People are generally in the habit of speaking more and thinking less. The Qur’an is critical of this unhealthy habit. In the chapter Al-Nisa’ (Women), the Qur’an says: There is no good in most of their secret talk, except in the case of those who enjoin charity and kindness, or reconciliation between people. If anyone does that, seeking the pleasure of God, We will give him an immense reward. (4:114)
This Qur’anic verse sets the standard for secret as well as open talk, namely, soundness and utility. One can only live up to this standard by being sincere in what one says and speaking only after analyzing the matter at hand. What one says should stem from a positive mind. According to this verse, a person must refrain from the futile talk. He should never indulge in talking just for the sake of talking. Now, the question is, what is the best manner of speaking? And what content of one’s speech may be regarded as worthwhile? The Qur’anic criterion for proper social intercourse is based on three principles. All three principles are described in the above verse of the Qur’an, which sets them forth as follows:
- Charity, that is, speaking with the true giving spirit.
- Kindness, that is, speaking with the spirit of well-wishing towards others.
- Conciliation, that is, speaking in such a way as to create an atmosphere of harmony among people.
This is what constitutes well-thought-out speech and is the only legitimate use of one’s tongue. This kind of speech is useful to both the speaker as well as the listener. For the speaker’s part, it conveys sincerity and positivity, while for the listener it is also fruitful in all respects. The tongue is a very important organ of a human being, but it is like a double-edged sword. It has plus points as well as minus points. The right use of the tongue can produce a healthy atmosphere in society. Conversely, the wrong use of the tongue is so baneful that it may destroy the whole social fabric.