Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The power of Silence

When you listen to music, listen in between the notes, where there is no music; listen to the sound of silence.
When you hear the wind rustling in the leaves, listen to the rustling when there is no wind, listen to the sound of silence.
When you hear the sound of your heart in your every breath, listen to the sound of your heart when it is not beating; listen to the sound of silence.
For silence is not of this world. It is from another dimension. If you can hear the silence you can go into another dimension and view our world from there. While noise is worldly, silence is spirituality. The noise in our brains is the noise of want, of worldly desires. If we can fill our minds with silence, we can feel humility.
But silence is nothing and God is no thing and when there was nothing there was silence.


Wael said...

Please explain this to me
But silence is nothing and “God is no thing” and when there was nothing there was silence.


Khusro Elley said...

Thanks for your question. I will try to answer to the best of my ability.
The human mind, wonders about God, what is He/She like? The Quran talks about the 99 qualities of Allah but what was there billions of years back before the Earth, before the Universe was formed. One has visions of total emptiness, total silence, total nothingness. One description of God is therefore nothingness. He is not a thing, not a being, no thing.

The opposite of being is not being. Our original state was not being and then by the command of God we became and then after a while we will not be.

Can we enter into a state of nothingness while we are. This is my point. When we meditate, we are nearest to godliness, when we are able to empty ourselves of the noise. We are nearest to God, when we are in silence. To talk is good but to listen is even better.

Your thoughts and comments would be most welcome.


Wael said...

The essence of your thought is understood. However, I suggest not to try to describe God or make conclusion about Him using logic. This made people drift completely from Islam and its basic beliefs. We should only describe God and talk about the same way He described Himself or His messenger described Him. There are verses from the Quraan and Hadith from the prophet that disprove your conclusions.

I STRONGLY recommend that we stay away from these things. Please forgive my assertiveness but I believe the matter is really serious.


Khusro Elley said...

Please educate me about the verses from the Quran that you allude to. I am not aware of them. Mine is not a conclusion, it is a thought. I understand from your comments that it is a sacriledgeous thought. If I believe in God, why can I not think about Him, specially if I do it with all the love and devotion that I can muster? I find many references in the Quran which say that it will be better understood by people who think and those who understand. Should I exclude myself from such people and leave it to others to do my thinking?

I value your knowledge and devoutness but need more guidance from you as to why you feel that I am out of line.

Wael said...

Of course you should think and develop understanding. However, one should think of things that his mind would be able to comprehend. Nothing is like Allah Ta’ala, the Al-mighty. No matter how thoughtful and how knowledgeable we are, we will not be able to comprehend His nature. That is why He reveals Himself to us through his words that He had given to His messengers. He also reveals Himself through His magnificent creation that amazes us the more we reflect up on it. That is why we are ordered and commanded to reflect upon Allah’s signs (being them His words given to us through messengers or His creation).

The prophet PBUH said that the devil will come to you and ask you “Who created so and so?” until he will reach the question “Who created Allah?” The prophet could have said, “no one created Allah.” However, he said—teaching us a very important lesson to handle these thoughts—if something like this comes to your mind say “I seek refuge by Allah from the devil” and stop thinking. The reason the prophet said stop thinking is that he (PBUH) knows that our mind won’t be able to answer those questions at all. On the other hand, Allah in the Quraan and the prophet in his hadith urged us a lot to deeply think and reflect upon Allah’s creation.

Also, the prophet clearly forbids thinking about Allah by saying “Ponder on Allah’s creation and do NOT ponder on Allah.” The scholars of Islam agreed that no one should try to know Allah by pondering about Him. It was never the way of the prophet, his companions, or their followers to ponder about Allah with bare mind. The scholars even made it forbidden to call Allah for example “The perfect engineer of the universe,” not because it is wrong but because neither Allah nor His messenger called Him that.

My bottom line is that I am trying to protect your thoughts, and hence your blog, from going into areas that the prophet forbade to go to. Please forgive me and make Doaa for me

Eid Mubarak

Please see sura 6 ayah number 19. It says “Say: What thing is most weighty in witness? Say: Allah, [He] is a witness between you and me …”


Khusro Elley said...

Your comments are highly appreciated. You make two significant points.

1. That the proof of God is in His creation. That we will do well to appreciate Him through His wonders rather than trying to fathom Him out through some mental excercise.
2. That we do not have the capacity to understand God and therefore it is futile trying.

A long time ago, I had asked myself two questions. Where did God come from? and what was His purpose in creating us?
The answers that came to me were exactly what you say. Regarding the first question, I do not have and will never have the capacity to comprehend the answer even if it was given to me. I am at peace with that answer. Knowing one's limitations saves one a lot of unneccesary anguish.
As for the second question, you rightly say that for a Muslim the answer is provided by the Prophet. ( PBUH). In reading the Quran and listening to learned people, the quest continues to be guided by the words of God and His Messenger.

