The Aspects of the Muslim Way of Speaking
For someone to be able to speak in the way of the Muslims, it is enough for them to submit themselves sincerely to Allah and adhere to the Qur'an, the Book that distinguishes right from wrong. If they fulfill such conditions, their conscience will show them the true path and enable them to employ their speech in the best possible way.
In the Qur'an, Allah offers various examples of what the Muslim way of speaking means, as well as those manners of speech to be avoided by believers. Also, the Qur'an provides examples of different types of situations one may face in the life of this world, and describes the reactions and comments made by people with different sorts of characters when faced with such circumstances. Thus, through adherence to the Qur'an, believers can see which responses constitute the manner of speaking expected of a Muslim and which are beyond the requirements outlined in the Qur'an. They can acquire information to help them avoid types of speech which Allah disapproves of, as well as learn how to employ that manner of speech which will please Him most.
In the following pages, all the aspects of the Muslim way of speaking, of which Allah has notified us in the verses of the Qur'an, will be examined, and examples will be given from the Qur'an, and from everyday life in order that the subject may be fully understood and, ultimately, put into practice.
Praising the Might of Allah
In everything sincere believers experience in life, they are witness to the wisdom, knowledge, and might of Allah, and bow their heads to Him in reverence. This sincere love, respect and submission is then reflected in believers' language, as it is in the whole of their lives. Believers are aware at all times that Allah is rich beyond need of anything, but that all living creatures are in need of Him. Since they have understood the might and greatness of Allah, they are also aware of their own weakness. They know that they can do nothing on their own unless Allah wills it. Essentially, no matter how virtuous they may be, they do not give way to feelings of conceit and superiority. They are continually mindful of their own limited abilities and dependence on Allah; when referring to any success they may have achieved, they do so in the knowledge that it has resulted through those talents imparted to them by Allah. Similarly, when they receive praise, they remain humble, being aware that such praise is ultimately to be attributed to Allah's supreme wisdom.
The language of those who are able to appreciate Allah's glory, with true appreciation, is distinguished by a manner of speaking in which they praise and exalt His intelligence, knowledge, might and greatness. Their hearts are devoted to Allah every moment of their lives; no matter where they go, or what they see or hear, they recognize examples of Allah's artistry in everything, and sincerely express the awe they feel. As such, the Qur'an states that believers' hearts are with Allah at all times, whether standing, sitting, or lying down, and that they ponder upon Allah's might and praise it:
Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth [saying]: "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Surah Al 'Imran, 191)
Muslims are aware of this truth at every moment of their lives, and in everything they set out to do. They know that it is Allah Who allows for the food they eat to be cultivated from the dry earth and laid forth before them of the best and most delectable sort, and Who has granted them the opportunity to enjoy it. As a consequence, though they thank the cook, they are aware that their ultimate gratitude is to Allah. When they listen to music which is pleasing to them, they are impressed not by the musicians, but with Allah Who bestowed upon them this talent and in themselves the disposition to take pleasure in such music.
They are also aware that when something they had wished for comes about unexpectedly, it is not an accident, and give thanks to Allah. If they were to admire a beautiful work of architecture, they would be appreciating the architect, never forgetting that the real author of such beautiful works is Allah, and thereby exalt His glory. They do not become consumed with pride over their own talents; they are aware that they are a meek servant of Allah, and direct all praise to our Lord. In the Qur'an, we are told that He Who is truly worthy of praise is Allah, and, therefore, that we should praise and exalt Him:
And say: "Praise be to Allah Who has had no son and Who has no partner in His Kingdom and Who needs no one to protect Him from weakness." And proclaim His Greatness repeatedly! (Surat al-Isra, 111)
Remembering Allah frequently
In this verse of the Qur'an, "Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book and perform prayer. Prayer precludes indecency and wrongdoing. And remembrance of Allah is greater still. Allah knows what you do." (Surat al-'Ankabut: 45), we are told that remembrance of Allah is the most important form of worship. Believers must fulfill this act of worship with utmost sincerity. Naturally, the deep love for Allah they have in their hearts is also reflected in their speech. They know that every blessing they enjoy comes from Allah, and, whenever they see something which they find beautiful they think of Allah and are grateful to Him. With the knowledge that all that happens takes place for a divinely ordained purpose, they remember Allah and put their trust in Him, whatever the difficulty. Consequently, throughout their lives, and in everything they experience, they consider Allah and remember His name.
The devotion of Muslims to Allah is so that, no matter what they might be in the midst of doing, it does not distract them from remembering His name. The constancy of the faithful in remembering Allah is referred to in the following verse of the Qur'an: [Believers are] not distracted by trade or commerce from the remembrance of Allah and the establishment of prayer and the giving of alms; fearing a day when all hearts and eyes will be in turmoil. (Surat an-Nur: 37)
This steadfastness on the part of believers arises from their understanding of the truth revealed by the following verse: Those who believe and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace. (Surat ar-Ra'd: 28) In the life of the world, there are many blessings from which people may take pleasure; but none gives them the true peace and fulfillment that comes from remembering Allah. Each of these blessings merely gain value and meaning when they are accompanied with the remembrance of Allah, because people can only attain the morality that permits the pleasure to be enjoyed from all such blessings in submission to Allah, and in the awareness that it is He Who created them all and that they are all under His control.
In addition, the Qur'an points out that remembering Allah often is one of those secrets of the faith which provides believers with certain successes and degrees of superiority:
You who have believe! When you encounter a company [from the enemy forces], stand firm and remember Allah repeatedly so that hopefully you will be successful. (Surat al-Anfal, 45)
Believers who are aware of this remember Allah and exalt His glory, in their hearts, or with their tongues, every hour of every day, under any condition and in all situations.
Calling on Allah through His Beautiful Names
With the following verse of the Qur'an, "Say: 'Call on Allah or call on the All-Merciful, whichever you call upon, the Most Beautiful Names are His.'" (Surat al-Isra': 110), Allah reminds us that He possesses the most beautiful of names, and advises believers to call upon Him by them.
Throughout that with which they are faced in their lives, believers recognize the manifestation of the superior wisdom of our Lord. For example, they know that our Lord is the commander of infinite justice, and, during that which they experience, they remember Allah by such a title. Even under the most dire of circumstances, their recognition of Allah's perfect justice is reflected in their speech. Though they may suffer material loss, fall seriously ill, or suffer a grave injustice by the hand of another, they do not forget that all such occurrences have been created only to test them. No matter how outwardly different the events may seem, they never forget that Allah possesses infinite justice, and that on the Day of Judgment all will receive their due reward for the good or evil they had done. As is pointed out by Allah in the verse, "They will not be wronged by so much as the smallest speck." (Surat an-Nisa': 49), they speak with knowledge that humans will not be made to suffer the slightest injustice. They conscientiously avoid uttering any word which will not be approved by Allah. Also, they speak in such a manner as to remind those around them of this same truth, that they may save them from heedlessness or error.
In addition to "the Just," another of the beautiful names of our Lord which believers are familiar with that He is "the Ever-Returning, the Most Merciful," "All-Thankful, the All-Knowing," "the One Who answers sincere prayers in the best way" and "He Who protects and takes care of the righteous." They know, too, that only Allah is "the Provider of sustenance," "the Granter of joy and peace" and "He Who causes laughter or tears" and the knowledge of these attributes is reflected in their language. It can be discerned from their speech that in everything they experience they are aware of Allah's absolute control, His superior wisdom, His infinite justice and His unrivalled artistry.
In each of the statements of the Prophets, all shining examples for which the faithful to follow, we can discern the way in which they tended to refer to and exalt our Lord with the most beautiful of names. In the Qur'an, we are told that 'Isa (as), upon receiving a revelation from Allah, said:
And when Allah says, ''Isa son of Maryam! Did you say to people, 'Take me and my mother as gods besides Allah?'" he will say, "Glory be to You! It is not for me to say what I have no right to say! If I had said it, then You would have known it. You know what is in my self but I do not know what is in Your Self. You are the Knower of all unseen things." (Surat al-Ma'ida, 116)
Speaking in the knowledge that Allah is with you at every moment
Some do not consider that Allah Who created them, provides their sustenance, grants the blessings they enjoy, watches over them and encompasses them at all times. They are unaware that, in the event of their death, they will be brought back to our Lord, and called to account for every act they had committed, and every word they had spoken in this world. They believe themselves to be creatures independent of Allah. When they speak, they fail to recognize that it was Allah Who granted them that power. In fact, Allah is the sole ruler and is aware of everything that they do; not a single leaf can fall from a tree without His knowledge. Allah is witness of everything, all the time. The Qur'an explains this truth:
You do not engage in any matter or recite any of the Qur'an or do any action without Our witnessing you while you are occupied with it. Not even the smallest speck eludes your Lord, either on earth or in heaven. Nor is there anything smaller than that, or larger, which is not in a Clear Book. (Surah Yunus, 61)
Everything in the universe, down to the tiniest dust particle, is under Allah's control. Yet, some people live their lives in ignorance of this very truth. It does not occur to them that, if their power of speech were to be taken from them, not a single syllable would form from their mouths so long as Allah willed it. The truth is this: People exist because of Allah's will; just as every action and every word comes about only with Allah's permission and His power. Throughout the time when they are speaking, these people need to be aware that, as in every moment of their lives, they are in the presence of Allah Who created them.
One of the primary characteristics in distinguishing the style of speech that is unique to believers is that they speak in the knowledge that they are with Allah at all times. This is cognizance of Allah's existence, might and grandeur, felt deep in one's heart; It is speaking without forgetting that He encompasses everything and everyone, is at our side at all times, hears and knows everything that we say, for which we will all be called to account. Those who are aware of these truths speak sincere and honestly. The fear of Allah which they have in their hearts prevents them from uttering a word of which Allah would not approve.
