People sometimes apologise when they swear in my presence – maybe it’s the Hijab, but even before that, they somehow knew that my perceived delicate tendencies did not appreciate a well-placed F-word.
Sometimes it’s funny when other people swear. I watched this episode of the BlackAdder recently where one of the characters kept saying “damn”! It was quite hilarious because the accent made it sound like “deamm” (similar to how I would say “mehn”).
But constant profanity irks me – especially when it’s a symptom of having a sadly small vocabulary. There are so many cool words out there, we might as well try to use some of them, like…skulduggery, and hugger-mugger and cantankerous and ballyhoo (I’m not sure what ballyhoo means, though it is a real word).
New words are interesting even though I also often don’t know what they mean – take “bae” for instance. I can only ever get a feeble grasp on the meaning of this word, used incessantly on social media. Maybe because it’s new and has a somewhat fluid meaning, it’s hard to capture in a neat definition.
Anyways, I recall something about Islam not approving of profanity (I don’t remember a reference though) and I guess it also has something to do with Hayaa and the fact that we shouldn’t speak too much nonsense. Is it maybe linked to the disapproval of “idle talk”? We should try to mind our language.
Khalid Baig in his essay titled The Value of Words says that pre-Islamic Arab society was very vocal and that the use of words could sink reputations or start wars (if you look quickly, that actually looks like Star Wars!). Islam tamed this beast. We are accountable for all of our words. He said that “it is better to keep silent than to say something bad. And it is better to say something good than to keep quiet.”
People often say that if you have nothing good to say, keep quiet. I tend to forget the corollary: if you have something good to say, say it.