Speaking with awareness that the life of the world is transitory
Those who deify worldly things employ a way of speaking peculiar to themselves. It can be clearly discerned from their speech that they have made the life of this world the major object of their longing. Some speak with envy, some with covetousness of the fine things they see in the possession of others. These desires hidden in their hearts arise out of ignorance of the truth of this worldly life as well of the afterlife, while, in the Qur'an Allah tells us that the blessings of this world are to test people:
Know that your wealth and children are a trial and that there is an immense reward with Allah. (Surat al-Anfal: 28)
Because they are unaware of this, those who have no faith are partial to others who possess more in this world than they do, and adopt a fawning manner of speaking towards them. For example, when speaking of the car and the clothes of a person who is rich and famous, their profound jealousy, compounded by feelings of inferiority, captivates them. They exhibit this longing through such statements as "If only I were as rich as he," "If only I were in his place right now," and "What a fine car he has; if only it were mine." In fact, those they look upon with envy are all—as they themselves are—weak and needy in the sight of Allah. Everything that people possess belongs ultimately to Allah. Everybody, for the whole period of his or her life, is being tested with the blessings which Allah proffers.
Because they know that the true and lasting life is the one in the Hereafter, the faithful strive throughout their worldly lives to attain the abode of Paradise. They desire worldly blessings, like wealth and property, only to use them in a way that is pleasing to Allah, to show their gratitude to Him, and to exalt Him. Because of this moral excellence, even if they lose one such worldly blessing, or even all their possessions, they do not give way to sorrow or despair. They consider it to be predestined by Allah, and they want Allah to give them the real blessings and finer things of the Hereafter. In addition, it can be understood from all that they say that they know that Allah provides sustenance and other worldly blessings through His mercy and wisdom. In a verse of the Qur'an, Allah tells us the following:
Allah expands provision to anyone He wills and restricts it. They rejoice in the life of this world. Yet the life of this world, compared to the Hereafter, is only fleeting enjoyment. (Surat ar-Ra‘d: 26)
Failing to grasp that specific purposes have been preordained by Allah, those who are passionately devoted to their wealth and property, render interpretations of events that are worldly-oriented. For example, a person, whose wealth and fame they covet, may, at bottom, be one of low morality. Nevertheless, those who lack understanding will not consider him to be of base morality at all, nor will they think about that which he will encounter on the Day of Judgment, and possibly see no fault in longing for that person's wealth or repute. Muslims, however, see the truth of this worldly life, and try to earn Allah's approval to attain the afterlife. For this reason, their manner of speech consistently reflects their knowledge of this reality. As an example, the Qur'an cites the instance of certain people envious of the wealth of a rich man named Qarun:
Qarun was one of the people of Musa but he lorded it over them. We gave him treasures, the keys alone to which were a heavy weight for a party of strong men. (Surat al-Qasas: 76)
Addicted to the life of the world, and, for this reason, unable to evaluate accurately what a malefactor was Qarun, these people said the following when they saw his wealth:
He went out among his people in his finery. Those who desired the life of this world said, "Oh! If only we had the same as Qarun has been given! What immense good fortune he possesses." (Surat al-Qasas: 79)
While Muslims had reminded them that He Who had provided Qarun his possessions was our Lord, and that his real destination was the afterlife, those who failed to speak with a morality particular to a Muslim were affected by Qarun's wealth and behaved ignorantly. The Qur'an tells of the warning given to these people by Muslims like this:
But those who had been given knowledge said, "Woe to you! Allah's reward is better for those who believe and act rightly. But only the steadfast will obtain it." (Surat al-Qasas: 80)
In the Qur'an we are told that, because of his immorality, Qarun and his house were brought down. After this, those who had formerly envied Qarun saw that he was powerless in the front of Allah and, realizing their error, this time responded by speaking as Muslims:
