Importance of Silence
Silence is one of the qualities of the successful Believers mentioned in the Holy Quran. This implies that one must stay silent and steer clear of the unnecessary conversations. As Allah says in Quran:
قَدْ اَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُوْنَ۔ الَّذِیْنَ ھُمْ فِیْ صَلاَتِھِمْ خَاشِعُوْنَ۔ وَ الَّذِیْنَ ھُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُوْنَ۔
Meaning: Certainly, the believers have attained their goal. Those who become humble and submissive in their prayers, and those who (always) keep away from absurd talk. (23:1-3)
Why is Silence Important?
Tongue is one of the important organs of the body. It is both good and bad. Man uses tongue to call Allah’s name, to accept Islam, invite towards righteousness and perform other virtuous deeds. Contrarily, tongue is also used to say the words in denial of truth, sins like backbiting, lies are also committed by tongue. Not to forget that a person indulges in immoral conversations using tongue as well. Therefore, it is important to watch one’s tongue before speaking.
One Must Use One’s Tongue Wisely
Abu Huraira narrates that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Meaning: A slave of Allah may utter a word, without giving it much importance, but it may please Allah and He may raise him to degrees of reward. Contrarily, a slave of Allah may utter a word from his mouth carelessly, without thinking of its gravity and it may displease Allah and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell. (Bukhari 6478)
Why One Must Avoid Unnecessary Talks
As a result of over talking, one may utter such words from one’s tongue which can create troubles.. Holy Prophet pbuh said:
“A person may slip because of his tongue than his feet.”
A lot of people instead of observing silence indulge in absurd talks and engross in needless gossips. A talkative person may unconsciously involve himself in sins even if he is talking relevant. This is because once a person starts speaking needless, it is easier for him to get off the hook and utter such words with his tongue which may distant him from Allah. Therefore, it is better to remain quiet.
Silence Per Al-Ghawth Al-Azam RA
About the importance of observing silence Abdul Qadir Jilani said:
“O people! Let go of the immoral desires and indulge in the remembrance of Allah. Talk to the one who benefits you and keep quiet in front of the ones who may harm you. Think before you speak and then utter the words with good intentions. This is why, a wise person once said that the tongue of the ignorant is ahead of him while the tongue of the intellectual and wise is behind heart.
Observe silence! When Allah wants you to speak, He will let you speak. When He wants you to do something, He will grant you the ability to do it.
Why is Silence so Powerful?
Silence is the key to His accompaniment and love. When you reach the ultimacy of silence, then it’s up to Allah whether He grants you the ability to speak or grants you silence till the last breath.
The following hadith of the Holy Prophet pbuh implies towards it:
مَنْ عَرَفَ اللّٰہَ فَقَدْ کَلَّ لِسَانُہٗ
Meaning: One who recognizes his Holy Lord observes silence.
When a person does not object anything destined to him from Allah, then he becomes silent. Meaning neither he utters words of objection, nor he complains in his inward. He does not resist anything from Allah because of which he eloquently performs all of his tasks and surrenders to the will of Allah in every condition.
Power of Silence
In Minhaj-ul-Abideen, Imam Ghazali condemns the unnecessary, absurd talks and emphasizes on the importance of silence because of the following four reasons:
- The noble recorder angels (Kiraman Katibin) jot down all the absurd talking a person does. Therefore, he must try to refrain from such talk and not bother the angels about writing one’s absurd conversation.
- Secondly, it is not nice to appear in the court of Allah with a logbook filled with our deeds of absurd talking. Therefore, one must avoid lose talk.
- On the Day of Judgement, man will be ordered to read his deeds in the court of Allah in front of all of His creation. At the time, man will be surrounded by the dreadful challenges of the day of Judgement. To name a few, he will be in the misery of thirst, pain of being naked in front of everyone and lack all comforts. In such miserable conditions, imagine how painful will it be to read one’s deed book full of absurd conversations. Hence, one must utter good words with his tongue.
- The fourth reason is that on the Day of Judgement, man will be confronted and mortified about his bizarre talk. He will not have a valid reason for it so he will be ashamed in the court of Allah. (Minhaj-ul-Abideen)
The aforementioned discussion concludes that man should observe silence and refrain from needless talks. As a lot of such conversations may take him to hell fire. This is why, scholars say; latch on to three habits which are: speak less, sleep less and eat less. As these traits are very dangerous and may harm the person.
Silence per Sultan Bahoo RA
Sultan Bahoo has liked silence and has emphasized on its importance in his books. In one of his books, he says:
When the inward gains the power of speech and starts invoking the name of Allah, the tongue stops talking. Then the immortal Mystic remains engrossed in the state of meditation and gets inspirations from Allah every moment. Whoever is perpetually doing the invocation of Allah prefers to remain quiet and does not talk about the worldly matters or desires. Mystics observe silence and there are seventy thousand wisdoms in silence, and in every wisdom, there are further seventy thousand wisdoms. Here, wisdom means gnosis of “none but Allah” and the command of Allah.
