Table of Contents

The Tongue

The tongue-اللسان

1. The tongue is a gauge that is given weight by the intellect and made light by ignorance.

1ـ اَللِّسانُ مِعْيارٌ أرْجَحَهُ العَقْلُ، وأطاشَهُ الجَهْلُ.

2. Safeguard your tongue just as you treasure your gold and your money.

2ـ أُخْزُنْ لِسانَكَ، كَما تَخْزُنُ ذَهَبَكَ ووَرِقَكَ.

3. Protect your head from the slips of your tongue, and constrain it with reason, judiciousness, God-wariness and intellect.

3ـ اِحْفَظْ رَأسَكَ مِنْ عَثْرَةِ لِسانِكَ، وازْمُمْهُ بِالنُّهى والحَزْمِ، والتُّقى، وَالعَقْلِ.

4. Restrain your tongue before it prolongs your incarceration and destroys your soul, for there is nothing more worthy of long imprisonment than a tongue that has strayed from the right and is hasty in responding.

4ـ اِحْبِسْ لِسانَكَ قَبْلَ أنْ يُطيلَ حَبْسَكَ، ويُرْديَ نَفْسَكَ، فَلا شَيْءَ أوْلى بِطُولِ سِجْن مِنْ لِسان يَعْدِلُ عَنِ الصَّوابِ، ويَتَسَرَّعُ إلَى الجَوابِ.

5. Be cautious of the tongue for indeed it is an arrow that can miss its mark.

5ـ اِحْذَرُوا اللِّسانَ فَإنَّهُ سَهْمٌ يُخْطي.

6. Beware of making your tongue a medium for slandering your brothers, or of saying that which will become proof against you and a reason for harming you.

6ـ إيّاكَ أنْ تَجْعَلَ مَرْكَبَكَ لِسانَكَ في غَيْبَةِ إخْوانِكَ، أوْ تَقُولَ ما يَصيرُ عَلَيْكَ حُجَّةً، وفِي الإسائَةِ إلَيْك َ عِلَّةً.

7. Know that the tongue is a part of a person’s body, so when he desists, speech will not assist him and when he opens up [and is ready to speak], speech will not give him time to pause.

7ـ ألا وإنَّ اللِّسانَ بَضْعَةٌ مِنَ الإنْسانِ، فَلا يُسْعِدُهُ القَوْلُ إذَا امْتَنَعَ، وَلايُمْهِلُهُ النُّطْقُ إذَا اتَّسَعَ.

8. Now surely the good repute of a man that is preserved for him by Allah among the people is better than the wealth that is inherited by those who do not praise him.

8ـ ألا وَإنَّ اللِّسانَ الصّادِقَ يَجْعَلُهُ اللّهُ لِلْمَرْءِ فِي النّاسِ خَيْرٌ مِنَ المالِ يُورِثُهُ مَنْ لايَحْمَدُهُ.

9. Verily your tongue demands from you that which you have made it accustomed to.

9ـ إنَّ لِسانَكَ يَقْتَضيكَ ما عَوَّدْتَهُ.

10. The tongue is the interpreter of the heart.

10ـ اَللِّسانُ تَرْجُمانُ الجَنانِ.

11. The tongue is recalcitrant to its owner.

11ـ اَللِّسانُ جَمُوحٌ بِصاحِبِهِ.

12. The tongue is the interpreter of the intellect.

12 ـ اَللِّسانُ تَرْجُمانُ العَقْلِ.

13. A person is hidden under his tongue.1

13ـ اَلْمَرْءُ مَخْبُوءٌ تَحْتَ لِسانِهِ.

14. The tongue is a beast of prey, if you let it free it will injure [you].

14ـ اَللِّسانُ سَبُعٌ إنْ أطْلَقْتَهُ عَقَرَ.

15. The tongue is the gauge of a human being.

15ـ اَللِّسانُ ميزانُ الإنْسانِ.

16. The tongues reveal that which is concealed by the inner consciences.

16ـ اَلاْلْسُنُ تُتَرْجِمُ عَمّا تَجُنُّهُ الضَّمائِرُ.

