Guarding the Tongue (Lecture Notes)

On Friday, August 3rd, Hamza Yusuf gave khutbah at a masjid in Abu Dhabi in which he spoke on the subject of just rulers.

Just rulers are the first of the seven groups mentioned in the Qur’an who are in the shade of God on the Day of Judgment. Hamza Yusuf explained why: They are a great blessing to all of humanity. Furthermore, the sultan represents the shade of God on the earth. When rulers abuse their power and exploit people for their own selfish ends, life becomes increasingly unbearable and often reaches a boiling point, as in the case of Syria. On the other hand, when rulers are just, security and peace reign, and people flourish.

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Later that same evening, Hamza Yusuf gave a lecture at the national theatre in Abu Dhabi. He commented on a hadith related by Imam al-Tirmidhi on the authority of Mu’adh ibn Jabal in which he asks the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, if he could inform him of what he could do to enter paradise and avoid the hellfire. The Prophet, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, told Mu’adh that he had asked about an immense matter, but that it was easy for one whom God facilitated it for.

The Prophet, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, answered Mu’adh’s question by first stating the five pillars. Next, he informed him of the portals of goodness, the first being fasting, the second charity, and the third night prayers. Then he told him that he would inform him what was the head of the matter, its main support, and its peak: Its head was Islam; its main support was prayer; and its peak was jihad.

Next, the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, said to Mu’adh, “I will tell you how you can possess all of these things.” He took hold of his tongue and then said, “Control this.”

Mu’adh asked, “Are we taken to account for what we say?”

The Prophet, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, responded, “May your mother weep for you. Are people dragged in hell on their faces for anything other than the harvest of their tongues?”

Hamza Yusuf spoke about the importance of guarding the tongue, especially during Ramadan. To his surprise, in attendance were the sons of two of his Mauritanian teachers, Shaykh Muhammad Abdul al-Rahman, who is the son of Murabit Muhammad al-Amin, and Qadi Muhammad bin Bayyah, the son of Shaykh Bayyah bin Salik. Also in attendance was His Excellency, Dr. Hamdan Musallam al-Mazrouei, the Chairman of UAE’s General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments.

The program ended with a question and answer session at the end.