“He who keeps mum is saved (from sins) and he who saves himself (from sins) achieves ultimate salvation”…. (Al Bukhari). The wording of this Hadith is thought provoking. Here the most revered Prophet (SAW) directs Muslims to make judicious use of their tongue. However, it does not mean that a person must maintain silence all the time. A person has to talk but he must know what to talk, when to talk and to whom. Early in the morning some of the closet companions (RA) of the Holy Prophet (SAW) would seek protection of Allah the almighty against misuse of tongue. The holy companions (RA) followed the commandments of Allah the almighty and the most revered Prophet (SAW) in letter and spirit. Therefore, there were no or, few chances of misuse of tongue. Notwithstanding this, the holy companions (RA) would start their day with this prayer. This reflects the importance of proper use of the power of speech.
It has been observed that people usually do not like a person who talks a lot. A talkative person causes harm to himself and others by his senseless talking. It is this type of persons who resort to backbiting, which is a grave sin and has been equaled to eating the flesh of one’s dead brother. And, it is this type of persons who cross the limits, resort to gossip, discuss women, find fault with others and at times utter such words which cause dissention in a family, in friendship and in the society as a whole.
The power of speech is a blessing and it is to be used properly. Allah the almighty shall question people about this on the day of judgement. Therefore, people must exercise utmost restraint while using their tongue. When a Muslim speaks he must seek for the enforcement of the rights of the people, he must speak to fight evil, he must speak to ensure harmony amongst various sects, he must speak to bring people closer, he must speak to soothe the people, he must speak to thank the people for favours done to him, he must speak to thank Allah the almighty for Imaan (faith) good health, wealth, children and everything else, he must use his tongue to pay salutations to the most revered Prophet (SAW). If this cannot be done for whatever reasons, then silence is preferable.
By his speech a person should not frighten the people. Let the people hear good news or something which soothes them. However, this does not mean that the person (who is talking) must tell fairy tales to the people. Entertainment is permissible but in the garb of entertaining the people, the entertainer must not encroach upon the honour of others by mocking at them, by finding faults with them, or by disclosing (about them) what they want to conceal from others.
A person who talks a lot cannot decide what to withhold and what to deliver. Often such people disclose the secrets of others and therefore betray the trust which people repose in them. Again this is a grave sin and every Muslim must try his best to protect himself from such misadventures. Proper use of tongue can save a person from humiliation and at times from physical assault. Such a person should never sit over judgement on two rival groups.
There is no denying the fact that silence is preferable to speech. But at times use of tongue becomes necessary, rather obligatory. In such special situations it is a sin to keep quite. “When you come across an evil, try to stop it with your hands, if you cannot do this try to prevent it with your tongue and if you cannot do this either, hold a grudge against the wrong doer but this is the weakest form of faith”…(Al Bukhari). Since all people cannot use their hands to prevent an evil in the contemporary times (as such people may be prosecuted for taking law into their hands), it is good to use the tongue as this is the alternative between two extremes.