EPISTLE ON SUFISM | CHAP 3 | SILENCE | QUSHAYRI

  |  

EPISTLE ON SUFISM | CHAPTER 3 | SILENCE | AL-QUSHAYRI

|| < : PURIFICATION : SILENCE  : > ||

" Speak little with people and speak a lot with GOD ; perhaps your heart will see GOD Most High . "

" One who does not know the true worth of silence will always speak nonsense . "

*~~~ ooO ( * ) Ooo ~~~*

Abdallah b Yusuf al-Isbahani informed us : Abu Bakr Muhammad b al-Husayn al-Qattan told us : Ahmad b Yusuf al-Sulami told us : Abd al-Razzaq told us : Mamar informed us on the authority of al-Zuhri , on the authority of Abu Salama , on the authority of Abu Hurayra that The Messenger of GOD — may GOD bless and greet — said :

" Whoever believes in GOD , let one do no harm to one's neighbor ; whoever believes in GOD , let one be generous to one's guest ; whoever believes in GOD , let one speak good or be silent ! "

Ali b Ahmad b Abdan informed us : Ahmad b Ubayd told us : Bishr b Musa al-Asadi told us : Muhammad b Said al-Isbahani told us on the authority of Ibn al-Mubarak , on the authority of Yahya b Ayyub , on the authority of Ubaydallah b Zuhr , on the authority of Ali b Yazid , on the authority of al-Qasim , on the authority of Abu Umama : on the authority of Uqba b Amir , who asked :

" Messenger of GOD , what is salvation ? " TMoG answered : " Guard your tongue ; may your home be spacious enough for you ; and weep over your sins ! "

The master al-Qushayri said :

" Silence is safety ; this is the root of the matter ; if one has allowed oneself to reprimand another , then one must repent ; in any event , one should always be respectful of the Divine Law , the Commanding of the Right , and the Forbidding of the Wrong . "

Silence at the right time is an attribute of true ones , Sufis , in the same way as speaking when appropriate is one of the noblest of qualities .

I heard master Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say :

" Whoever remains silent instead of speaking truth is a mute devil . "

Silence belongs to the good manners of Sufi gatherings , for GOD Most High said :

" And when the Quran is recited , give your ear to it and be silent that you may receive mercy . " ( Q 7:204 ; 7:203 )

GOD also said regarding a meeting of The Messenger of GOD — may GOD bless and greet — and the jinn :

" And when they were present with TMoG they said , ' Be silent ! ' " ( Q 46:29 ; 46:28 )

GOD Most High also said :

" Voices will be hushed to the All-Merciful , so that you will hear nothing but murmuring . " ( Q 20:108 )

How great a difference there is between a servant who is silent in order to protect oneself from lies and backbiting and a servant who is silent because one is overwhelmed by the awe of GOD !

They recite the following verses to that effect :

When we are apart , I keep thinking what I shall say to you
I perfect doggedly the arguments that I will utter
And when we meet I suddenly forget them
And when I speak , I speak nothing but absurdities .

They also recite the following lines :

O Layla , how many an urgent need I have
Why , then , O Layla , when I come to you
I no longer know what they are ? !

They also recite the following :

How many stories I have to tell you ; however ,
When I am given a chance to meet you , I forget them all !

They also recite the following :

I have seen how words may adorn a youth ;
However , silence is better for one who chose to be silent
How many written words have brought death upon the writer
And how many speakers have wished they had remained silent !

There are two types of silence : outer silence and silence of the heart and mind .

The heart of one who puts one's trust in GOD restrains itself from asking GOD for sustenance . The heart of the gnostic remains silent vis-a-vis GOD's decree because it is endowed by the attribute of compliance . The former is confident of GOD's good deeds . The latter is satisfied with whatever GOD decrees for one .

It is with this meaning in mind that they say :

GOD's decisions rule over you
But the worries of your innermost heart are allayed .

Sometimes silence is caused by the bewilderment of an insight , for when some idea is suddenly unveiled to you , words fall silent and you can neither explain nor articulate what you have realized . In such a state , all evidence is obliterated and there's neither knowledge nor sensation .

GOD Most High said :

" On the day when GOD shall gather The Messengers , and say : ' What answer are you given ? ' they say , ' We have no knowledge . ' "

Those who are exerting themselves on the path of GOD choose silence , because they are aware of the dangers that are present in speech .

They are also aware of the pleasures that their egos take in talking and in praising as well as in using eloquent speech to elevate oneself above their peers and suchlike pitfalls that are common among humankind .

That is why the practitioners of ascetic self-discipline choose silence , which is one of the major pillars of self-exertion and a chief prerequisite for perfecting one's character .

It is said that when Dawud al-Tai resolved to stay in the house , Dawud al-Tai , first , decided to attend the sessions of Abu Hanifa ( the famous Iraqi scholar , and founder of the Hanafi school of law ) , being one of the disciples , and to sit among fellow scholars without ever speaking about any legal issue that arose . When having grown strong in that trait after an entire year of practice , Dawud al-Tai then confined to the house and chose seclusion .

