Idle or empty talk contains no remembrance of Allah, nor is it aimed at His approval. In other words, it is a type of talk that is of no benefit to one’s eternal life in the Hereafter. Although worthless talking inevitably brings trouble to the soul, ignorant people spend much of their time engaged in it. It is among the strategies of satan to hinder man from remembering Allah, from seeing the countless signs and miracles of Allah surrounding him, and from reflecting upon the purpose of life. Thus, precious time is lost that should be spent engaging in good deeds for the Hereafter.
Satan always tempts people toward worthless talk and suggests the most pertinent subjects according to their social class, level of intelligence and interests. For example, the subjects that keep common people busy are sports, recipes, the problems of child raising and so forth. Exchange rates, the stock exchange and other subjects related to commerce and economy occupy the minds of people involved in business. Another section of society who call themselves intellectuals and who want to show themselves off as cultured indulge in prolonged dialogues, thinking that they have solved great difficulties, but which generally bring no benefit to society.
One frequently sees examples of this in open forums held on television. Participants discuss a particular issue for hours, only to be recognized for their knowledge and to impress others. They ingratiate themselves with those in higher positions in order to have their viewpoints endorsed. Personal complexes and ambitions ultimately cause one to fail when offering solutions because one cannot view the matter objectively. There are people who take such forums as an opportunity to attack religious moral values and reveal their aversion to truth. Allah describes these attitudes in the Qur’an:
But there are some people who trade in distracting tales to misguide people from Allah’s Way knowing nothing about it and to make a mockery of it. Such people will have a humiliating punishment. (Surah Luqman; 6)
While indulging in worthless talk is a characteristic of unbelievers, avoidance of it is a quality of believers:
[Believers are] those who do not bear false witness and who, when they pass by worthless talk, pass by with dignity. (Surat al-Furqan; 72)
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 is his usual practice, satan attempts to introduce this habit of ignorance into the lives of believers, which is indeed improper in terms of religious morals. To this end, he employs seemingly legitimate excuses and seeks moments when believers are not attentive. Therefore, one must always be vigilant and not let himself be dragged into such conversations. On the contrary, he should intervene and remind the people involved in such pastimes to remember Allah. A believer must always avoid ignorance, unbecoming manners and blameworthy speech. The absence in Paradise of any offensive speech is described among its blessings:
Gardens of Eden which the All-Merciful has promised to His servants in the Unseen. His promise is always kept. They will not hear any prattling there -nothing but ‘Peace.’ They will receive their provision there morning and night. (Surah Maryam; 61-62)