We caused the earth to swallow up both him and his house. There was no group to come to his aid, besides Allah, and he was not someone who is helped. Those who had longed to take his place the day before woke up saying, "Allah expands the provision of any of His servants He wills or restricts it. If Allah had not shown great kindness to us, we would have been swallowed up as well. Ah! Truly the unbelievers are not successful." (Surat al-Qasas: 81-82)
As we are told in the verse, "Do not let their wealth and children impress you. Allah merely wants to punish them by them during their life in this world and for them to expire while they are unbelievers." (Surat at-Tawba: 55), Muslims show that they do not covet worldly wealth, and that they are people who think always of Allah and their final home in the afterlife, reflected in all their actions and their speech. This firm morality of Muslims receives its reward, by the grace of Allah, in this world, as in the afterlife. Allah tells us that He will grant blessings and the best rewards, both in this world and the afterlife, to those who purify themselves of worldly ambition and aim to earn His approval:
Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did. (Surat an-Nahl: 97)
Speaking through trust in Allah
When they are in trouble and need help, or want to obtain something for themselves, the ignorant seek a solution in what they consider to be the power sources of this world. Some hope for help from influential friends, some from people with wealth, repute or authority. They forget that all these people are impotent creatures acting under Allah's control. And therefore, because this they forget, they try to ingratiate themselves to them.
In fact, there is only one power that can bring about good or ill for a person, and that is Allah. Muslims know this truth. For this reason, at all times they speak with the expectance of help and support from Allah, and aiming to earn only His approval. Even though they may be in need, or in trouble or difficulty, they know that only Allah can alleviate such circumstances and that He is the only One Who can aid them. Therefore, believers encourage one another to turn to Allah and put their trust in Him when faced with difficulty. For the Qur'an says:
If Allah helps you, no one can vanquish you. If He forsakes you, who can help you after that? So the believers should put their trust in Allah. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 160)
In addition, the faithful speak in the knowledge that Allah is always at their side, and that without Allah's permission no one and nothing can do them harm, in accordance with that which was stipulated of the following: "… Allah will certainly help those who help Him" (Surat al-Hajj: 40) Even at the worst, and most critical or most life-threatening moments, they believe there are blessings in what they are experiencing, and make light of this truth to others around them, as the Prophet Yaqub (as) said, according to this verse of the Qur'an: "… In Him I put my trust, and let all those who put their trust, put it in Him alone." (Surah Yusuf: 67)
At no time do they use the manner of speech of one gripped irrationally by fear, panic and hopelessness; they speak in a calm and measured way. They know that losing hope in Allah is a characteristic of those unable to understand the subtleties of faith. Because they are aware that everything occurs through Allah's will, and in accordance with Allah's wisdom, they do not give way to false concern in time of difficulties. They speak in the knowledge that Allah will do what is best for them.
We are told in the following verse of the Qur'an that Allah certainly helps those who help Him: "You who believe! Remember Allah's blessing to you when certain people were on the verge of raising their hands against you and He held their hands back from you. Heed Allah. The believers should put their trust in Allah." (Surat al-Ma'ida: 11)
A number of examples are given in the Qur'an of the faithful speech of the believers. For example, when the children of Israel were trapped between the sea and the Pharaoh's army, while others who fell into disbelief and were plunged in despair and fear, were saying, "We are doomed," the words of the Prophet Musa (as) were to this effect, "Never. Our Allah is with us." We are informed in the Qur'an of the way the Prophet Musa' (as) speech reflected his trust in Allah:
So they [Pharaoh and his army] pursued them towards the east. And when the two hosts came into sight of one another Musa's companions said, "We will surely be overtaken!" He said, "Never! My Lord is with me and He will guide me." (Surat ash-Shu‘ara': 60-62)
Confronted with this dilemma, the Prophet Musa (as) relied and depended solely upon Allah, inviting those around him to do the same. Allah told the Prophet Musa (as) to strike the sea with his staff, and when he did so, it parted in two, providing safe passage for the children of Israel. As for the Pharaoh and his army, they were all drowned. This episode is an example of the assistance given by our Lord to those who take Him as their guardian and rely solely on Him.
