Some people talk a lot. Some too much. Talking all the time, as a habit, keeps a person oriented outward and the inner life is neglected. Yet, it’s the domain of the inner life where we can consider what effect our words might have, how they might produce positive or negative feelings in others, how easy it is to spout off in argument, exaggeration, gossip, or criticism. In that domain of the inner life, we can practice silence and enter a world of quietude, reflection, and self-discovery. We can use this practice as a way of endeavoring to get real, to remove the masks that hide the true self so that we might attain sincerity, not just in worship, but also in our dealings with self and with other people. Practicing silence is a way to wisdom, rich worship, wholeness and purity. Yet the practice of silence is a path most overlook.
Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him), said:
• “Indeed silence is wisdom but very few practice it.” (Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Hibban)
• “Shall I tell you the easiest and richest form of worship and the most comfortable for the body? They answered, ‘yes O messenger of Allah.’ And he said ‘silence and good character.’ ” (Abi Dharr in Tabaqat Al-Muhaddetheen)
• “Whoever is pleased to be whole and pure, let him practice silence.” (Ibn Abi Al-Dunya and Al-Bayhaqi)
• Jaber ibn Sumarah RAA said, “I used to accompany the Prophet and he was silent most of the time.” (Reported in Ahmad and Al-Tabarani)
• “We were told that wisdom has ten parts and nine of them are in silence.” (Ihia’a Uluum Al-Deen, Al-Ghazali)
A very good exercise is to take a walk or find a place to sit in a natural setting like a park or field or on the side of a country road. Listen to the sounds of nature—birdsong, rustling leaves, buzzing bees, a squirrel scampering, the “ribit” calls of a frog… And listen for the stillness between the sounds. That stillness connects us with a quietude of the heart that whispers of the peace we strive to attain, the soul at rest — nafs al-mutmainnah. This is the promise of calmness, tranquility, and deepest spiritual refreshment.
“O soul that has attained to peace, return to your Lord, well-pleased, well-pleasing; so enter among My servants, And enter My Garden!” (Qur’an 89:27-30). — LivingEman staff