Silence Speech and Toungue

Silence by Aytullah Makarim Shirazi pdf

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Silence: the Mark of a Believer Nadir Amirali

 He who speaks more commits more errors. He who commits more errors becomes shameless. He who is shameless will have less fear of Allah. He whose fear of Allah is less, his heart dies. He whose heart dies enters the fire. He who knows that his speech is also a part of his action speaks less except where he has some purpose." – Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him)
There are numerous authentic traditions attributed to the Holy Household of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them) on the importance of silence. In fact, silence was one of the very characteristic qualities of the companions of the Prophets and Imams as well as the Prophets and Imams themselves. It is one of the many important qualities one must acquire in his quest for the Divine. It is a sign of many virtues such as a strong intellect (Aql) and wisdom. Therefore, we should strive to make silence one of the defining qualities of our personality.
What is so good about silence that the Ahlul Bayt stressed its importance to the faithful? It must be more than a mere absence of noise. One might notice among friends that silence is avoided, even feared. So much so, in fact, that when there is a gap of silence during a conversation, someone will say something nonsensical just to escape the unbearable void of awkwardness. Still, what's the big deal about silence?
Silence cultivates one's spirituality and feeling of nearness to Allah. The more we adopt the practice of silence in our lives, the more beautiful we will find it to be. Let us elaborate on some of its benefits.

First and foremost, tranquility. Every morning, if one allocates even a quarter of an hour to the practice of silence before going to work or school, he will face the challenges of the day ahead in a positive manner. If one lets the silence permeate into every single part of his body, the feelings of anxiety and stress will disappear. Similarly, after a hard day's work, or just ten minutes before prayer time, if one devotes a few minutes to silence, he will find it easier to concentrate during his worship. He will feel closer to Allah.

Simply put, shut your mouth and open your mind. Wherever you go, whatever you do, don't say a word. Just observe what you're doing and what others are doing. Observe everything. Don't judge, just watch quietly and absorb everything around you. Eventually, if you do this for long enough, you will find yourself organizing and sifting through all those thoughts in your head. You will discard the rubbish, and you will save the jewels. You will think about your experiences and the experiences of others, and you will extract valuable lessons that will help you in life. You will begin to see Allah's beauty in every single thing, be it your fingers on the keyboard or the waves in the sea. You begin – there is no other way to put this – to understand.

Imam Ali says that the wiser man is, the less he will speak. Think about this for a second. Wisdom will come about as you reflect on the nature of everything. You'll adopt silence because it's the smart thing to do: silence guards secrets, silence controls the tongue, silence gets rid of nonsense (in your head as well as in your speech), silence sharpens the wit, and silence increases the value of your words. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said that one who knows the value of his speech will also know the value of silence. In fact, if one adopts silence, he will value his speech and therefore guard it like he guards his wealth.

Finally, silence strengthens one's Aql. The carnal self (the Nafs) thrives on foolishness. It feeds on impulsive and thoughtless actions, and therefore, speech. Realize, as our holy Imam says, that your speech is a part of your action. If you think before you act, you will think before you speak. If you think before you speak, you will stop saying foolish things accidentally. You will stop unintentionally revealing your secrets (and the secrets of others). Furthermore, silence gives one control over his emotions, especially anger. It is said that anger is a type of madness. Subdue that anger with silence, and you will put an end to a great many detrimental things in your life.
Some ways to adopt silence in your life

Insha'Allah, if we decide to adopt the way of silence, we will find ourselves tearing one more veil that separates us from our Creator. And surely He knows best.


H a d i t h Articles/Extracts Related to speech ::-   BACKBITING |  Taqiayah    /   LYING

5ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ لِقَنْبرٍ وقد رامَ أن يَشتِمَ شاتِمَهُ ـ: مَهْلاً يا قَنبرُ ! دَعْ شاتِمَكَ مُهاناً تُرْضِ الرَّحمنَ وتُسخِطُ الشَّيطانَ وتُعاقِبُ عَدُوَّكَ ، فَوَالذي فَلَقَ الحَبَّةَ وبَرَأ النَّسَمَةَ ما أرضَى المؤمنُ رَبَّهُ بِمِثلِ الحِلْمِ ، ولا أسخَطَ الشَّيطانَ بِمِثلِ الصَّمتِ ، ولا عُوقِبَ الأحمَقُ بمِثلِ السُّكوتِ عَنهُ.

5– Imam Ali (AS) said to Qanbar when he wished to insult a man who had insulted him, 'Careful Qanbar! Leave your insulter to his disdain and you will please the Beneficent Lord, displease Satan and punish thereby your enemy, for by the One who split the grain and created the breeze, there is no stance better than clemency with which a believer can please his Lord, and nothing like silence to offend Satan, and an idiot is best punished by ignoring him.’[Amali al-Mufid, p. 118, no. 2]


6ـ الإمامُ الكاظمُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ لَمّا رَأى رَجُلَينِ يَتَسابّانِ ـ: البادِي أظلَمُ ، ووِزرُهُ ووِزرُ صاحِبِهِ علَيهِ ما لَم يَعتَدِ المَظلومُ.

