Words of a Tarnished Violet


The words we utter so carelessly are not forgotten. They are preserved until a time when we will have to face the One who gave us opportunity after opportunity to watch them carefully.

Dear Friend,

“I am the master of my unspoken words, and a slave to those that should have remained unspoken.”  – Unknown

Captivate. Enamored. Words have always fascinated me; the way they can appear to be rigid on the surface but hold such depth. I’ve kept a journal for most of my life and when I was younger, I was one of those kids who denied having a ‘diary’ and insisted that my family call it by its rightful title. As I grew I became increasingly enraptured with the way letters could be strung together to create visual representations of emotions or thoughts. The way that they could describe the inner weather of our soul’s condition and pull ideas together in an effort to make sense of the world around us. I whole-heartedly believe that words are powerful but it is us who underestimate their caliber.

My grandfather (may Allah protect him) always told me that words should be handled with great care and that the gift of speech isn’t one to be taken for granted. His advice, always unadulterated and merciful, to me was, “Words, speech, and a sound mind aren’t a right but a privilege, so guard them”.  But we have let our guard down. The value of words and speech has diminished and our conviction for the power of words tarnished. We utter harmful things, unaware of their impact. We discuss others in their absence and we say things, which our mind may take pleasure in saying but our heart deems valueless. We assert comments simply to instigate jealousy or to make others feel insignificant. Our words have become empty because we make promises we can’t keep. We mercilessly advise others in matters, which we ourselves are not knowledgeable enough about, when even Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) would ask what sky would shade him if he spoke without knowledge of this deen. What has happened to us? Are these the same words which once enamored us? Are these the same potent letters that once caused us happiness?

Our hearts break under the pressure of all the things we’ve said. We may not recall every word or letter, but they have been transcribed and kept in a clear record.

“And indeed, [appointed] over you are keepers, Noble and recording; they know whatever you do.” [Surat Al-Infitar : 10-12]

In the midst of all our heedless speech, is our All Knowing Lord that we forget to speak to. It is our Lord who hears our prayers, our sobs as we bow our heads down in submission and our cries for forgiveness. It is He who hears and knows of our words before we can even conceive of them. Why do we seek to fill the air with the sound of our voices, when our Creator knows what is in the darkest corners of our hearts? We’ve forgotten the promise we made when we said, “There is no God worthy of worship except Allah”, the promise to always put Allah first and obey His commands and to worship Him in the way that He truly deserves. We use our words to unjustly create excuses as to why we should put ourselves ahead of Allah. Words to build false promises of more chances or other days.  Words, which would be better spent spreading the religion of peace, are being used to subjugate Islam’s pure and perfect form.  So, where are we? When Islam needs us, where are we? Are we still filling the air with malicious criticism and are we still making those empty promises?

I want my words to be raw and I want them to mean something. I want to meet Allah on the Day of Judgment, inshaAllah, and tell Him that my words were used for good. I want to be able to stand before my Master and tell Him that I didn’t relinquish my love for words but that I protected them and the sanctity of truth, justice, and upholding promises. I ask Him to efface any sins we have incurred due to our words or speech. Words aren’t stagnant, they’re fluid and they flow straight to the heart. Often times it takes great strides to remove them once they’ve been etched there. If I have ever offended anyone, I am beseeching your forgiveness. To those in my past, present, and future whose words have offend me, I forgive you.

Forgiveness, as Mark Twain once said. “[I]s the fragrance that the violet leaves on the heel that has crushed it.” A violet may lose its luster and become tarnished when it is crushed but the lasting impact and power of its final statement is its value and beauty. We should always think of our words as our last statements. Let’s not go to sleep tonight without asking forgiveness from those whom we have wronged. Let’s put the wonder and power back into words, because I whole-heartedly believe that words are powerful but it is us who underestimate their caliber.


Words of a Tarnished Violet