Silence is Golden

In the name of Allah
Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
Arresting Speech

The thing which is most deserving of imprisonment is the tongue.
[Statement of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood radhi’allaahu ‘anhu]

Speech is one of the most clear indications of what a person thinks or feels, it is an
account from the person himself. This statement of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood radhi’allaahu
‘anhu reflects the fact that Islam focuses on building the character of an individual as
part of the religion itself. One of the qualities which paints an individual as reckless
and mindless is too much talking. Not only does it display a person’s lack of wisdom and
intelligence (when it is needless), but also can lead to many problems due to a lack of
caution. On the other hand, a wise person will be a person of few words which are carefully
chosen and reflected upon. Furthermore when a reserved person speaks, his/her speech is
given more import due to the fact that the person does not saturate the conversation with a
lot of throw-away ideas and rambles. Another proverb is the saying back home: “An empty
vessel sounds much.”

The Tongue is Tied to the Heart

The faith of a slave is not correct until his heart is correct and his heart is not correct
until his tongue is correct…

Thus Islam teaches us that the heart is indeed tied to our actions, specifically speech. It
is not enough to believe in the heart and claim a high level of faith - it must shape a
person’s character as well. This is why the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam even
enjoined on us, while appealing to belief in Allah the Almighty:

Let the one who believes in Allah and the Hereafter utter good words, or let him be silent.
[Bukhari, Muslim]

He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam further said:

Part of the goodness of one’s Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him.

So not only is a wise person sparing in his/her speech, but is also selective about when it
is necessary to engage his/her mind and efforts. Things which are futile or harmful should
be avoided so as not to use precious energy nor pollute one’s soul with useless clutter.

The ahadith go on to state that this key characteristic caution in one’s speech, or the
lack of it- is one of the sole qualities which can make an individual one of the best or one
of the worst people.

The most disliked of men to Allah are those who are extreme in disputes (which reach the
level of enmity).

The most beloved of you to me in the Hereafter are the best of you in character. The most
disliked of you to me and the farthest from me in the Hereafter are the worst of you in
character: those who talk too much repeating themselves needlessly, and opening their mouths
wide when talking, and those who joke and mock others even twisting their mouths in mockery.

So one should avoid delving in matters of no benefit, arguing needlessly to the point of
hatred, talking too much and too fast, in a rude and uncouth manner. These exaggerated
styles of speech paint a person as loud, annoying, and undignified.

In a lengthy hadith of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, he was mentioning to
Mu’adh radhi’allahu ‘anhu how to do all the best deeds and remain steadfast in the Deen
and asked:

“Should I not inform you of the head of all of this and its support and its pinnacle?” 

said, “Of course yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “The
head of it is submission, its pillar is prayer and its pinnacle is fighting in the path of
Then he said, “Should I not inform you of what enables and makes firm all of that?”

I said, “Of course yes, O Messenger of Allah.” 

So, he took hold of his tongue and said,
“Keep control of this.”

I said, “O Messenger of Allah, are we to be taken to account for
what we say?”

He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “May your mother be bereaved of you
O Mu’adh! What throws the people into the fire on their faces other than the fruits of their

Therefore if a person aims to go far in their worship of Allah and refinement of character,
they should begin by taming the tongue.

A Slippery Slope

Again, as mentioned above, speaking less, while a virtue in and of itself, is also
beneficial due to the fact that it reduces the possibility of a person uttering that which
is wrong. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam reminds us of this in the following
Verily, a slave will speak a word which casts him in the fire farther than what is between the east and the west.

A person may utter a word he thinks harmless, which results in his falling the depth of seventy (70) years into Hellfire.

The Prophet’s Guarantee

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam reminds us that if we do not speak we can not
engage in incorrect speech and if we lessen our speech we are less likely to fall into evil

You shall be saved as long as you are silent, for if you speak, it will either be in your
favor or stand against you.

The one who adheres to the lengthy silence (except from that which is good) will be saved on
the Day of Judgment. [Tirmidhi]

And finally he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam mentions that if someone can guarantee the
control of his sexual desire and the control of his tongue, he is guaranteed Paradise.
Whoever can guarantee me what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I can
guarantee him Paradise.

And Allah knows best !


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