Likewise , the caliph Umar b Abd al-Aziz — may GOD have mercy — whenever writing something and finding pleasure in the wording , would tear up the writing and change it .

I heard Shaykh Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami — may GOD have mercy — say : Abdallah b Muhammad al-Razi informed us : Abu l-Abbas b Ishaq al-Sarraj told us : I heard Ahmad b al-Fath say : I heard Bishr b al-Harith say :

" If speech gives you pleasure , then remain silent ; and if silence pleases you , then talk ! "

Sahl b Abdallah al-Tustari said :

" Nobody's silence is complete until one has accustomed oneself to retreat , and nobody's repentance is complete until one has accustomed oneself to silence . "

Abu Bakr al-Farisi said :

" If one has not made silence the homeland , one is talkative even though one is silent . Silence is not limited to the tongue ; it should be applied to the heart and all of the limbs . "

Someone said that one who does not know the true worth of silence will always speak nonsense .

I heard Muhammad b al-Husayn say : Muhammad b Abdallah b Shadhan said : Mimshadh al-Dinawari said :

" The wise have acquired their wisdom by silence and contemplation . "

Someone asked Abu Bakr al-Farisi about silence , who answered :

" Silence is to abandon concern with past and future . "

Abu Bakr al-Farisi also said :

" If one speaks about what concerns one and what is unavoidable , than one remains within the domain of silence . "

It is said that Muadh b Jabal — may GOD be pleased — once said :

" Speak little with people and speak a lot with GOD ; perhaps your heart will see GOD Most High . "

Someone asked Dhu l-Nun :

" Who among humankind is the best protector of one's heart ? " The answer was : " The one who controls one's tongue best . "

Ibn Masud said :

" Nothing is more deserving of a long imprisonment than the tongue . "

Ali b Bakkar said :

" GOD Most High made two doors for everything . However , GOD made four doors for the tongue — the two lips and the teeth ! "

It is related about Abu Bakr al-Siddiq — may GOD be pleased — that for many years used to hold a stone in the mouth in order to speak less .

It is said that Abu Hamza al-Baghdadi — may GOD have mercy — was an eloquent speaker , who once heard a voice that said :

" You spoke and your speech was wonderful . Now it remains to you to fall silent and excel in it ! " ; and so did not speak , dying about a week or so later . . . .

One wise one said :

" The human was created with only one tongue , but with two eyes and two ears so as may listen and see rather than speak ! "

Once Ibrahim b Adham was invited to a banquet ; and upon sitting down , started to hear gossip about other people ; and thus said :

" We are used to eating the meat after the bread , whereas you have begun by eating the meat ! "

Alluding to the words of GOD Most High :

" Would any of you like to eat the flesh of one's sibling dead ? You would abominate it . "

One Sufi said :

" Silence is the tongue of humility . "

Another said :

" Learn silence just as you learn speech . For while speech will guide you , silence will guard you . "

It is also said that silence is the tongue's virtue . They also say that the tongue is like a wild beast : if you do not restrain it , it will fall upon you .

Someone asked Abu Hafs al-Haddad :

" Which quality is preferable for the friend of GOD : silence or speech ? " ,

who answered :

" Were the one who speaks to know of all the dangers inherent in speech , one would keep silent , if one could , as long as Noah's lifespan . However , were the silent one to know of all the dangers inherent in silence one would ask GOD Most High for a life double that of Noah's , so that one could learn to speak . "

It is said that the common people keep silence with their tongues ; the gnostics keep silence with their hearts ; and GOD's lovers keep silence by protecting their innermost selves from any distracting thought .

It was said to one of them :

" Speak ! " The answer was : " I do not have a tongue with which to speak ! " " Then listen ! " The response was : " There is no room in me in which I could listen ! "

One of them said :

" I spent thirty years with my tongue hearing nothing but my heart ; then I spent another thirty years with my heart hearing nothing but my tongue . "

Another Sufi said :

" Even though your tongue may be silent , you are still not safe from the words that occur in your heart ; even though you may become a pile of decaying bones you are still not delivered from the insinuations of your ego ; and even though you may exert yourself to the utmost extent , your spirit will still not speak to you , because it conceals the divine mystery . "

They say :

" The tongue of the ignorant is the key to one's destruction . "

They also say :

" If the lover keeps silent , one perishes ; and if the divine gnostic keeps silent , one rules supreme . "

I heard Muhammad b al-Husayn say : I heard Abdallah b Muhammad al-Razi say : I heard Muhammad b Nasr al-Saigh say : I heard Mardawayh al-Saigh say : I heard al-Fudayl b Iyad say :

" One who counts one's words among one's deeds speaks very little and only about things that concern one . "

SOURCE | SATYAVEDISM.COM