Qoshairi Manifest  

Chapter 10

Silence (Samt)

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Abu Huraira has narrated from the Prophet peace be upon him, “Whomsoever believes in Allah and the day of judgment tell him not to annoy the neighbor, whomsoever believes in Allah and the day of judgment tell him to be good to the guest, whomsoever believes in Allah and the day of judgment tell him either to say good or be silent”.

‘Aqaba Ibn ‘Amer said I asked the Prophet what is the salvation? And peace be upon him replied, “Hold back your tongue, be good to people and sob (in your house) about your own sins”. (Stop talking about how bad other people are and worry about your own sins and do so please privately)

Ostaad Imam said, “Silence is a salutary & salubrious foundation, its violation the source for all regrets and it deserves the observation of mandatory Shariah (Divine Law). Silence at proper circumstances is indeed an attribute of righteousness and speaking in apropos moment is one of the most noble characteristics.” 

Silence is an Adab (Etiquette) facing the Divine Presence, “When the Qur'an is read, listen to it with attention, and be silent” (Koran [7:204]). 

And Allah said, “All sounds shall humble themselves in the Presence of ((Allah)) Most Gracious: nothing shalt thou hear but the tramp of their feet (as they march)” (Koran [20:108], describing when Mankind resurrected to face the Lord). There is a huge difference between a man that assumes silence in order to avoid backbiting & lying and the slave that is subdued & overcame by the overpowering Divine Awe & Dread as has been versed:

While we are apart I think about what to say
Solidifying the reasoning behind every word

I forgot everything when we are face to face
In our conversation talking nonsense all over

(When the Sufi is afar from his Beloved he thinks about many things to say but once facing slight gesture of the Divine Presence Sufi is lost, wordless & bedazzled)


O Night! Much I have to tell you about my so many needs
As soon as you are brought to me I find none of such needs 

(Sufi has needs wants to have more knowledge, suffering from the trials perhaps people ridiculing him and needs more respect, but as soon as beholds a glimpse of his Beloved all these needs & complaints are gone)


For you how many things there are I want to say
Once allowed to meet you but I am made to forget

(The Sufi’s memory is erased by the Beloved’s Presence, it is not that he forgets, indeed he is MADE to forget)


I see how the words adorn you my young lad
Silence proffers him much once he is quiet

Words & conversations bring so many deaths
So the speakers wish they would have been silent


There are two kinds of silence, one to be silent on the surface i.e. the wordlessness and the second is the silence within the heart. First the one mastering his life concerning his daily ration of provisions with silence (and gratitude) second the ‘Aref (Divine Cognoscente) whose heart is silent (at peace) characterized by the complacence deep within no matter what the Divine Edict, as was versed:

Gushing at you Its edicts are fluent
Your silent sufferance well-trodden 

(Well-trodden means frequently suffering comes and goes on the path of silence)

Much of the causes for the Silence are Hayrat (Bewilderment), Kashf (Uncovering Secrets) happening suddenly engulfing people with dazed wordlessness. Words & speech evidence & reasoning fades away, within this Silence there is no room for knowledge or sentience as Allah said, “One day will Allah gather the apostles together, and ask: "What was the response ye received (from men to your teaching)?" They will say: "We have no knowledge” (Koran [5:109]). (In that day when the apostles are recollected and behold Allah with their own eyes they go into a Silence caused by the shock of the meeting with the Royal Majesty so they forget what people did to them!?)

The sacrifice of those who strive hard to master the art of Silence is the price paid for realization that much of the words’ plague & evil is nothing but the influence of the Nafs (Psyche). In other words the self-admiration is the cause of the problem and as well other forms of communication that plagues the Mankind. Silence is the foundation for strengthening the faultlessness of the Kholoq (Disposition & Behavior).

People said that when Dawood Taa’ee willed to be in Solitude in his house, he sat at Abu Hanifah’s sessions (Abu Hanifah was his student I guess) amongst the scholars though did not utter a word. Once his body gained strength (from this silent practice), for one year took up Solitude in the house.

Omar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (The Fifth Caliph) if received a letter with nice praising words within would tear it apart.

