One of the best stories and the most inspiring one, in various aspects, has to be the story of Hazrat Musa’s (as) meeting with Hazrat Khazir (as), I’ve written the prelude to the meeting mentioned in quran Here. Today I wish to talk about the meeting and what transpired in it. To be exact I want to highlight the events after the 2nd incident of their meeting. This story finds mention in Surah Kahf. Firstly, Hazrat Khazir (as) damaged a boat then he killed a child and lastly he repaired a wall without any remuneration.
At the very beginning of the story, Hazrat Khazir (as) warns Hazrat Musa (as) that he (Musa) cannot be patient with him but Hazrat Musa (as) assured him that he (Musa) will not disappoint him as far as patience was considered. Hazrat Khazir (as) very well knew about the nature of Hazrat Musa (as), which was of the impulsive, inquisitor type hence he put the warning upfront. The very reason this meeting was taking place was because of that nature. So after Hazrat Musa (as) saw the boat being damaged, he questioned the act of Hazrat Khazir (as) who reminded him of his promise of being patient in the entire journey; to this Hazrat Musa (as) replied that he’ll be careful the next time. Please note that Hazrat Khazir (as) did not want any assurance from Hazrat Musa (as) but the latter provided it anyhow.
Now after Hazrat Musa (as) saw a child being killed he was greatly surprised and questioned the veracity of this act whereupon Hazrat Khazir (as) again reminded him of his promise to which Hazrat Musa (as) again replied, without being asked or expected to reply, that if he says anything after this point the meeting should be considered over. This reply of Hazrat Musa (as) is considered by many scholars to be uncalled for, even our beloved Prophet (saww) wished that Musa (as) had remained quite so that the meeting could have been extended further but as we know, the meeting ended immediately after the third incident and excuse on the behalf of Hazrat Khazir (as) to part ways was Hazrat Musa’s (as) reply after the second incident. Though it is never mentioned explicitly, scholars suggest it to be the implicit reason and the fact that Hazrat Musa(as) complied to partition after going through all the struggle for this meeting alone is a clear indication of it being the implicit reason.
Silence at that time could have benefited a Prophet who had the Lord’s machinery, by the grace of the Lord himself, at his command; imagine what fruits that silence will bear for us! As Rumi said; Silence is the language of God, rest is just poor translation. Silence is golden, we have history full of wise men and women emphasizing on the importance of silence. Hazrat Umar (ra) used to say; my silence has never hurt me, it’s always my speech. God created us with just one tongue but two ears, that must be His way of saying talk less and listen more.
In today’s modern world where information is being bombarded at us from all sorts of nooks and corners of the digital alley, we are surrounded by cacophony instead of meaningful dialogue. Our work, our relationships, our life would have been much better if we had not spoken at ‘that’ moment. Silence was all that was needed of us but we failed to control our tongue. Hazrat Luqmaan (as) when asked to prepare the delicacy out of the best part of lamb brought forward the dish prepared from the tongue of the lamb and next time when asked to prepare a delicacy out of the worst part of the lamb, he again prepared dish from the tongue; when he was asked about it he said that the tongue if used properly is sweeter than honey and if used unwisely it is bitter than poison! If only we can understand the importance of silence the world will become a better place. Nature is best experienced when we stop talking.
I’m dissuading speech except when it is better than silence. It’s an irony of our times that when we need to speak up we remain silent and when we need to remain silent, there’s not a word in the dictionary that didn’t find mention in our speech. Speak in favor of oppressed, downtrodden, weak, marginalized; speak up your ideas; speak up against tyrants, fascists but remain quite when your spouse is throwing a tantrum at you, wait for temperatures to cool down and then put forward your point; be silent when your parents yell at you, they never wanted to yell at their beloved in the first place; be silent when a fool wants to argue with you; be silent when your speech will only hurt someone.
Be silent if you want to listen to yourself!