In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
is said in the Holy Qur'an - "It is the same with regards to
them if you call them or if you remain silent (7:193)", and the
Holy Prophet said, 'The one who keeps silent, will triumph'.
are variations in silence. Our topic deals with real silence, not
'sukut' - which is a non verbal condition which entails the
absence of speech. Allah illustrates 'sukut' in the Holy Qur'an
concerning Maryam, when she says "I have vowed a fast to the
Merciful, today I shall not speak with any human (19:26)".
speech is from silver, silence is golden, and real silence is precious
gems and diamonds.
or Tasawwuf, is a system of development which provides access
to the silence hidden at the centre of man's being. The silence that
is the most beautiful form of music heard only by the Saints and the
People of Allah and is the source of all meaningful activities and
actions. It is the origin of life and of man's own existence. It is
a key given to man with which he can unlock the secret of his own
existence and come to possess the forgotten and neglected treasure
hidden within his being.
gives man the means to know himself and thus to know The Real; to
listen to the music of silence. It is able to lead mankind to that
quiet and peace which is hidden at the centre of his being and whose
attainment is possible at all times and places. It can deliver him
from the crushing storm of events in this life and the uproar of the
external world without necessitating abandonment of that world.
Tasawwuf, man is delivered by means of an inner transformation
which takes place here and now, within the framework of his normal
life. As a result he is enabled to hear the inward music of all beings,
and above the noise of everyday life, to listen to the music of the
Silence of Eternity.
Tasawwuf, the spiritual psychological teaching of Islam based
on the knowledge of Prophethood - silence, that is, real silence,
can be categorized in many different ways. For example,
Keeping silent because of adab (spiritual courtesy). One
enters a state of silence, not because it's not good to speak (restraining
yourself), but because of a genuine desire to gain the knowledge of
the moment. This is the samt (silence) of high manners. It
is part of the character of the people on the Path of Tasawwuf,
by nature, that they train themselves to be silent and to have good
manners, because, as we have said before, the Path of Tasawwuf
is nothing other than good manners. This is the way of the Holy Prophet.
Silence because of specific causes. This means that the murid
may enter a state of silence because of unveiling or the Divine overflowing
of Grace. He becomes mute, overpowered by this state. There is no
speech or indication, or any gestures of communication, because of
the overpowering of the moment. The deep silence overtakes him. (There
are some people who practice outward silence in their spiritualistic
training, yet continue to communicate with others by writing volumes
of literature, using hand signals and notes. This is not silence,
it is stupidity - pretending to be mute).
Becoming silent because the etiquette of spiritual awareness requires
you to do so. When you are unavoidably in the company of people
whose tongues are loose and they speak of things that do not concern
them and there is no benefit in your speaking because they are indulging
in backbiting and criticism of others. To be silent in that moment
is ibadah (worship).
The People of Allah have put in place certain foundations for training
that deal with silence. They have said that if you feel that you
would like to speak, then remain silent. If you like to remain silent
and you are enjoying silence, then speak (going against the desires
of the lower self).
states of silence differ in the human being based on his condition,
geographical location and surroundings. As Sayyidina Ali has said
"For every state, there is speech". However, we will explain
the relevant implementations of silence:
Silence of the tongue
2. Silence of the heart
3. Silence of the secret
silence of the masses is silence of the tongue. The silence of the
Knowers is the silence of the heart. The silence of the Lovers is
from the luminous flashes of their secret.
the methodology of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the great People of
Allah have set down foundations for reaching the higher states of
silence. Anyone who travels on the Path of Allah (Tasawwuf)
and is on The Way (Tariqa), has to implement certain practices
for the transformation of the self. Included in these practices are:
you have two practices that activate - hunger and seclusion, and by
these, the other two will manifest - wakefulness and silence. The
silence indicated here is to leave the manners of the way that people
talk and to busy yourself with the remembrance of Allah by the heart.
Keep oneself away from things that do not concern you except that
which is of necessity regarding ones responsibility towards others.
