Thinking before Talking


Topic:  Advice of Imam (as) on Thinking before Talking

 A LESSON FROM HIS SAYINGS In one of his traditions, the Imam (as) has been reported saying:“The heart of a fool is in his mouth and the mouth of the wise is in his heart”. (Tuhaf al-‘Uqool) Basically, what the Imam (as) is implying is that a foolish person will always talk without thinking whereas a wise person will always first think and then talk. Some people will feel that they are free to express whatever comes into their minds. Islam says: No! You must first think that what you are about to say- is it right or wrong, and what are its repercussions before you utter any word.  

THREE THINGS ABOUT THE FOOLISH 

Regarding people who talk without thinking, there are three things that Islam is telling us about them: 

Firstly They are foolish; therefore, one must always distant himself from such people lest they are affected by his foolishness. It is narrated that:[One day, Prophet ‘Issa (as) was seen running away from a man. He (as) was asked as to why he (as) was running, he (as) replied, “I am running away from an AHMAQ (a fool)”. People said to him, “O Spirit of Allah! You have power to bring the dead to life”. He (as) replied, “Yes, I do have that power but I find it difficult to bring a fool to his senses”.]

(Lessons from Life) 

 Secondly Islam says that never to discuss or argue on anything with such people for they will never find any reason in what you are telling them. Quran has offered a beautiful way of dealing with them. “And the servants of the All Beneficent are those who walk humbly on the earth, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace!”. (25:63) It is narrated that:[There was a man who belonged to Banu Abbas. He was a staunch enemy of Ahlul-Bayt (as) and despite being given all the proofs of Imam Ali (as) ‘s successorship; he was not willing to accept them. One day, he got up from his sleep and narrated to some people his dream in which he had seen Imam Ali (as). He said, “I confronted Ali (as) in my dream regarding his Khilafah and he (as) had nothing to offer me as explanation”.

 When people asked him what did Ali (as) say to him, he replied, “Every time I confronted him, he (as) repeatedly said: ‘Peace!’”. People scoffed at him and said, “Understand what Ali (as) did to you! Not that he (as) did not have any reply for you, he said ‘Peace’ because this is the Quranic Instruction for the believers to say when confronted by ignorant who are also foolish”.] (Quran-o-‘Itrat)  

And thirdly The consequences of people who have the habit of talking without thinking are problems in this world and in the Hereafter. [A Vazeer was having a stroll one night in the city to find out the condition of the subjects. As he passed by a shop, he heard a murmur. The Vazeer came closer and peeped through a hole of that shop. He saw a man giving finishing touches to a very nice shawl that he had woven and at the same time saying: “O my tongue! Please remain under my control when I go tomorrow to give this present to the king”. The next day, the man came to the court and presented the gift to the king. The Vazeer was also present. Everyone liked the workmanship and material of that shawl. Each one present in the court also expressed his opinion about the purpose the shawl should be used for. Ultimately, the king said, “Let us ask the man himself about the purpose of this shawl”. The man, who had no control over his tongue and had the habit of talking without thinking, said: “This shawl would be very artistic covering over the shroud of the king when he dies”. The king and all those present in the court were angrily astonished at this blunt reply. Out of anger the king ordered the man to be beheaded. It was here that the Vazeer intervened and narrated the story of the previous night. He said, “O King! This man’s tongue is not under his control – he does not at all mean bad for you”. The man, thereupon was released.]                                                      

(Lessons from Life) 

So talking without thinking can cause serious problems in this life…as well as in the Hereafter! Shaykh Sadooq (ar) has reported from Imam Ali (as) who had said to his son Muhammad al-Hanafiyya regarding control of tongue:“O son! Do not speak what you know not, Infact do not also speak all that you know for Allah (SWT) has given certain responsibilities to each of your organs and you shall be questioned about them on the Day of Judgement.” The Imam (as) then recited this verse from the Holy Quran, in which, Allah (SWT) says: “Do not follow that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed the hearing, the eye-sight and the heart –all of these are accountable”. (17:36)  

Mulla Mujahidali Sheriff mulla@almahdi.org.uk 

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