As is the case with the story of the Prophet Musa (as), from every word of the faithful, it can be recognized that they fear nothing and no one but Allah, trusting only in Him. In a verse of the Qur'an, we are informed that the faithful, when threatened with the statement, "The people have gathered against you, so fear them," expressed their trust in Allah by saying, "Allah is enough for us and the Best of Guardians":
"Those to whom people said, 'The people have gathered against you, so fear them.' But that merely increased their faith and they said, 'Allah is enough for us and [He is] the Best of Guardians." (Surah Al ‘Imran: 173)
Speaking in the knowledge of the certainty of fate
and of the truth that there is good in all things
Allah has determined a specific destiny for every living thing. Everything people experience during their lives, or every task they undertake, or every word they utter, was predetermined by Allah before they were even born. Moreover, because Allah transcends time, the life of all things is lived out and concluded in His sight. However, a person who is bound by time can only experience life within it (in the order of a calendar). Just as one who is 40 today has lived 40 years—assuming the human lifespan is 80 years—his remaining 40 years have been encompassed in the sight of Allah. However, a human can only witness and experience these developments through time, or within the 40-year period ahead of him.
In short, what we describe as the future, or the sequence of events which are yet to happen, has already begun and ended within Allah's eternal knowledge. All that has already happened in Allah's sight constitutes a person's destiny. Everyone is accorded a fate from which they will not be able to escape. Just as one cannot change one's past, neither can one change one's future, because both have already been experienced, seen and perceived in the sight of Allah. However, some, because they do not have any such foreknowledge, believe their futures are in their own hands. Therefore, not believing in destiny they fall into the error of presuming that they can shape it. However, a person's whole life is like a film which has already been shot. As if being made to see what happens when watching the film, a person is in no position to change the film's script or intervene; so, in a similar way, is it impossible for that person to interfere in the events that play out according to his destiny.
In the Qur'an, we are told that Allah has pre-ordained a specific destiny for each and every individual, and that all will never experience that which has not already been prescribed:
Indeed, all things We created with predestination. (Surat al-Qamar: 49)
Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in yourselves, without its being in a Book before We make it happen. That is something easy for Allah. That is so that you will not be grieved about the things that pass you by or exult about the things that come to you. Allah does not love any vain or boastful man. (Surat al-Hadid: 22-23)
As these verses explain, a specific destiny has been created, not only for each human being, but for all inanimate and living things, that is, all things. From the wooden table in your house to the shoes on your feet; from the rose seedling in your garden to the clothes in your wardrobe; from your friends to your cat, everything in existence is subject to a destiny determined by Allah. It is already foreordained what phases yourself and the things that belong to you, such as the table, the rose seedling, and your friends, will experience in the future. For example, it had already been known, far into eternity in Allah's sight, who would plant the seed of the tree from which the table was made, for how long and under what conditions the tree would grow, when, how and by whom it would be cut down, to which sawmill it would be taken, in what dimensions it would be cut, what quality and shape of table would be made of it, how you would decide to buy the table, where you would find it, when you will put it in your house, in which part of your house you would put it, and what meals you will eat, who you would talk to and what letters you would write at it, because Allah determined all such things before you were born, and knew, as in a single transcendent moment, how to bring them about. To you, however, you would learn of them only as they occurred, in sequence through time.
If a person is not informed of the reality of destiny, or has not fully understood its reality, he may act without considering that he is fulfilling the destiny prescribed for him, and be led astray by the sequence of events he experiences. For example, when he goes out to buy a dining table for his house, he looks through dozens of shops, changes his mind time after time in each case, thinks carefully, exchanges ideas and discusses his options with those with him. In the end, he believes he has taken a decision of his own deliberation. In fact, however, before he had set out to buy the table, the one he was ultimately to choose was already written in his destiny; therefore, he merely searched for, found and purchased that table which was already prescribed for him according to his destiny. The exchange of ideas, the discussions and his difficulty in reaching a decision, were all likewise determined according to a destiny prescribed by Allah.
