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Tuesday, August 26, 2003  

On Silence (Samt) Part 1 of 2 Abd Allah bin Yusuf al-Ispahani informed us ... through Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of God said, "Whoever believes in God and the last day, let him not trouble his neighbor. Whoever believes in God and the last day, let him be generous to his guest. Whoever believes in God and the last day, let him say what is good, or let him be silent." Ali bin Ahmad bin Abdan informed us ... that Ukbah bin Amir said, "I asked, 'O Messenger of God, what is salvation?' He said, 'Keep your tongue to yourself, stay home, and weep over your sins.'" Silence is security. That is the root of the matter. This can be cause for remorse on occasions when keeping quiet is blameworthy. What is necessary is that one choose speech or silence according to the divine law and the obligation of a Muslim to command what is good and forbid what is evil. To say nothing at the proper time is a characteristic of true men, just as to speak at the proper occasion is one of the noblest of qualities. I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "Whoever holds back from speaking the truth is a devil without a tongue." One should be silent in the presence of God. God Most High said, "When the Quran is recited, hearken to it and give ear so that you may receive mercy" [7:204]. And He said, referring to the jinn who were in the presence of the Messenger, "When they were present with him, they said, 'Listen!'" [46:29], and "Voices will be lowered for the Beneficent, so that nothing will be heard but a whisper" [20:108]. What a difference is there between a servant who is silent to protect himself from lying and gossiping and a servant who is silent because he is overwhelmed by the power of the awe he feels! With this sense they recite: I ponder over what to say when we are apart, And judge myself addicted to proving by the word. But when we are together, I lose all from the start, And if I say a single thing, say only the absurd. And they recite: O Layla, how many proofs have been my task! When I come to you, O Layla, I don't know what that means. And they recite: And how many speeches to you! But when I was set before you, I forget them all. And: I realize that speech adorns a noble youth, But silence is the better course for one who can keep silent. On how many an occasion has the alphabet brought death, And how many a speaker has wished he had been quiet? Silence has two parts, outer quiet and the quiet of heart and mind. Someone who trusts in God stills his heart as a way of laying claim to his sustenance. The gnostic stills his heart in acceptance of destiny through the quality of harmony with God. The one relies upon the fineness of His work. The other is content with the totality of His decree. With this meaning they have said: His misfortunes came over you, And the cares of your inner being were relieved. Sometimes silence is caused by the amazement of spontaneous understanding. When the unveiling of a divine attribute occurs suddenly, all expressiveness is struck dumb. There can be no explanation or discourse, and all demonstrative evidences are blotted out so that there is neither knowledge nor sensation. God Most High said, "On the day [of judgement] God will gather the Messengers and ask, 'What answer have you received?' They will reply, 'We have no knowledge'" [5:109]. As for the predilection of the masters of inner struggle for silence, it is because they know what disasters there are in speech; that is, it involves the pleasure of the ego, the display of qualities for praise, and the inclination to discriminate among people in the basis of how well they speak, and other catastrophes of human nature. Thus silence is a trait of practitioners of inner discipline. It is one of the pillars of the conduct of their campaign and of their training of character. It is said that Dawud al-Tai, when he wanted to seclude himself in his house, decided to attend the sessions of Abu Hanifa, whose student he had been, sit with his fellow scholars, and not discuss a single question. When he had steeled himself by putting this quality into practice for an entire year, he secluded himself in his house and chose solitude. Umar bin Abd al-Aziz, if he wrote something and embroidered in its expression, tore it up and wrote something else. I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say ... Bishr bin al-Harith said, "When speech makes you conceited, be silent. When silence makes you conceited, speak." Sahl bin Abd Allah al-Tustari said, "Silence is not appropriate for a person until his ego has been compelled to retreat. Repentance is not appropriate for a person until his ego has been compelled to silence." Abu Bakr al-Farisi said, "He whose native country is not silence is excessive even when he keeps quiet. Silence does not pertain exclusively to the tongue but to the heart and all of the limbs." A Sufi said, "The one who does not value silence, when he speaks, speaks nonsense." I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say ... that Muhammad al-Dinawari said, "The wise inherit wisdom through silence and reflection." Abu Bakr al-Farisi was asked about the silence of the inner being, the secret (sirr), and said, "It is the abandonment of occupation with the past and the future." He also said, "When the servant speaks about what concerns him and about what he must, he is within the bounds of silence." It is related that Muadh bin Jabal said, "Speak to people little and speak to your Lord much. Perhaps your heart will see God Most High." Someone asked Dhu-l-Nun al-Misri, "Who among people best protects his heart?" He replied, "The one among them who best controls his tongue." -Imam Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism (Risalah Qushayriyyah)



posted by SuFiSTiC | 8/26/2003 05:21:00 PM |
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter.
(The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things."
(Bukhari)
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake.
(Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief;
The ego is worse than seventy devils.
(Arabic Poem)
Abu Bakar Balkhi
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I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires, egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour? I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful. O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware! I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.

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