Bigotry: The Dark Danger

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Just think how many years have we possessed a faculty as important as speech. How many years have you been able easily to say a word without effort, or to form any sentence you wanted to? Without a doubt, you will answer, "It has been many years." However, it probably will not have occurred to most people to ask themselves such a question, because speech is a faculty most of us are born with, and therefore, often merely taken for granted.

Most are able to speak as much or as little as they want, thanks to this God-given ability, and, it would seem, in general, people have become so accustomed to it that they fail to take into account the importance of speech.

Rather, it is of an importance that everyone should recognize; that is, that being able to speak is a blessing, and that Allah granted such an ability for a specific purpose. On the Day of Judgment everyone will be held responsible for every word they have uttered.

Allah created humanity to serve Him. He gifted human beings with intelligence in order that they might grasp and believe in His greatness; as also eyes for them to see and appreciate the sublimity of that which He created; ears that they would listen to His verses being recited, and tongues for them to exalt His glory and communicate His message. As stated in the following verse of the Qur'an, "No indeed! We will write down what he says and prolong the punishment for him. We will inherit from him the things he is talking about and he will come to Us all alone," (Surah Maryam: 79-80) every word a person utters is kept in a record in Allah's sight. Therefore, just as all are responsible for that which they choose to believe, and for every act they do, so, too, will they be held responsible for every word they speak, and receive their due recompense on the Day of Judgment.

However, most never venture to consider that they will be called to account for everything they have done on the Day of Judgment: for every word, and every phrase they uttered. As a result, they are careless in their speech, speaking without thinking and without recognizing the responsibility under which they have been placed. Nevertheless, Allah's promise, as He has related in the Qur'an, will definitely be kept; and, while people may indeed have forgotten much of what they once said, their words will be brought before them on the Day of Judgment. With this verse of the Qur'an: "Standing over you are guardians, noble, recording, who know what you do," (Surat al-Infitar: 10-12) Allah points out that the angel scribes write every word that spills from a person's mouth. In another verse, Allah advises us that, just as He has given everything the ability to speak for itself, on the Day of Judgment, He will give people's skins the ability to speak and permit them to bear witness to what they had done:

They will ask their skins, "Why did you testify against us?" and they will reply, "Allah gave us speech as He has given speech to everything. He created you in the first place and you will be returned to Him." (Surah Fussilat, 21)

Thus, no matter the extent to which some people would want to conceal what they were responsible for saying, or how much they hope to avoid confessing to them, their ploy will not be of any use. Though they do not want to give account of what they had done, their skin will, on their behalf, confess to each of their deeds, one by one. Therefore, in the life of this world, our goal should be to not utter even a single word that we will regret in the presence of Allah, or pronounce a single phrase which we will be unable to account for, and only fill us with remorse.

Surely, it is those who arrive at a full understanding of the importance of these matters, also living by it, who are true believers. Because their belief is sincere, the faithful speak in all instances, and at all times, while being conscious of Allah. In consequence, they will be able to say, as is stated in the Qur'an "come and read my book," as one "who is given his Book in his right hand" with a clear conscience (Surat al-Haqqa: 19). That is because believers are those who, being always mindful of Allah, live as Muslims in this world, and therefore, also speak as Muslims.

"The Muslim way of speaking" is speaking in all instances with the use of one's conscience, in the knowledge that Allah is present, that His knowledge is all-encompassing, and that, on the Day of Judgment, all will be called to account in His presence.

The Muslim way of speaking is possible only by submitting oneself to Allah and the message of the Qur'an. After fully experiencing faith in one's heart, as well as sincerity and a sense of submission, one will come to recognize that it is Allah Who grants speech. Allah will inspire a person to speak in the way of the Muslims, and lead him or her to speak in the sincerest, most wise, effective and appropriate manner. As long as people are not sincere in faith in their hearts, they will not be able to achieve sincerity in their speech through superficial means, such as by simply paying attention to their words. To be able to speak in the wasy of the Muslims, it is necessary to live at all times with a faith and consciousness of Allah in one's heart.

In this book, we will seek to encourage all to use the power of their speech in such a way as to be pleasing to Allah, by exploring the importance of Muslim way of speaking as outlined in the Qur'an. By establishing the ideal of a Muslim's manner of speaking, as well as the apparent differences between it and that used by those who live according to a type of spirituality distant from Allah's true religion, we call upon all people to speak in a manner that is in compliance with the morality taught in the Qur'an.


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