The fact that one lives at every moment according to the values of the Qur'an is one of the foremost indicators that that a person is aware of Allah's might and greatness, and that Allah can see and hear him, as all people, all the time. For example, though such people may be speaking on the subject of politics or economics, or conducting a mathematical calculation which occupies their mind completely, the fear of Allah in their heart ensures that, so long as they are speaking, they do not deviate from Allah's commands, but proceed from a feeling of deep respect, fear and love of Him. Such conscientiousness ensures that no word falls from their mouths which might be contrary to the morality prescribed in the Qur'an. Indeed, what is important is that, throughout the time they are speaking, that they have this sincere belief and the fear of Allah deep in their hearts. When he refers to such a political or economic topic, he is yet mindful of these facts which constitute the basis of his faith. He knows that there is no power other than Allah, that Allah sees and hears everything, and that nothing can be kept hidden from Him. This ensures that he speaks every word in a manner appropriate to a Muslim who takes refuge in Allah.
Speaking so as not to associate others with Allah
In this verse of the Qur'an, "Your Allah is One Allah. There is no god but Him, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful" (Surat al-Baqara: 163), Allah informs us that there is no Creator other than Him and no other power to intervene for good or ill. Allah is the One, and there is no power other than Him Who can guide human beings to the truth, protect them and give them peace and blessings.
However, a segment of humanity is unaware of this truth. Some, when asked, say that there is no god but Allah, and that they believe He is omnipotent, but, because in their hearts they do not believe it to the full, hope for aid instead from other people, or from a change in circumstances, or even such mythical powers as luck or chance. However, neither human nor any other creation exercises any such power. As we are told in the Qur'an, ... All might belongs to Allah... (Surah Yunus: 65)
Believers, on the other hand, are cognizant that there is no god but Allah, that all glory and power are His, a truth which they sense devoutly and at every moment of their lives. They hope for help from none other than Allah, not from any other person or event. They trust Allah and rely on Him solely. They fear only Allah, and expect help only from Him, because no person or living creature can possess the attributes of Allah; they are all creatures in need of Him, who have no power to ensure any good for themselves or to protect themselves from evil. The Qur'an explains the matter with the following example:
The call of truth is made to Him alone. Those they call upon apart from Him do not respond to them at all. It is like someone stretching out his cupped hands towards water to convey it to his mouth: it will never get there. The call of the unbelievers only goes astray. (Surat ar-Ra'd, 14)
The language of the faithful who are aware of this truth reflects this sincere faith and fear of Allah in their hearts. Whatever the subject, it can immediately be recognized from such people's way of speaking that they trust in and rely on Allah alone. Those who have understood that there is no god but Allah know that everything is under Allah's control, no matter what they may encounter. Such developments may affect their entire life, or their future, their safety, their property or their health; it may appear outwardly that all these are dependent upon the decisions of a few, or the result of some error committed by them, or on some success which they might have achieved. However, those of pure faith know that all are under Allah's control, and they thus behave accordingly. With regards to this matter we may offer the following example:
A businessman who has invested all his money in a new venture enters into various advertising and promotional campaigns to secure a good market share for his products. In order to compete with other firms in the same sector, he needs to produce better quality products. In addition, he expects good performances from all those who work for the company, from the advertising executive to the marketing or sales personnel. He gives these employees the necessary instructions. He makes speeches to encourage them or to inspire them because it is clearly necessary for him to stay ahead of other companies and to achieve greater success than they have.
Now let us consider the difference between this person and someone else, in a similar situation, but who knows there is no god but Allah. That person follows all the appropriate practical steps. However, he is aware that the authority to make him rich lies not with the advertising, promotion or marketing campaigns, nor in expert personnel. On the contrary, he knows that they are human beings, who can only make decisions through the will of Allah, and achieve success only with Allah's permission. He knows that if he were to regard any of these as possessing a power independent of Allah, that would be to deify others besides Allah. For this reason, when communicating his demands, managing his employees, and monitoring all operations, he speaks with the knowledge that all such factors are at Allah's disposition. When something occurs which appears to him to be a setback, at no time does he plunge into depression, nor does he lash out angrily. No matter who was responsible for the problem, or for what reason, he takes the wisest decisions and adopts the most appropriate measures. However, at no time does he employ a manner of speaking that reflects the deification of others beside Allah, by regarding the person who caused the error as an independent power, or believing that events transpired by and of themselves. That is because, he knows that, if a mistake was made, it was made because it was in that person's fate and that Allah had willed it. The whole scenario is a part of his trial in the life of the world; of whether he will fall into the error of believing that events arise out of the disposition of others, or that he will act in the knowledge that there is no god but Allah. In this situation which we have described, one who is of committed faith knows that everything is part of the destiny decreed by Allah, according to His divine wisdom. For this reason, when a person comes up against an unexpected outcome, they remain calm, and speak in a way that is grateful to Allah, thus exemplifying humility towards Him and submission to Him.
Such knowledge, when reflected in speech, is an important manifestation of faith. One who knows that there is no god but Allah, and in whom that knowledge is reflected in his speech, habitually brings attention to Allah's greatness and glory to those around him, or, otherwise, brings these things to their attention.