Besher Ibn Al-Harith said, “If you are amazed at some speech assume silence and if you are amazed at something/someone silent then speak”. (If you glance through the lens of a telescope into a never seen fantastic galaxy, there is silence since the object is not talking and your are focusing on the beauty, whereat you start speaking with excitement of the discovery. Correct sequence of events: Silence, staring, amazement then speech.)

Sahl Ibn Abdollah said, “Silence is not performed properly unless the person assumes Khalwah (Solitude) and repentance is not performed properly unless the person assumes Silence”.

Abu Bakr Farsi said, “The person who is not silent ends up meddling (in affairs that are none of his business and he does it in most uncivilized manner). Silence is not just for the tongue, but it is for all the other members of the body e.g. the heart, the limbs. (Your limbs and skin will talk after yor are resurrected from the grave telling the person the evil he did with them, so please do not let them talk, “At length, when they reach the (Fire), their hearing, their sight, and their skins will bear witness against them, as to (all) their deeds. They will say to their skins: "Why bear ye witness against us?" They will say: "(Allah) hath given us speech,- (He) Who giveth speech to everything: He created you for the first time, and unto Him were ye to return.” Koran [41:20-21])

Someone from this Nation (Sufism) has said that if a person does not highly value the silence e.g. like gold, then he will speak falsehood.

Memshaad Dinvari said, “The wise men found wisdom through Silence & musing.”

Abu Bakr Farsi was asked for the secret of silence and he replied, “Not being occupied about the past nor the future”. (Focusing on the exactness of the present’s reality, forsaking the unchangeable past and unpredictable future)

He further said that the slave should talk just enough as needed and stretch the boundaries of the Silence as far as possible.

Yahya Ibn Mo’Az said, “Speak little with people and much with the Lord so the Royal Highness may glance upon your heart”

Dhanoon Al-Masri was asked who is the most pious preventing the evil of his person, he replied the one how is most silent.

Ibn Mas’ood said nothing is worth jailing more than the tongue.

Ali Ibn Bakkar said, “The Lord has placed a double-door on everything but on the tongue put two double-doors i.e. two lips & two rows of teeth”. (This is actually some poetry to indicate the wideness of how much evil can pass through a two wide double-doors)

People said that the Abu Bakr Saddiq (Caliph) for years used to carry stones in his mouth to help in speaking less.

Abu Hamzeh Baghdadi used to say nice good words all the time until one day a voice (angelic) called out to him saying, “Much nice words you have uttered but it would have been nicer if you were silent”. Therefore he did not speak unless was commanded, lived another week after this incident.

So many folk found new Adab (Etiquette) during silence and some others lost some Adab (Etiquette) while talking.

Shebly was asked to sit in a discussion circle and he was asked a question, he replied, “And the Word will be fulfilled against them, because of their wrong-doing, and they will be unable to speak (in plea).” (Koran [27:85]). (This is what happens to people when Allah, on the Day of Judgment asks them, “Until, when they come (before the Judgment-seat), ((Allah)) will say: "Did ye reject My Signs, though ye comprehended them not in knowledge, or what was it ye did?" Koran [27:84]).

There are so many who are better off to be silent since there are others better in speaking than them.

Ibn Sam-maak said that between Shah Kermani and Yahya Mo’Az there was a wonderful friendship. And there was a time when both men were in the same city. But Shah would not attend the Yahya’s sessions and he was asked why? And he replied that there wouldn’t be anything good coming out of it. Until one day coincidentally Shah had to sit in Yahya’s session but sat some place so Yahya would be unaware of his attendance. Once Yahya started the speech he fell silent and said there is someone here who is superior to me in speech and continued with silence. Shah said, “Didn’t I tell you my attendance would bring forth no good”.

There are so many cases where the speaker falls silent since there is someone amongst the listeners who is not privy to that speech thus the Lord makes the speaker silent.

There are many others their silence was caused by the Lord since the words would have caused trouble for a listener, some burden may fall on him, which he could not endure.

The Pir (Elderly) Sages have said that sometimes the speaker becomes silent due to the presence of the Djin, since this Nation (Sufism) is not devoid of the Djin.

