Taming the Tongue

Taming the Tongue

"Wounds inflicted by the tongue are deeper than the wounds inflicted by the sword," is an adage that we have often read and also experienced. These wounds cut deep into the heart and are not easily cured. Even after years, a person may feel their pain. At times, these wounds are caused inadvertently and at others in a planned and cold-blooded way. However, whatever be their nature as human beings it is our foremost duty to make an all out effort to control the tongue.

Abusing and cursing others, making fun of them, lying, misreporting facts, backbiting, slandering others, swearing false oaths and bearing false witness, lustful chatting, bragging, enticing others to sin, speaking disrespectfully, expressing arrogance, gossiping, giving sweeping statements and being judgemental, teasing, flattering and even talking incessantly are some prominent areas where restraining and containing the tongue is required.

The first step to overcome such blemishes is to realize that they are blemishes. Realizing faults means that the job is half done. The other half requires a concerted and sustained effort.

The starting point after this realization is to plan before hand to hold back the tongue from its evil habits or letting it enter into a frenzied state; more often than not, this is due to some reaction that arises within us. Obviously, blemishes of the tongue can be classified in two categories.

Blemishes which are habitual and do not involve rage: like lying, backbiting and misreporting facts etc.

Blemishes which occur in rage, like abusing, screaming and shouting.

Blemishes of the tongue which are habitual need a concerted effort. They can only be overcome if a person makes up his mind to root them out by realizing that they are grave sins and not only besmear one's inner-self but many a time cause hurt, deceit and damage to others. These blemishes are a shame to humankind and bring disrepute to it. We should first enlist all these blemishes and work out a place to eradicate them one by one. We should pray to God to prod and intimate us right before we commit a sin of the tongue and then the courage and strength to overcome it. Being prodded is essential because in blemishes committed as a habit we often are not even aware of what we are doing. The next step is to apply brakes. This needs will power to stop short of entering the highway that leads to excesses of the tongue. It may not work every time and it is not meant to work every time. We are not angels and neither can we ever be. There has to be some pilferage. We have to realize that we cannot be good all the time. However, we must be good most of the time. The first target is not humanly achievable; the second one is and it is to realize it that we should work for. A daily plan of self-accountability is needed for improved results. We must take time out every day to think over the blemishes we have committed with our tongues in the previous twenty four hours and then resolve to do better in the next twenty four hours.

Blemishes of the tongue which occur in rage need prior planning as well. When overcome with rage, we need to delay our reaction. Merely deferring our response at that time can go a long way in reducing the harm caused. Taking a deep breath, taking a glass of water, changing one's posture or location can help a lot. If our anger is caused by some person, we need should try bring to mind the good qualities in that person. We can vent our rage by uttering whatever we have in mind in seclusion. Fasting helps to restrain rage and hence the misuse of the tongue. Even after adopting all these measures, it will still take time to overcome this habit and it will not go overnight. So during this time if one does lose temper and is not able to restrain his or her tongue, then one thing that should be persistently done in offering an unconditional apology to the aggrieved party.

(Dr Shehzad Saleem)


Articles by this author


Man with a Mission


Selections from Hadith



Your Questions Answered


Successful Parents

Colours of Life


The Responsibles!


The Art of Positive Thinking

Humanity Unplugged


A Purposeful Life


Winning Hearts


Your Questions Answered

Selections from Hadith

Overcoming Prejudice

Overcoming Greed

Overcoming Greed


Spiritual Advancement

To Young Adults

Fasting in Extreme Conditions

Humanity First

A Critical Analysis of The “First Revelation” Narratives (3/3)

A Critical Analysis of The “First Revelation” Narratives (2/3)

A Critical Analysis of The “First Revelation” Narratives (1/3)

Introduction to the Special Issue




The Hagar-Zam Zam Narrative

Introduction to the Qur’an

Overcoming Despair and Dejection


The Better Human

Poise and Balance

When the Tough get Going!

Surah Bani Isra’il (3/3)

Surah Bani Isra’il (2/3)

The Importance of the Word “Self”

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Animal Rights

Qualities of a Good Teacher

Let us Live for Others!

The Art of Positive Thinking

Virtues of Silence

The Person in the Mirror

Some Requests to Young Adults

Some Requests to Wives

Humanity burnt at the Stake*

A Summary of some Exegetical Views on Verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah (2/2)

A Summary of some Exegetical Views on Verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah (1/2)

Some Remedies for Jealousy

Four Steps to Selflessness

The Five Essentials of Constructive Criticism

An Introduction to Ghamidi’s Mizan

How to overcome Selfishness

Your Question Answered

Explanation of Some Qur’anic Words

Anger Management

Some Suggestions for Married Couples

God’s Domain

Let us Light up our Prayers!

Successful Parents

The “Successful Spouse” Test

Let us Value what We have

Dear Husbands … If I may say!

The “Blind Drill”

Life goes on all the same!

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Two types of “Junk Food”

Reforming Our Conduct

Supplications from the Hadith

Supplications from the Qur’an

A Small Act of Kindness

Respecting the Privacy of our Mature Children

Explanation of Some Jarh Terms

Selections from Hadith

Your Questions Answered

Two Tough Trials

Benefiting from Criticism

Your Questions Answered

The Cause of Truth

Your Questions Answered

Selections from Hadith

Restraining our Wounded Pride

Selections from Hadith

The Power of One

Preparing for the Inevitable!

Selections from Hadith

Let us Refuse to Lose!

The Sound of Silence

Selections from Hadith

Let us Enjoy every Moment of our Lives

Lets be Just, Come what May!

Selections from Hadith

Beware of the three C’s: Cynicism, Criticism and Complaint

Never Give Up!

Do We have a Spiritual Part of the Day?

Tears of Old Parents … for their Children

Life goes on all the same!

The Decorum of Criticizing Others

Tears that would not stop!

Selections from Hadith

Hobbies we must have!

Death in Innocence

“Thank you” Culture

Visit to an Old Home

We Owe it to Our Society

Experiencing God

Discovering our Inner Talent

The Battle for Honesty Continues!

Saintly Sinners

Secret to Inner Peace

Your Questions Answered

Small Acts of Kindness

Illness can be a Boon!

Philosophy of Animal Sacrifice on ‘Id

Tears of Gratitude!

Lookout to Leap for Others!


Turning Foes into Friends

Let us then Live for Others!


A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (1/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (2/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (3/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (4/4)

Abdus Sattar Ghauri (The Father Figure of Al-Mawrid!)

Brief Profile

Special Issue

Charity: Points to Ponder

Your Question Answered

“Dignity in Hard Labour Lies!”


Never Lose Hope!

The Trials of Life

Anger Management

Handling Mature Children

Let us Promise…

An Introduction to Ghāmidī’s Mīzān

Visit to a Graveyard

Are We Ready to Die?