Narrates Abu Dhar Ghiffari radiallahu anhu that one day he asked Prophet Sallallahu alaihe wasallam, “O Messenger of Allah! Give me some advice.” The Prophet Sallallahu alaihe wasallam replied:
1) I exhort you to Taqwa, the piety of the Lord for it will embellish your deeds.
2) I exhort you to make a Tilawah and Zikr compulsory for yourself for Tilawah and Zikr will be the cause of your being mentioned in assembly of the angels and there will be light for you on the earth.
3) Cultivate the habit of keeping silence much and talk little for it the domain of Faith.
4) Do not laugh much for it kills the heart and deprives one’s face of radiance.
5) Speak always truth though it may be bitter (for the people).
6) Care not for the reproach of him who reproaches in the path of Allah.
7) What you know about yourself and your inmost self should be enough to prevent you from seeking out the faults of others.
In it the Prophet Sallallahu alaihe wasallam, first of all, advised Abu Dharr radiallahu anhu to adopt Taqwa, observe piety and said that it will purify his action and make them beautiful. Indeed, if a man were to make the fear of Allah the guiding principle of his life, his entire existence would become on of loyalty and submission and both exterior and interior existence would be enriched and get adorned with beauty. The Prophet Sallallahu alaihe wasallam then urges him to recite the Qur’an and celebrate the praises of the Lord much for his name will, thereby, be mentioned in the celestial world. As another saying of the Prophet Sallallahu alaihe wasallam has it: “When the believer remembers Allah in this world, Allah speaks about him in the company of angels.”
Prophet Sallallahu alaihe wasallam has, further told Abu Dharr radiallahu anhu to remain silent most of the time for it is very efficacious in keeping the devil away and also beneficial in many other ways to faith. Falsehood, backbiting, slander, abusiveness, and tale bearing are the commonest of sins. The believer who develops the habit of talking little will, thus, be more successful in guarding his faith against the intrusions of the devil. It should be remembered that what it means is that a person should not engage in vain and unnecessary talk which has no utility here in this world nor in the Hereafter and not that he kept silence just for the sake of it and refrained even from saying things that were good and useful.
The Prophet Sallallahu alaihe wasallam also warned against laughing excessively as it benumbs the heart and makes the face lusterless. The benumbing of the heart denotes that it becomes neglectful and insensitive and a sort of gloom settles over it, an apparent effect which is, that the radiance which is, generally, noticed in the devout believer of Allah, with an awakened soul and illuminated heart, departs from the face.
The last exhortation to Abu Dharr radiallahu anhu is that the anxiety resulting from the awareness of his own faults and transgressions ought to be so overwhelming that it gave him no time to look into or talk about the sins and weakness of others. Anyone who keeps a watch on his own failings and moral and mental processes will always be ready to overlook the defects and shortcoming in other people. He will consider himself to be the worst of sinners. The fault and failings of others are, generally noticed by those who never care to look into themselves.
Although the advice of the Prophet Sallallahu alaihe wasallam is very brief in words, but has a deep and wide meaning. May Allah help all of us to follow the advice of our beloved Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu alaihe wasallam.