University platform for research on Islam

Initiated by
the Federation
of European

Supported by
the International
of Catholic

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.

Resources of this researcher

Resources related toEthics


From the Declaration “Nostra Aetate” to the Document of Abu Dhabi: Reexamining a Historical and Theological Trajectory in the Catholic Approach to Islamic-Christian Dialogue

  • Jean-Jacques Pérennès

Jean Jacques Pérennès, former director of the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem, proposes a re-examination of the Catholic approach to Islamic-Christian dialogue, from the Nost...


Normativity of Holy Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

  • Klaus von Stosch
  • Zishan Ahmad Ghaffar

In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the orientation towards “holy texts” is central. While in the past it was undisputed that these texts could be understood as directly given by God an...


Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, Human Rights and Democracy

  • Dirk Ansorge

Title of the lecture : 'Embracing the Other: Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri‘s approach to Human Rights and Democracy' In the Western world, the Pakistani politician and Islamic scholar Muhammad Tahir-ul-...


Environmentalism and sustainability as an expression of Islamic moral orientation

  • Ida Zilio-Grandi

Abstract : The essay emphasizes cultural specificities, starting with the terminology currently used to describe sustainability, and investigates the lack of homogeneity of the semantic fields bel...


Disease, death and cure. Muslims and the health emergency

  • Antonio Cuciniello
  • Paolo Branca

Original title : Malattia, morte e cura. I musulmani e l’emergenza sanitaria The health emergency caused by Covid-19 has also had a strong impact on believers and religious communities of all re...


Circumcision and EU citizenship

  • Antonio Angelucci

Original title : "Circoncisione e cittadinanza europea" Abstract Circumcision is a practice that mainly conforms to Jewish and Muslim religious identities. However, some documents of the Parl...


Studies of radicalization leading to violence in the name of Islam: mapping theoretical actors to better understand epistemological and ethical issues

  • Wael Saleh

Original title : "Les études de la radicalisation menant à la violence au nom de l’islam : cartographier les acteurs théoriques pour mieux comprendre les enjeux épistémologiques et éthiques" Abs...


Perspectives and Opportunities of Islamic Finance

  • Cédomir Nestorovic

Original title : «Perspectives et opportunités de la finance islamique» Speaker : Prof. Cédomir Nestorovic Moderator : Laurent Basanese, S.J. Islam-Cristianesimo Forum 2017-2018, Event i...