الِّلسَانُ سَبُعٌ، إِنْ خُلِّيَ عَنْهُ عَقَرَ۔

The tongue is a beast; if it is let loose, it devours.



The tongue is a beast; if it is let loose, it devours.

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #60)

Personal Reflection

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

The tongue is a beast; if it is let loose, it devours.

This profound statement highlights the power and potential harm that lies within our tongues. To understand the depth of this Hadith, let us delve into the meanings of the key words.

The word "lisan" in Arabic refers to the tongue, but it also encompasses speech and language. It is the tool through which we express our thoughts, emotions, and desires. The word "sabu'" means a beast or an animal, emphasizing the untamed and wild nature of the tongue. And when Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) says that if the tongue is let loose, it devours, he is highlighting the destructive potential of uncontrolled speech.

To further understand the significance of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hujurat (49:11),

O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

This verse reminds us of the importance of guarding our tongues and refraining from mockery, insults, and offensive language. It emphasizes the need to treat others with respect and dignity, regardless of their background or gender. By doing so, we not only avoid causing harm to others but also protect ourselves from falling into disobedience.

Additionally, the Quran warns us about the consequences of idle talk and gossip. In Surah Al-Hujurat (49:12), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,

And avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.

This verse highlights the destructive nature of backbiting and spreading rumors. It compares such actions to consuming the flesh of a dead brother, something that is repulsive and detested. It reminds us to be cautious of our assumptions and to refrain from engaging in harmful speech that can damage relationships and sow discord among Muslims.

Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith serves as a powerful reminder for Muslims to be mindful of their words. It urges us to control our tongues and use them wisely, for our speech has the potential to either build bridges or destroy them. Just as a wild beast can cause chaos and destruction if not restrained, our tongues can wreak havoc if left unchecked.

The consequences of uncontrolled speech are far-reaching. It can lead to broken relationships, hurt feelings, and even escalate conflicts. On the other hand, if we exercise restraint and speak with wisdom and kindness, our words can bring comfort, healing, and unity.

Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) enlightening Hadith should serve as a constant reminder for us to reflect on the power of our tongues and the responsibility that comes with it. We must strive to emulate the noble qualities of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), who was known for his wisdom, eloquence, and restraint in speech. By doing so, we can contribute to a more harmonious and compassionate society, in line with the teachings of Islam.

May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and strength to control our tongues and use our speech for the betterment of ourselves and others. May He guide us to follow the example of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) in all aspects of our lives. Ameen.

. : . (Readers are advised to verify the sources mentioned above, and to independently research for an accurate understanding of Hadith. Remember, personal research and seeking guidance from scholars are essential in gaining a better insight. Please, do contact us if you find any wrong citations or explanations.)

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