Decibels yes, Wisdom no
When the so-called ‘power to the people’ movement took root in the mid 1990s, what the invenots may not have been able to grasp fully, is the rigmarole this would lead the world into. Commonly, the conspirasists would interject at this stage and say that the founders had always meant to create this in the first place – a world full of noise, loud and endless ones, so that no one ever has the time or opportunity to take a moment and reflect. Be as it may, we ought to exercise imaginative restraint here and give the pioneers a benefit of the doubt, that in doing so, their real desire was to have people clutch and claw their way out of the shackles of oppression, subjugation and insubordination, whether at work, in relationships, as citizens, or just in general with whatever.
Fast forward to this nightmarish era of talk and talk back and self talk, it all seems to be like a growing wild tree or an expanding animal farm. In the past, people used to confine their light moments, their private ones and their thoughts and views, within their homes, face to face, where mutual respect was a necessary ingredient in talking, or responding. It was also clear how gatherings were predictable – they were either just friendly chatter or incisively discussive ones. Yes, the limitation of source was an obvious handicap, but in retrospect, it was much safer to come to conclusions then, than t is in the present ridiculous environment. The multitude of sources has confused everything, and there is mayhem everywhere.
As everyone got armed with a tool to be heard, speech was never ever in short supply again. When I take a quick survey of friends, I realise that despite the enormous body of knowledge that is available in online caches, most people are drawn to scandalous and sensational pieces of news, and it is even tastier when it is a forwarded message that assassinates characters and compels you to believe in their persuasion. A complete infraction of a peaceful society as we knew it, with the rate of fitna ising by the millisecond.
Imam Ali (AS), used to caution us that we would speak less when we acquired greater wisdom, but we were apparently still fighting his caliphate battle many centuries later. He demonstrated in action how speech should be used in gaining Allah (SWT)’s favour, in helping and guiding others on one hand, and on the other, he exhibited restraint of speach when he felt he was not qualified even for a moment. The Holy Prophet (SAW)’s most decorated title is As-Saadiq (The Truthful), and this is not just for us to feel good about and go an naming our children thus, but hidden in this is the argument of what the content of one’s speech must be when they start to talk – and that is truth and facts.
In the scramble to be more popular, build more influence, all leading to one form or another of economic prosperity, we should never succumb to the temptation of failing to follow these guidelines. And whereas talk is cheap, a Muslim’s character, is not. Speaking on the basis of speculation and hearsay, speaking about topics one is not competent to express in, or speaking out of turn, are all abominable qualities that are taking the Ummah further away from the very thing that they aspire to embrace – honesty and sincerity.
Speaking too much, or speaking about things that have no benefit to anyone, or worse still are counterproductive and in fact hurtful, are categorically despised in the scriptures as acts that attract Allah (SWT)’s displeasure. I know this is hard because one has to be seen out there to survive, but as and when you do, remember your rules, they are not the same as the rules for the haters of the Ahlul Bayt (AS) or for those who do not believe in the hereafter. So let us be wary, before time takes its toll on us and we are left to rue the actions of our misdeamenours.