In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious and the All Compassionate
Some people are disposed to be rude and abrasive. They speak harsh words that show no strength of argument or evidence, but are full of insults and abuse.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Those who habitually curse will not be among the intercessors and witnesses on the Day of Judgment.” [Sahîh Muslim]
Likewise, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“A believer is neither a habitual curser nor a habitual accuser. He is not vile nor is he obscene.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî]
Anyone who loves the Prophet (peace be upon him) and wishes to be gathered in his company on the Day of Judgment should follow his good example. This means that he should safeguard his tongue from uttering anything other than what is good. The Prophet’s advice was that
“…whoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day should say something good or remain silent.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]
May Allah have mercy on a person who either says something good and earns a reward or keeps quiet and thereby remains safe.
There is nothing wrong with people disagreeing and arguing with each other, especially in these troubled and confusing times. However, the way to handle disagreements is with lucid arguments and temperate speech. A person’s mode of discussion should show the purity of his intentions, the strength of his intellect, and the nobility of his character.
It is apparent to everyone that the Muslim world is being stifled by numerous crises. It is like a ship being tossed about in a storm and the people on board are afraid that they will drown. Their voices all mix together. Some voices are merciful and concerned. Some are calm. Others are angry and seething. Then there is that voice that spews forth curses and insults left and right – but that voice always spares itself. But how can this voice possibly curse itself? For is it not the voice of the one who will save everyone, the voice of that trustworthy, concerned and committed individual who will set everything aright? Is it not the voice of the one who will arrange the affairs of everyone else when they give up, turn their backs, succumb to weakness, and sell their religion for worldly gain? .
“Why did not the believing men and women, when you heard it, think well of their own people?” [Sûrah al-Nûr: 12]
Allah also says:
“Neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith. And whoever does not repent, such are evil-doers.” [Sûrah al-Hujurât: 11]
The Internet has provided us with a new way to insult and defame each other – the electronic insult. Now people can disseminate their insults and slanders free of charge and without any accountability, and have their names published along with their choice of words. Those who engage in this behavior openly are truly flaunting their own sinfulness, and indeed the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“All of my community are pardoned except those who publicize their sins.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]
The Internet also provides the opportunity to be anonymous, to hide behind a false name, and this allows the slanderer can forego all of his inhibitions. Unfortunately, sensible and balanced speech is often not much of an attention-getter. The electronic slanderer, on the other hand, is encouraged by the attention that he gets, both from those who support him and those who criticize him. He might even fool himself enough to think that he is making history!
Another new opportunity to spread insults, slanders, and defamations is provided by the cellular phone, by way of text messages. With the anonymous SMS, the vilest and most offensive statements can be flaunted to the world. Some of those who do so regard their behavior as brave and daring. Indeed, it shows daring – in the same way that the burglar shows daring when he breaks into people’s homes. It is the daring of someone going headlong into ruin.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“The parable of myself and the people is that of a man who starts up a fire. When the fire illuminates his surroundings, moths and other insects that are attracted to the flame start falling into it. He starts taking them out, but they overwhelm him and plunge into it. Likewise, I am pulling you by your coattails away from the fire, but you are rushing right into it.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]
This technology has provided a way to insult someone – and make the injured party pay for it.
Those of us who wish to keep on the straight path in this culture of insults need to do the following:
1. We can turn away from such behavior and from those who exhibit it. This s precisely what the Qur’ân tells us to do:
“Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; but turn away from those who are ignorant.” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 199]
“And when they hear idle talk they turn aside from it and say: We shall have our deeds and you shall have your deeds; peace be on you, we do not desire the ignorant.” [Sûrah al-Qasas: 55]
“Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers, and who shun foolish conversation.” [Sûrah al-Mu’minûn: 1-3]
2. We can respond with something better. This means that we can pray to Allah on behalf of the other person and beseech Allah to forgive him. We can say something nice and counter a bad word with one that is good. This approach is also quite often recommended by the Qur’ân:
“Repel evil with that which is better.” [Sûrah al-Mu’minûn: 96]
“And speak kindly to the people.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 83]
“These shall be granted their reward twice, because they are steadfast and they repel evil with good and spend out of what We have given them.” [Sûrah al-Qasas: 54]
3. We must keep our composure and stay calm. Life is a long road, and we need rest and tranquility.
“He it is who placed tranquility in the hearts of the believers” [Sûrah al-Fath: 4]
“Endure patiently (O Muhammad), for your patience is but from Allah. Grieve not on their account, and be not in distress because of that which they devise.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 127]
4. We should not waste time responding to and refuting what they say. Leave that to others. Not everything that we say is necessarily correct, and not everything that others say is wrong. We should spare ourselves the insults and abuses.
5. We must never let our animosities and other’s disrespect goad us into denying the truth, uttering falsehood, or persisting in an error. We must make self-assessment and self-correction our habits.
6. We should remember that we have committed mountains of sins. We have looked at forbidden sights. We have said things we should not have said. We have been neglectful in our duties. Allah, in His kindness towards us, chooses for us the easier afflictions of this world to expiate for our sins or to elevate our status or to bring us to heights that we could never have reached with our good deeds alone.