Interpretation of Sura an-Nur - Verses 15-18
Adopted from the book: "The Light of the Holy Qur'an - Interpretation of Sura an-Nur" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani & a Group of Muslim Scholars"
15. "When you received it with your tongues, and uttered with your mouths what you had no knowledge of, and you counted it a trifle; while in the sight of Allah it is very great."
16. "And why did you not, when you heard it, say: 'It is not right of us to speak of this: glory be to You (O' Lord)! This is a great calumny'?"
17. "Allah admonishes you that you should never repeat the like of it for ever, if you are (true) believers."
18. "And Allah makes clear to you the signs: and Allah is knowing, Wise."
As a matter of fact this holy verse explains the previous discussion that how they were carelessly involved in this great sin. It implies that you may remember the time when you welcomed this great lie and you used to receive this rumour from the tongues of each other; and you used to utter something with your mouths that you had not any knowledge about it.
268 You considered it a tiny thing while it is very great with Allah. The verse says:
"When you received it with your tongues, and uttered with your mouths what you had no knowledge of, and you counted it a trifle; while in the sight of Allah it is very great."
Actually this verse refers to their 3 great sins that were related to the affair:
First, they embraced and admitted this rumour by taking it from the tongues of each other.
Second, they spread this rumour and recited it for others, while they were not certain of it.
Third, they regarded it as an easy trifle act. It was not only about the reputation and honour of two Muslims, but also it involved the reputation of the Islamic society (thinking too little of rumour and using it as an amusing tool).
It is interesting that in one place the phrase ("...with your tongues...") is used and in another place the phrase ("...with your mouths ...") is used. Although all words are uttered through tongue and mouth, the verse refers to the matter that neither their admission nor their distribution of this rumour was based on any reason. They only fell back on words that were nonsense, baseless and resulted from the movement of the tongue and the mouth.
Sines this event was a very important incident but a group of Muslims had considered it trifle, it is again in this verse emphasized, and they are once more faced with reprimand and their souls are scourged more firmly. It says:
" And why did you not, when you heard it, say: 'It is not right of us to speak of this: glory be to You (O' Lord)! This is a great calumny'?"
In fact they were rebuked, because they did not regard the accused ones with a good consideration, but here it is said that not only they must regard them good, but also they must not have expressed such a calumny, let alone they themselves proceed to spread it.
They must have got wondered at such a great calumny. They must have remembered the pureness of Allah and have sought refuge to Him for being not involved in spreading this rumour of calumny.
Nevertheless, they took it lightly by saying it is easy to do it, and they touched off it, and became the puppet of rumour-mongering and conspiring hypocrites.
We will, if Allah wills, discuss the importance of sinful rumour-mongering and its motivations and how to struggle against it. We will also mention in detail some points in the commentary of later verses.
Since in the next verse the story of ''Ifk' is mentioned and the gloomy agonizing consequences of rumour-mongering and slandering reputation of pure persons are brought up, the Qur'an says:
"Allah admonishes you that you should never repeat the like of it for ever, if you are (true) believers."
If an individual does not go after such great sins, it means this individual is faithful. As a matter of fact the above verse outlines one of the principles of repentance, because merely being regretful of the past is not enough, and decision for not repeating it in the future must be taken, too.
To give caution that these words are not some common or usual ones and it is Allah, the All-Knowing and Wise, Who has stated this to make some great facts clear. The next verse explains some crucial truths:
"And Allah makes clear to you the signs: and Allah is knowing, Wise."
Allah is aware of our needs, evil and good deeds as His knowledge demands and He modulates His commandments and ordinances to it as His Wisdom demands.
Some Points about Tongue
Tongue is the only limb that, because of speaking, does not ache and get tired during man's lifetime. Its form and size is small, but its crime and sin is great. There are many faithless persons who become Muslim and pure by saying one sentence (testifying that Allah is One and Unique). And there are many Muslims who become faithless and impure by profaning Allah or denying religion ordinances. On one hand, tongue can bring peace and serenity by telling truth, repeating Allah's name, praying and advising others. On the other hand, it can cause annoyance and resentment by irritating and biting others. Tongue is the key of intellect, the light of knowledge, and the simplest and the cheapest means of transmission of all sciences and experiments. Masters of ethics have written many books and papers about tongue.
Some Traditions on Tongue Maladies
1. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: "The salvation of the believer lies in controlling his tongue."
2. Imam Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) said: "One who does not keep his tongue does not protect his faith."
3. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: "Do not you get satisfied and pleased that you perform ritual prayers, pay amis-tax, and keep your tongue and then enter Paradise."
4. Ibn Abbas said: "The Messenger of Allah (p.b.uJi.) once said: 'May Allah bless one who keeps his tongue, knows circumstances of his era, and his way is a straight path'."
5. Imam Ali (a.s.) said: "The slip of the tongue is more painful than the harm of spearhead."
6. Imam Ali (a.s.) said: "The slip of the tongue is the severest perdition."
7. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: "The worst person is the one of whose tongue people are afraid."
8. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) narrated from his great father, Imam Sajjad Ali-ibn-il-Hussayn (a.s.), who said that his father, Imam Ali (a.s.), retold that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: "Tongue will be so chastised that no other limb will be punished (in that way). Then the tongue will say: 'Oh Allah, you have punished me in a way that none of other limbs has been chastised so.' Allah will say: 'You, tongue, have uttered words that have reached east and west and because of that many honorable bloods have been shed, people's properties are plundered, and people's reputation is marred. I swear by My Glory that I punish you in a way that I have not chastised other limbs'."
9. Imam Ali (a.s.) said: "Hell-dwellers are inspire because of tongue, and the dead will merit and deserve light because of tongue. Then keep your tongue and make it busy with uttering Allah's name."
10. Imam Ali (a.s.) said: "The tongue is a beast of prey. If you release it, it attacks and bites."
11. Imam Ali (a.s.) said: "There are many persons whose tongue caused them annihilation."
12. 'Abi Bakr said: "I heard the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: 'Verily most of man's faults are caused by his tongue' ."
13. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: "Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand people are saved, and believer is the one to whom people can entrust their blood and properties."
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