Hence, for a person to feel pain, regret, sorrow or fear in response to a particular event, and to waste words such as "If only I had done such and such," or "If only I hadn't gone here or there," or to worry about the future is pointless in the extreme, because the person is fulfilling a life which has already begun and ended, and the events over which she feels regret or sorrow are part of that destiny. For example, when a person carries too many plates in her hands and drops and smashes them, she may feel regret, saying, "If only I hadn't tried to carry so many, then it wouldn't have happened." But the truth which she does not know, or has forgotten, is that it was determined, for that very moment, where and how every one of those plates would be broken. Indeed, it was fated who would break them, even before they were manufactured or before the person who would break those plates was born. A person should simply try to consider all the events which take place and take a lesson, that she may understand the wisdom behind them. However, feeling sorrowful over such things is futile, because she has no power to prevent what happens to her. We are told that such a person is powerless to prevent what Allah wills in the following verse:
If Allah afflicts you with harm, no one can remove it except Him. If He desires good for you, no one can avert His favor. He bestows it on whichever of His servants He wills. He is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Yunus: 107)
Those who surrender to their destiny know that there is an ultimate good in everything Allah brings about, even though it might appear adverse. They recognize the blessings and the wisdom in these events Allah has brought about and is grateful. If they cannot at first understand them, they put their faith in Allah and pray for Allah to reveal their purposes and their wisdom. If still they cannot recognize them, those who know that they will be brought forth on the Day of Judgment live in the tranquility and comfort of believing with certainty that Allah is the lord of eternal justice, and is compassionate and merciful.
Such people's submission and devotion can be clearly discerned in their speech. In no instance do they use words such as, "Why did that happen?" with reference to events. They speak in the knowledge that Allah has created everything in the best form, and that some happening which might at first appear negative will in the end bring some blessing.
In the Qur'an, Allah reminds us of this truth with the following verse: "It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know." (Surat al-Baqara: 216) Therefore, when confronted by an experience which appears as a setback, sincere Muslims' words ought to be, "My Lord brings about everything for a purpose, there must certainly be a good in this too," or "Allah ordained this to happen for our benefit." They never complain, as would the ignorant, such as, "Oh dear, what a pity, how could I do such a thing?" grumbling in a way which suggests a lack of submission and hope in Allah.
This manner of speaking, in the knowledge that everything and everyone was created for a specific good, is important for Muslims throughout their lives. They exclude nothing, no-one and no event from this understanding. They know that, when they face a setback, it is a reflection of ignorance to speak in a manner in opposition to their fate, and instead consider that occurrence to be a positive aspect of his fate. No matter whether they, or some else, committed a mistake, they would not say such things as "why did you do it," "this wouldn't have happened if you hadn't gone there." Rather, they speak as people who have grasped the truth in the verse: "… What assailed you on the day the two armies met was by Allah's permission…" (Surah Al ‘Imran: 166) They also know that unwanted outcomes through the lack of proper advance precaution is also part of their fate. Like someone watching a film many times over, seeing the same thing scene after scene. For that reason, immersing oneself in sorrow or regret, and forming illogical excuses, such as, "if this had happened, such else would have happened" is pointless. Whatever happened was for the best. Thus, in the Muslim way of speech, never is there any anger, rage, tension, complaint, disappointment, panic, fear or worry.
Even through events that are the most difficult and troublesome, believers try to discover their hidden good as well as the possible outcomes that would provide blessings, and speaks of these with sincerity. Those who behave as Muslims help to dispel panic and worry by influencing positively those around them.