17. The affliction of a human being is in his tongue.

17ـ بَلاءُ الإنْسانِ في لِسانِهِ.

18. The edge of a spearhead severs the appendages [of the body] whereas the edge of the tongue cuts short lifetimes.

18ـ حَدُّ السِّنانِ يَقْطَعُ الأوْصالَ، وحَدُّ اللِّسانِ يَقْطَعُ الآجالَ.

19. The edge of the tongue is sharper than the edge of a spearhead.

19ـ حَدُّ اللِّسانِ أمْضى مِنْ حَدِّ السِّنانِ.

20. Many a tongue destroys a person.

20ـ رُبَّ لِسان أتى عَلى إنْسان.

21. The slip of the tongue is more harmful than the thrust of the spearhead.

21ـ زَلَّةُ اللِّسانِ أنْكى مِنْ إصابَةِ السِّنانِ.

22. The slip of the tongue is more severe than the injury caused by a spearhead.

22ـ زَلَّةُ اللِّسانِ أشَدُّ مِنْ جُرْحِ السِّنانِ.

23. The slip of the tongue causes the greatest destruction.

23ـ زَلَّةُ اللِّسانِ أشَدُّ هَلاك.

24. Restraining the tongue is [a means of attaining] fortune and authority while setting it free is [a cause of] destruction.

24ـ ضَبْطُ اللِّسانِ مُِلْكٌ وإطْلاقُهُ هُلْكٌ.

25. The piercing of the tongue is more injurious than the piercing of the spear.

25ـ طَعْنُ اللِّسانِ أمَضُّ مِنْ طَعْـنِ السِّنانِ.

26. Accustom your tongue to polite speech and you will remain safe from reproach.

26ـ عَوِّدْ لِسانَكَ حُسْنَ الكَلامِ تَأْمَنِ المَلامَ.

27. It is very rare for the tongue to remain fair in spreading [news about] the ugly and the good acts [of others].

27 ـ قَلَّما يُنْصِفُ اللِّسانُ في نَشْرِ قَبيح أوْ إحْسان.

28. Set your tongue aright and you will be secure.

28ـ قَوِّمْ لِسانَكَ تَسْلَمْ.

29. Every person is held accountable for the offence committed by his tongue and his hand.

29ـ كُلُّ إنْسان مُؤاخَذٌ بِجِنايَةِ لِسانِهِ ويَدِهِ.

30. How much blood has been spilt by the mouth!2

30ـ كَمْ مِنْ دَم سَفَكَهُ فَمٌ.

31. How many a person has been destroyed by the tongue!

31ـ كَمْ مِنْ إنْسان أهْلَكَهُ لِسانٌ.

32. The tongue of the intelligent person is behind his heart.3

32ـ لِسانُ العاقِلِ وَراءَ قَلْبِهِ.

33. The tongue of the ignorant person is the key to his destruction.

33ـ لِسانُ الجاهِلِ مِفْتاحُ حَتْفِهِ.

34. Your tongue demands from you that which you have made it accustomed to.

34ـ لِسانُكَ يَقْتَضيكَ ما عَوَّدْتَهُ.

35. He (‘a) said about the one whom he reproached: His tongue is like honey but his heart is a prison for rancour.

35ـ وقالَ ـ عَلَيْهِ السّلامُ ـ في حَقِّ مَنْ ذَمَّهُ: لِسانُهُ كَالشَّهْدِ ولكِنْ قَلْبُهُ سِجْنٌ لِلْحِقْدِ.

36. The tongue of a virtuous person is enthralled by the continued remembrance of Allah.

36ـ لِسانُ البَرِّ مُسْتَهْتَرٌ بِدَوامِ الذِّكْرِ.

37. If you restrain your tongue, it will save you and if you set it free, it will ruin you.

37ـ لِسانُكَ إنْ أمْسَكْتَهُ أنْجاكَ، وإنْ أطْلَقْتَهُ أرْداكَ.

