I laugh as I remember that as teenagers in America, we wondered about proving that ‘cussing/cursing/swearing’ is impermissible (I have found that proof). I have noticed that non-native English speakers learn cuss-words when they are reading dictionaries and watching entertainment in English to improve their fluency, without realizing that they are not socially appropriate or acceptable. That is because it has become common place to speak like this in western cultures, whereas in eastern cultures, it is strictly undignified to allow these words to be spoken or written on television, in film, or in public. The same went for us in America, as our public school teachers would reprimand us, even for using Ebonics (the slang of African-Americans/blacks) and other slang in the classroom, calling it a display of ignorance; add some curse words to that, and we’d get a disciplinary referral.
It should be understood that these words are evil, and the Sunnah clarifies they do not belong on the tongue of a Muslim seeking the pleasure of his or her Lord. Additionally, we cannot even use offensive speech towards others. The Messenger of ALLAH, peace be upon him said
لَا يَنْبَغِي لِصِدِّيقٍ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَعَّانًا
“It is not befitting the truthful that they curse others.”(Sahih Muslim 2597, Sahih) Muslims at every level of society use harsh speech against each other and often say things like “may he be cursed”, or “may ALLAH break his back”. Are they unaware that gentleness was made an obligation on the Muslims by order of the prophet peace be upon him when he said,
عَلَيْكِ بِالرِّفْقِ وَإِيَّاكِ وَالْعُنْفَ وَالْفُحْشَ
“Your duty is to be gentle and beware of harshness and bad words.” (Sahih Bukhari 5683, Grade: Sahih) The description of bad words used in these statements of the prophet is “fahsha”, which means lewd, or foul, and is often used to describe sexual indecency, fornication, adultery, and filth. As English speakers we should understand this (fahish speech) to be those words which we are taught since childhood not to say in polite company, or around ladies, etc. The F-WORD, S-WORD, B-WORD, P-WORD, D-WORD(S), etc. One of the companions said
لَمْ يَكُنْ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ سَبَّابًا وَلَا فَحَّاشًا وَلَا لَعَّانًا كَانَ يَقُولُ لِأَحَدِنَا عِنْدَ الْمَعْتِبَةِ مَا لَهُ تَرِبَ جَبِينُهُ
“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would not abuse others, he would not use obscene words, and he would not curse others. If he wanted to admonish anyone of us, he used to say: What is wrong with him? His forehead be dusted!”(Sahih Bukhari 5684, Grade: Sahih).
لَيْسَ الْمُؤْمِنُ بِالطَّعَّانِ وَلَا اللَّعَّانِ وَلَا الْفَاحِشِ وَلَا الْبَذِيءِ
The believer does not taunt others, he does not curse others, he does not use profanity, and he does not abuse others. (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1977, Grade: Hasan)
It can be understood that taking small steps, such as cleaning up our language, can orient us towards seeking the rectification all of our problems, by the mercy of ALLAH. Good things exist on good foundations. A building with a strong foundation stands against harsh odds, by the grace of ALLAH. Algebra is a basic which becomes the language for Trigonometry, and they both are the languages for Calculus, and Physics, and Chemistry; you cannot be a proficient practical scientist without grooming basics first. This is something universal. The things which make Muslim societies succeed are hindered by not refining human character. Having bad character and manners plants the seeds of pride, arrogance, and will not leave room for Ikhlaas (the sole intention of pleasing ALLAH alone) in the hearts of Muslims. Without basic good character and Iklaas, we will never be able to
- Promote education and minimize ignorance
- Advise each other to truth
- Unite on the authentic Sunnah and leave innovation in worship and theology
- Adhere to ALLAH’s shari’ah Remove corruption from our governments (by virtue of characteristic and adherence to shari’ah)
- Minimize theft
- Minimize racism
- Minimize poverty
- Minimize domestic abuse
- Maintain the honor of ladies
- Restore the world’s recognition of Palestine
- Contain and bring extremist and renegade militias to justice
These are problems that are gargantuan in magnitude. Is it logical to expect or even fathom that a people, who can’t stop cussing and notoriously verbally abuse others (even within their own kin) can possibly pioneer a resolution for anything listed above? For the Muslim ummah to be respectable in the world we need to be generally good human people, who are kind, and not unpleasant to be around in terms of manners and social interaction; this is part of what will make us good Muslims. To be GOOD Muslims we have to be GOOD PEOPLE, and the proof for this is stated in the Sunnah.