This is the beginning of entering a state of silence. You become the
gatekeeper of the heart. As the Shaykh al Akbar says "The real
silence is that you should not speak with any of the creations of
Allah from any of the four kingdoms (Human, animal, mineral, vegetable)
which accompany you in your travel or place of seclusion. In keeping
ones self silent from the talking of the self, one should not speak
to himself with regards to the things that he is wishing to obtain
from the Most Generous Allah. If he makes it a habit to speak with
his own self in such a manner, a veil will be placed between the remembrance
of Allah and his heart. The heart does not have the space for the
remembrance of Allah and anything else".
general, silence in our time is a safety and this is the original
gift of silence. Silence is brought about by the Divine Presence.
Silence can also be categorized into two different types - outward
and inward, by the heart and by the higher awareness and consciousness.
It has been said that when the people on the path of spiritual struggle
become aware of the problems and headaches that speaking can bring
to the speaker and how the speaker's ego can become inflated, bringing
praise and attracting others to him, they choose to remain silent.
The silence of the secret is to free yourself from the past and the
future. This is the state of silence of 'Maqam as Sirr' , 'The
Station of the Secret' and the opening of the subtle centres of the
of the companions of the Holy Prophet, Ibn Mas'oud, said "No
one deserves to be imprisoned more than the tongue". If people
knew what speaking could bring to them in the way of disastrous outcomes
and upheavals in their lives, they would never utter a word. At the
same time, if people knew the benefits of speaking rightly, honestly
and truthfully, they would never stop talking for a thousand years.
It has been said that every morning, when a human awakes, all of the
members of his body beg and plead with him, saying to the tongue "For
God's sake, don't get us in trouble today, because you speak; and
when the blows come, we are the ones who suffer". The Beloved
Allah has placed the tongue in an amazing position. He has been shut
in the mouth between two jaws, 32 teeth, gums and lips. This is an
indication that to achieve spiritual success, you must keep it quiet.
There is a riddle in North Africa: "What is the room full of
chairs, with the devil dancing around like in a playground?"
The answer to this riddle is the mouth - the teeth are the chairs
and the tongue is the one dancing.
master of Luqman the Wise, who is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, sent
him to the butcher's market to buy the best meat there. When he came
back with a tongue, his master gave him more money and told him to
go again and return with the worst meat. He again returned with a
tongue. His master questioned him with regards to his actions. Sayyidina
Luqman explained that the best meat is the tongue, if it speaks rightly,
honestly and if it is used for what pleases its Creator. It becomes
the worst meat if it is used to speak vulgar language and bad manners.
It then brings disaster to its owner sooner or later. There is an
old Arab saying 'Lisanak hisanak' 'Your tongue is your horse'.
'Idha suntahu saanak'. 'If you look after him, he will take
you where you want to go safely'. 'Wa idha khuntahu khanak'.
'But if you betray him, he will betray you'. The Holy Prophet has
said that 'A man may speak one word that may elevate him to a higher
state of bliss and he may speak one word that may make him descend
to the depths of Hell'. According to the Traditions, most suffering
is caused by problems of the tongue. At the same time, the miracle
that Allah indicates to in the Holy Qur'an is the capability of speech
among humans, their different languages and dialects. This is one
of the signs of God.
the end of this topic is this advice: You should think, and what you
think you should say, and what you say should bring benefit to you
and to all of creation. If this is the case, then, by all means, speak
because you are in a state of harmony and love and your body, soul
and spirit are in a state of alignment, as are the Earth, the Moon
and the Sun. By the Grace of God may He give you a long life so that
humanity may benefit from you, because this is a state of Divine Love.
The Beloved Allah says 'My slave ceases not to strive towards Me by
voluntary actions until I love him. When I love him, I become the
eyes that he sees with, the ears that he hears with, his tongue with
which he speaks, the feet that he walks with and the hands that he
grasps with'. In a nutshell, as the Sufis say, he becomes 'Hu'.
advice to the salik is that he must set aside a time each day (in
a quiet place set aside for this purpose) to read from the Holy Qur'an
and to implement his spiritual muraqaba, contemplations, visualizations
and tasawwur, and to practice his Awrad so that he may
achieve maximum benefit on the way of achieving the greater silence.
In this age of busy-ness without direction or focus, time is precious
and it is very dangerous to neglect the commodity of the breath that
keeps us alive and has the power to make us real human beings, full
of life. As for the silence, the Saints of Allah have said "If
the rulers and the rich people of the world knew what is within our
hearts, they would fight us to the death to obtain it because this
is the Breath of the Merciful".
Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the straight path.
Murshid F. A. Ali ElSenossi