Is it permissible for a Muslim to swear at, curse or damn another Muslim? How should a person react to those who swear at him?

Details of the Question
Is it permissible for a Muslim to swear at, curse or damn another Muslim? How should a person react to those who swear at him?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Answer 1:

The religion of Islam is against all kinds of bad deeds and hurting others. For, Islam tries to make humans real humans. It elevates man to the level of real humanity. Therefore, Islam gives orders that will lead man to perfection and good deeds; on the other hand, it prohibits the deeds that lead man to disgrace and disgusting things.  

Acting upon this general rule, we can say that swearing, cursing and damning that will offend and disturb others are regarded as haram and sins. For, it is haram to offend a Muslim; it makes a Muslim a sinner. In the religion of Islam, it is forbidden to disturb even an unbeliever if he is innocent because the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“I am the enemy of the one who torments a dhimmi.” (Abu Yusuf, Kharaj, Matbaatu's Salafiyya 1397 h. Cairo, p. 135)

Answer 2:

Hadiths related to swearing at and cursing Muslims:

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "To swear at a Muslim is fisq (transgression, sin) and to fight him is unbelief (kufr)." (Bukhari, Iman 36; Muslim, Iman 116)

"Do not call a person fasiq (transgressor, sinner) or kafir (unbeliever). If the person that is accused is not a fasiq or kafir, the person who utters that word becomes a fasiq or kafir." (Bukhari, Adab 44)

To curse, swear at, speak in a way to offend the person one is addressing means to assault verbally a person's honor, chastity, religion and faith, in short, his human and Islamic values.

In the first hadith, two deeds are dealt with two different terms: "To swear at a Muslim is fisq and to fight him is unbelief." Fisq means to deviate from the true path. This meaning is seen in the following verse clearly: "…and he (Satan) broke the Command of his Lord." (al-Kahf, 18/50) Therefore, deviation from the right path and transgression is expressed by the word fisq. Fasiq means a person who deviated from the right path and a sinner. To fight a Muslim, to try to kill him and to kill him is unbelief.

It is possible to understand and interpret the hadith as follows: "To curse Muslims is the act of sinners and to fight Muslims is the act of unbelievers. Therefore, it is possible for the Muslims who do so to become sinners and unbelievers."

The second hadith draws attention to the danger of accusing others of fisq and unbelief and calling them fasiqs (sinners) and unbelievers. If the person who is accused is really a fasiq or an unbeliever, there is no problem However, if the person who is accused is not really a fasiq or an unbeliever, the one who calls that person a fasiq or an unbeliever becomes a fasiq or an unbeliever.     

Both hadiths point out clearly that it is a major sin to criticize a Muslim unjustly about his religion and belief and to accuse him, by disturbing him; and they ask Muslims to keep away from such deeds that are very dangerous and sinful.

Accordingly, the following issues are in question:

1. To swear at and curse a Muslim, to try to kill a Muslim are deeds of fasiqs and unbelievers.

2. To accuse a Muslim of fisq and unbelief can cause the person who accuses to become a fasiq and an unbeliever.

3. It is haram to hurt and distress a Muslim by words, deeds or any other way.

4. It is necessary for Muslims for their own interests to obey the warnings of the hadiths as much as possible. 

Answer 3:

What is the decree about damning a Muslim?

"The Believers are but a single Brotherhood." (al-Hujurat, 49/10)

As the verse decrees, Muslims are brothers; therefore, let alone, swearing at one another, it was rendered haram for them not to be on speaking terms for more than three days, to backbite, to mock, to give bad names and even to have bad thoughts about one another by verses and hadiths. (See the translation and interpretation of the chapter of al-Hujurat for more information.)

The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

"Do not curse or damn one another by asking the wrath of Allah and Hell." (Abu Dawud, Adab 53, (4906); Tirmidhi, Birr 48, (1977)

"A believer neither curses nor damns; he is neither rude nor shameless." (Tirmidhi, Birr 48)

"Those who damn people a lot cannot intercede on the Day of Judgment; nor can they be martyrs." (Muslim, Birr 85, (2598); Abu Dawud, Adab 53, (4907)

If a person damns another person who does not deserve to be damned, he himself will be damned. The Prophet said,

"Know it very well that if a person damns another person unjustly, he himself will be damned." (Abu Dawud, Adab 53, (4908); Tirmidhi, Birr 48, (1979)

We can understand from the following statement of the Prophet (pbuh) that swearing at and cursing a person is such a disgusting thing and that it is necessary for Muslims to protect one another, not to leave one another under oppression and to cover one another's mistakes:

"Do not have bad thoughts about others. For bad thoughts are the biggest lies. Do not seek other people's sins and mistakes; do not compete against one another; do not be jealous of one another; do not hate one another; do not turn your backs on one another. O slaves of Allah! Be brothers as Allah orders."