In the Qur'an, Allah indicates to the faithful the manner of speaking which is required in times of difficulty, in this verse : "Say: 'Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in Allah that the believers should put their trust." (Surat at-Tawba: 51)
In another verse, our attention is drawn to the humble speech of the faithful, that is, those who know that fate or everything that occurs has been ordained ultimately for their benefit: "Those who, when disaster strikes them, say, 'We belong to Allah and to Him we will return' " (Surat al-Baqara: 156). The reward which Allah will give to those who understand this truth is described in this verse: "Those are the people who will have blessings and mercy from their Lord; they are the ones who are guided." (Surat al-Baqara: 157)
The manner of speaking of a believer, when saying, with reference to fate, that there is good in everything is very different from the "consoling," "calming" or "parroted" speech of one who is far from the morality expounded in the Qur'an. When confronted with similar events, some of those who have not adopted the morality set forth in the Qur'an may also use expressions as "every cloud has a silver lining." However, there is a certain difference in the way they employ it. Muslims say this from the heart, sincerely, from deep in their soul and with definitiveness. No matter how many times those with a corrupt morality may pass this phrase to their lips, the fact that they cannot express it as a heartfelt belief is revealed by the lack of trust in Allah reflected in their behavior.
Employing the Qur'an as a guide in speech
In the following verse of the Qur'an, "… This is a Book We have sent down to you so that you can bring mankind from the darkness to the light, by the permission of their Lord, to the Path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy." (Surah Ibrahim: 1), Allah explains that one of the blessings conferred through the sending down of the Qur'an is that it "brings people from the darkness to the light."
The Qur'an has been under Allah's protection from the time it was first revealed to the present, and has undergone no corruption. It was sent down as an admonition and a warning to people; for the faithful, it is the source of healing, guidance and a mercy. Its words are the most noble, they distinguish right from wrong, and guide those who follow it to the true path.
Those who understand the divine wisdom of the Qur'an take it as their guide. Since they have accepted the verses of the Qur'an with their entire hearts, the morality expounded in it is always reflected in their speech. At every stage of their lives, whether formulating a decision, or speaking, or while offering an interpretation of something, they consistently use the Qur'an as their guide. Therefore, their every word, every decision, and every form of advice they are prepared to offer is in agreement with the Qur'an. Those who speak by using the Qur'an as their guide invariably participate in any conversation in the best way, because the verses of the Qur'an deconstruct and eradicate all errant forms of logic, bringing the truth to the light. Allah explains this with the following verse: "Rather We hurl the truth against falsehood and it cuts right through it and it vanishes clean away!…" (Surat al-Anbiya': 18)
Words spoken in accordance with the morality explained in the Qur'an are a healing and a mercy for the sincere. Those who listen to them, with the intention of profiting from its advice, or to derive its benefits or to discern its wisdom, find the truth, by way of these conversations–if Allah wills.
In addition, the speech of those who speak in conformity with the guidance of the Qur'an has achieved wisdom. Every example they employ, every point to which they draw attention, and every detail they stress, is effective and thought-provoking. They encourage the people they address to think honestly and sincerely, and to exercise their conscience. Since their speech is sincere, issuing from their hearts, and is in defense of the right, its power to influence is strong. Those who are able to evaluate what they hear according to their conscience can verify the truth of their statements with certainty.
Those who listen, but who are insincere, and do so with prejudice, do not wish to see the wisdom and truth of the words of the faithful, but try instead to distort them through calumny. Unable to grasp that it is the wisdom of verses of the Qur'an that has reinforced the believers' speech, they attempt to explain it away through ridiculous assumptions. The fact is, however, these effects are faith-induced, and easily accessible to all who conform to the Qur'an and accept it as his guide. However, this the unbelievers fail to understand.
