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Salamun Alaikum (Peace be upon you)

 

 

SPEAK A GENTLE WORD

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Copyright 2009 Joseph A Islam: Article last modified 5th April 2011


 

How does one present their world views and their particular understanding of what they perceive to be the truth to others?

 

Nothing demonstrates this more exquisitely, yet forcefully than the wisdom from the Quranic verse discussed below.

 

A discourse is captured between God and Prophet Moses (pbuh) where God offers advice to him in his capacity as a servant and messenger.

 

Pharaoh was undoubtedly a tyrant, an oppressor committing ills by spreading corruption of such severe magnitude and transgressing all boundaries (2:49; 7:141; 89:11-12). God, All Knowing, All Wise always knew that despite all the signs presented to him, despite all the efforts of His messengers, despite every attempt of conveyance of the truth, Pharaoh would still not believe (until of course, it was too late 10:90-91).

 

Yet, Pharaoh's record was to remain tested and the truth was to be imparted to him so that he had no reason left to deny it.

 

God was always aware of this before He sent Prophets Moses and Aaron (pbut) to deliver the message to Pharaoh.

 

Knowing full well that Pharaoh would never accept the message, the advice given to Prophet Moses (pbuh) as to how he should conduct himself carries immense wisdom from which we can all learn and benefit.

 

 

020:044

'But speak; to him with gentle speech (Arabic: Qawlan Layyinan), perhaps he (la'allahu) may take heed of the reminder or fear God'

 

  

 

Illustration - Joseph Islam

 

 

WHAT DOES THE ROOT LAM-YA-NUN from which 'Layyinan' is derived mean?

 

 

Source: Edward Lanes Lexicon    [1]

 

 

This is indeed a very telling verse.

 

Despite knowing that Pharaoh would never accept the truth, God still asked Prophet Moses (pbuh) to speak to Pharaoh via gentle, soft, delicate, tender speech. Furthermore, given that God is All knowing, the phrase 'la'allahu' (perhaps he) does not imply doubt on Pharaoh's future action but in combination with 'gentle speech' underscores the hope with which every message bearer of truth should approach those that one intends to deliver the message to. A hope, that those listening may take heed.

 

This gentle, fair, mild and non-aggressive approach whilst delivering one's message is also reflected in other Quranic verses.

 

Please note a few examples below:

 

 

TO THE BELIEVERS

 

016.125

"Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance"

 

017:053

"And say to My servants (that) they speak that which is best; surely Satan sows dissensions among them; surely the Satan is an open enemy to man"

 

 

TO THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK

 

Come to common terms

 

003:064

"Say: "O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God." If then they turn back, say ye: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah's Will)"

 

029:046

"And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our Allah and your Allah is One, and to Him do we submit"

 

 

TO THE PAGANS (DISBELIEVERS)

 

006:108            

"And do not abuse those whom they call upon besides God, lest in exceeding the limits they should abuse God out of ignorance. Thus have We made fair seeming to every people their deeds; then to their Lord shall be their return, so He will inform them of what they did"

 

 

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

The Quran's wisdom is clear to read. Speak in a polite manner, with kindness and invite others using the best standards of human speech.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

[1] LANE. E.W, Edward Lanes Lexicon, Williams and Norgate 1863; Librairie du Liban Beirut-Lebanon 1968, Volume 8, Supplement, Page 3015

Highlights marked in red on the lexicon excerpt are my own insertions. They have no bearing on the original text other than they emphasise relevance to the topic at hand. These are merely illustrations and have solely been utilised for educational and explanatory purposes.

 

 

 

Joseph Islam

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