A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He does not betray, oppress, deprive or despise him.

It is enough as evil for a person to despise his Muslim brother." (Bukhari, Nikah 45, Adab 57, 58, Faraiz 2; Muslim, Birr 28-34, (2563 - 2564); Abu Dawud, Adab 40, 56, (4882, 4917); Tirmidhi, Birr 18, (1928).

Since damning and cursing are stated to be so dangerous by the Prophet, those that are beyond damning and cursing are more dangerous and they attract Allah's wrath.

A believer does not wish anything but guidance.

Let alone damning a Muslim, the Prophet did not damn or curse a polytheist without any reason. Abu Hurayra narrates: "I said to the Messenger of Allah,

' O Messenger of Allah! Will you curse and damn the polytheists?'

The Messenger of Allah answered, 'I was sent as mercy not as curse.'" (Muslim, Birr 87, (2597)

Answer 4:

How should we react to those who curse and insult us?

It becomes evident that we experience things for the Day of Judgment. Everything man does from bad words to evil deeds, from insulting to injustice, from kindness to respect produces data for the Day of Judgment.

It is haram for a Muslim to swear at another Muslim. It is haram to swear whether a person starts the swearing or swears in response to another person's swearing. If he starts the swearing, he commits a major sin. The Prophet defines a Muslim as follows:

“A Muslim is a person from whose hand and tongue other Muslims are safe.” (Riyadu’s-Salihin, 211)

In a hadith of the Prophet, swearing at a Muslim is included among the social mistakes that lead a Muslim who performed prayers, fasting and zakah but who had bad relationships with others to bankruptcy on the Day of Judgment. (Riyadu’s-Salihin, 218)

The Messenger of Allah states the following regarding the issue:

* “If a person insults you and blames you for something that you do not do, do not insult or blame him even if he has a bad characteristic and commits sins. Leave him with his sins and get rewards from Allah. Do not ever curse anybody.” (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 1/66)

* “A person who believes in Allah does not oppress people when he gets angry. He does not commit a sin for a person he loves. He does not lose or harm anything that is entrusted to him. He is not jealous of anybody. He does not tarnish anybody. He does not curse or damn the people around him. He accepts if he is wrong even if there are no witnesses. He does not call people by bad names.” (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 2/1375)

* “Be careful! To kill a believer is a property of unbelievers. To swear at a believer is a property of unbelievers. It is not permissible for a believer not to be on speaking terms with his believing brother for more than three days.” (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 2/1435)

* “To kill a Muslim fits an unbeliever. It is a sin to swear at a Muslim. (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 3/2912)

* “It is among major sins to defame a Muslim's honor. It is among major sins to swear at a person twice when that person swears at him once.” (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 3/3491)

* “The sin between two persons who swear at each other belongs to the one who starts swearing unless the other person transgresses the boundaries.” (Muslim, Birr, 68)

So, we should not transgress the boundaries. Accordingly, the following points are important:

1- You should not start swearing or cursing.

2- If the other party starts swearing at you, you should show patience if it is possible and you should not fall down to his level. You should refer him to Allah. You should not forget that Allah's justice is absolute.

3- It should be taken into consideration that the person swearing at you may regret and apologize if you do not respond. In that case, his situation will depend on you. If you forgive him, he will be saved from being accounted in the hereafter. If you do not forgive him, you will get your due even if he apologizes. Or, Allah will get your due even if you do not know. Allah will reward you for controlling your temper and maintaining peace.

4- If you cannot keep your temper, you should not respond him by swearing more than he did, which is regarded as oppression.

5- You will hear severe delusions of Satan when you lose your temper. Satan will make you see red. You should take refuge in Allah from being cruel.

6- Unfortunately, the delusions of Satan and the provocations of people coincide. Never heed them.

If the other party starts swearing at you, you can respond him in the same way. However, if you do so, you will not get any rewards in the hereafter since you lose your right by responding him in the same way.

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