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Référence :

Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie orientale, Vol. 52 – Giugno 2016



Silence and Speech Etiquette, A Contribution to the Study of Islamic Ethics

Abstract: When speaking of silence, the Koran employs three different verbal roots (ṣ-m-t, s-k-t, n-ṣ-t); on the basis of this linguistic profusion, Arabic Islamic culture has elaborated a complex conception of silence, which embraces an element of abstention, linking it to passivity and stillness, and a cognitive element, linking it to listening and learning. The exegetical corpus and above all the moral literature, represented here chiefly by the learned Sunnite Ibn Abī al-Dunyā of Baghdad (d. 281/894)’s Kitāb al-ṣamt wa ādāb al-lisān, equate silence with verbal discipline and award it the status of an Islamic value, to the extent that it is posited as an optimal attitude in the believer’s relation with God and with other members of the Islamic community.

Summary: 1 Premise. – 2 Silence in the Koran and the Exegetical Literature. – 3 Silence in the Ethical-religious Literature of the Classical Period. – 4 Silence and Good Manners in Speech by Ibn Abī Al-dunyā. – 5 The Government of the Tongue and the Excellence of Silence. – 6 Conclusions.

Titre original : “Silence and Speech Etiquette. A Contribution to the Study of Islamic Ethics”


Lorsqu’il s’agit du silence, le Coran emploie trois racines verbales différentes (ṣ-m-t, s-k-t, n-ṣ-t). Sur la base de cette profusion linguistique, la culture islamique arabe a élaboré une conception complexe du silence, qui embrasse un élément d’abstention, lié à la passivité et à l’immobilité, et à un élément cognitif, lié à l’écoute et à l’apprentissage. Le corpus exégétique et surtout la pensée morale — représentée ici principalement par le savant sunnite Ibn Abī al-Dunyā de Bagdad (m. 281/894), Kitāb al-ṣamt wa ādāb al-lisān — associent le silence à une discipline de la parole et lui attribuent une valeur selon l’islam, dans la mesure où il constitue la meilleure attitude dans la relation du croyant avec Dieu et avec les autres membres de la communauté musulmane.

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