Silence is Wisdom
Narrated Anas (Radhi Allahu ‘Anhum): Allah’s Messenger (Salla Allahu ‘Alayhee wa Sallam) said, “Wisdom consists in keeping silent, and those who practice it are few.” [Al-Baihaqi reported it in Ash-Shu’ab with a weak chain of narrators, and the sound view is that it is traced back to one of the Sahabah who quoted it from Luqman Al-Hakim.]
From this we learn many things, and from other ahadith the concept becomes even clearer. Just taking from this hadith we see that it is best to be silent, yet there are very few who practice this. Today we see people who openly speak on issues in which they have no knowledge about. Also we see people who continuously talk without any point in their rambling. We will see, inshallah, how this is wrong, through proofs from Quran and Sunnah, and inshallah we will refrain from doing this as best as we can.
“Behold! You are they who disputed about that of which you had knowledge; why then do you dispute about that of which you have no knowledge? And Allah knows while you do not know.” [‘Ali Imran: 66]
We see from this Ayah of the Quran that we should not dispute or speak without knowledge. This should be enough proof to those who want to comment on every issue discussed even though they do not know the correct rulings or responses to them. These people want to do ijtihad on these issues yet they have no right to do so, since they do not even have the bases in Islamic knowledge. When a person falls into a situation where a discussion leads into something he does not have knowledge on, this person faces two choices. If people in this situation truly are righteous they will simply say “I don’t know” and leave it like that. But for those who are arrogant or ignorant they will try their best to answer the question even though they may have no idea what the Islamic stance or ruling may be. The above Ayah puts it simple and is something we should reflect on every day of our lives. We should take from the example of those pious people who came before us. People such as Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal and Imam Shafa’ee who when faced with a question they did not know the answer to simply said “I do not know” and left it like that. This simple phrase shows the sincerity and wisdom in such men. It shows that they are seeking knowledge and not spreading if for self-recognition but rather to be closer to Allah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala), the Lord of all the Worlds.
One of the principles we learn from Islam is that being silent is better than speaking. The Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘Alayhee wa Sallam) said, “Whoever is silent will be successful.” Also we learn that the tongue is the source of evil and that a person who guards his tongue and private parts will enter Jannah. Again we see that very few people do this, many of which do not know the consequences of their actions. We learn from other ahadith that one word can cause you to enter hellfire for 70 years (or seasons). Such a big punishment yet we never hold are tongues and we continue to talk nonsense without thinking twice about it.
We also learn from the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘Alayhee wa Sallam) that we should “Say good or be quiet, if you are a Muslim”. Now you may say, I do say good so what is the problem? If we study the Quran we learn that the best things to talk about and the most recommended are: Speaking for the sake of helping in Charity, Speaking to order good, and Speaking to unite people in good. These are the three topics we should be concentrating on when we speak. Are we trying to help our Muslim brothers and sisters when we speak? Are we trying to order good upon ourselves and others when we speak? Are we trying to unite people in good, bringing the Muslims together when we speak? If you can’t answer yes to at least one of these then there is a serious problem that needs correcting.
Truly it is a sickness in the heart for one to speak about evil or issues he has no knowledge in. This is something outside of Islam, so why do we do it? We claim to be striving for the sake of Allah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala), yet we do not even adopt the proper mannerisms of a believer. This is a test from Allah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) something which is easy upon one who looks at his own mistakes and tries his best to correct them.
There are many ahadith and ayat from the Qur’an that speak on this issue but there is not much need to get into every single one of them. The main point is we should not speak unless needed and what we speak of should be something productive. Everyday we should analyze ourselves and truly think about what we did in our day and what we may have said. This is the only method of correct, to find our own mistakes and work on improving what we are weak in. Do we wish to be amongst those people in hell fire because of what we may have said? This is the reality and only we can safeguard our tongues and keep ourselves striving to be on the righteous path.
May Allah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) keep us of those he loves and those whom he is well pleased with. May he teach us wisdom and give us knowledge to speak about this deen. May he correct our mistakes and help us in our path of serving him. n