Speaking so as to praise and exalt Allah
In the verse, "If you ask them, 'Who created the heavens and the earth and made the sun and moon subservient?' they will say, 'Allah.' So how have they been perverted?" (Surat al-Anqabut: 61), Allah points here to that type of people who are far removed from the truth, despite their being aware that it is Allah Who created them, and that it is only He Who can provide for them. One of the foremost traits of believers, who are blessed with true faith, is that they demonstrate their sincere faith in Allah and their devotion to Him in every aspect of their lives, at all times and instances, and in every word and deed. They love Allah far more than anyone or any other thing in this world. They are in awe of Allah's power, knowledge, artistry and wisdom. They want to be His friend, while they are in this world, and earn His approval. They try to attain the greatest nearness to Allah, and become the best loved of His servants beyond any others in history.
Such deep love is reflected in their speech. They employ every word for the purpose of remembering and exalting Allah, and towards earning His approval. The love they feel for Allah is far greater than their love of people, and it is easily discernable from their speech that when they love others it is merely for the sake of Allah. They know that it is Allah Who created all mankind, and that it is He Who proffers them all blessings of this world. Therefore, every thing of beauty which they see, every favor done for them, and every experience of affection towards them is a blessing which comes from Allah. All are manifestations of Allah's love, mercy and compassion for His servants. As such, we ought to be thankful only to Allah and show all gratitude to Him. Recognizing this truth, believers speak in such a way as to make evident their knowledge that Allah is exalted far above everything and everyone. In the Qur'an, the believers' love of Allah and their devotion to Him are expressed in the following manner:
Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. But those who have faith have greater love for Allah. (Surat al-Baqara, 165)
As is pointed out in this verse, those who fail to understand this truth love creatures they idolize beside Allah as they ought to love Allah Himself. In the speech of these people, will often be found a use of words that reveals their failure to appreciate Allah with the appreciation due Him, as well as their false esteem for other beings. Some speak of money, property, reputation or of people they admire in a way which presents them as equal to Allah. Some say that they believe in Allah, but employ language which instead shows they place their friends above Allah. When they meet a person who speaks inappropriately about Allah, it does not bother them, nor do they warn the one guilty. Though, when a single word is spoken against those they love, they oppose it immediately. They will not allow a word to be said against their loved-ones or any injustice to be done to them.
All such incorrect behavior exposes the insincerity of those who claim faith in Allah, but who do not have such faith fixed in their hearts. True believers love Allah more than anything else, exalt Him with words and hold Him high above everything. They never participate in the banter of those who speak in opposition to Allah or to His religion. If they have an opportunity to explain the truth to these people, they do so, but if the others are determined not to heed their warnings, then, in that case, they absolve themselves of their hostile and blasphemous language.
Such believers will not even allow themselves to watch a film or listen to a song whose content is in open opposition to Allah's judgments. No matter what the situation, they do not permit a word to be spoken which will not be approved by Allah. They do not take part in any such discussions because in the Qur'an Allah gives the following warning:
It has been sent down to you in the Book that when you hear Allah's Signs being rejected and mocked at by people, you must not sit with them till they start talking of other things. If you do you are just the same as them. Allah will gather all the hypocrites and the unbelievers into Hell. (Surat an-Nisa, 140)
Muslims acting with this knowledge in mind adopt, defend and support the morality of Islam in all instances and times, and through to the end of their lives. They show forth their faith in Allah, and their regard for Him, above all else, in their every word and deed.
Speaking in the knowledge of one's helplessness in the face of Allah
With the following words from the Qur'an, "Recite: In the Name of your Lord Who created, created man from clots of blood. Recite: And your Lord is the Most Generous, He Who taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know. No indeed! Truly man is unbridled seeing himself as self-sufficient. Truly it is to your Lord that you will return." (Surat al-'Alaq: 1-8) Allah points out that, in spite of their impotence, this some people may forget and become overly concerned with themselves. In truth, there are some who may behave with ingratitude towards Allah without having considered how it is He Who created them or how it is He Who gave them those attributes which they are so proud of.
In fact, without exception, in all instances, every human being is dependent upon Allah's protection and mercy. In addition to abilities, such as sight, hearing, speech, walking and moving, at every moment a plethora of internal systems are working in the body, without a person's realizing it, but without which he would not otherwise be able to live. We need only reflect on these matters little to realize how impotent we are in the sight of Allah.
Despite these truths, some remember Allah only when they are faced with a problem or a difficulty. For example, a person sitting in a boat, which he had been certain would return to the shore, is immediately plunged into panic when a violent wind assails his boat as it begins to rock back and forth. Similarly, turbulence felt on a plane or the slightest technical malfunction may cause a person to feel great fear. In situations such as these, when they realize their impotence in the sight of Allah, and that only Allah can rescue them from the difficulty, these people turn to Allah and begin to pray. Even one who, merely a short time ago, walked arrogantly by other passengers at the airport, realizes right away how impotent she is in the face of such a danger, and that through the will of Allah she can lose everything she possesses in an instant.
