Spiritual Silence – Samt

ومن كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فليقل خيراً أو ليصمت

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: …and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent.

Bukhari and Muslim

Spiritual silence is of two types: silence of the tongue and silence of the heart.

When we practice samt, especially around the awliya’, our spiritual edifice grows.

Samt is particularly important around your sheikh.

Samt (صمت) is different from sakt (سكت) in that samt is complete inner silence, whereas sakt is just withholding speech. Samt is something incapable of speech. An inanimate object could be called samt in Arabic. The Arabs would say you have wealth that speaks and wealth that is samit, incapable of speech. Your speechless wealth is like your dinar or dollar bills. Your wealth that speaks is like your camels and cattle, who make noise.

Don’t just put your words aside, either. Silence yourself like you have nothing to say, like you cannot speak. And don’t think that you are losing out or losing knowledge, quite the contrary. Instead, your knowledge will be retooled and given back to you better than before. Now you really know how to use it.

Your heart has two windows: one to your nafs (lower self), the other to your ruh (spirit). When you silence the nafs (and waswasah), the window to your ruh opens up. This is where you may find Divine secrets, insha’Allah.

Ibn Ata Allah’s commentary on Abu Madyan’s poem, Adab al-Murid

(And hold constantly to silence (samt) except if you are asked then say – “I have no knowledge with/about me,” and conceal yourself with ignorance)

Samt with the people of the tariqa from holding to it he raises his “building” (spiritual edifice), and is well planted [in the tariqa], and it is of two types: samt of the tongue, and samt of the heart, and both are necessary in the path. For whoever silences his heart and his tongue speaks, he speaks with wisdom, and whoever silences his tongue and his heart his secret is revealed to him, and his Lord speaks to him, and this is the goal of silence. The Sheikh’s (Abu-Madyan’s) words state and confirm this.

So cling to silence (samt) oh spiritual wayfarer (salik) except if you are asked, and if you are asked then return to your origin (asl and wasl) and say “I have no knowledge with me” and conceal yourself in ignorance, the lights of laduni knowledge (intuitive knowledge imparted by God) will shine upon you. For indeed whatever of your ignorance you acknowledge/recognize, and return to your origin (asl), knowledge of yourself becomes visible to you, and when you know it you know your Lord, like what was narrated in the hadith {whoever knows himself knows his Lord}. Commentary: this is not a hadith, it is only from speech revealed to [Yahya] ibn Mua’adh ar-Razi (a 9th century Sufi), and imam Suyuti wrote a manuscript entitled: “the similar speech in ‘whomever knows himself then certainly he knows his Lord.'” And all of that are from the benefits of samt and holding to its adaab (etiquettes), so be silent, have adab, and hold to the door, you will be among His beloveds. And what is more beautiful than what was said:

I will not leave the door until you straighten my crookedness – and you accept me upon my faults and shortcomings
Then if you’re pleased then what a distinction and what an honor – and if you refuse then who can I hope for my disobedience?

So rise and head to your Lord’s door with extreme enthusiasm, and affirm your slavery, His glorious Lights will shine on you.

Ibn Ata Allah quoting sheikh Abu Madyan on orienting the heart
أضواء على الطريقة الرحمانية الخلوتية
عبد الباقي مفتاح

Samt: and it is upon the beginner that he silences (samt) his tongue from foolish talk, and his heart from all of the ideas about anything from anything, for if someone silences his tongue and his heart, the secrets are unveiled for him and the knowledge and contemplation are made clear upon him. Then when the murid is silent with his heart and tongue, he moves to the station of the secret discussion, because silence of mankind in himself (his nafs) is in fact impossible, and this silence transmits knowledge of al-Haqq (glory to Him Most High).

Further reading:

Regarding  “Whoever knows himself, he knows his Lord”


4 thoughts on “Spiritual Silence – Samt

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