In Ramadan, we fast with our mind, stomach, limbs and tongue. How does the tongue fast? It fasts from uttering anything that is displeasing to Allah, all praises and glory be to Him. The harm of the tongue is great and its dangers are huge. In a well known hadith, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked whether we would be held accountable for what we say. He, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, replied:

“Is there anything that has thrown people on their faces – or he said on their noses – into the Fire except that which their tongues reap?” (Recorded in al-Tirmidhi)

Don’t let Ramadan be a time to let your tongue reap bad deeds. Take care not to backbite, or mention the faults of others, or participate in vain talk. Surely Allah will be merciful to the one who guards their tongue from such acts. We should remember, as Allah advises us in the Qur’an:

“Not even a word can he utter but there is a watcher with him, ever-present.” (Surah Qaf:18)

We will be held to account for everything that our tongue says. In this regard, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said:

 ”Whoever guarantees me (the chastity of) what is between his legs (i.e. his private parts), and what is between his jaws (i.e., his tongue), I guarantee him Paradise.” (Recorded in Al-Bukhari)

When our righteous predecessors disciplined themselves with the morality of the Qur’an and Sunnah, they weighed their utterances and considered their words. They did not take words lightly. When they uttered, they uttered the praises of Allah and remembrances of him, because they feared their meeting with their Lord. They refrained from treachery, backbiting, obscenities and vain talk. They said a good word, or remained silent.

Allah advises us in the Noble Qur’an:

“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily Allah is the One who Forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (Surah al-Hujurat:12)

There are ten misdeeds that can emanate from our tongues if we don’t control them properly. Among them are lying, backbiting, slander, obscenity, cursing, shamelessness, false evidence, derision and scorn. How can a believer fast and then give free reign to their tongue? How can someone fast and then lie and backbite or abuse others forgetting about the Day of Judgement? Is Islam anything other than deeds, practice, methodology, submission, behaviour and application? The purpose of fasting is not hunger and thirst, it is discipline.

The tongue is therefore a means to good or evil. Let’s ensure it is a source of good for us by moistening our tongues with the remembrance of Allah this Ramadan.