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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Saying the good

Sh Faraz says that saying the good not only means saying what is good in itself but also saying that whose consequences are good.

Reflecting on this, I can recall times in my life where I have said the right thing at the wrong place and/or to the wrong person. The consequence of saying the good at the wrong place can be negligible or negative.

So in essence we should say the right thing at the right place to the right person. Saying the right thing requires knowledge. Knowing the right place requires wisdom. Knowing if it is the right person requires novice and insight as to who you are talking to.

The right person could be the right person to talk to in one venue and the wrong person to talk to in another venue. For example, if you criticize someone in public it is more likely that they will be come negitive and defensive then when you talk to them in person. Further, what you to say to a 15 year old is different from what you ay to a fifty year old so watch who you are talking to and word yourself accordingly. Sometimes if someone else says the same thing as we do to our target listener, he/she may be more effective. So we should really weigh what we say.

As the hadith goes:

"Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say [something] good, or he should keep silent." [Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]

Nawawi says, "This hadith is quite explicit that it is imperative to not talk unless the speech is good, which is that wherein there is some benefit. If a person is in doubt as to whether there will be any benefit, then he should remain silent."


Humairah Irfan said...

Jazakallah khair Hammad bhai

no name said...

Calls for a self-check :) Great post. Thank you!

khany said...

could you kindly introduce sh faraz?
the post made me pause and reflect. its a great principle to live by.

situations in life are rarely easily categorized. i am particularly concerned about how we define good consequences. speaking the truth to an oppressor may lead to greater oppression as it often does. is this a poor consequence?

i have also noticed that particularly in the western hemisphere this focus on ends (consequences) has led to some interesting and often counter intuitive approaches to problem-solving, e.g. limited legalization of drugs to check their spread, promotion of safer sex practices to contain disease, etc.

it is usually much easier to choose good means. also consequences are hard to predict and are rarely under our direct control.

so its a great principle. how do we implement it?

Din said...


Sh Faraz Rabbani is a Sunipath instructor.

I think it is a subjective question and you define good in your circumstance based on your experiences>. YOU judge the consequences the best you can in your case. As you say part of seeking good consequences is taking good means and part of good means is to do a best possible guesstimate of the consequences of what your saying. If you judged the consequences wrong this time-dont worry inshahallah you will learn and be better next time. Also the consequences we seek are good in this world and the next. To know whats good, it would be pertinent to learn more about the seerah and hadiths because the prophetic wisdom is the ultimate wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Most excellent advice indeed :) It also goes along with the old Sufi tradition that advises us to speak only after our words have managed to pass through four gates.

At the first gate, we ask ourselves, "Are these words true?" If so, we let them pass on. At the second gate we ask; "Are they necessary?" At the third gate we ask; "Are they beneficial?" and at the fourth gate, we ask, "Are they kind?" If the answer to any of these is no, then what you are about to say should be left unsaid.

Ya Haqq!

Anonymous said...

"Of all the powerful arms of destruction that man has been able to invent, the most terrible - and most cowardly - is the word. Fists and firearms at least leave some blood remaining. Bombs destroy houses and streets. Poisons can be detected. The master says: “The word can destroy without leaving a clue. Children are conditioned for years by their parents, men are impiously criticized, women are systematically massacred by the words of their husbands. The faithful are kept far away from religion by those who regard themselves as the interpreters of the voice of God. Verify whether you are making use of this weapon. See whether others are using this weapon on you. And prevent either of those from continuing."
Paulo Cohelo in his book Maktub