38. Your tongue demands from you that which you have accustomed it to and your soul requires from you that which you have familiarized it with.

38ـ لِسانُكَ يَسْتَدْعيكَ ما عَوَّدْتَهُ، ونَفْسُكَ تَقْتَضيكَ ما ألِفْتَهُ.

39. One whose tongue is sweet [and polite], his friends increase.

39ـ مَنْ عَذُبَ لِسانُهُ كَثُرَ إخْوانُهُ.

40. One who protects his tongue honours himself.

40ـ مَنْ حَفِظَ لِسانَهُ أكْرَمَ نَفْسَهُ.

41. One who does not control his tongue regrets.

41ـ مَنْ لَمْ يَمْلِكْ لِسانَهُ يَنْدَمْ.

42. One who imprisons his tongue remains safe from regret.

42ـ مَنْ سَجَنَ لِسانَهُ أمِنَ مِنْ نَدَمِهِ.

43. One who sets his tongue aright adorns his intellect.

43ـ مَنْ قَوَّمَ لِسانَهُ زانَ عَقْلَهُ.

44. One who makes his tongue his master has decreed his own death.

44ـ مَنْ أمَّرَ عَلَيْهِ لِسانَهُ قَضا بِحَتْفِهِ.

45. One who restrains his tongue is safe from regret.

45ـ مَنْ أمْسَكَ لِسانَهُ أمِنَ نَدَمَهُ.

46. One who sets his tongue free demonstrates his own foolishness.

46ـ مَنْ أطْلَقَ لِسانَهُ أبانَ عَنْ سُخْفِهِ.

47. Guarding the tongue is part of faith.

47ـ مِنَ الإيمانِ حِفْظُ اللِّسانِ.

48. One who does not guard his tongue has not completed his faith.

48ـ ما عَقَدَ إيمانَهُ مَنْ لَمْ يَحْفَظْ لِسانَهُ.

49. Without a tongue, the human being would be nothing more than lifeless statue or a wild beast.

49ـ مَا الإنْسانُ لَوْلاَ اللِّسانُ إلاّ صُورَةٌ مُمَثَّلَةٌ أوْ بَهيمَةٌ مُهْمَلَةٌ.

50. Nothing attracts the heart of a human being more than a [sweet and eloquent] tongue, and none beguiles the soul more than Satan.

50ـ ما مِنْ شَيْء أجْلَبَ لِقَلْبِ الإنْسانِ مِنْ لِسان، ولاأخْدَعَ لِلنَّفْسِ مِنْ شَيْطان.

51. Do not move your tongue except to say that which will earn you reward and that which behoves you to speak [of] openly.

51ـ لاتُجْرِ لِسانَكَ إلاّ بِما يُكْتَبُ لَكَ أجْرُهُ، ويَجْمُلُ عَنْكَ نَشْرُهُ.

52. Never use the sharpness of your tongue against the one who has made you speak or the eloquence of your speech against the one who guides you [to the right path].

52ـ لاتَجْعَلْ (لاتَجْعَلَنَّ) ذَرَبَ لِسانِكَ عَلى مَنْ أنْطَقَكَ، ولابَلاغَةَ قَوْلِكَ عَلى مَنْ سَدَّدَكَ.

53. The slips of the tongue cannot be controlled.

53ـ لاتُمْلَكُ عَثَراتُ اللِّسانِ.

54. Nothing is more beneficial for a human being than guarding the tongue and doing good to others.

54ـ لاشَيْءَ أعْوَدُ عَلَى الإنْسانِ مِنْ حِفْظِ اللِّسانِ، وَبَذْلِ الإحْسانِ.

55. This tongue is recalcitrant to its owner.

55ـ هذَا اللِّسانُ جَمُوحٌ لِصاحِبِهِ.

  • 1. i.e. as long as he doesn’t speak, his intellect and personality remain hidden from others.
  • 2. i.e. because of what one speaks.
  • 3. i.e. the intelligent person ponders before speaking.