him, they are the ones who are successful. (Surat al- A'raf, 157)
As we are told in the words of another verse of the Qur'an, "A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your suffering is distressing to him; he is deeply concerned for you; he is gentle and merciful to the believers." (Surat at-Tawba: 128) the our Prophet (saas) behaved humbly, compassionately and mercifully towards the faithful. Sincere believers, as described in the verse, "Allah showed great kindness to the believers when He sent a Messenger to them from among themselves to recite His Signs to them and purify them and teach them the Book and Wisdom, even though before that they were clearly misguided" (Surah Al 'Imran: 164), were aware of what a great favour and mercy it was for Allah to have sent a messenger to them. For this reason, all Muslims follow the way of our Prophet (saas), and defend and support him in all times and places. We are told of this behavior of their in the following verses, We have sent you [OMuhammad] bearing witness, bringing good news and giving warning so that you might all believe in Allah and His Messenger and honor him and respect him [i.e., the Prophet] and glorify Him [i.e., Allah] in the morning and the evening. (Surat al-Fath: 8-9)
The manner of speech by which believers defend and support our Prophet (saas) is one of the foremost features of the morality of their speech. Allah explains that to pledge allegiance to the Prophet (saas) is to pledging allegiance to Him: "Those who pledge you their allegiance pledge allegiance to Allah. Allah's hand is over their hands. He who breaks his pledge only breaks it against himself. But as for him who fulfils the contract he has made with Allah, We will pay him an immense reward." (Surat al-Fath: 10) Thus, believers' love, devotion and obedience to the Prophet (saas) arise from their faith in Allah. For this reason, at every opportunity, and through everything they do and say, the faithful express their devotion to the Prophet (saas), the wisdom of his advice and his superior moral qualities, and defend him in the best possible way.