The Muslim man guards his tongue by speaking only when it is neccessary and thinking before he speaks.
The tongue is the number 1 route to devastation, due to the seriousness of the sins that can be committed with the tongue and the ease at which they can be done. The Prophet ﷺ said:
“A person utters a word heedlessly and, as a result of this, he will fall down into the fire of Hell deeper than the distance between the east and the west.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Because, for example, a person can utter a statement of disbelief and exit from the religion, or a person can commit a major sin by backbiting or slandering others without thinking of the consequence.
The Muslim man knows that a person that talks too much exposes his faults and often causes offense to others without thinking. The quiet man on the other hand is loved and respected for his reticence. He speaks when it is necessary and only after he has considered his words carefully.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him speak good or stay silent.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
When a person speaks a lot, people become weary of him, and ignore much of what he has to say. But when a person talks seldomly and with purpose, then people will love and respect him, and will give weight to his words and opinions.
You can divide speech into 4 types:
1. Speech that is beneficial.
2. Speech that is neither beneficial nor harmful.
3. Speech that could possibly cause you or others harm.
4. Speech that WILL cause you or others harm.
The first type is good and should be spoken. The second type doesn’t cause any harm but an intelligent person would not waste his breath with it. The third type should be left alone and the fourth type is obligatory to leave alone due to the harm it will cause.
According to this principle, three quarters of all speech is better left unsaid, if a person is heedy. If more people lived by this principle there would be no more pointless, irreverant speech; people wouldn’t have to Issue apologies, or delete tweets and Facebook posts after they said something dumb or offensive.
One of the main drawbacks to talking too much (other than what has been mentioned) is that it prevents you from listening. Listening is an incredibly important tool. Allah blessed us with eyes and ears so that we can observe the things around us and learn from those things. When we are talking we are not using those tools, so we are preventing ourselves from learning.
The Prophetﷺ also warned us that…
“Too much speech without mentioning Allah hardens the heart, and the hard hearted are the furthest of all people from Allah, the Most High.” (At-Tirmidhi)
And remember, Allah hears and sees everything you say and do and everything you say is written down by two angels sitting on each of your shoulders. Do you want all your heedless speech written in a record to be recounted to you on the Day of Judgment!? How much of that will you be embarrassed about saying?
So in an effort to talk less why not try what I like to call the “No More B.S. Challenge”:
I heard this in a khutbah at the Prophet’s Masjid in Medina a few years ago……all you have to do is before you get ready to say something take the following steps:
Step 1: Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of what I’m about to say?” If the answer is there is none, then don’t say it.
Step 2: If you do have a purpose for what you’re about to say then ask yourself, “Would this speech be pleasing to Allah?” If the answer is no then don’t say it, but if the answer is yes then proceed with confidence.
If you are consistent with this technique I think you will find it an effective treatment for both foot-in mouth-syndrome and verbal diarrhea.