Speaking Gently to Various People around You
Given below is the list of the people with whom you should always speak gently and the reasons for doing so.
Your grandparents (if they are surviving). They are the ones who struggled very hard to bring your parents up. It is because of their du’ahs, most probably, that Allah has brought you to this world.
Your parents. You should respect and appreciate your parents every day throughout the year. Allah has asked human beings to recognise their parents after recognition of Allah Himself. In Surah Al-Isra’ (Children of Israel) there is a very beautiful description of how parents are to be treated. Allah says: Your Rabb has commanded that you worship only Him and that you treat your parents kindly. If any one of the two, or both of them reach old age with you, then do not even tell them “Oof!” and do not rebuke them. Speak gently to them. (Qur’an 17:23)
Your spouse. Your spouse is your life partner! A life partner is someone who is a trusted companion. He/she shares all your good moments as well as your hard times hence he/she deserves your maximum respect. Whatever the circumstances may be, do not use harsh words when you speak to ‘the very special person‘ in your life. Always avoid starting a war-of-words with your spouse. However, if you happen to find yourself involved in such a war then ensure that your spouse becomes the ultimate winner.
Your ustadh/teacher. An ustadh or a teacher plays an important role in the life of a student. Apart from your parents he also shapes your life by imparting ilm/knowledge to you and by helping to inculcate good morals in you, hence he deserves your maximum honour. Always talk to him with full respect and in a mild tone.
Your siblings. You are children of the same parents hence you should value your relationship. Speak with respect to your older siblings and with kindness to the younger ones. InshaAllah, they will reciprocate with similar gentleness.
Your children. As children grow up, they become increasingly impressionable and receptive. What we expose them to is most likely what they will carry with them, be it for a few months or even a lifetime, so it is important to always be conscious of what we say to our children to ensure that they are never wounded by our words. How we speak to our children influences them the way they view the world and themselves. Thus it makes sense that we should speak to them softly and in a healthy manner to make them feel supported and loved so as to help them attain maturity in the right manner.
Your in-laws. After your parents they are the ones who deserve your love, respect and honour. Remember, by loving and honouring (and serving) your in-laws you are earning the pleasure of your spouse. One of the ways to win your in-laws is to speak gently to them even if they behave harshly to you for one reason or the other.
Your daughter-in-law/sister-in-law. Please be kind, loving and gentle to her. While she is a very special gift that your son/brother has received from his in-laws, she is like an Amaanah (a trust) handed over to you by her parents. Allah has granted her rights and privileges. Treat her with utmost kindness and always speak gently to her.
The next of your kin and relatives. Your uncles and aunts deserve your respect so speak gently to them. Be friendly and amiable to your cousins, nephews and nieces so that you can win their hearts, while safeguarding the commands of the Shariah.
The Ulama (Religious Scholars). The have a very high status in the sight of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam) said: “The Ulama are indeed the heirs of the Prophets.” (Abu Dawood and others). It is therefore incumbent upon us to respect them, to love them, to obey them in good, to defend them and to talk to them with a very high sense of respect and honour.
The Huffaz (plural of Hafiz). Masha Allah, Huffaz are the ones who commit the entire Qur’an that comprises 114 Surah or 6236 Ayahs to their memories. Ibn Maajah (215) and Ahmad (11870) narrated that Anas ibn Maalik (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) said: Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam) said: “Verily Allah has His own people among mankind.” They said: “O Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam), who are they?” He said: “They are the people of the Qur’an, Allah’s own people and those who are closest to Him.” Hence it is very essential that when you converse with them you should have absolute softness and humility in your voice.
Your Students. A pious person once mentioned that a teacher has to be an embodiment of love and kindness. No body is prepared to listen to harsh words just as a sick person is not prepared to take bitter medicine. As an ustadh/ teacher you should also treat your students without any favouritism and your impartiality has to be reflected in the language and in the tone that you use.
Your neighbours. Neighbours have a very high status in our life. Regarding this status and implementation of rights of a neighbor, Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (RadhiAllahu ‘anhu) and A’ishah (RadhiAllahu ‘anha) related Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam) saying as:
“Angel Jibril (‘Alayhis Salaam) kept exhorting me about (the rights of) the neighbour so much so that I thought that the neighbour might be included as one of the heirs.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
You should always avoid speaking to them using unpleasant words or a harsh tone even if they have wronged you in any way.
Your friends. Your friends are the only ones who can turn your heart towards good, calm your nerves, and make you feel peaceful and composed. It is of vital importance to treat your friends with due respect. Avoid talking roughly to them.
Your employer. Whether your employer is Muslim or a non-Muslims, Allah utilizes him for your Rizq (sustenance). Your speaking gently to him will, InshaAllah, bring positive results in the way he will treat you and also give him a good picture of Islam.
Your employee/servant. The one who works for you should be treated with respect and kindness. Respect is earned, not given. Therefore, respect your employee/servant and he will not only reciprocate you with similar respect but will also feel comfortable about his position at work. This will help him open up and will also make talking to him easier for you.
Anas bin Malik was a young boy when he started working in Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam)’s household. Anas worked for Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi Wasallam) for ten years, and not once did Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi Wasallam) strike or even reprimand him. Anas said, “I served the Nabi at home and on journeys. By Allah, he never said to me for anything which I did: ‘Why have you done this?’ or for anything which I did not do: ‘Why have you not done this?’” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)
The less fortunate people. These less fortunate people include the orphans, the widows, the poor ones, those suffering from serious ailments, the ones who are physically/mentally deformed, the victims of the ongoing wars, and those who have lost their beloved ones. When we talk to them we should always display our mercy. Abdullah ibn Amr (RadhiAllahu ‘anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam) said, “The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1924
An old person. He might have surpassed you in doing ‘Ibadah (Allah’s worship) and in doing good deeds. Speak to him with respect and in a mild tone.
A non-Muslim. Choose special words when you want to talk to him and deliver these words in a very mild tone. Chances are, the gentleness in your voice/speech and your Good Akhlaque can become the means of that non-Muslim accepting Islam.
Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam), or Rahmatul lil ‘Aalameen (Mercy for all the worlds). Regarding him, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has said (addressing him), Say, “If you love Allah then follow me, Allah will then love you and forgive your sins. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.”(Qur’an 3:31)?
If given a chance, how would we converse with Allah’s Beloved Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam)?
This indeed is a very difficult question to answer because being in a generation very far from the Best Generation (generation to which Nabi Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam was sent), we can never envisage the Sahaba’s etiquettes and how they talked to Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam.
The most we can say is that the Sahabas spoke to Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam) in a voice overwhelmingly saturated with pure and sincere love for him.
Alhamdulillah we can still display such feelings at the time of reciting Durood-e-Ibrahim during Tashahhud in our Salah and reciting Durood Shareef outside Salah which we should recite as often as we can.
Given above is about how to speak to human beings who all are amongst the Makhluq (creations) of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.
Now here is a vital question:
Who is the one who is the most entitled to our utmost gentle, meek, submissive and humble words spoken in an equally subdued, soft, respectful and reverent voice?
Obviously our Khaliq (Creator), our Sustainer, the Malikul Mulk, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala!
Whenever we speak to Him in our Salah, in our Du’ah (supplication), in our Zikr, in our Qur’an recitation etc., we have to adopt the humility explained above.
May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala guide us to always adopt mildness and gentleness in our language and in our voices…ameen
…and Allah Ta’ala knows best.
By: M. B. Ahmed