In the famous hadith that we’ve all heard before, the Prophet ﷺ said:
من كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فليقل خيرا أو ليصمت
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
In the first narration the Prophet ﷺ uses samt - he says we should speak good; but if we have nothing good to say, then we should be like the one who does not have the ability to speak – remaining silent is all that he can do.
How many of us implement this?
An Explanation of this Hadith
Imam Shafi’i states that the meaning of this hadith is that if someone desires to speak, then he should speak only that which is good. But if it is clear to him that his speech may cause harm, then he should refrain from speaking. Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen says it is as if the Prophet ﷺ said, “If you believe in Allah and the last day, then speak what is good or be quiet.” He also states the benefits of this hadith:
“Silence is incumbent except if there is good in a person’s speech. Speech is of three types:
1. Khayr (good): this is the type of speech that this hadith is encouraging.
2. Sharr (evil): this is the type of speech which is evil and forbidden.
3. Laghw (vain): this is the type of speech that is neither good nor evil. It is not forbidden for a person to speak laghw but rather it is better to keep silent and refrain from it.”
It is said, “If speech is silver, then silence is gold.”
We also learn from this hadith the importance of guarding the tongue. The Prophet ﷺ said to Mu’adh (radi Allahu `anhu – may Allah be pleased with him), “And shall I not tell you of the controlling of all that?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” So he took hold of his tongue and said: “Restrain this.” I said: “O Prophet of Allah, will we be held accountable for what we say?” He said: “May your mother be bereft of you! Is there anything that topples people on their faces (or he said, on their noses) into the Hell-fire other than the jests of their tongues?” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]
Be mindful; aspire to speak only when your words are good. This is better for your iman (faith), a protection for your tongue, and more honorable for you with your Muslim sisters and brothers.
Source: Silence is GOLD