Answered by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher
Your question seems to be, "How can Allah Most High take me to task for something that I don't know is wrong?" The answer is that Allah Most High has not left us in the dark: he only takes us to task after explaining to us what we are responsible for: He says in the Quran, "Allah would never lead a people astray after He has guided them, until He makes clear to them that against which they should be upon their guard." (Quran, 9:115)
Allah Most High has not only made us responsible for doing or avoiding particular actions, He has also made us responsible for inculcating an attitude of godfearingness (taqwa), which means that we must take our actions seriously and do things carefully by determining beforehand what are the religious consequences of our actions. If someone doesn't take their religion seriously and carelessly and thoughtlessly does whatever pleases them, then they have been negligent and if they thereby do something that is interdicted, their neglect and lack of concern is a sin over and above the sin that they fell into.
Scholars explain that the intent of this hadith is similar to the intent of the verse, "You deem it slight, but in the sight of God it is grave!" (Quran, 24:14)  Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi explained this verse in his Quranic commentary by saying, "The gravity of a sin is not reduced by the thought or estimation of the one who commits it; this may instead increase the sin's gravity because he was ignorant of its gravity."  In other words, committing the sin is grave enough, neglecting one's responsibility before Allah Most High by not bothering to learn what He expects of one is another sin on top of that.
The message of the hadith, then, is that we should wake up and realize that our life is not mere play and amusement, but a serious matter. We are responsible before our Lord for every single thing that we utter with our tongues. We should therefore learn how the tongue can be used to please our Lord--and then strive to use our tongues in this manner--and how the tongue can be used to displease our Lord--and then strive to avoid using our tongues in this manner.
And Allah Most High knows best.
 Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, Fath al-bari, Chapter: al-Riqaq, Section: Hifz al-lisan
 Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, al-Tafsir al-kabir, Commentary on 24:14
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