The Holy Quran provides guidance on the proper and effective use of freedom of speech.
“'Go, thou (Moses) and thy brother (Aaron), with My Signs, and slacken not in remembering Me. Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, for he has transgressed all bounds. But speak to him a gentle speech, haply he might heed or fear.' They replied, ‘Our Lord, we fear lest he commit some excess against us, or exceed all bounds in transgression.’ God said, 'Fear not; for I am with you both. I hear and I see.'” (20:42/43-46/47)
“And revile not those whom they call upon beside Allah, lest they, out of spite, revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus, unto every people have We caused their doing to seem fair…” (6:108/109)
Luqman advised his son, “And walk thou at a moderate pace, and lower thy voice; verily, the most disagreeable of voices is the braying of the ass.” (31:20)
“And good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with that which is best. And lo, he between whom and thyself was enmity will become as though he were a warm friend.” (41:34/35)
“O ye who believe! enter not the houses of the Prophet unless leave is granted to you for a meal,—not waiting for its appointed time. But enter when you are invited, and when you have finished eating disperse, without seeking to engage in talk. That causes inconvenience to the Prophet, and he feels shy of asking you to leave. But Allah is not shy of saying what is true…” (33:53/54)
“O ye who believe! raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him, as you speak aloud to one another, lest your works become vain while you perceive not.” (49:2/3)
“Allah likes not the uttering of unseemly speech in public, except on the part of one who is being wronged. Verily, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (4:148/149)
“O ye who believe! let not one people deride another people, haply they may be better than they, nor let women deride other women, haply they may be better than they. And defame not your own people, nor call one another by nicknames. Bad indeed is evil reputation after the profession of belief; and those who repent not, such are the wrongdoers.” (49:11/12)
“O ye who believe! fear Allah and say the straightforward word. He will set right your actions for you and forgive you your sins. And whoso obeys Allah and His Messenger, shall surely attain a mighty success.” (33:70/71-72)
I appreciate greatly that by now The Forum has published over a hundred of my letters and articles explaining the teachings of Islam. My prayers are with The Forum staff and management, especially Angie and Matt, for their success in helping to create a just and equitable society through balanced journalistic practices. I am grateful to the readers who appreciated my writings and encouraged me to continue to write, and the readers who provided suggestions to improve my writings.
Ahmad is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion pages. He has translated, compiled and co-authored “A Gift for the Queen,” “Points to Ponder,” “Why Islam is my choice” and “Words of Wisdom.” He lives in Jamestown, N.D., and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org