A number of examples of what we are discussing have been provided in the Qur'an. For example, when confronted with the frankness and wisdom direct of the Prophet Muhammad (saas), the disbelievers and pagans were plunged into dismay. Within only a short time, large numbers were moved by the message of our Prophet (saas), and their obedience to him caused great consternation among the disbelievers. Because they could not understand the verses of the Qur'an, which imbued the statements of our Prophet (saas) with their wisdom and effectiveness, or rather, that they refused to accept it, they sought to foment false accusations against him, such as that he was a magician or merely a poet. In fact, as is the case with all human beings, it is Allah Who instilled in the Prophets the power of their speech. In the verses of the Qur'an Allah declared:
Your companion is not misguided or misled; nor does he speak from whim. It is nothing but Revelation revealed. (Surat an-Najm: 2-4)
As we can see in these verses, the words of our Prophet (saas) were not only extremely effective but imbued with wisdom, because he recited from the Qur'an, a book which is the word of Allah. The One Who imparted the faith and influence to the hearts of those who listened to his words and believe, was Allah. Those who fail to appreciate the greatness of Allah fall into a grave error, by vainly seeking to gain influence and wisdom by other means.
Speaking in the knowledge that tasks are performed
through Allah's will
Another characteristic of the manner of speaking employed by the faithful is that, when speaking of something they are to do, they say, "insha'Allah," that is, "If Allah wills." When they take the decision to perform a particular task, they adopt all measures which are necessary. But, they do not forget that it can only be accomplished through Allah's will. No matter how much we want to accomplish something, or to what extent we have done everything necessary, it will not be accomplished if Allah does not will it. Allah reminds the faithful of this matter in the Qur'an:
Never say about anything, "I am doing that tomorrow, without adding 'If Allah wills'." Remember your Lord when you forget, and say, "Hopefully my Lord will guide me to something closer to right guidance than this." (Surat al-Kahf: 23-24)
In order that the importance of this reminder be grasped, Allah prepares a large number of examples in a person's in daily life. For example, one might regard it as a sure thing that a holiday, which had been planned in advance, and for which reservations and payments have been made, will take place. It would appear as if there could be no reason whatsoever for the holiday to be cancelled. The family, in plans for a holiday, could go to bed early the night before a flight early the next morning, leave home taking traffic conditions into account, and check over and over if they have their tickets with them, but they will not make the flight if Allah has not willed it. The fulfillment of the plan may be prevented by a sudden illness, a traffic accident, a flight delay for whatever reason, or the emergence of some duty which would take priority over the holiday.
If the family made plans without trusting in Allah, and saying, "We will do this if Allah wills," they will be sorely disappointed if they are confronted with some obstacle. Since they falsely believe that tasks can be carried out without Allah's consent, our holiday-planners will fret and grumble because they have not gone on holiday as expected. They do not take into account, however, that if they had, they might have suffered an unexpected accident, or met with some other unforeseen mishap, and that, on the contrary, the failure to proceed as they had planned may have actually been a blessing in many ways. To hold on to such error can only cause anxiety, both in this world and in the afterlife.
Muslims know that Allah created everything for a certain purpose and good. Therefore, if the family in our example is among the faithful, and they instead proceeded on the assumption that they would go on holiday only if Allah willed it, they will not be in any way disappointed by its cancellation. They experience the peace of mind and comfort of knowing that what is best and most beneficial for them depends on the will of Allah.
Saying, "Who knows what benefit there is in it for me?," they attempt both to recognize that there must be some ultimate good, as well as exhibit to those around them how true believers ought to think and speak. Because they have surrendered themselves to Allah, and employed behavior that demonstrates their gratitude and submission to Allah, they enjoy the hope of reward in return for the morality they adopted, both in this world and on the Day of Judgment.
Speaking in the knowledge of one's helplessness
in the face of Allah
With the following words from the Qur'an, "Recite: In the Name of your Lord Who created, created man from clots of blood. Recite: And your Lord is the Most Generous, He Who taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know. No indeed! Truly man is unbridled seeing himself as self-sufficient. Truly it is to your Lord that you will return." (Surat al-‘Alaq: 1-8)
Allah points out that, in spite of their impotence, this some people may forget and become overly concerned with themselves. In truth, there are some who may behave with ingratitude towards Allah without having considered how it is He Who created them or how it is He Who gave them those attributes which they are so proud of.
