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Explanation of ‘fahish’ and ‘mutafahish’

Question

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) never used bad language, neither a “Fahish” nor a “Mutafahish”. He used to say ‘The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character.”

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 3559)

In the context of the above Hadith, does “Fahish” refer only to sexual bad language? Furthermore, what is meant by “Mutafahish”?

 

Answer

A range of different meanings have been attributed to the word فحش (Fuhsh) and its derivatives.  Having taken into consideration the context of this Hadith, many of the Muhaddithun have stated that the word فاحش (Fahish) is in reference to all statements and actions deemed lewd and indecent; it is not only restricted to words having a sexual connotation.

Furthermore, it has been mentioned that a person is considered “Fahish” when immorality and obscenity has become a normal part of his character (i.e he himself is immoral). A “Mutafahish”, on the other hand, is one who, despite not being innately immoral, does something immoral or obscene intentionally.

(An-Nihayah, vol.2 pg. 345, Sahih Muslim with Al-Minhaj, Hadith: 5987, Fathul Bari, Hadith: 3559, Mirqat, Hadith: 5820, Tajul Urus, vol. 9 pg. 157, Tuhfatul Ahwadhi, Hadith: 2016; Also see: Shamail Tirmidhi, with commentary of Al-Bajuri, Hadith: 347)

 

In light of the above, it is understood that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was neither an innately immoral person nor did he ever act immoral; immorality and obscenity had never once emanated from his blessed statements or actions.

 

And Allah Ta’ala knows best

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar