The Arabic word “Laghw” used in the Quran means “vain, useless talk or pastime.” Anything that is not beneficial for one’s self, for others, or for the hereafter (dunya or Aakhirah) falls into the realm of Laghw. It has no place in a proper Muslim life.Paradise will have no Laghw in it.
“They will hear no vain talk therein, nor any call to sin.” (Qur’an, 56:25)
The sincere believers avoid useless talk and actions even in the life of this world. Some meetings, pastimes, habits and hobbies are so utterly useless that wise people among non-Muslims too avoid them.
1. Will this benefit me in this world and the hereafter?
Useless conversation to “kill boredom” is so common nowadays. Picking up the phone to talk without any specific purpose, meeting people all the time to have chit-chats over food, spending hours in front of the TV or in online chat-rooms are all Laghw. In addition, comedians who say anything to make people laugh, even fabricated statements, and drama and films that are fantastical and far-fetched and give us no beneficial knowledge- all fall under Laghw.
The worse part is, most of the Laghw talk and acts often lead to sins of various types like gheebah, lying, foul talk etc.
Given below is the Quran and Hadith warnings against Laghw:
And say to My slaves (believers) that they should (only) say those words that are the best (in which no one's heart is hurt). Because Shaitan, verily, provokes discord among them. Surely, Shaitan is to man an open enemy. [Al-Isra 17: 53]
While mentioning the qualities of believers Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says:
And those who turn away from unprofitable and shameful talk and actions. [Al-Mu'minun 23: 03]
Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala while mentioning the qualities of believers, says:
And those who do not participate in false works (neither lie, nor give false witness, nor attend meetings of wrong affairs and sins). And when they pass by vain/ non-beneficial meetings they pass honourably. [Al-Furqan 25: 72]
Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says:
And when they hear unprofitable and shameful talk, they withdraw from it. [Al-Qasas 28:55]
Abu Hurairah (Radiyallahu 'anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) said: The excellence and good observance of Islam by a man is to leave aside that which does not concern him. (Tirmidhi)
Note: The meaning of this hadith is that the perfection and beauty of a man's belief is reflected in his giving up unprofitable talk and actions.
'Uqba ibne-'Amir (Radiyallahu 'anhu) narrates that I asked: O Rasulallah! What is the way to salvation? He said: Control your tongue, remain in your house, and weep over your sins. (Tirmidhi)
Note: Control your tongue means that it should not be used wrongly, e.g. backbiting, slandering, talking immodestly, speaking unnecessarily, talking carelessly, quarrelling, abusing, cursing men and animals, excessively indulging in poetry, mocking, disclosing secrets, making false promises, swearing falsely, duplicity, flattery and asking unneccessary questions.
(Ithaf of Allama Zabedi-the commentary of Ihya ul Uloom)
Abu Dhar (Radiallahu 'anhu) narrates: I went to Rasulullah (Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) and said: O RasulAllah! Advise me. He mentioned a long Hadith till he said: Observe prolonged silence, for this drives away the Shaitan and helps you in your Religious affairs.
Abu Dhar said: Advise me more. He said: Avoid too much laughing, for indeed it brings death to the heart, and removes the Nur (light) of the face. (Baihaqi)
Bilal ibne-Harith Al-Muzani (Radiyallahu 'anhu), a companion of Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam narrates: I heard Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam saying: One of you says something that pleases Allah, which he does not deem important, but by this saying, Allah destines His pleasure for him till the Day of Resurrection. And someone of you says something that displeases Allah, which he does not deem important, but by this saying, Allah destines His displeasure for him till the Day of Resurrection.
(Tirmidhi with a grading of Hasan-Sahih)
Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri (Radiyallahu 'anhu) narrates that Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: A man says such a word considering it to be insignificant and only to make people laugh, by which he plunges himself into the depth of Hell to a distance more than that between the earth and the sky. (Musnad Ahmad)
Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam wasallam said: A man speaks a word pleasing to Allah, without considering it of any importance, yet Allah exalts him
in ranks for it. And a man speaks a word displeasing to Allah, without considering it of any importance, due to which he falls into Hell. (Bukhari)
Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: A man speaks something thoughtlessly because of which he falls deep into Hell to a distance more than that between the East and the West. (Muslim)
Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, should speak what is good or be silent. (Bukhari)
Umme Habiba Radiyallahu 'anha, wife of Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam, narrates that Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: The words of the son of Adam are against him except enjoining good, forbiding evil or remembering Allah. (Tirmidhi)
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radiyallahu 'anhuma narrates that Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: Do not speak too much except in glorifying Allah, for talking too much without remembering Allah causes hardness of the heart. And amongst the people farthest away from Allah are those, whose hearts are hard. (Tirmidhi)
Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: It is enough for a man to be a sinner that he relates whatever he hears. (Abu Dawud)
Anas ibn Malik Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that a Sahabi died, and a man said (addressing the dead): Glad tidings of Paradise to you. Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam told him: How do you know? Perhaps he spoke something irrelevant or was miserly about something which would cause him no loss. (Tirmidhi)
Abu Sa'id Khudri Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that a man came to Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam and said: O Rasulallah! Advise me. He advised (amongst other things): Protect your tongue except for good. Undoubtedly, by this you will overcome Shaitan. (Majma-'uz-Zawaid with a Hasan chain)
Let us analyze our personal activities, meetings, pastimes and hobbies, and honestly ask ourselves whether each of them will really benefit us in this world and the Hereafter. Perhaps then, Insha Allah, we can take steps towards “honorably avoiding” the useless ones, replacing them with lofty righteous deeds that will benefit us, and others, both in this world and the hereafter.