EMPTY VESSELS MAKE THE MOST NOISE
There are some people who when they find themselves in a gathering feel that their input is crucial and critical. Without them having a say the gathering becomes lacking or defective. More often they blurt out that which has absolutely no relevance nor benefit to the topic of discussion. At the end they become the laughing stock of the gathering. Had the person remembered the instruction of our beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam where he is reported to have said that, “He who believes in Allah Ta’ala and the last day, let him speak that which contains goodness (benefit) or let him remain silent” would have saved himself from the embarrassing situation that he had put himself in.
Silence is wisdom and the opposite does not necessarily mark intelligence, especially if what is uttered is more nonsensical. Nowadays people tend to say anything for the sake of speaking. Some people just can’t stop talking. They go on relentlessly as if their life depends on talking. Like a shark whose life depends on movement it seems their lives hinge on talking. Islam does not view unnecessary talk in esteem. Rather it gives silence a higher ranking. The hadeeth above says it all very clearly leaving no room for assumptions or speculation of what could be the actual intent behind the words of our beloved Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam. When one studies the lives of our pious predecessors we find that amongst the salient features of their lives was the habit of speaking less. When they spoke they spoke little but the benefits of those few words were profound and deeply beneficial to those who heard them. They knew that brevity was the essence of speech and furthermore constituted eloquence.
In the hadeeth mentioned not only did the Prophet of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam exhort us to say beneficial and good words or to remain silent if the former was not possible but what is crucially important and of great significance is that he connected these actions to Imaan (faith). Thus those who blabber without reason, the hadeeth indirectly and subtly speaks about a defect and flaw in their belief in Allah Ta’ala and the last day. With this point made clearer shouldn’t this stop us dead in our tracks the next time we feel we have to say something regardless of what it may be?
If we put this concept into practice, words cannot describe the peace and tranquillity that will flow through our days and applying this virtue helps us to become more productive by making full use of our time in a manner which is beneficial to us. When we talk less we find more time to do the more important things in life like remembering Allah Ta’ala through dhikr and Tilaawah of the Qur’aan. Instead of unnecessary chit chat we could utilise the time in reading beneficial books or simply contemplating and bettering our relationship and connection with Allah Ta’ala which we are all in dire need of doing considering our current conditions of spiritual decay.
It is also vital to know why silence is preferred when there's nothing good to say. How often does a conversation start off as totally permissible but without one realising it turns to prohibited as our tongues fall into backbiting, slandering others or lying, all of which is detrimental to our spiritual well-being. Had we chosen to remain silent this would have not happened and we would have saved ourselves from wreaking havoc to our spiritual states and straining our relationship with Allah Ta’ala.
Each day all the other body parts ask the tongue to fear Allah Ta’ala in them.
Hadrat Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri Radiyallaahu Anhu reported that the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said: “When the son of Adam wakes up, all of his body parts address the tongue and say: fear Allah concerning us, we are only part of you; if you are upright, then we are upright; but if you are crooked, then we are crooked.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi].
This hadeeth highlights the importance of keeping the tongue bridled at all times for when goodness comes out from it then the other body parts will benefit from this goodness by being safe and out of harms way. The opposite too applies. How often we see that all it takes for someone to get a hiding is just saying the wrong thing. Because of the slip of the tongue the other parts of the body suffer!
There are many other evidences from Hadeeth and Verses from the Holy Qur’aan that address this issue, the advice we should take from the mentioned ahadeeth are that we should safeguard our tongues and be aware of what comes out from it, as we would not want to enter hellfire due to the harvests of our tongue. The tongue may be small in size but the damage it does can easily reach monumental proportions. It is reported that Imaam Abu Haneefah Rahmatullaahi Alaihi had engraved on a ring worn by him the words, “Its size is small but its crimes are big”. The reference was to the tongue and no other body part. Loads can still be written on this topic but constraints don’t permit this. The central message here is if you don’t have anything good to say, silence is the better option. When we can guard our tongues and ensure that it is constantly bridled then we have truly achieved. The fruits of this noble action will be reaped not only in this worldly life but in the life of the hereafter as well .Did the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi wa sallam not tell promise the person who guards two limbs of his or her body with Jannah i.e. that which is between the two jaw bones (the tongue) and that which is between the legs (the private parts). In the protection of these two limbs lie our welfare and success, in the eyes of society as well as our Creator.
A lion does not unnecessarily roar but it is amongst the most feared. On the other hand a dog barks with or without reason but is feared much less or not feared at all.
Those who blabber without cause indirectly exhibit something. Haven’t we time and again heard the clichéd “Empty vessels make the most noise”! So the next time you open your mouth just so that you want to fit in the crowd remember that you might just be confirming what existed as a suspicion before this!
May Allah Ta’ala make us among those who hear the good advice and follow the best of it, Aameen