The Art of Listening – Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah

Posted on May 30, 2010 by

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“The Art of Listening”
By Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah
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“If a person starts telling you, whether you are alone or in the company of others, something that you already knew very well, you should pretend as if you do not know it. Do not rush to reveal your knowledge or to interfere with the speech. Instead, show your attention and concentration. The honourable Tabi’i Imam ‘Ata ibn Abi Rabah said, “A young man would tell me something that I may have heard before he was born. Nevertheless, I listen to him as if I had never heard it before.”
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Khalid ibn Safwan al-Tamimi, who frequented the courts of two Khalifas: ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and Hisham ibn ‘Abd al-Malik, said, “If a person tells you something you have heard before, or news that you already learnt, do not interrupt him to exhibit your knowledge to those present. This is rude and ill-mannered.”
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The honourable Imam ‘Abdullah ibn Wahab al-Qurashi al-Masri, a companion of Imam Malik, al-Layth ibn Sa’d and al-Thawri, said, “Sometimes a person would tell me a story that I have heard before his parents had wed. Yet I listened as if I have never heard it before.” Ibrahim ibn al-Junayd said, “A wise man said to his son, ‘Learn the art of listening as you learn the art of speaking.'”
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Listening well means maintaining eye contact, allowing the speaker to finish the speech and restraining your urge to interrupt his speech.
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Al-Hafiz al-Khatib al-Baghdadi said in a poem: “Never interrupt a talk, though you know it inside out.””
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(p 29-30 of “Islamic Manners” by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah)
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