Before the Jumuah khutbah, the khateeb will announce this phrase with other ayaat to start the speech; an ayah from Surah al Ahzab: ayah 70.
“O believers! Be mindful of Allah, and say what is right.”
What we get from this ayah is a command to speak the truth: speech that is clear, straight, and to the point. The root of the word is also used in a phrase describing the flight of an arrow when it hits its mark: not veering this way or that.
This command is connected to everything we say, and is the most important method of communicating well in marriage.
Nothing but the Truth
To speak Qawlan sadeeda is to speak the truth. If we are following this command, we are telling our spouse something that is correct, without exaggeration.
This is hard to do, especially when emotions are high, and we are trying to make a point. If we are trying to win an argument, for example, we may overemphasize how our spouse behaved, what they said, or how it made us feel.
Or we are exaggerating our contribution in order to appear the better spouse. However, since our advice is to not become angry, even in arguments, we must speak the truth, even if it’s against us.
What is better is to say what actually happened, or exactly what was said and how it made you feel. It is always better to side with the truth. It will literally set you free: stretching the truth nearly always leads to greater and greater lies, and hurt feelings when the truth eventually comes to light.
Something in the Words
Perhaps you have noticed that telling the absolute truth can sometimes be out of place, or even hurtful.
This is also true. This is why the Qawlan Sadeeda also carries the meaning of speaking properly, in context, and what is appropriate at the time. A healthy measure of wisdom must enter situations in which we speak with our spouses.
It is possible to speak the absolute truth and cause major problems in your marriage! So how can we tread the balance and live by this command, while sparing the feelings of our spouses?
To compound that challenge, we have this hadith:
Asma bint Yazid narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“It is not lawful to lie except in three cases: Something the man tells his wife to please her, to lie during war, and to lie in order to bring peace between the people.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1938)
Consider that to avoid an argument over something that is a small issue, you may avoid answering the absolute truth, or delay it. If it is an issue the truth of which your spouse would never learn, such as your opinion about how something looks, tastes, or smells, then it is better to keep the peace than express your truthful opinion.
The wisdom here is to benefit the relationship and endear your spouse to you. This is also an application of Qawlan Sadeeda, appropriate words at an appropriate time.
Anything in the Heart
If we really think about the ways we stretch the truth: exaggeration, passive-aggressive speech, sarcasm and mocking, we notice an ugly characteristic: harm and insult intended.
In marriage it is enough of a challenge to be understood without adding mean-spirited words to our conversations! Any kind of way of speaking that is intended to cause harm, even if it’s the slightest embarrassment, should be avoided.
The Qawlan Sadeeda is the word that is reality, it is accurate. The intention behind an accurate description of a feeling or situation is to relay information. We already know to bring wisdom about the information in terms of time and place. This aspect of manners is to focus on the way we relay that information.
If we avoid bending our words, especially with the intention to harm our spouse, it is less likely that our words can be taken out of context or misunderstood. Our words stand on their own, accurately expressed, with the best of intentions. Our words are good, and they bring good feelings and good responses.
Everything to gain
What continues after this ayah is our motivation to rid our speech of exaggeration, sarcasm, lying and distortion of all kinds.
“He will bless your deeds for you, and forgive your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, has truly achieved a great triumph.” (33:71)
When we clean up our speech, clean up our hearts, and treasure each word we say and handle the hearts of our spouses with care, Allah will accept this effort from us, and accept our deeds. And when we do make mistakes, Allah will forgive us.
But the last part is the most motivational: obedience to practice Qawlan Sadeeda will bring us the ultimate success: Allah’s pleasure and entrance into Paradise.
So speaking to the point with wisdom and the best of manners and intentions will bring us to Jannah. And how wonderful it would be to enter together with your spouse in Paradise due to how you used to speak to each other.
May Allah gives us the best words, at the best times, in the best of ways as we converse with our spouses.