“Silence is gold” we say. In Islam silence is more than gold. There is a well known saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the value of keeping silent:
“Salat (prayer) is the main pillar of Islam, but still silent is better.
Sadaqa (charity) will extinguish the anger of Allah, yet remaining silent is better.
Sawm (fasting) is a shield against the fire of hell, but still silent is better.
Jihad (holy war) occupations a high position in the deen of Allah, but still silent is better. ”
The human experiences tranquility by reducing four of his innate habits: Socializing, eating, sleeping and talking much. Islam puts much emphasis on controlling one’s tongue. Speech is one of the inlets to the spiritual heart. Generally useless talk is most of what we utter. It is that which is said with little thought and less purpose. Surprisingly even talking about religion can fall into this category. Many Muslims talk about God and Islam without proper knowledge.
As for every day’s conversations, they are all about arguing, backbiting, debating, and lying. Such speech has no value, or rather bears negative effects for it brings nothing but distraction with the trivial.
On the other hand beneficial speech according to Islamic teachings is whatever is wholesome and constructive. Commenting on public life is not considered spiritually harmful however only when our lips are sealed about the ordinary that beneficial speech becomes illumined. Excessive talking can be a serious threat to one’s soul. The tongue has a privilege that other organs of the body do not, and that is to mention Allah’s name and remember Him audibly. The essential cure to excessive talking according to Scholars is through constant remembrance of Allah.
We have often been taught to think before we talk but this aptitude seems to have been lost through time. While it may not be possible to spend every moment remembering Allah, it is part of the spiritual training to strive towards keeping one’s tongue moist with dhikrullah (remembrance of Allah). After much remembrance with the tongue (some say it takes years), it becomes natural for some to be in constant contemplation and remembrance of The One, Allah. Silence in Islam, is simply Salvation.