Abud-Darda reported that the Prophet (s) said, "Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the scale of the believer than good manners. Allah hates one who utters foul or course language."
(At-Tirmidhi who said that it is good and authentic.)
It is sad to note that Muslims, especially young people, think that it is acceptable to use bad or even rude language. Is it polite to say, “Shut up!” or “You’re stupid!”? This is not from the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr: The Prophet never used bad language neither a "Fahish nor a Mutafahish. He used to say "The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character." (See Hadith No. 56 (B) Vol. 8) (al-Bukhari, Book #56, Hadith #759)
The best way to teach children not to use any bad language is to not use them ourselves. Alhamdulillah, I have never used the words “Shut up” (not even in joke). I have always used “Be quiet” and my children have always used it as well to such an extent that when they hear someone saying “Shut up” they get shocked. However, I have been told that “Shut up” is not a rude phrase and that it is alright to use it. In response, I said that the best way to determine if a word/phrase is rude or not is to imagine if Prophet Muhammad (s) would have used it. Most definitely, he (s) would not have used it. He would have used a more polite form, if at all. The line between what is right and what is wrong and what is good and what is bad is often confused these days. Let Prophet Muhammad (s) always be our guide.
I’d like to relate 2 stories of my children about not using rude words that I feel proud of and which gave me a smile (and I pray that they maintain the good character of not using bad language, especially when they reach high school where they can be easily influenced by peers):
This was related by my son’s teacher: When my youngest was in kindergarten he heard another child say a rude word so he went and told his teacher. His teacher asked him what was the rude word but my son adamantly refused to say it. After a while of coaxing him to inform her of the word by promising that he would not get into trouble for saying it, the teacher asked him to tell her the first letter of the word. To which my son replied “b”. At this point the teacher was thinking of all the rude words that start with “b” and they’re pretty bad words. She kept on pressing him for the word because she needed to know to deal with it and inform the parents. Finally, my son gave in and whispered, “bum.” She nearly cracked up but had to keep a straight face because my son was so serious.
Another incident occurred with my eldest when I gave him a “bumbag” – one of those bags that go around the waist with a belt. I told him it was a bumbag. I’d completely forgotten that it had the word bum in it because everyone called it that and it was the name of the bag. Now, I don’t normally use that word to refer to that part of the anatomy but used bottom or behind instead. It just slipped my mind. But my son refused to call it a bumbag instead he called it the bottombag. Every time he and his brother referred to it as a bottombag all his older cousins cracked up. They told him that “bum” is not a rude word. But I told them all that if there is a more polite word to use then it is better to use it.
How to teach children not to use bad language:
- Don’t use bad language ourselves.
- Ask if Prophet Muhammad (s) would have used it.
- If there is a more polite word/phrase then use it in its stead.