Your character is your greatest wealth
In this clip, the SABA Islamic Center’s Resident Imam, Nabi Raza Abidi, speaks about out importance of character. Wealth is fleeting and it does not determine your value as a human being. What counts is really is what kind of life you live and how you treat people, this is what truly makes you an honorable human being.
This clip was brought to you by the SABA Global Islamic Mission. The SABA Global Islamic Mission is based in the SABA Islamic Center (Shia Association of Bay Area) and is located in San Jose, California. The SABA Global Islamic Mission and the SABA Islamic Center are led by Maulana Nabi Raza Abidi.
Our Tongue is Our Greatest Blessing
Undoubtedly, the tongue and the ability to speak are the greatest blessings that God has bestowed on man in His Creation. This has been explicitly stated in the following verse:
خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ
“He has created man: He has taught him speech (and intelligence).” [The Holy Qur’an, al-Rahman 55:3-4]
Speech has been described as meaning “uncovering” an object in Arabic. Our tongue expresses our inner thoughts and feelings. Our speech uncovers our inner thoughts and expresses what we think. If it was not for our ability to speak, we would be quiet just like animals and there would be no more discussion, explaining and understanding among men.
Different Languages as a Sign of God
The Almighty God stated in the Holy Qur’an:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ
“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those who know.” [The Holy Qur’an, al-Rum 30:22]
This clearly expresses that the existence of various colors, races, and languages among mankind is one of the signs of God.
Language as a Means of Getting to Know Others
There are various ways to get to know each person. One of these ways is through speech. Each person introduces his own personality when he talks. Our speaking clearly expresses our inner purity or wickedness. One can tell whether you are a good man or a corrupt one. Imam Baqir said:
المَرْءُ مخْبُوءٌ تَحْتَ لِسَانِهِ.
“A man is hidden under his tongue.”4
The tongue will unveil the curtain and display our real character.
The Nature of Verbal Sins
Imam Ali said the following about the tongue:
جِرْمُهُ صَغيرٌ وَجُرمُهُ ثَقِيلٌ
“Its mass is small, but its sin is great.”
This wise saying clearly states how our little tongue can be used to create great sins. Each of the body parts that God has given us has a specific characteristic and purpose. Some have certain limitations, too. For instance, the eye can only see certain colors. The ears can only hear sounds. The hands can only feel through touching. However, the tongue has a wide range of application extending from wickedness and corruption to goodness and prosperity. If used in a good sense it can lead to human prosperity and if used in an evil way, it can be the biggest means by which Satan can misguide us.
The Effect of the Tongue on Social Improvement or Corruption
There are various ways to achieve social improvement or corruption. Speaking is one of the most effective means in this respect. A fluent speaker can direct the human society towards noble characteristics and human values. Likewise, he can lead the society towards moral and spiritual decay and corruption. He can easily agitate the still nation and excite them to move and change their lives, or direct the aroused feelings of a society towards calmness and pacification.
For example, when Imam Ali was martyred the news was spread throughout the Muslim community. When the news of his martyrdom in the prayer niche reached Sham, all the people there were surprised. They were so influenced by the speeches delivered against Imam Ali by the men hired by Mu`awiyah that they asked themselves, “Did Ali pray?” The extent of the influence of the tongue is so much that as you can see the most pious man who lived his whole lifetime to establish the prayer, is presented as being one who does not pray in the minds of the people of Sham.
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