All praise is for Allaah and may the peace and blessings be on His Final Messenger, his family and those who follow him in goodness until the Day of Recompense. To Proceed:
Before you is a chapter from the great book Al-Adhkaar of the Imaam and great scholar of the seventh century, Abu Zaakariyaa, Yahyaa Ibn Sharaf An-Nawawee, which we decided to present as a book in itself due to the many benefits found in it. The chapter is entitled “Hifdh-ul-Lisaan” or “Guarding the Tongue.”
The original source, Al-Adhkaar, is one of the prize works of Imaam An-Nawawee in which he compiles and discusses the texts related to what is recommended and forbidden from speech, focusing on adhkaar (words of remembrance) and ad’iyyah (supplications). In the last part of the book, as he explains, Imaam An-Nawawee devotes a chapter to what is forbidden and disliked from speech, such as backbiting, gossiping, and slander. So he brings the evidences from the Qur’aan and Sunnah on the obligation of guarding the tongue from evil speech.
In recent times, this great work was checked and verified by Shaikh Saleem Ibn ‘Eid Al-Hilaalee and printed in two volumes. In his verification, Shaikh Saleem provides a grading for each hadeeth as well as a discussion into the reason for the hadeeth’s authenticity or weakness. Due to our desire to make the E-Book a source of easy reading and benefit, we have limited the verification of ahaadeeth to just the grade that Shaikh Saleem Al-Hilaalee has provided and the references of the Hadeeth sources they can be found in, while abridging his discussions of certain ahaadeeth in some places.
We advise every sincere Muslim to read and benefit from the words of An-Nawawee on this very important topic, which many Muslims are neglectful or unaware about. And we advise them to reflect sincerely on the evidences so that they can beware of falling into sinful speech. We hope that this treatise also helps to uplift doubts on the part of those who consider backbiting and criticizing to be forbidden unconditionally, as Imaam An-Nawawee explains the situations in which talking about someone in his absence is permissible, as well as the proper guidelines for that.
Lastly, we ask Allaah to make this treatise serve as a source of knowledge for those unaware about the rulings on guarding the tongue and likewise, that He make this a reminder for those who know yet are neglectful.
January 22, 2002.
Author: Imaam Yahyaa Ibn Sharaf an-Nawawee
Translator: Abu Maryam Isma’eel Alarcon