Sultan Bahoo further says that the Fakir remains silent as he is at the level of Totality. As said in Hadith:
Meaning: One who finds Allah, finds everything.
Types of Silence
Sultan Bahoo says:
Silence is of several types. Some people with dead soul adopt silence out of cunningness and pretence while the Mystics are silent due to their gnosis of “none but Allah” and Tauheed. (Kaleed ul Tauheed)
First Type of Silence
- Know that there are four kinds of silence; first is the silence of the arrogant and cruel worldly people who do not talk to the humble, oppressed and Fakir due to the haughtiness of their inciting self.
Second Type of Silence
- Second kind of silence is adopted to hide one’s shortcomings. Such a person uses his silence for self-exhibition and is like a self-seller. Outwardly, he displays himself as a composed person but inwardly he is perplexed because of lack of gnosis of Allah. Piety of such people is just a deceit and wile. They create the illusion of their knowledge through silence, superficial clemency and peaceful attitude and use it as a snare to trap people, but in fact, it is just out of their arrogance.
Third Type of Silence
- Third is the silence of those who are ever attentive towards their alive inward which is engrossed in concentration, invocation, reflection and meditation. Such an inward perpetually remains with Allah and gets inspirations about the Divine command “Be‟ and messages from the day of Divine covenant. They remain silent because their eyes are ever occupied in having the candid vision of Allah and they are conjoined in Divine propinquity.
Fourth Type of Silence
- Fourth is the silence of those who behold Allah unveiled and whose souls are passionately blazing due to His ardent love. They suffer agonies for the Beloved and have absorbed themselves in the gnosis of Allah forgetting their self, the creation, Satan and the world. Such silence is mandatory upon the immortal Mystics who are immersed in Divine Oneness and light of vision of Allah. Silence is their seclusion with Allah. Spiritually, they are ecstatic for Allah but physically they are vigilant in following sharia and repent thousand times from heresy and disobeying sharia. Their invocation contains boundless passion for Allah which makes them unique with Allah. Talking uselessly and excessively causes spiritual demotion. The imperfects have no gnosis of Allah as they are void of the wisdom gained through Divine presence and closeness of Allah.
There is another kind of outward silence which apparently is not as dangerous. However, it can hinder inward or spiritual progression. In this kind the seeker does not utter word from his tongue, but worldliness is the center of attention of his thoughts and inward. Even when he indulges in the inward conversation with Allah, his talks about his worldly desires and matters or complaints to Allah.
Silence Reveals Secrets of Allah
Sultan Bahoo says:
ہر کہ گوید غیر او شد خر آواز
خاموشی خلوت خانہ شد حق براز
Explanation: Whoever keeps talking about other than Allah, his voice becomes like that of donkey. Silence is seclusion with Allah in which He reveals His secrets.
In another piece of poetry, Sultan Bahoo says:
سر ز تن گردد جدا سخنش مگو
عارفان ہمسخن با حق گفتگو
Explanation: The Mystics keep conversing with Allah and never reveal the Divine secrets even if people behead them.
Allah turns the inward of the talkative person stoned and callous while the believers are soft hearted people.
Silence is the Key to all Worships
Sultan Bahoo says:
Silence is the key to all worships and is the home at the station beyond all stations. Verily, it is the Kindness of Allah and is the fortification against the Satan. Silence makes one the best of all humans and is the way of Prophets. Silence gives salvation from the hell fire. Also silence grants closeness of Allah and immerses in the Divine light of Tauheed. (Kaleed ul Tauheed Kalan)
Hippocrates, a Greek scholar once saw a very talkative man and said, “Allah created man with one tongue and two ears so he can speak less and hear more.”
In the path of Faqr (Sufism), silence has great importance rather is it the foundation of Faqr. As silence allows man to ponder and contemplate, which in turn helps him achieve the ultimate goal of life.
Silence is such worship which angels cannot keep an account of and Satan cannot defeat it. Rather it is an act between man and his Lord. One must adopt silence so Allah can protect one against the evils of the tongue. If people absolve themselves of the evils of tongue such as backbiting, blaming, accusation and lying then they are left with nothing but silence, which is the greatest worship.
In short, man must stay quiet in all circumstances as this saves him from troubles and harms. The evils from the use of tongue are enormous and it is very hard to save oneself from them. Therefore, it is better to remain silent. A wise man once said:
“Physically tongue is very small but the sins it can commit are enormous.”
May Allah grant us the ability to use our words wisely and keep us away from ill talk. Ameen
This article is the English translation of the Urdu article Khamoshi ki Fazilat, penned by Faqiha Sabir Sarwari Qadri. Miss Fatima Noor Sarwari Qadri translated it in English with some changes.