The Blessing of Speech and Expression
The blessings that Allaah has bestowed upon His servants cannot be enumerated. One of the greatest of these blessings is man’s ability to speak and express himself clearly to others; (giving us the ability) to say what is correct, and (the ability) to command the good and forbid the evil. Whoever does not have the ability to speak is thereby unable to do these things and cannot express himself to others except through sign language or through writing, if he is able to do so. Allaah the Mighty and the Majestic says:
“And Allaah puts forward the example of two men, one of them unable to speak and has no power over anything, and he is a burden on his master, whichever way he directs him, he brings no good. Is such a man equal to one who commands justice and is himself on the Straight Path?” [Soorah An-Nahl: 76]
It has been said that this verse is an example that Allaah has put forth in order to make a comparison/contrast between Himself and idols (i.e. the one unable to speak and who has no power over anything represents the idol, while the One Who commands with justice is Allaah the Most High). Imaam Al-Qurtubee said that it has been narrated upon the authority of Ibn Abbaas (radiallaahu 'anhumaa) with a good chain of narrators, that the meaning of this verse is an example that Allaah has put forth in order to make a comparison/contrast between a disbeliever and a believer (i.e. the one unable to speak represents the disbeliever, while the one who commands justice is the believer). (In any case) this verse is a clear proof of the deficiency of the slave who is unable to speak and express himself and thereby is of no benefit to his master no matter which way he directs him. Allaah the Mighty and the Majestic also says:
“Then by the Lord of the heaven and the earth, it is the truth (i.e. what has been promised to you from Resurrection in the Hereafter and receiving the reward or punishment of good or bad deeds), just as it is the truth that you can speak.” [Soorah Adh-Dhaariyaat: 23]
In this verse Allaah has sworn by Himself that the Resurrection in the Hereafter and receiving the reward or punishment of good or bad deeds is a reality, just as the ability to speak is a reality for those being addressed by this verse. And in this verse there is a praiseworthy reference to the ability to speak. Allaah, Glorified is He also said:
[quote]“He created man. He taught him eloquent speech.” [Soorah Ar-Rahman: 3-4][/quraan]
Al-Hasan (Al-Basree) explained the word (البيان) Al-Bayaan to mean: speech. And in this verse there is (another) praiseworthy reference to the ability to speak with which mankind is able to express himself. Allaah the Most High also says:
“Have We not made for him a pair of eyes, and a tongue, and a pair of lips?” [Soorah Al-Balad: 8-9]
Imaam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) said in his explanation of this verse:
- “Have We not made for him a pair of eyes”: so that he might see with them
- “and a tongue”: so that he might use it to speak and express what is inside himself
- “and a pair of lips”: to help him speak, and to help him eat, and as beautification for his face and mouth.
And it is well known that this blessing can only be considered a real blessing if the ability to speak is used for that which is good! However if it is used (simply) for evil then it only contains bad consequences for its possessor, and he would be better off without the blessing of the ability to speak!