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I am writing a story and want to portray one of the characters as harmful and abusive. I was wondering if I am allowed to have him use vulgar words because it is not me saying it, it is him.

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I cannot think of any reason why this would be impermissible when there's clearly no intention of wrongdoing. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that actions are judged by their intentions. I think people need to avoid asking such questions that make Islam seem narrow-minded and extreme (not aiming this at you, OP; just something I've noticed a lot).

Saheeh Bukhari, Hadith 1

حَدَّثَنَا الْحُمَيْدِيُّ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ سَعِيدٍ الأَنْصَارِيُّ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ التَّيْمِيُّ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ عَلْقَمَةَ بْنَ وَقَّاصٍ اللَّيْثِيَّ، يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَلَى الْمِنْبَرِ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ "‏ إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى، فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى دُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوْ إِلَى امْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِ ‏"‏‏

Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him):

I heard Allah's Apostle (Peace be upon him) saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for."

  • Note that, intention cannot make something haraam halal. – Crimson Nov 12 '18 at 3:49
  • @Crimson You are true there. In this specific case, however, using vulgar words (e.g. swear words) without the intention of abusing someone (which is forbidden according to many ahadeeth/Qur'anic verses) has nothing haraam about it -- at least that is how I view this. (Although I am not a scholar, so do take what I say with a grain of salt) – Sobi M Nov 13 '18 at 8:17

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