The Qur'an tells us how people turn to Allah in total subservience in times of difficulty, but when the trouble is averted, return ungraciously to their former self-aggrandizing:
When harm occurs to you at sea, those you call on vanish—except for Him alone! But when He delivers you to dry land, you turn away. Man truly is ungrateful. Do you feel secure against Him causing the shore to swallow you up or sending against you a sudden squall of stones? Then you will find no one to be your guardian. Or do you feel secure against Him taking you back into it another time and sending a violent storm against you and drowning you for your ingratitude? Then you will find no one to defend you against Us. (Surat al-Isra, 67-69)
As we are told in these verses revealed by Allah, a person alone has no power of any kind. Allah reminds us of this truth in another verse:
Do not strut arrogantly about the earth. You will certainly never split the earth apart nor will you ever rival the mountains in height. All of that is evil action and hateful in the sight of your Lord. (Surat al-Isra, 37-38)
Muslims are those who are aware of this impotence at all times and in all places. The words they use reflect their complete faith in this truth. Even if someone were the best looking person in the world, a person who understands the greatness of Allah never thinks that his looks are something of his own making. He speaks in the knowledge that his appearance is a result of Allah's artistry, and that it can be taken from him at any moment, if Allah were to will it so. He would never dare say, "This beauty is a part of me and so long as I look after myself, nothing can happen to me," thus avowing that he cannot claim this blessing for his own power.
He knows that a single virus or microbe invisible to the eye, or a minor accident, can destroy this beauty, and that these things are under Allah's control. For this reason, he employs a manner of speech which consistently shows his gratitude to Allah, and which exalts Him. If someone else were to praise his knowledge or his beauty, he would respond by reminding him of Allah's supreme beauty, infinite power, intelligence and magnificence. Insisting that he is good-looking merely because Allah has willed it so, and that he is but a small reflection of Allah's boundless beauty or intelligence, he exalts Allah.
Believers' awareness of their weaknesses in the sight of Allah manifests itself in all aspects of their behavior. A devout believer never speaks in a way which humiliates a person she regards as having fewer means than herself. Nor, on the basis of her own good looks, does she speak slightingly or hurtfully to someone who is less good looking. In the same way, she does not adopt the manner of speaking of those who despise the poor because they themselves are rich, those who discriminate against people in a class beneath their own because they hold power, or those who belittle slow-witted people because they are intelligent. She acts in the knowledge that in the trial set for her in the life of the world, Allah has determined a different fate for every person, and that in Allah's sight true superiority is measured in terms of faith and piety. For this reason, and in accordance with the morality expounded in the Qur'an, she adopts the most respectful manner of speaking to all those who are around her, whether rich or poor, powerful or weak. Realizing that any behavior contrary to this would imply that she is setting herself up as superior, not to people, but to Allah, she fears Him and takes refuge in Him. This characteristic of the faithful is referred to in the Qur'an as such:
... Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbors who are related to you and neighbors who are not related to you, and to companions and travelers and your slaves. Allah does not love anyone vain or boastful. (Surat an-Nisa, 36)
Speaking in the knowledge that tasks are performed through Allah's will
Another characteristic of the manner of speaking employed by the faithful is that, when speaking of something they are to do, they say, "insha'Allah," that is, "If Allah wills." When they take the decision to perform a particular task, they adopt all measures which are necessary. But, they do not forget that it can only be accomplished through Allah's will. No matter how much we want to accomplish something, or to what extent we have done everything necessary, it will not be accomplished if Allah does not will it. Allah reminds the faithful of this matter in the Qur'an:
Never say about anything, "I am doing that tomorrow, without adding 'If Allah wills'." Remember your Lord when you forget, and say, "Hopefully my Lord will guide me to something closer to right guidance than this."(Surat al-Kahf, 23-24)
In order that the importance of this reminder be grasped, Allah prepares a large number of examples in a person's in daily life. For example, one might regard it as a sure thing that a holiday, which had been planned in advance, and for which reservations and payments have been made, will take place. It would appear as if there could be no reason whatsoever for the holiday to be cancelled. The family, in plans for a holiday, could go to bed early the night before a flight early the next morning, leave home taking traffic conditions into account, and check over and over if they have their tickets with them, but they will not make the flight if Allah has not willed it. The fulfillment of the plan may be prevented by a sudden illness, a traffic accident, a flight delay for whatever reason, or the emergence of some duty which would take priority over the holiday.
If the family made plans without trusting in Allah, and saying, "We will do this if Allah wills," they will be sorely disappointed if they are confronted with some obstacle. Since they falsely believe that tasks can be carried out without Allah's consent, our holiday-planners will fret and grumble because they have not gone on holiday as expected. They do not take into account, however, that if they had, they might have suffered an unexpected accident, or met with some other unforeseen mishap, and that, on the contrary, the failure to proceed as they had planned may have actually been a blessing in many ways. To hold on to such error can only cause anxiety, both in this world and in the afterlife.
Muslims know that Allah created everything for a certain purpose and good. Therefore, if the family in our example is among the faithful, and they instead proceeded on the assumption that they would go on holiday only if Allah willed it, they will not be in any way disappointed by its cancellation. They experience the peace of mind and comfort of knowing that what is best and most beneficial for them depends on the will of Allah.
Saying, "Who knows what benefit there is in it for me?," they attempt both to recognize that there must be some ultimate good, as well as exhibit to those around them how true believers ought to think and speak. Because they have surrendered themselves to Allah, and employed behavior that demonstrates their gratitude and submission to Allah, they enjoy the hope of reward in return for the morality they adopted, both in this world and on the Day of Judgment.
Employing the Qur'an as a guide in speech
In the following verse of the Qur'an, "… This is a Book We have sent down to you so that you can bring mankind from the darkness to the light, by the permission of their Lord, to the Path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy." (Surah Ibrahim: 1), Allah explains that one of the blessings conferred through the sending down of the Qur'an is that it "brings people from the darkness to the light."
The Qur'an has been under Allah's protection from the time it was first revealed to the present, and has undergone no corruption. It was sent down as an admonition and a warning to people; for the faithful, it is the source of healing, guidance and a mercy. Its words are the most noble, they distinguish right from wrong, and guide those who follow it to the true path.
Those who understand the divine wisdom of the Qur'an take it as their guide. Since they have accepted the verses of the Qur'an with their entire hearts, the morality expounded in it is always reflected in their speech. At every stage of their lives, whether formulating a decision, or speaking, or while offering an interpretation of something, they consistently use the Qur'an as their guide. Therefore, their every word, every decision, and every form of advice they are prepared to offer is in agreement with the Qur'an. Those who speak by using the Qur'an as their guide invariably participate in any conversation in the best way, because the verses of the Qur'an deconstruct and eradicate all errant forms of logic, bringing the truth to the light. Allah explains this with the following verse: "Rather We hurl the truth against falsehood and it cuts right through it and it vanishes clean away!…" (Surat al-Anbiya': 18)
Words spoken in accordance with the morality explained in the Qur'an are a healing and a mercy for the sincere. Those who listen to them, with the intention of profiting from its advice, or to derive its benefits or to discern its wisdom, find the truth, by way of these conversations–if Allah wills.
In addition, the speech of those who speak in conformity with the guidance of the Qur'an has achieved wisdom. Every example they employ, every point to which they draw attention, and every detail they stress, is effective and thought-provoking. They encourage the people they address to think honestly and sincerely, and to exercise their conscience. Since their speech is sincere, issuing from their hearts, and is in defense of the right, its power to influence is strong. Those who are able to evaluate what they hear according to their conscience can verify the truth of their statements with certainty.
Those who listen, but who are insincere, and do so with prejudice, do not wish to see the wisdom and truth of the words of the faithful, but try instead to distort them through calumny. Unable to grasp that it is the wisdom of verses of the Qur'an that has reinforced the believers' speech, they attempt to explain it away through ridiculous assumptions. The fact is, however, these effects are faith-induced, and easily accessible to all who conform to the Qur'an and accept it as his guide. However, this the unbelievers fail to understand.
A number of examples of what we are discussing have been provided in the Qur'an. For example, when confronted with the frankness and wisdom direct of the Prophet Muhammad (saas), the disbelievers and pagans were plunged into dismay. Within only a short time, large numbers were moved by the message of our Prophet (saas), and their obedience to him caused great consternation among the disbelievers. Because they could not understand the verses of the Qur'an, which imbued the statements of our Prophet (saas) with their wisdom and effectiveness, or rather, that they refused to accept it, they sought to foment false accusations against him, such as that he was a magician or merely a poet. In fact, as is the case with all human beings, it is Allah Who instilled in the Prophets the power of their speech. In the verses of the Qur'an Allah declared:
Your companion is not misguided or misled; nor does he speak from whim. It is nothing but Revelation revealed. (Surat an-Najm, 2-4)
As we can see in these verses, the words of our Prophet (saas) were not only extremely effective but imbued with wisdom, because he recited from the Qur'an, a book which is the word of Allah. The One Who imparted the faith and influence to the hearts of those who listened to his words and believe, was Allah. Those who fail to appreciate the greatness of Allah fall into a grave error, by vainly seeking to gain influence and wisdom by other means.
Speaking in the knowledge of the certainty of fate and of the truth that there is good in all things
Allah has determined a specific destiny for every living thing. Everything people experience during their lives, or every task they undertake, or every word they utter, was predetermined by Allah before they were even born. Moreover, because Allah transcends time, the life of all things is lived out and concluded in His sight. However, a person who is bound by time can only experience life within it (in the order of a calendar). Just as one who is 40 today has lived 40 years—assuming the human lifespan is 80 years—his remaining 40 years have been encompassed in the sight of Allah. However, a human can only witness and experience these developments through time, or within the 40-year period ahead of him.
In short, what we describe as the future, or the sequence of events which are yet to happen, has already begun and ended within Allah's eternal knowledge. All that has already happened in Allah's sight constitutes a person's destiny. Everyone is accorded a fate from which they will not be able to escape. Just as one cannot change one's past, neither can one change one's future, because both have already been experienced, seen and perceived in the sight of Allah. However, some, because they do not have any such foreknowledge, believe their futures are in their own hands. Therefore, not believing in destiny they fall into the error of presuming that they can shape it. However, a person's whole life is like a film which has already been shot. As if being made to see what happens when watching the film, a person is in no position to change the film's script or intervene; so, in a similar way, is it impossible for that person to interfere in the events that play out according to his destiny.
