The internet has allowed the average person talk more than they would normally do in real life. We leave comments on many websites, post our own thoughts and join many conversations online. This makes the issue of controlling our tongue very important.
Because when you are conversing with people online, there is the tendency to transgress the limits expected of a Muslim. We may think that we’re typing and not talking literally, but they’re the same. We only type with our fingers because the person is not physically in front of us.
If you’ve ever found yourself responding to bullies with equally hurtful words or incessantly arguing online, it shows that you need to step back and reassess your activities online and see how you can control your tongue.
Re-read Before Posting
This is something that I like to call the two-step authentication process for posting anything online.
Conversations move pretty quickly on the internet, so there’s usually this urge to contribute your two cents while a topic is still hot.
But before you post that comment, no matter how sensible you think it is, take a moment to read it again.
- Is this statement good?
- Would I be able to say this to someone in real life?
- Will this contribute positively to my book of deeds?
- Will I like to see this statement again on the Day of Judgement?
- How does this statement portray me?
When you pause before hitting the send button and you take a moment to re-read what you typed, you’ve given yourself the chance to think over your words. And that can help you control your tongue.
This also applies in real life. If we take a few seconds to think about our words, chances are we will choose better words. Especially in situations that aren’t so pleasant.
Contribute Only When Necessary
One mistake many people make online is joining any and every conversation. No matter how well read and intelligent you are, not every conversation will be for you.
If you’re not going to derive any benefit from joining a particular conversation, then your time is better spent on things that will give you benefit.
The less you jump into everything you see across your timeline, the higher your chances of controlling your tongue.
You would even find that reducing the conversations that you join online will reduce the amount of time you spend on the internet, especially social media.
“When the son of Adam wakes up in the morning, all of his body parts bow to the tongue and say: ‘Fear Allah regarding us, we are only part of you. If you are straight we are straight and if you are crooked we are crooked.” (Tirmidhi)
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Spread Love not Hatred
There are so many trolls online now that it’s becoming a challenge to actually go through the day on social media without seeing something that angers you.
People revel in hurting others with their words. But as a Muslim, you should never be one of them.
Let your words be empowering, kind and honest. Let people who interact with you feel safe from your tongue. Even when you disagree with an opinion, do so with respect. Don’t draw daggers and become a sour person.
No one likes a troll. And no one likes the person who is always controversial.
Keep Good Company
The people you follow or interact with online can really impact on your behaviour. If your timelines are filled with people who argue over everything, throw ‘shade’ or say mean stuff, all of these will slowly find themselves into your attitude too.
Instead, try to achieve a balance. Follow people who embody the type of person that you would like to be online and offline. As a Muslim, follow people who remind you of your faith and what is respectable for a Muslim. The more reminders you see from this latter group, the more you can guard yourself and control what you say online.
Spend Less Time on Social Media
It’s not the advice many of us want to hear, but it is important nonetheless.
The more time you spend online, the more you interact with people and see things that may cause you to lose control of your tongue.
If you spend as little time as possible on social media, not only will you talk less on there, you’ll also have the time to do many productive things with your free time.
Uqbah bin ‘Amir narrated:
“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! What is the means to salvation?’ He said: ‘That you control your tongue, suffice yourself your house, and cry over your sins.’” (Tirmidhi)
Do More Dhikr
When you want to break a bad habit, many people will tell you to take up a good habit in replacement. So, you quit smoking and take up a hobby, etc.
For someone trying to control their tongue, it is good to engage more in the remembrance of Allah (ta’ala). Praise and glorify him, and remember His as often as possible as you go about your day. This will reduce the time that you use to engage in frivolous conversations that can cause you trouble.
“One of the Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah. There are many injunctions of Islam for me. So tell me something to which I may hold fast.” He said, “Keep your tongue wet with the remembrance of Allah.” (Riyad as-Saliheen)
Reminder for Controlling Your Tongue
As Muslims, everything we do has a consequence in the hereafter, either good or bad.
We must always remember that even though a statement looks harmless to us now, it may cause us to be punished on the Day of Judgement. And even though a positive statement looks little to you now, it may be your means of entry into Jannah. It was narrated by Sahl bin Sa`d that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said,“Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him.” (Bukhari)
If being chaste with our tongue can guarantee us Jannah, In sha’a Allah, it goes to show the importance of controlling our tongues so that we can say only that which is good, beneficial, and rewarding in the sight of Allah (ta’ala).