The Qur’an demonstrates the unique oneness of Allah, the teacher of all knowledge and the best to evolve creation. It also demonstrates the real and potential power of words. When Allah seeks to bring a thing into existence, Allah utters a word. In that word is the purpose, life span and structure of the thing to be brought into existence. Life is made known to us by words as – creation, environment, biology, anatomy, physiology, leadership, justice, society, love. When the first word – “Kun” – was uttered to nothing, creation began. From that substance and essence, creation has been evolving. In words, we were given guidance; good news and warnings.
We have sent revelation to you [Muhammad] as We did to Noah and the prophets after him, to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon—to David We gave the book [of Psalms]— to other messengers We have already mentioned to you, and also to some We have not. To Moses God spoke directly. They were messengers bearing good news and warning, so that mankind would have no excuse before God, after receiving the messengers: God is almighty and all wise. -4:163-165
Good comes from a good word. As such, the opposite can come from a bad word. Corruption and unlawfulness emerges and spreads from the lies of a bad word. Injustice from distorted meanings of revealed words subjugates a people to suffering.
How can we see the effect of bad words? Consider the plight of undervalued and underestimated Africans, here and in the diaspora. A word such as the N-word or the word many use to reflect our color marginalizes us. Continual association of such words with negative, derogatory language would bind words together, as if they were synonymous with bad character, poor ethics, and uncivilized behavior. Because of the oppressed state that those words place us in, we experienced oppression’s effects. We have been impressed, ‘colored’ by the ethics, morality and behavior imposed on us by our enslavement.
God does not like bad words to be made public unless someone has been wronged: He is all hearing and all knowing. 4:148
We have been impressed, ‘colored’ by the ethics, morality and behavior imposed on us by our enslavement.
We have a choice, examine the words that color our lives and amend accordingly. Or, suffer the punishment Allah promises. Fortunately, we have been given the blueprint for a successful and honored life – through the words given to us.
…This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. 5:3
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Frederick Thaufeer Al-Deen has a graduate degree in political science and public administration. He served for seven years as a commissioned officer in the military. He is the Imam for the Southwestern University Muslim community and a certified Federal Correctional System Imam. His publications include “A Question of Faith for Muslim Inmates” and “How to Raise Black Boys that Live.” He is also a visiting khatib and Eid khatib for the Southside Islamic Community. Imam Al-Deen is the chief operating officer of Urban Mediation and Arbitration and host of the “Conversations” podcast. He is a Hajji.