In the Qur'an, we are told that Allah has pre-ordained a specific destiny for each and every individual, and that all will never experience that which has not already been prescribed:
Indeed, all things We created with predestination. (Surat al-Qamar, 49)
Indeed, all things We created with predestination. (Surat al-Qamar: 49) Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in yourselves, without its being in a Book before We make it happen. That is something easy for Allah. That is so that you will not be grieved about the things that pass you by or exult about the things that come to you. Allah does not love any vain or boastful man. (Surat al-Hadid, 22-23)
As these verses explain, a specific destiny has been created, not only for each human being, but for all inanimate and living things, that is, all things. From the wooden table in your house to the shoes on your feet; from the rose seedling in your garden to the clothes in your wardrobe; from your friends to your cat, everything in existence is subject to a destiny determined by Allah. It is already foreordained what phases yourself and the things that belong to you, such as the table, the rose seedling, and your friends, will experience in the future. For example, it had already been known, far into eternity in Allah's sight, who would plant the seed of the tree from which the table was made, for how long and under what conditions the tree would grow, when, how and by whom it would be cut down, to which sawmill it would be taken, in what dimensions it would be cut, what quality and shape of table would be made of it, how you would decide to buy the table, where you would find it, when you will put it in your house, in which part of your house you would put it, and what meals you will eat, who you would talk to and what letters you would write at it, because Allah determined all such things before you were born, and knew, as in a single transcendent moment, how to bring them about. To you, however, you would learn of them only as they occurred, in sequence through time.
If a person is not informed of the reality of destiny, or has not fully understood its reality, he may act without considering that he is fulfilling the destiny prescribed for him, and be led astray by the sequence of events he experiences. For example, when he goes out to buy a dining table for his house, he looks through dozens of shops, changes his mind time after time in each case, thinks carefully, exchanges ideas and discusses his options with those with him. In the end, he believes he has taken a decision of his own deliberation. In fact, however, before he had set out to buy the table, the one he was ultimately to choose was already written in his destiny; therefore, he merely searched for, found and purchased that table which was already prescribed for him according to his destiny. The exchange of ideas, the discussions and his difficulty in reaching a decision, were all likewise determined according to a destiny prescribed by Allah.
Hence, for a person to feel pain, regret, sorrow or fear in response to a particular event, and to waste words such as "If only I had done such and such," or "If only I hadn't gone here or there," or to worry about the future is pointless in the extreme, because the person is fulfilling a life which has already begun and ended, and the events over which she feels regret or sorrow are part of that destiny. For example, when a person carries too many plates in her hands and drops and smashes them, she may feel regret, saying, "If only I hadn't tried to carry so many, then it wouldn't have happened." But the truth which she does not know, or has forgotten, is that it was determined, for that very moment, where and how every one of those plates would be broken. Indeed, it was fated who would break them, even before they were manufactured or before the person who would break those plates was born. A person should simply try to consider all the events which take place and take a lesson, that she may understand the wisdom behind them. However, feeling sorrowful over such things is futile, because she has no power to prevent what happens to her. We are told that such a person is powerless to prevent what Allah wills in the following verse:
If Allah afflicts you with harm, no one can remove it except Him. If He desires good for you, no one can avert His favor. He bestows it on whichever of His servants He wills. He is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Yunus, 107)
Those who surrender to their destiny know that there is an ultimate good in everything Allah brings about, even though it might appear adverse. They recognize the blessings and the wisdom in these events Allah has brought about and is grateful. If they cannot at first understand them, they put their faith in Allah and pray for Allah to reveal their purposes and their wisdom. If still they cannot recognize them, those who know that they will be brought forth on the Day of Judgment live in the tranquility and comfort of believing with certainty that Allah is the lord of eternal justice, and is compassionate and merciful.
Such people's submission and devotion can be clearly discerned in their speech. In no instance do they use words such as, "Why did that happen?" with reference to events. They speak in the knowledge that Allah has created everything in the best form, and that some happening which might at first appear negative will in the end bring some blessing.
In the Qur'an, Allah reminds us of this truth with the following verse: "It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know." (Surat al-Baqara: 216) Therefore, when confronted by an experience which appears as a setback, sincere Muslims' words ought to be, "My Lord brings about everything for a purpose, there must certainly be a good in this too," or "Allah ordained this to happen for our benefit." They never complain, as would the ignorant, such as, "Oh dear, what a pity, how could I do such a thing?" grumbling in a way which suggests a lack of submission and hope in Allah.
This manner of speaking, in the knowledge that everything and everyone was created for a specific good, is important for Muslims throughout their lives. They exclude nothing, no-one and no event from this understanding. They know that, when they face a setback, it is a reflection of ignorance to speak in a manner in opposition to their fate, and instead consider that occurrence to be a positive aspect of his fate. No matter whether they, or some else, committed a mistake, they would not say such things as "why did you do it," "this wouldn't have happened if you hadn't gone there." Rather, they speak as people who have grasped the truth in the verse: "… What assailed you on the day the two armies met was by Allah's permission…" (Surah Al 'Imran: 166) They also know that unwanted outcomes through the lack of proper advance precaution is also part of their fate.
Like someone watching a film many times over, seeing the same thing scene after scene. For that reason, immersing oneself in sorrow or regret, and forming illogical excuses, such as, "if this had happened, such else would have happened" is pointless. Whatever happened was for the best. Thus, in the Muslim way of speech, never is there any anger, rage, tension, complaint, disappointment, panic, fear or worry.
