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Limits to Obscenity

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Alimah Siddiqa al-Farsiyyah


Assalamu Alaykum respected Mufti,

In light of these few narrations below, I would like to know what are the conditions to be obscene? Is it when a person insults? Is there a limit? What are the rules? What is the best conduct and what is the worst conduct to stand up to a situation like this? Is it forbidden under any circumstances? Can you please enlighten me on this? JazakAllah Khair

1. البذاء والبيان شعبتان من النفاق

“Being vulgar/obscene and [excessive] talking are two branches of hypocrisy.”

Imam Tirmidhi (rahimahullah) has recorded this Hadith on the authority of Sayyiduna Abu Umamah (radiyallahu ‘anhu). He has declared the Hadith sound (hasanun gharib).(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2027)

2. “There is nothing weightier than a good character on the Day of Judgment on the scales of a Believer, and Allah dislikes the obscene and lewd person.”

Imam Tirmidhi (rahimahullah) has recorded this Hadith on the authority of Sayyiduna Abud Darda (radiyallahu ‘anhu).

(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2002, declared authentic –hasanun sahih– by Imam Tirmidhi)

3. Sayyiduna Abud Darda (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“There is no action weightier on the scales of a believer on the Day of judgment than good character and verily Allah detests one who is obscene and uses indecent language.”

(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2002, declared authentic by Imam Tirmidhi -rahimahullah-) 


بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


The Prophet ﷺ has said: “Hayā and ‘Iyy are two traits of faith, while Badhā and Bayān are two traits of hypocrisy.” [Tirmidhī, Babun Fil ʿIyy]

In the above Hadīth, hayā refers to modesty and bashfulness. This can have many forms: being modest in attire, character, and speech. ʿIyyu refers to being moderate in speech; speaking only when necessary, using well-mannered words. Both of these traits have been labeled as the traits of a believer because a believer is always vigilant when he speaks and wary of the words that come out of his mouth.

On the other hand, badhā refers to vulgar and inappropriate language, one of the traits of a hypocrite. Bayān refers to someone who speaks excessively without filtering his speech. Excessive futile speech leads to many sins such as backbiting, lying, swearing, etc., therefore it is not recommended. The Prophet ﷺ has labeled these two traits as the traits of a hypocrite to express the severity and seriousness of these two lowly traits.

To conclude, one should absolutely abstain from these traits and make consistent du’ā to Allāh Ta’ālā for protection against them. The sharī’ah has not laid any conditions to permit being obscene rather it is unconditionally prohibited. Rather, we are encouraged to pardon, forgive, or leave the matter of the ones who oppress us to Allāh Ta’ālā.[1]

Only Allah knows best

Written by Alimah Siddiqa al-Farsiyyah

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

[1] Jāmi’ Tirmidhī, Naf’ Qūtil Mughtadhī (‘Allāmah Kashmīrī) pg. 22, Qadīmī Kutub Khānah

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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