In fact, without exception, in all instances, every human being is dependent upon Allah's protection and mercy. In addition to abilities, such as sight, hearing, speech, walking and moving, at every moment a plethora of internal systems are working in the body, without a person's realizing it, but without which he would not otherwise be able to live. We need only reflect on these matters little to realize how impotent we are in the sight of Allah.
Despite these truths, some remember Allah only when they are faced with a problem or a difficulty. For example, a person sitting in a boat, which he had been certain would return to the shore, is immediately plunged into panic when a violent wind assails his boat as it begins to rock back and forth. Similarly, turbulence felt on a plane or the slightest technical malfunction may cause a person to feel great fear. In situations such as these, when they realize their impotence in the sight of Allah, and that only Allah can rescue them from the difficulty, these people turn to Allah and begin to pray. Even one who, merely a short time ago, walked arrogantly by other passengers at the airport, realizes right away how impotent she is in the face of such a danger, and that through the will of Allah she can lose everything she possesses in an instant.
The Qur'an tells us how people turn to Allah in total subservience in times of difficulty, but when the trouble is averted, return ungraciously to their former self-aggrandizing:
When harm occurs to you at sea, those you call on vanish—except for Him alone! But when He delivers you to dry land, you turn away. Man truly is ungrateful. Do you feel secure against Him causing the shore to swallow you up or sending against you a sudden squall of stones? Then you will find no one to be your guardian. Or do you feel secure against Him taking you back into it another time and sending a violent storm against you and drowning you for your ingratitude? Then you will find no one to defend you against Us. (Surat al-Isra': 67-69)
As we are told in these verses revealed by Allah, a person alone has no power of any kind. Allah reminds us of this truth in another verse:
Do not strut arrogantly about the earth. You will certainly never split the earth apart nor will you ever rival the mountains in height. All of that is evil action and hateful in the sight of your Lord. (Surat al-Isra': 37-38)
Muslims are those who are aware of this impotence at all times and in all places. The words they use reflect their complete faith in this truth. Even if someone were the best looking person in the world, a person who understands the greatness of Allah never thinks that his looks are something of his own making. He speaks in the knowledge that his appearance is a result of Allah's artistry, and that it can be taken from him at any moment, if Allah were to will it so. He would never dare say, "This beauty is a part of me and so long as I look after myself, nothing can happen to me," thus avowing that he cannot claim this blessing for his own power.
He knows that a single virus or microbe invisible to the eye, or a minor accident, can destroy this beauty, and that these things are under Allah's control. For this reason, he employs a manner of speech which consistently shows his gratitude to Allah, and which exalts Him. If someone else were to praise his knowledge or his beauty, he would respond by reminding him of Allah's supreme beauty, infinite power, intelligence and magnificence. Insisting that he is good-looking merely because Allah has willed it so, and that he is but a small reflection of Allah's boundless beauty or intelligence, he exalts Allah.
