The Importance of Silence
Allah says in the Quran:
قَدْ اَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُوْنَ۔ الَّذِیْنَ ہُمْ فِیْ صَلَاتِھِمْ خَاشِعُوْنَ۔ وَالَّذِیْنَ ہُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِمُعْرِضُوْنَ۔ (سورۃ المومنون۔1-3)
Meaning: Certainly, the believers have attained success, those who become most humble and submissive in their prayers, and who always keep away from absurd talk. (Al-Mu’minun:1-3)
Importance of silence in hadiths
The keen study of Hadiths indicates that Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam has ordered to adopt silence and has also informed about its importance.
Following are a few references from the sayings of Prophet Mohammad:
- Adopting silence is better than sixty years of worship. (Mishkat-4865)
- Safety is in ten parts, whereas nine of them are connected to silence.
اَلسَّکُوْتُ تَاجُ الْمُؤْمِنِیْنَ وَرَضَآ ءِ الرَّبِّ ۔
Meaning: Silence is the crown of the true believers and it is Divine consent.
Silence is an easy virtue
Abu Dhar narrates that Prophet Mohammad said the following:
O Abu Dhar! Shall I tell you two deeds that are easy to adopt but heavy on the balance of reward? Abu Dhar said: Certainly! O messenger of Allah! Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam said: first is the elongated silence and second a good disposition. By Allah, there are no two things better than these. (Tirmidhi)
Utter a good word or remain silent
In Bukhari, the following hadith of Prophet Mohammad is narrated with reference to Abu Dhar:
- Whoever believes in Allah and the day of judgement should either utter good words or remain quiet.
Admiration of silence by Sultan Bahoo
Like all Saints Sultan Bahoo has admired silence. He has ordered to adopt it in his various writings and informed about the benefits and harms of silence. In his book Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan, he says the following:
Silence is the key of all worships. It is the home at the station beyond all stations. Silence is the kindness of Allah and is a fortification against the Satan. It makes one the best of all humans. Silence is the way of Prophets. It gives salvation from the hell fire. Silence grants closeness of Allah. It immerses in the Divine light of Oneness (Tawhid). The appreciable silence is that which one adopts while being in the eternal state of observation of Divinity. Such a man of silence resides beyond all stations. Real silence means that the seeker leaves his body and soul and drowns in Divinity at the station of no station. The silence adopted without immersion in Divinity is just a cunning act to attract people. It is a satanic ruse and a deceit of the inciting innerself. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
Another instance of silence by Sultan Bahoo
Sultan Bahoo writes in his book Qurb-e-Deedar:
Silence is the crown of true believers. Whoever kept silent, remained safe and found salvation. Silence grants closeness to Allah. It makes friend of Allah. Silence means conversing with Allah inwardly. It revives the knowledge and brings goodness. Silence is the key to paradise. It is a fortification against the evil of Satan. Silence is wisdom. It is a purity of soul. Silence kills the inciting innerself. It gives life to the inward. Silence is the safety for the soul. It is the light of Divine guidance. Silence is the fruit of faith. Salvation of creation lies in silence. This is seclusion in Divine Oneness. Silence is comprehensive of jamiat(tranquility).
Silence is the basis to elevate inwardly
It is safe to say that silence is a fundamental act to elevate on the path of Faqr. One is not able to perform invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat with breaths unless he adopts silence, neither he can contemplate inwardly. And hence fails to achieve Divine gnosis. The perfect spiritual guide Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:
The Divine Essence is like a seed. This seed flourishes by the contemplation of Ism -e-Allah Zaat. (Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen)
Thus, if one desires that Allah bless him with the Divine vision inwardly then he should invoke Ism-e Allah-Zaat by adopting silence. As, the more we water a plant the more it nourishes.
Thus, Prophet Mohammad says:
اَلسَّکُوْتُ رَأسَ الْاِ سْلَامِ ۔
Meaning: Silence is the fundamental of Islam (true religion).
When one contemplates upon Divine Essence by adopting silence, Allah blesses him with the Divine gnosis inwardly.
Adopt Silence for inward purity
In Hadiths silence is defined to be the one adopted for the sake of contemplation, and to avoid worldly talk, backbiting, complains, arguments, lies, and absurd talk. Only such silence is a worship and not the one which a person adopts as an arrogance.
