Speak insightful words (DW#607)

These are they of whom Allah knows what is in their hearts; therefore turn aside from them and admonish them, and speak to them effectual words concerning themselves. [Quran 4:63]

The verse from Sura Nisa teaches the Holy Prophet (saw) how to deal with the hypocrites – those who professed belief with their tongues but harboured resentment and ill will towards the Prophet (saw). They were perhaps the most challenging enemy that he dealt with because they posed as friends and used covert means rather than open warfare to try and derail his mission. 

The Prophet (saw) is instructed to turn away from these disbelievers—that is, to avoid openly punishing them. Instead, he is to admonish them and seek to persuade them with penetrating words rather than confronting them aggressively with force. 

Scholars explain that turning away here may also mean to refuse to accept their excuses. Instead, he is to politely but firmly speak to them with Qawlan Baleegha, penetrating words, words that have the impact of reaching their very souls because of their clarity and decisiveness. 

This verse is a great example of how to deal with people who use deviousness, wiles and unworthy tactics in communication to bully or intimidate. It may not be effective to confront them on their lies openly, since they are likely to deny or accept responsibility for their words or actions.

But this does not mean that we accept their excuses or their aggression. We need to speak with confidence, insight and authority about what we believe in. We must not allow our politeness and respect for others to be mistaken for weakness or fear. 

In this climate of Islamaphobia and hate-mongering, let us practice using Qawlan Baleegha to stand up for ourselves with respect and dignity. 

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