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Question: What is wrong with swearing? I find it enjoyable. It relieves stress, and helps me express my feelings even if I don't say it to someone directly or face-to-face.

Islam teaches us that we are responsible for all our actions including our deliberate utterances and the thoughts we nurture and cherish in our minds. Hence we are to make sure not only that we do what is right, but also speak only that which is right and think only good thoughts. By failing to control our words we fall into perdition and self-destruction.

Allah and His Messenger have told us in no uncertain terms that we are accountable for our deliberate utterances; we have been warned against unscrupulous use of our tongue or words. Allah says, “We created man—We know what his soul whispers to him: We are closer to him than his jugular vein—with two receptors set to record, one on his right side and one on his left, he does not utter a single word without an ever-present watcher. “(Qur’an: 50: 17-18).

The Prophet, peace be upon him, while advising Mu’ad, one of his close companions, concluded his words saying, “restrain your tongue!”; when Mu’ad asked in surprise, “are we accountable for our words as well?” he replied, “Indeed most people are dragged to hell- fire, solely because of what their tongues have harvested!” . The Prophet, peace be upon him, further said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak what is good or remain silent!”

As Imam Ghazzali has rightly pointed out, Allah has created each and every one of our faculties for specific functions or purposes; therefore, if we use any one of them for other than the purpose for which it has been created for, we are certainly abusing it, and we will be called to account. Our tongue has been created to glorify Allah, to speak or command that which is good or beneficial, and to bring peace among people. If we use it for swearing or evil speech we will certainly be punished for it on the day of Judgement. The Prophet further said, “a person might utter a single word by virtue of which Allah will raise his station; or he may utter a single word thanks to which he may be flung right in to the middle of hell fire.” He also said, “A believer is not one who is in the habit of cursing, swearing or indulging in foul/lewd talk.”

The fact that you find yourself enjoying swearing or using foul words is not a proof to suggest that it is permissible to do so; rather it is an abnormal condition with you. For just as our physical hearts are either corrupted or fostered by the kind of foods we eat, our spiritual hearts are either sustained or corrupted by our actins, words or thoughts. A person who is feasting on junk food is indeed relishing it, while in fact he is administering poison to his body, which may eventually kill him. Likewise, a person who is relishing swearing and foul speech is in fact killing his spiritual heart. He can best be compared to someone who is, as if he were, addicted to smelling dog-poo; it may not at all be surprising if he were to faint when exposed to fragrance. His experience, however, cannot be an evidence to suggest that dog-poo is good. So your relishing of swearing cannot be considered a sign of sound spiritual health or nature; it is rather due to your conditioning.

In fact, if you were to engage in a little bit of introspection, you would come to realize that the fact you relish swearing only proves the urgency for you to put your acts together and flee to Allah in repentance; for soon you will be called to account for your words just as you will be called to account for your deeds. Your words are part of your deeds. Think how badly you have corrupted your soul by uttering such foul words and rush to purge your heart of such filth by repentance and conditioning yourself to making dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and dua (prayer) and istighfaar (seeking forgiveness of Allah). May Allah grant you His grace by choosing you to be among those whose tongue is supple with dhikr Allah-aameen.

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