6– Imam al-Kazim (AS) when he saw two people insulting each other, said, 'The initiator is the more unjust and bears his own sin as well as the sin of his opponent as long as the latter does not retort.’[Tuhaf al-`Uqoul, no. 412]

From Nahjul Balagah

Imam Ali (a.s.) says:   لاَ خَيْرَ فِيْ الصُّمْتِ عَنِ الْحُكْمِ كَمَا اَنَّهُ لاَ خَيْرَ فِيْ الْقَوْلِ بِالْجَهْلِ

Neither the silence of a wise man nor the speech of an ignorant has any profit.Nahjul Balaaghah, aphorisms.

Brief description

God has urged those who are informed and learned not to remain silent against deviations, misbehavior, injustices and divisive actions of enemies. They should radiate the light of guidance, truth and justice on the hearts through their warm and reasonable logic and expression. Everybody is considered informed and responsible for what he knows, although it may be little. On the other hand, those who do not have sufficient information should not mislead people through their improper interference. That silence and this speech both cause misfortune.


When Allah wishes to bless His servant, then He helps him in controlling his tongue.

Instead of finding faults in others, Allah keeps him busy in looking at his own defects.

Those who speak less, their intelligence is complete and their hearts are pure.

Those who speak more, their intelligence is incomplete and their hearts are hard.



A God-fearing man’s tongue should be behind his heart.

First, he should think, then he should speak justly. Otherwise he should keep quiet.

A Munafik acts just the opposite of this. He keeps talking rubbish. He is not worried about what he is talking.

(Nahjul Balagah)


"The human tongue does a favor on other parts of the body every day. It inquires about their condition. The parts of body say: If you spare us, we will remain in good condition. They beg for Allāh’s mercy and say that if they are rewarded, it is because of the tongue and if they are punished, it is also because of the tongue.”Imam Hussain (as) [Reference:  Iqbal al-A`amal, page  299]

Surah An-Nur - Verses 15-18

إِذْ تَلَقَّوْنَهُ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَ تَقُولُونَ بِأَفْواهِكُمْ ما لَيْسَ لَكُمْ بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَ تَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّناً وَ هُوَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ (15) وَ لَوْ لا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ قُلْتُمْ ما يَكُونُ لَنا أَنْ نَتَكَلَّمَ بِهذا سُبْحانَكَ هذا بُهْتانٌ عَظِيمٌ (16) يَعِظُكُمُ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَعُودُوا لِمِثْلِهِ أَبَداً إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ (17) وَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآياتِ وَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (18)
15. “When you received it with your tongues, and uttered with your mouths what you had no knowledge of, and you counted it a trifle; while in the sight of Allah it is very great.”
16. “And why did you not, when you heard it, say: ‘It is not right of us to speak of this: glory be to You (O’ Lord)! This is a great calumny’?”
17. “Allah admonishes you that you should never repeat the like of it for ever, if you are (true) believers.”
18. “And Allah makes clear to you the signs: and Allah is knowing, Wise.”

As a matter of fact this holy verse explains the previous discussion that how they were carelessly involved in this great sin. It implies that you may remember the time when you welcomed this great lie and you used to receive this rumour from the tongues of each other; and you used to utter something with your mouths that you had not any knowledge about it.
You considered it a tiny thing while it is very great with Allah.
The verse says: “When you received it with your tongues, and uttered with your mouths what you had no knowledge of, and you counted it a trifle; while in the sight of Allah it is very great.”

Actually this verse refers to their 3 great sins that were related to the affair:
First, they embraced and admitted this rumour by taking it from the tongues of each other.
Second, they spread this rumour and recited it for others, while they were not certain of it.
Third, they regarded it as an easy trifle act. It was not only about the reputation and honour of two Muslims, but also it involved the reputation of the Islamic society (thinking too little of rumour and using it as an amusing tool).

It is interesting that in one place the phrase(“...with your tongues...”)is used and in another place the phrase (“...with your mouths...”)is used.

Although all words are uttered through tongue and mouth, the verse refers to the matter that neither their admission nor their distribution of this rumour was based on any reason. They only fell back on words that were nonsense, baseless and resulted from the movement of the tongue and the mouth.
Sines this event was a very important incident but a group of Muslims had considered it trifle, it is again in this verse emphasized, and they are once more faced with reprimand and their souls are scourged more firmly.
It says:“And why did you not, when you heard it, say: ‘It is not right of us to speak of this: glory be to You (O’ Lord)! This is a great calumny’?”
In fact they were rebuked, because they did not regard the accused ones with a good consideration, but here it is said that not only they must regard them good, but also they must not have expressed such a calumny, let alone they themselves proceed to spread it.