I heard Abu Ali Daq-qaaq saying, “When I was in Marw I became ill but I was longing for Neishaboor and fell asleep and in my dream I heard a voice addressing me: You can not leave this town since there is a group of Parian (Pl. Pari means female Djin or evil spirits) who love your speech and they attend your sessions and it is because of them that you are stuck (stationed) here”.

One of the wise men said that people are created with one tongue but two ears and two eyes to make the listening and seeing more than talking.

Ibrahim Adham once was invited to attend a meeting and as soon as he sat people started backbiting. He told them, “Where I come from we eat the bread first then the meat but it seems you guys eat the meat first” this was Ishaarat (Paradigm to hint at) for the verse, “Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” (Koran [49:12], this verse was revealed with regards to suspicion, spying and backbiting)

Some person said, “Silence is the language of wisdom”.

Another person said, “Learn Silence as you learned speech, so that if the words show you the way (towards evil?) the Silence shall stop you”.

People said, “Virtuousness, continence and abstinence are the language of the Silence. Indeed the tongue is similar to the wild savage beasts if you do not bind them they will attack you immediately.”
Abu Hafs was asked about the comparison between the silence & speech and he replied, “If the speaker knew the plague of speech he would stay silent at every chance, and if he truly knows the evil of the speech he would be silent as if he has the life of Prophet Noah (i.e. 1000 years of life so he has so much time to talk later on). It has been said the Silence of the ‘Aam (Broad, Public) is the lack of the speech, the silence of ‘Aref (Divine Cognoscente) is his heart (i.e. at peace with Allah’s decree for his life) and the Silence of the lover is to conceal the thoughts (i.e. do away with logic & reasoning keep the love a secret from them, or it means if the lover talks too much, words ruin the love).

Someone was asked to speak and he said he has no tongue for speech and he was asked to listen and he said there was no more room inside for listening.

Someone else said I paused for thirty years and my tongue listened to my heart & I paused another thirty years and my heart listened to my tongue.

One of the people said, “Your tongue can never escape the voice of your heart, and even if you are turned into dust you can never run away from the voice of the Nafs (Psyche, Soul) (i.e. enticing you to desires & lusts). And you must strive hard to prevent your soul/Nafs to speak with you since (this speech) covers up the secrets (even more).” (When you talk to yourself within, this noise covers the elegant hum of the secrets)

Many have said tongue is the key for the person’s destruction.

Some said once the lover is silent he dies (i.e. joins the Beloved) and once the ‘Aref (Divine Cognoscente) is silent he becomes a king (King of his Self since if the Aref talks to people shows off with his knowledge he looses his own Self thus becomes slave to the Self. But if stays silent he knows his Self and can command the Nafs)

Fadhil Ayyadh said, “Whomsoever speaks because he is doing something he ends up speaking a little, except what is useful for his work”. (Huh? I guess this was said for DARA)



Silence is the fountain of strength for Dervish, strength for his heart, mind, soul as well as the body. Silence allows his soul to hear the faint hum of the secrets. He is silent on his tongue, on his hands, on his legs, on his eyes and on his skin. His silence not only waving at the surface, but tumults the hadal waves deep within him with complacence & conformance about his destiny.

Dervish prolongs the silence, meanwhile stares, suddenly beholds the Divine Wonders and then says words that would enchain other hearts. Dervish learned how to speak and he knows it takes much effort to learn how to be silent. As with the language he must read, practice and socialize with the people that speak that tongue, he must study hard, practice much and associate himself with other folk who know about silence.

The day he learns the Silence, is the day Silence is worth its weight in gold! And his wisdom is nothing but the new golden language made from Silence.

Dervish uses the Silence to hold the present in abeyance, past & future during the Silence have no more meaning thus the vexed billows of his destiny are dampened and all is left is the present moment with his Self completely drowned in Silence. 

Dervish mines rare & precious morality from the harsh mines of Silence, while binding the savage beasts of his words.

Dervish knows words are the key to his destruction, therefore casts away the key deep within the waves of Silence.

Contributor: ‘Adel Mahmood who helped in translating the Arabic poem in Toronto’s Tim Horton’s

© 2004-2001,  Dara O. Shayda