Even through events that are the most difficult and troublesome, believers try to discover their hidden good as well as the possible outcomes that would provide blessings, and speaks of these with sincerity. Those who behave as Muslims help to dispel panic and worry by influencing positively those around them.
In the Qur'an, Allah indicates to the faithful the manner of speaking which is required in times of difficulty, in this verse : "Say: 'Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in Allah that the believers should put their trust." (Surat at-Tawba: 51) In another verse, our attention is drawn to the humble speech of the faithful, that is, those who know that fate or everything that occurs has been ordained ultimately for their benefit: "Those who, when disaster strikes them, say, 'We belong to Allah and to Him we will return' " (Surat al-Baqara: 156). The reward which Allah will give to those who understand this truth is described in this verse: "Those are the people who will have blessings and mercy from their Lord; they are the ones who are guided." (Surat al-Baqara: 157)
The manner of speaking of a believer, when saying, with reference to fate, that there is good in everything is very different from the "consoling," "calming" or "parroted" speech of one who is far from the morality expounded in the Qur'an. When confronted with similar events, some of those who have not adopted the morality set forth in the Qur'an may also use expressions as "every cloud has a silver lining." However, there is a certain difference in the way they employ it. Muslims say this from the heart, sincerely, from deep in their soul and with definitiveness. No matter how many times those with a corrupt morality may pass this phrase to their lips, the fact that they cannot express it as a heartfelt belief is revealed by the lack of trust in Allah reflected in their behavior.
Speaking through trust in Allah
When they are in trouble and need help, or want to obtain something for themselves, the ignorant seek a solution in what they consider to be the power sources of this world. Some hope for help from influential friends, some from people with wealth, repute or authority. They forget that all these people are impotent creatures acting under Allah's control. And therefore, because this they forget, they try to ingratiate themselves to them.
In fact, there is only one power that can bring about good or ill for a person, and that is Allah. Muslims know this truth. For this reason, at all times they speak with the expectance of help and support from Allah, and aiming to earn only His approval. Even though they may be in need, or in trouble or difficulty, they know that only Allah can alleviate such circumstances and that He is the only One Who can aid them.
Therefore, believers encourage one another to turn to Allah and put their trust in Him when faced with difficulty. For the Qur'an says: If Allah helps you, no one can vanquish you. If He forsakes you, who can help you after that? So the believers should put their trust in Allah. (Surah Al 'Imran: 160)
In addition, the faithful speak in the knowledge that Allah is always at their side, and that without Allah's permission no one and nothing can do them harm, in accordance with that which was stipulated of the following: "… Allah will certainly help those who help Him" (Surat al-Hajj: 40) Even at the worst, and most critical or most life-threatening moments, they believe there are blessings in what they are experiencing, and make light of this truth to others around them, as the Prophet Yaqub (as) said, according to this verse of the Qur'an: "… In Him I put my trust, and let all those who put their trust, put it in Him alone." (Surah Yusuf: 67)
At no time do they use the manner of speech of one gripped irrationally by fear, panic and hopelessness; they speak in a calm and measured way. They know that losing hope in Allah is a characteristic of those unable to understand the subtleties of faith. Because they are aware that everything occurs through Allah's will, and in accordance with Allah's wisdom, they do not give way to false concern in time of difficulties. They speak in the knowledge that Allah will do what is best for them.
We are told in the following verse of the Qur'an that Allah certainly helps those who help Him: "You who believe! Remember Allah's blessing to you when certain people were on the verge of raising their hands against you and He held their hands back from you. Heed Allah. The believers should put their trust in Allah." (Surat al-Ma'ida: 11)
A number of examples are given in the Qur'an of the faithful speech of the believers. For example, when the children of Israel were trapped between the sea and the Pharaoh's army, while others who fell into disbelief and were plunged in despair and fear, were saying, "We are doomed," the words of the Prophet Musa (as) were to this effect, "Never. Our Allah is with us." We are informed in the Qur'an of the way the Prophet Musa' (as) speech reflected his trust in Allah:
So they [Pharaoh and his army] pursued them towards the east. And when the two hosts came into sight of one another Musa's companions said, "We will surely be overtaken!" He said, "Never! My Lord is with me and He will guide me." (Surat ash-Shu'ara, 60-62)
Confronted with this dilemma, the Prophet Musa (as) relied and depended solely upon Allah, inviting those around him to do the same. Allah told the Prophet Musa (as) to strike the sea with his staff, and when he did so, it parted in two, providing safe passage for the children of Israel. As for the Pharaoh and his army, they were all drowned. This episode is an example of the assistance given by our Lord to those who take Him as their guardian and rely solely on Him.
that they fear nothing and no one but Allah, trusting only in Him. In a verse of the Qur'an, we are informed that the faithful, when threatened with the statement, "The people have gathered against you, so fear them," expressed their trust in Allah by saying, "Allah is enough for us and the Best of Guardians":
"Those to whom people said, 'The people have gathered against you, so fear them.' But that merely increased their faith and they said, 'Allah is enough for us and [He is] the Best of Guardians." (Surah Al 'Imran, 173)