Types of silence defined by Sultan Bahoo
Sultan Bahoo defines different types of silences like this:
Silence of worldly people
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, Gharib, Miskeen and Fakir due to the haughtiness of their inciting innerself.
Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam said about the oppressed and Miskeen:
اَللّٰھُمَّ اجْعَلْنِیْ مَظْلُوْمًا وَّلَا تَجْعَلْنِیْ ظَالِمًا ۔
Meaning: O Allah make me among oppressed not the oppressors.
اَللّٰھُمَّ اَحْیِیْنِیْ مِسْکِیْنًا وَّ اَمِتْنِیْ مِسْکِیْنًا وَّ احْشُرْنِیْ فِیْ زُمْرَۃِ الْمَسَاکِیْنِ۔
Meaning: O Allah! Let me live as a Miskeen and die as a Miskeen and raise me among the Masakeen on the Doomsday.
Who is Gharib and Miskeen in Mystic terminology?
Gharib (Literally means poor but mystically it refers to the Fakir who has nothing except Allah) is the one who purifies himself of all the undesirable traits such as falsehood, backbiting, filthiness and anger. Shikasta is the one who has put the collar of Allah’s obedience around his neck. Miskeen (literary means indigent or meek person but mystically it refers to the Saint who stays with Allah permanently) is a title given to all Saints by Allah Almighty.
Silence of people hiding their shortcomings
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. Certainly, piety and dervishism of such people are 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.
Silence of people engrossed in invocation of Allah
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.
As Allah says in the Quran:
اَلرَّحْمٰنُ عَلَی الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوٰی (5-طہٰ)
Meaning: He is the Most Compassionate established above the Throne. (Ta-Ha:5)
عرش اکبر دل بود از دل بہ بین
نظر حق بر دل بود حق الیقین
Meaning: The inward of a true believer is the throne of Allah, behold Him in the inward. Know this with the truth of certainty that Divine attention is towards the inward.
Silence of the one beholding Divine vision:
Fourth is the silence of those who behold Allah unveiled and whose souls are passionately blazing due to His ardent love. Furthermore, 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 immerse in Divine Oneness and the 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. Moreover, their invocation contains boundless passion for Allah which makes them unique with Allah. (Qurb-e-Deedar)
Sultan Bahoo mentions four kinds of silence again
First is the silence of cruel and arrogant worldly people who do not like to talk to the poor and oppressed due to their hypocrisy, pride and lusts of inciting innerself.
Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam prays:
اَللّٰھُمَّ اجْعَلْنِیْ مَظْلُوْمًا وَّلَا تَجْعَلْنِیْ ظَالِمًا ۔
Meaning: O Allah make me among the oppressed not the oppressors.
Second is the silence of self-selling spiritual guides who have no esoteric knowledge. They adopt silence deceitfully and cunningly to conceal their shortcomings.
Prophet Mohammad says:
نَعُوْذُ بِاللّٰہِ مِنْ غَضَبِ الْحَلِیْمِ ۔
Meaning: I seek refuge of Allah from the wrath of the Clement.
Third kind of silence is adopted by the true believers who are the inward invokers, they remain engrossed in sanctifying their inward of every kind of filth and hypocrisy through the mediums of meditation, invocation and reflection.
Fourth is the silence of man of contemplation who beholds Allah evidently and remains eternally drowned in Divinity having the gnosis of Allah. The immortal Mystic gets orders directly from Allah and Prophet Mohammad through inspirations. This state of inspiration depicts from his words as he speaks what he listens from Allah. He sees around if ordered otherwise obediently remains attentive towards the gnosis of Allah with all his senses.
Silence of arrogant and self-selling spiritual guide is dangerous
Silence of first two kinds is dangerous and calls for Divine anger. It beholds nothing in itself but arrogance and fraud. Some people adopt a disguise of Dervishes. Therefore, they wear cloak, hold rosary and start instigating the creation of Allah with their stunts. They also adopt silence themselves and mislead the creation through their followers. Their silence is not because of the invocation of Allah. Sultan Bahoo addresses such people in the following words:
ز بہر زر چرا تو دلق پوشی
ز بہر زر چرا تو دائم خموشی
Meaning: You have adopted silence and wear tattered dress only for the sake of worldly wealth, why it is so? (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
Silence of true believers purifies their heart
Third type of silence is a first step toward spirituality. By adopting such silence, one invokes Ism-e-Allah Zaat and achieves gnosis of Allah. Through that he purifies his heart from the impurities of the world and Allah blesses him with Divine observation and he remains drowned in Divine closeness. Such an invoker is called a mystic immortal with Allah. He only likes to converse with Allah and listen to Allah and does not pay attention to the creation unless Allah orders him to do so. About such a Mystic Sultan Bahoo says in Qurb-e-Deedar:
An inward of such a seeker enlivens by the invocation of Allah and he becomes enthusiastic and excitedly invokes the name of Allah. Then, he does not like the voice of people even if it is as sweet as the voice of Prophet David (Dawud). Moreover, the beauty of worldly people appears ugly to him even if it resembles the beauty of Prophet Joseph (Yusuf). His inward dominates his existence and he adopts spiritual servitude.
