Mind your Tongue

‘O you who believe let not one group of people make fun of another, perhaps the (one’s being made fun of) are better than them. And let not women make fun of other women perhaps the (woman being made fun of) is better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by (offensive) nicknames. Wretched is the name (i.e. mention) of disobedience after (one’s) faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the Dhaalimoon’ (the opressers). (Al Qur’an:49/11)

Allah-the most exalted is disobeyed most with the tongue. There is a sin that is taken lightly, a sin that is laughed at, a sin that could very well pull someone to Hellfire: it is the sin of insulting others.

“Verily a person will speak words from those that Allah hates, paying no heed to what he is saying, and with those words he will plummet in to hellfire.” – Bukhari

As is evident from the Quranic verse and the hadith quoted above, making fun of others is a detested practice. One must always bear in mind that the person being made fun of may be dear to Allah.

The above verse merits an in-depth analysis. Allah directs the believers not to make fun of people. The verse applies to humans in general and not to Muslims alone. A believer has many obligations to perform towards the society. He has to ensure that his Muslim brother remains safe from his tongue. However, this does not mean that a believer is at liberty to insult the non-Muslims.

Al-Ma’roor ibn Suwayd narrates that he once saw Abu Dharr (RA) wearing a beautiful shawl. His slave standing next to him was wearing a shawl exactly like it, warm and beautiful.

Ma’roor said to Abu Dharr, “Perhaps you could take the shawl of your servant and give him another (less expensive) one.”

“Never,” said Abu Dharr, “for I once had a servant whose mother was not Arab and I cussed him and his mother. That servant went to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) complaining of the words I had said.

“When Rasul Allah (SAW) saw me he commented, ‘O Abu Dharr, you are a man who still has Jahilliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) in him.’”

Because of these painful words, Abu Dharr – may Allah be pleased with him – would always dress his servants in the exact same garments that he would wear.

The punishment for those who make fun of others is severe. Imam al-Bayhaqee narrates in Shu’ab al-Eemaan, that Rasul Allah (SAW) said, “Verily those people that make fun of people – for them a gate of Jannah will be opened. It will be said to them: Come (and enter). That person will come with all their anguish and depression – but when he gets close, the gate will be closed in his face. Then another gate (to Jannah) will be opened and it will be said: Come (and enter). So that person comes with all his anguish and depression. But when he gets close, the gate will be closed in his face once again. This will keep happening to him until it gets to the point where it will be said: Come (and enter), and he will not come from the despair of ever entering.”