They must have got wondered at such a great calumny. They must have remembered the pureness of Allah and have sought refuge to Him for being not involved in spreading this rumour of calumny.
Nevertheless, they took it lightly by saying it is easy to do it, and they touched off it, and became the puppet of rumour-mongering and conspiring hypocrites.
We will, if Allah wills, discuss the importance of sinful rumour-mongering and its motivations and how to struggle against it. We will also mention in detail some points in the commentary of later verses.
Since in the next verse the story of ‘’Ifk’ is mentioned and the gloomy agonizing consequences of rumour-mongering and slandering reputation of pure persons are brought up, the Qur’an says:
“Allah admonishes you that you should never repeat the like of it for ever, if you are (true) believers.”
If an individual does not go after such great sins, it means this individual is faithful. As a matter of fact the above verse outlines one of the principles of repentance, because merely being regretful of the past is not enough, and decision for not repeating it in the future must be taken, too.
To give caution that these words are not some common or usual ones and it is Allah, the All-Knowing and Wise, Who has stated this to make some great facts clear.
The next verse explains some crucial truths:
“And Allah makes clear to you the signs: and Allah is knowing, Wise.”
Allah is aware of our needs, evil and good deeds as His knowledge demands and He modulates His commandments and ordinances to it as His Wisdom demands.


Some Points About Tongue

Tongue is the only limb that, because of speaking, does not ache and get tired during man’s lifetime. Its form and size is small, but its crime and sin is great. There are many faithless persons who become Muslim and pure by saying one sentence (testifying that Allah is One and Unique).
And there are many Muslims who become faithless and impure by profaning Allah or denying religion ordinances. On one hand, tongue can bring peace and serenity by telling truth, repeating Allah’s name, praying and advising others.
On the other hand, it can cause annoyance and resentment by irritating and biting others. Tongue is the key of intellect, the light of knowledge, and the simplest and the cheapest means of transmission of all sciences and experiments. Masters of ethics have written many books and papers about tongue.

Some Traditions On Tongue Maladies
1. The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“The salvation of the believer lies in controlling his tongue.”1
2. Imam Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) said:
“One who does not keep his tongue does not protect his faith.”2
3. Imam Sadiq (as) said:
“Do not you get satisfied and pleased that you perform ritual prayers, pay amis-tax, and keep your tongue and then enter Paradise.”3
4. Ibn Abbas said:
“The Messenger of Allah (p.b.uJi.) once said: ‘May Allah bless one who keeps his tongue, knows circumstances of his era, and his way is a straight path’.”4
5. Imam Ali (as) said:
“The slip of the tongue is more painful than the harm of spearhead.”5
6. Imam Ali (as) said:
“The slip of the tongue is the severest perdition.”6
7. The Prophet (S) said:
“The worst person is the one of whose tongue people are afraid.”7
8. Imam Sadiq (as) narrated from his great father, Imam Sajjad Ali-ibn-il-Hussayn (as), who said that his father, Imam Ali (as), retold that the Prophet (S) said:
“Tongue will be so chastised that no other limb will be punished (in that way).
Then the tongue will say:
‘Oh Allah, you have punished me in a way that none of other limbs has been chastised so.’
Allah will say:
‘You, tongue, have uttered words that have reached east and west and because of that many honorable bloods have been shed, people’s properties are plundered, and people’s reputation is marred. I swear by My Glory that I punish you in a way that I have not chastised other limbs’.”8
9. Imam Ali (as) said:
“Hell-dwellers are inspire because of tongue, and the dead will merit and deserve light because of tongue. Then keep your tongue and make it busy with uttering Allah’s name.”9
10. Imam Ali (as) said:
“The tongue is a beast of prey. If you release it, it attacks and bites.”10
11. Imam Ali (as) said:
“There are many persons whose tongue caused them annihilation.”11
12. The Prophet (S) said:
“Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand people are saved, and believer is the one to whom people can entrust their blood and properties.”13

1 ’Usul-i-Kafi, No. 3, p. 178
2 Qurar ul-Hikam, Vol. 2, p. 744
3 Al-Mahasin ul-Barqi, p. 166
4 Kanz ul-’A‘mal, Vol. 6, p. 553
5 Nasikh ut-Tawarikh, Vol. 6, p. 205
6 Qurar ul-Hikam, Vol. 1, p. 428
7 Bihar, Vol. 72, p. 281
8 Mostadrak ul-Wasa’il, Vol. 3, p. 174 & Wasa’il, Vol. 18, p. 10
9 Tuhaf ul-‘Uqul, p. 118
10 Nahj ul-Balaqah, p. 1115
11 Qurar ul-Hikam, Vol. 2, p. 550
12 Sonane Nisa’i, Vol. 8, p. 105