Joined: Jun 2006
Ash-Sheikh Muhammad Saeed Raslan writes about the manners of the Student of Islamic knowledge. From his book titled "Adab Tullaab Al-I'lm".
- Silence -
As for reducing your level of speech, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say what is good or remain silent."1
"This means that if one wants to say something, he should decide whether what he wants to say is definitely good and praiseworthy, obligatory or encouraged. If so, he should say it. If he doesnıt see that it is good and praiseworthy, he should not say it, whether it is forbidden, disliked, or permissible ı they are all the same. In this case, speech which is normally allowed should be avoided out of fear that it can lead to forbidden or disliked speech, and this happens a lot. Based on this hadith, al-Imam ash-Shafiıi (may Allah be Pleased with him) said that if you wish to say something, let him think. If you conclude that there is no harm, speak. If you conclude that your words will bring about harm, do not speak."2
Ibn Hajar (may Allah have Mercy on him) said:
"And this is from his (peace be upon him) ability to combine many meanings on few words, as every statement is good, bad, or leaning to one of the two. Included under good speech is everything obligatory or encouraged, and he allowed this speech despite its various types, as well as anything that could lead to it. As for speech that is bad or could lead to what is bad, he commanded us to be quiet if we ever wanted to indulge in it."3
Ibn Abd al-Barr (may Allah have Mercy on him) said:
"From the tests that the scholar is put through is that he likes to talk more than he likes to listen." Yazid bin Abi Habib said: "Listening is safe and increases oneıs knowledge, and the listener is the partner of the speaker. Talking consists of confusion and deception, excess and deficiency. The one who talks awaits fitnah, and the one who listens awaits mercy."
And Abu adh-Dhiyal said: "Learn to be quiet just as you learn to talk, because if talking guides you, being quiet protects you. By being quiet, you attain two characteristics: you are able to take knowledge from those more knowledgeable than you, and you are able to repel the ignorance of those more ignorant than you."
Speaking about good things is a prize and is better than silence, because the best thing that silence has to offer is safety, and by speaking what is good, you actually gain something extra. It was said: "Whoever speaks what is good wins, and whoever remains silent is saved, and speaking about knowledge-related matters is from the best of actions, and it is of the same level as dhikr and recitation of the Qurıan if it is done to repel ignorance, attain the Pleasure of Allah, and discover the reality of its meanings."4
Abu Hatim said: "Two men went to seek knowledge. When they became learned, one of them became known as a speaker, and the other came to be known as quiet. So, the speaker wrote to the quiet one:
I never sought to gain anything in life * With something better than my tongue...
So, the quiet one wrote back:
And I never sought to gain anything in life * With something that deserved to be imprisoned more than the tongueı"5
And a man came to Salman (may Allah be Pleased with him), saying: "O Aba ıAbdillah! Advise me!"
So, he said: "Do not speak."
The man replied: "It's impossible for one who lives amongst the people not to speak."
He said: "Then if you speak, say what is correct, or be quiet."
The man said: "Tell me more."
Salman said: "Do not become angry."
The man said: "You tell me not to become angry, and I am sometimes overcome and unable to control myself."
He said: "Then if you become angry, at least control your tongue and hands."
The man said: "Tell me more."
Salman said: "Do not mix with the people."
The man said: "One who lives with the people must mix with them!"
He said: "Then if you mix with them, speak the truth and fulfill your promises."6
And Abu Hayan at-Taymi said: "It was said that the man should pay more attention to his tongue than to where he places his feet,"7 and this is because of the danger the tongue and excess talking pose to the believerıs heart. The traps of the tongue are many and deadly, and just one of these traps is enough to make one spend their entire life trying to avoid. However, Allah tests His Creation in order to make clear the righteous from the evil.
1 Reported by Ahmad (2/267, 433, and 463), al-Bukhari (6018, 6136, and 6475), Muslim (47), Abu Dawud (5154), at-Tirmidhi (2500), and Ibn Hibban (506 & 516)
2 'Sharh Sahih Muslim' (2/18)
3 'Fath al-Bari' (1/461)
4 'Jami' Bayan al-'Ilm wa Fadlih' (1/182)
5 'Lubab al-Adab' (p. 274)
6 'Kitab as-Samt wa Adab al-Lisan' (p. 558)
7 'Kitab as-Samt wa Adab al-Lisan' (p. 206)