I hope we were able to reflect on silence yesterday.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent. –Book 10, Hadith 1511, Sahih Bukhari
Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari reported that the Prophet (SAW) of Allah was asked, ‘Who is the most excellent among Muslims?’ He said, ‘One from whose tongue and hands other Muslims are safe.’ Sahih Muslim Book 18 Hadith 1512
Ibn Umar reported the Prophet (SAW) said: Do not indulge in excessive talk except when remembering Allah. Excessive talking without the remembrance of Allah hardens the heart and those furthest from Allah are those whose hearts are hard. – Tirmidhi Book 18 Hadith 1518
A plethora of quotes exist on silence: ‘Speech is silver but silence is golden’; ‘Let thy speech be better than silence or be silent’; ‘Silence is rarely misquoted’.
For us to acquire knowledge, we must listen (or read) first, then reflect on it. Learning cannot be achieved without silence. Most importantly, if we keep silent, the angels Raqib and Atid have nothing to record against us.
There are various ways our speeches can be offensive or harmful. I will enumerate some in sha Allah.
• Describing a sister to a man (even our husbands) such that he can visualise her
• Caustic comments: This deserves to be expounded upon. It is very common online. Hiding under the cloak of anonymity, we insult celebrities or popular personalities, belittle their achievements, curse them, and ridicule their families. Often times, the vitriolic comments spill to the blogger and the commenters on the blog or website. If you have nothing positive to say or write, don’t say/write anything at all. If you really have to, do so with manners and no name calling. Also, our children and spouses also do not need to have their ears filled with our negativism. We should watch what we say to them because we have the power to hurt them immensely with our words.
• Gossip, slander, backbiting, and sharing people’s sins
• Lies in all forms, colours and sizes
• Complaints (nagging) and ingratitude
• The manner we speak should not be in a coarse, loud offensive manner displeasing to people.
There are many other ways we sin with our tongues but we should try as much as possible to exercise restraint instead of giving our tongues free rein. Our speech should be gracious, helpful, forgiving, courteous, encouraging, complimenting, tactful and honest. If we cannot manage that, then we should strongly consider being silent.