Believers' awareness of their weaknesses in the sight of Allah manifests itself in all aspects of their behavior. A devout believer never speaks in a way which humiliates a person she regards as having fewer means than herself. Nor, on the basis of her own good looks, does she speak slightingly or hurtfully to someone who is less good looking. In the same way, she does not adopt the manner of speaking of those who despise the poor because they themselves are rich, those who discriminate against people in a class beneath their own because they hold power, or those who belittle slow-witted people because they are intelligent. She acts in the knowledge that in the trial set for her in the life of the world, Allah has determined a different fate for every person, and that in Allah's sight true superiority is measured in terms of faith and piety. For this reason, and in accordance with the morality expounded in the Qur'an, she adopts the most respectful manner of speaking to all those who are around her, whether rich or poor, powerful or weak. Realizing that any behavior contrary to this would imply that she is setting herself up as superior, not to people, but to Allah, she fears Him and takes refuge in Him. This characteristic of the faithful is referred to in the Qur'an as such:
... Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbors who are related to you and neighbors who are not related to you, and to companions and travelers and your slaves. Allah does not love anyone vain or boastful. (Surat an-Nisa': 36)
Speaking so as to praise and exalt Allah
In the verse, "If you ask them, 'Who created the heavens and the earth and made the sun and moon subservient?' they will say, 'Allah.' So how have they been perverted?" (Surat al-Anqabut: 61), Allah points here to that type of people who are far removed from the truth, despite their being aware that it is Allah Who created them, and that it is only He Who can provide for them. One of the foremost traits of believers, who are blessed with true faith, is that they demonstrate their sincere faith in Allah and their devotion to Him in every aspect of their lives, at all times and instances, and in every word and deed. They love Allah far more than anyone or any other thing in this world. They are in awe of Allah's power, knowledge, artistry and wisdom. They want to be His friend, while they are in this world, and earn His approval. They try to attain the greatest nearness to Allah, and become the best loved of His servants beyond any others in history.
Such deep love is reflected in their speech. They employ every word for the purpose of remembering and exalting Allah, and towards earning His approval. The love they feel for Allah is far greater than their love of people, and it is easily discernable from their speech that when they love others it is merely for the sake of Allah. They know that it is Allah Who created all mankind, and that it is He Who proffers them all blessings of this world. Therefore, every thing of beauty which they see, every favor done for them, and every experience of affection towards them is a blessing which comes from Allah. All are manifestations of Allah's love, mercy and compassion for His servants. As such, we ought to be thankful only to Allah and show all gratitude to Him. Recognizing this truth, believers speak in such a way as to make evident their knowledge that Allah is exalted far above everything and everyone. In the Qur'an, the believers' love of Allah and their devotion to Him are expressed in the following manner:
Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. But those who have faith have greater love for Allah. (Surat al-Baqara: 165)
As is pointed out in this verse, those who fail to understand this truth love creatures they idolize beside Allah as they ought to love Allah Himself. In the speech of these people, will often be found a use of words that reveals their failure to appreciate Allah with the appreciation due Him, as well as their false esteem for other beings. Some speak of money, property, reputation or of people they admire in a way which presents them as equal to Allah. Some say that they believe in Allah, but employ language which instead shows they place their friends above Allah. When they meet a person who speaks inappropriately about Allah, it does not bother them, nor do they warn the one guilty. Though, when a single word is spoken against those they love, they oppose it immediately. They will not allow a word to be said against their loved-ones or any injustice to be done to them.
All such incorrect behavior exposes the insincerity of those who claim faith in Allah, but who do not have such faith fixed in their hearts. True believers love Allah more than anything else, exalt Him with words and hold Him high above everything. They never participate in the banter of those who speak in opposition to Allah or to His religion. If they have an opportunity to explain the truth to these people, they do so, but if the others are determined not to heed their warnings, then, in that case, they absolve themselves of their hostile and blasphemous language.
Such believers will not even allow themselves to watch a film or listen to a song whose content is in open opposition to Allah's judgments. No matter what the situation, they do not permit a word to be spoken which will not be approved by Allah. They do not take part in any such discussions because in the Qur'an Allah gives the following warning:
It has been sent down to you in the Book that when you hear Allah's Signs being rejected and mocked at by people, you must not sit with them till they start talking of other things. If you do you are just the same as them. Allah will gather all the hypocrites and the unbelievers into Hell. (Surat an-Nisa': 140)
Muslims acting with this knowledge in mind adopt, defend and support the morality of Islam in all instances and times, and through to the end of their lives. They show forth their faith in Allah, and their regard for Him, above all else, in their every word and deed.