I am very disturbed however that what I said was misundestood by you and perhaps by others. It was furthest from my thoughts when I wrote the thought to suggest in any way that there was a question in my mind about associating God with others or posing a question as to where He came from. My point was in fact to discuss the balance between Worldliness and Spirutuality.

When I asked my wife she said, like you that I was going about it the wrong way. Why was I not saying that when one listens to the rustling of the wind amongst the leaves then that reminds me of God. Why was I not pointing to the wonders of God instead of talking about silence. In fact she felt that what I wrote was morbid because it reminded her about death rather than life. Worldiness, she said, was part of Spirituality, not separate from it. Spirituality, she said, was not a thought but an act.
When challenged my wife comes up with some very astute observations.

I understood everything that my wife said just as I understood every thing that you said. Why are people having a hard time understanding what I am saying ?
I am not talking about looking at the signs of God to be amazed and appreciate His Creation. There has been enough said in the Quran about this and there is enough said about it by people, more learned than I.

There is not enough said about Silence and how critical it is in our day to day life to achieving the right balance between Worldliness and Spirituality. There are two qualities that are essential for us and the Quran is full of guidance in this respect. These are Patience and Humility. Looking at God's creation is enough to give us both these qualities. Yet we all look at God's creation everyday and take it for granted. We take it for granted because our minds are distracted by our fears, our concerns, our ambitions, the day to day worries of life. We become too consumed by worldliness to have any time for God.

Seeking Silence in life is a way of seeking God. When we pray in the prescribed manner, we are still full of this world. We go through the motions and perhaps are no better than before. I agree with you that talking about Silence and Nothingness are abstract philosophical thoughts and not well understood. My discussions are however not idle and meaningless highbrow thinking. They can be as practical as eating food with a spoon. I understand that I have to make it practical and that is my challenge.

For the time being I rely on people like yourself and my wife to challenge me and question me, so that I get the opportunity to expand upon my written thoughts. Without discussion and challenge the thoughts are not worth the paper that they are written on.

Thank you for your time and comments. I will post this discussion on the blog so that people get a clearer picture behind the thought.


kemal shoaib said...

very wise discussion with many enlightened comments and quotations. I do find one point troubling and I would be delighted to have an edifying response.
It cannot be denied that God is unknowable and Shirk to ascribe attributes to Him. However, the essential purpose of worship (the essential purpose of life?) is to attempt to draw closer to Him. This can only happen if our endeavours in life increases our understanding of Him and hence knowledge about him, however incomplete that quest is doomed to be.
The question arises in my mind as to how and if these thoughts conflict with what has been said below.
I also request Brother Wael to tell the precise source of
"Also, the prophet clearly forbids thinking about Allah by saying "Ponder on Allah’s creation and do NOT ponder on Allah." The scholars of Islam agreed that no one should try to know Allah by pondering about Him. It was never the way of the prophet, his companions, or their followers to ponder about Allah with bare mind"
It is clearly futile to ponder about Allah with 'bare mind'. But is it forbidden to ponder about him utilizing all the faculties at our disposal?

Nancy Wallace said...

Thank you for such beautiful thoughts - especially in this super busy season. I am sending this one on to others. Nancy

Farrokh said...

beautifully put
shall do so, begin listening to the silence within and withou

Siraj said...

That silence you portrayed was well composed.

I remember Majrooh's

Ek nazar aur kitni baatein
Ek khamoshi laakh fasanay

I also recall that gem from Simon and Garfunkel from the yesteryears The Sound of Silence.

Please allow me to say that the last line does not do justice to the sweetness of everything which came before that and adds little to the total. It somehow does not deliver the impact of the closing line. In fact, I noticed that if the last line is dropped altogetehr, the text does not loose any of its brilliance. My 2c.

I hope everything is enjoying a wonderful EID, irrespective of what days we are celebrating.

Shuhaib Muzaffer said...

The poem (if I may call it a poem) the power of silence has traces of Rumi both in the rhyme and thought…….

Rumi says:

Reason says, "I will beguile him with the tongue;"
Love says, "Be silent. I will beguile him with the soul."
The soul says to the heart, "Go, do not laugh at me
and yourself. What is there that is not his, that I may beguile him thereby?"

You wrote:

But silence is nothing and God is no thing and when there was nothing there was silence.

This renders that the silence is from God….. Unfortunately it is difficult for all comprehend this state of ‘perfect silence’…….

Rumi says:

Remember God so much that you are forgotten.
Let the caller and the called disappear;
Be lost in the Call.

What we need to reflect on is how can one be lost in the Call if one is not lost in the Silence of spirituality?? I understand that’s what you mean – and it’s a beautiful thought……..