Tuesday 1 July 2008

The Benefits of Silence

A good friend and colleague and I once had a conversation over lunch about our gobbiness. We both talked a lot and were very friendly. We both fretted that as Muslim women we were not reserved enough and did not limit our conversation with men enough. In the end we both agreed that it was important to try harder to be conscientious about what we said, but that our friendliness had also made it easier for other sister’s to approach us as well us for non-Muslims to ask us questions.

I also remember a piece of advice my mum gave to a younger cousin of mine who seems to have inherited the same motor-mouth tendencies as I. She told him to stop talking so much as nobody takes seriously the words of someone who never shuts up, whereas when a person who rarely speaks says something, everyone listens. It certainly quietened him for a little while.
I have often worried about my talkativeness, knowing that we will have to give account for our every word. Over time I have come to realise that this is the result of nervousness and the need to fill every silence with activity and words. I am only now starting to realise the incredible power of silence, how it can make some people feel very uncomfortable, how it can allow others to heal.

Silence also gives you the opportunity to do something very few people really have the knack to do properly - listen. Here's an experiment: for one whole day, every time you want to say something stop and think - do the benefits of speaking far outweigh those of staying silent? Every time I have thought of this, I have found that I have stayed silent and benefitted from it, EVERY time without fail.

Something my husband read to me stays with me too. I am not sure of the source or accuracy so forgive me if I am wrong (or better stil correct me), but the words made so much sense. He attributed to Ali (RA): "Whenever I have spoken I have regretted it, whenever I have stayed silent I have benefitted"

And what of my chatterbox cousin? He enrolled for a five-year long alim’s (scholar’s) course and I have found that as his knowledge increases so does his stillness, reserve and quietness. I am sure that this is a good thing, but I must say, I miss his childish talkativeness, but I suppose that is one of the consequences of when your little cousin grows up and becomes ghair-mahram.

"He utters not a word but that a vigilant guardian is at hand" ~Al-Quran 50:18

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Verily, a man sometime utters a good word that pleases Allah, unaware of how highly it will be rewarded, and on its account Allah decrees His Pleasure of him until the Day he meets Him. Similarly, a man might utter a word that angers Allah, unaware of how dreadful its punishment will be, and on its account Allah decrees for him His anger until the Day he meets Him (Uthmani, pg. 160)."

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "He who maintains silence has attained salvation" [Ahmed and Tirmidhi]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:"‘Whoever believe in Allah and the Last Day, let him say what is good or remain silent.’" [Bukhari and Muslim]

1 comment:

  1. A/s Sister,
    I stumbled on your blog yesterday and liked it very much !! I have bookmarked it !!