[Al-Isra 17:53] Say Words that are Better

And say to My slaves that they should (only) say those words that are better.
Shaitan verily sows state of conflict & disagreements among them.
Surely, Shaitan is to man a plain enemy.
[Al-Isra’ 17:53]

This is a commandment from Allah s.w.t. to say what is better, to find a more beautiful word to say, or to say what is less offensive. There are many ways to drive a point home – whether kindly or harshly, or somewhere in between. So before we open our mouths to say what we want to say, we should run through some multiple choices in our head:  Should I choose option A, B, C, or none at all? Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “He who believes in Allah & the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.” [Muslim]

Be sensitive: Sometimes we’re unaware that the words we choose – irrespective how logical & normal they seem to us – can actually hurt others. We need to train ourselves to think from people’s perspective & this is especially critical in communication within the family.

It’s worth to remind that the above commandment applies towards both parents & children. While children must be respectful to parents, parents should also be exemplary role models to them. The authority of the household may be ours, but we’re still slaves of Allah, meaning we are still required to adhere to His commandments. So even to your 2 or 5 year old child – doesn’t matter how young or old – this same commandment applies. Have rahmah in your speech (and action) towards them.

Notice how Allah s.w.t. emphasized Shaitan twice in this ayat? It’s an emphasis that Shaitan will DEFINITELY cause friction & animosity between us. Speech alone can make people hate each other, and Shaitan will make sure he does this job! What we’re learning here is that we unknowingly let Shaitan slip into our home & between our loved ones just because of the way we speak. So we should not underestimate this “disease”.

And lastly, we need to understand that this change of attitude takes time. When we get sick, we have to take meds or change our diet. Only after a period of time has passed do we start to notice some changes within us. The same for spiritual and personality disease. So persevere & be patient with ourselves while working towards being a Muhsin, especially to our family members.

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