Luqman the Wise said to his son, “If speech is like silver – silence is gold”
Part 2 of Imam Ghazali’s short, but immensely powerful work – The Beginning of Guidance – deals with “refraining from disobedience”. In this part he deals with, amongst other things, the Sins of the Limbs and from those he makes mention of the Tongue. He spends more time dealing with this limb than he does with the other six (ears, eyes, private parts, stomach, hands and feet). You may ask why? To which he answers, “The tongue is the part of the body most able to overpower both you and other creatures”.
He mentions a hadith, “A martyr was killed in battle and someone said of him, “how lucky he is, he has earned paradise!” The Prophet (SAW) said, “How do you know, it may be that he used to speak of that which did not concern him, or was miserly over things which were of no benefit to him anyway.”
If martyrdom is a sure way of getting into paradise without “passing go and collecting £200” then it goes to show the danger we face from our tongue. This is why he said we have to strive “with all our might” to control the tongue.
From this our teachers have said that the best way to do this is to train ourselves to remain silent, which in our time is very difficult. To help us, our teachers have given the following seven benefits for staying silent i.e. speaking when necessary:
- Silence is a form of worship, when the right intention is made.
- Silence is a type of adornment (zeena) without requiring jewels.
- Silence is a means for people to be in awe of you without having political rank.
- Silence is a protection for you without requiring a guardian.
- Silence stops you from having to continuously apologise.
- Silence spares Kiraamul Kaatibeen (angels who write your good and bad deeds) from having to write a lot.
- Silence is a way to veil your own faults.
Each one of these seven benefits can be expanded on to bring out a deep understanding, but it is enough to know that when speaking of being silent, this doesn’t just refer to the tongue, but also to writing (or in our times) typing i.e. on social media/WhatsApp etc.
This is a very small foray into what is a very wide topic. There is an intention inshallah to read through Part 2 of the Beginning of Guidance if Allah gives us to opportunity so that we may derive benefit.
The book can be purchased here and it is an excellent book to have.