A true seeker only finds peace in conversing with Allah
When a seeker reaches the station of Mystic immortal with Allah through the beneficence of perfect spiritual guide then Allah blesses him with Divine vision and Divine conversation, ultimately, he only finds peace in conversing with Allah. Therefore, he adopts silence outwardly. His physical tongue also becomes silent due to his inward union with Allah and recognition of Allah.
As said in the following hadith:
- One who recognizes his holy Lord becomes silent.
Sultan Bahoo says:
- The Mystics do not move their lips, they just behold the Countenance of Allah. Their sight perpetually remains upon Allah. (Qurb-e-Deedar)
A true seeker becomes Allah’s secret ultimately
When a seeker gains the pleasure of Divine vision and conversation, then Allah blesses him with Divine secrets from which ordinary people are unaware neither are these secrets mentioned in any worldly book. All of this is possible with the beneficence of the perfect spiritual guide. The revelation of these secrets upon a seeker is also a test as to whether he can keep these secrets. If he remains silent and protects them, Allah blesses him with more. Eventually, there comes a time when he reaches a station about which Allah says the following:
- Man is My secret and I am his secret.
Hence silence is of utmost importance to reach the station where one becomes Divine confidant. Alternatively, if a seeker fails to protect these secrets, he ends up facing spiritual demotion.
Excess talk causes spiritual demotion
Sultan Bahoo says:
- 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. (Qurb-e-Deedar)
Often when a seeker indulges in excess talks or arguments, he ends up talking absurd which make him guilty in the court of Allah and disgrace him in front of the creation.
Silence that becomes hurdle in spiritual elevation
There is another type of outward silence which is not as harmful, but it could become a barrier in spiritual elevation. Apparently, here the seeker keeps silent. Neither is he against his spiritual guide inwardly nor is he arrogant. Bur inwardly his thoughts continuously direct towards the world and its affairs. Even when he is conversing with Allah inwardly, he talks about worldly matters, complains or worldly desires.
Sultan Bahoo says:
- If the seeker presents his worldly request or an issue related with worldly people at any of the nine stations of the Mohammadan Assembly, he is driven out of the assembly and is dropped from the level of a beloved to the level of a reprobate. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
Thoughts should be as pure as drops of water
Ali ibn Abi Talib says:
- Keep your thoughts purified more than the water drops. As drops make an ocean, thoughts make faith.
We should purify our thoughts through the invocation of Allah instead of contaminating them with the desires of the world. Human thoughts are indeed a tongue of an inward. As this inward tongue converses with Allah through invocation, the thoughts become purified. One should also be respectful while conversing with Allah inwardly.
As Rumi says:
- Your true being are your thoughts. Rest is all bones and meat.
Remember your Lord by forgetting your own existence
Allah says in the Quran:
وَاذْکُرِاسْمَ رَبِّکَ وَتَبَتَّلْ اِلَیْہِ تَبْتِیْلاً ۔ (المزمل۔8)
Meaning: And continue remembering the name of your Lord, devoted completely to Him alone (in your inward and soul), broken away from everyone else. (Al-Muzammil:8)
He further says:
وَاذْکُرْ رَّبَّکَ اِذَا نَسِیْتَ ۔ (الکہف۔24)
Meaning: And remember your Lord in such a way that you forget yourself. (Al-Kahf:24)
In the above verse Allah ordered to invoke His name inwardly and converse with Him in such a way that one forgets one’s own existence. Therefore, it is inappropriate to indulge one’s mind in worldly matters and talks. It is also necessary to adopt silence and listen to the Divine knowledge of inspiration respectfully to gain ultimate Divine recognition and closeness.
