14: Guard My Tongue

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This Ramadan…

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Man does not utter a single word except that there is an observer nearby, ready (to record).” [50:18]

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This Ramadan, I will guard my tongue:

Before I speak, I’ll ask myself: Does my speaking right now add anything to the silence? If not, then I’ll learn to enjoy that silence. There is something beautiful about the clam and quiet, something beautiful about sitting back to reflect without always filling the space with words.

Before I speak, I’ll ask myself if my words are going to hurt anyone. We joke, sometimes, without paying attention to hurting people; and we joke, sometimes, actually trying to get under people’s skins, actually intending to mock or ridicule. Laughter with friends and family is important, but it doesn’t have to be at anyone’s expense.

Before I speak, I’ll ask myself if I’m about to say something haram. Am I being truthful, or exaggerating to induce a reaction? Am I lying because I think it will save me from getting into trouble? Would my choice of words displease Allah? Will they offend anyone? Am I mentioning people in ways they wouldn’t like to be mentioned?

For years, I’ve been trying to make sure I don’t backbite or gossip, and I try harder every Ramadan. I’ve gotten better over time, alhamdulillah… I feel like each time I try, I get a little bit better. But I’m not there yet. I know I can be kinder with my words, and more careful with my story-telling. So this Ramadan, I’ll try even harder.

Before I speak, I want to ask myself: Which angel will be writing down these words? The angel on the right, or the angel on the left? Human speech — when not in excess, when guarded with iman and taqwah — can be a beautiful thing; it’s a gift from Allah. I want to utilize it as such. I want my words to mean something to the people who hear them. I want my words to add value to the silence. I want Allah to be pleased with me when I speak.

So this Ramadan, I will do everything I can to guard my tongue.

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