Tongue should only indulge in the invocation of Allah
Sultan Bahoo says:
ہر کہ گوید غیر او شد خر آواز
خاموشی خلوت خانہ شد حق براز
Meaning: 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. (Qurb-e-Deedar)
At another instance, Sultan Bahoo says:
سر ز تن گردد جدا سخنش مگو
عارفان ہمسخن باحق گفتگو
Meaning: The Mystics keep conversing with Allah and never reveal the Divine secrets even if they are beheaded. (Qurb-e-Deedar)
Therefore, adopt complete silence unless the speech involves invocation of Allah.
As Ali ibn Abi Talib says:
- Many people destroy themselves because of their tongue.
Thus, it is important to shut the physical tongue and adopt silence and solitude so the inward could enlighten by the invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. And when the inward enlightens, i.e., and Divine Essence manifests and converses with the seeker then he should avoid worldly thoughts and adopt complete silence to better understand Divine conversation. If he fails to do so he will remain unsuccessful. Many times, adopting silence, however, becomes a mortal sin. For example, it is wrong to keep silent against evil, or violation of sharia. Not speaking truth at such times would be wrong.
As Prophet Mohammad sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam says:
- He who remained silent against evil is a dumb Satan.
At what stages silence become forbidden
When a seeker annihilates in Allah and becomes immortal with Allah, he is ordered to invite the creation towards Allah. Here he becomes obligated to guide the creation towards Allah. And convey the knowledge that he gained through Divine inspiration to the seekers of Allah. But he should follow sharia and never reveal Divine secrets. Here avoiding creation becomes forbidden for him.
Silence saves oneself from moral diseases
The path of Faqr is related to Allah and the inward of a seeker. Therefore, to strengthen this relation between a seeker and his Lord, it is necessary to adopt silence. Adopting silence is also necessary to protect oneself from moral and inward diseases like backbiting, complaining and calumny. As they become hurdle on the journey of inward and disgrace one in front of the creation.
Prophet Mohammad says:
- Whoever can guarantee me his tongue and his private parts, I guarantee paradise for him. (Al-Bukhari-6474)
Abu Sa’eed Khudri narrated that Prophet Mohammad said:
- When the son of Adam wakes up in the morning, his body parts bow to the tongue and say: “Fear Allah regarding us, we are only part of you. If you are straight, we are straight and if you are crooked, we are crooked. (Tirmidhi-2407)
Quotes on guarding one’s tongue
Tongue commits more sins that any other limb of human body
- Keep yourself from absurd talk as major mistakes committed by the son of Adam are related to the tongue. None of the limbs commit more sins than that of a tongue.
Silence, a door to wisdom
- It is a door among the doors of wisdom.
Silence, a good virtue
- A true believer remains among virtuous as long as he remains silent.
Silence is safety
- He who desires safety in this world and the world hereafter should remain silent.
Tongue could take one to hell fire
- A man will be dragged on his face and thrown into hell on account of his tongue.
Allah helps to guard one’s tongue when he chooses good for someone
- When Allah chooses someone for good, He helps him guard his tongue and engage him reflecting on his inward rather than fault-finding in others.
Faith is perfected when tongue corrects itself
- Faith is perfected when inward is corrected. And inward is corrected only when tongue is corrected.
Tongue of a faithful remains behind his inward
- The tongue of a true believer should remain behind his inward, i.e. he should think and then utter a speech if appropriate otherwise should remain silent. A hypocrite, on the flip side keeps blabbering without paying heed to his words.
Silence saves from disgrace
- Silence saves one from disgrace. Speech, however, sometimes disgraces one both in this world and the world hereafter.
Tongue reflects one’s inward
- A man is hidden under his tongue.
Think before you speak
- Think before you speak. Measure your words on the scale of wisdom and mystic knowledge. Speak if it is for Allah otherwise refrain from speech. Keep total silence rather become speechless.
Tongue commits more sins than all other limbs
- All the limbs of human body humble themselves before the tongue and say protect us from hellfire for the sake of Allah.
Silence is better than speech
- If silence and speech are compared, speech is silver, and silence is gold.
Sakoot ki Ahmiyat is an Urdu article of the magazine “Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore” for the month of January,2019. Originally penned by Faiza Saeed Sarwari Qadri is presented in English by Sofia Sultan Sarwari Qadri exclusively for the website. Do not forget to visit the original article to which you only have to click the link:
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