I know that someone hurt you.
I can see it in your eyes
when the muezzin sounds.
You bow, you kneel, you prostrate yourself
your mouth moves with the words of the prayers.
Your body prays, but it is clear to me that your heart does not.
Come to my rooms.
Sit here, allow me to pour you some coffee.
Let us talk.
Anything you say in this place is safe
from widow’s talk or the wrath of zealots.
There is no one here but us two bumbling seekers.
Even Allah will respect your privacy,
and will drive away the jinn
so that the only ears that hear your words will be mine.
Nothing you can say will surprise me.
You can utter no heresy that I have not heard before.
You cannot truly blaspheme if you are only being honest.
Perhaps the imams have betrayed you.
If so, tell me that story.
The imams are often wrong, and some are even cruel.
Perhaps Allah has abandoned you. That story, too,
you can tell in safety. When you are ready,
I will stand beside you as you confront Him with His offenses.
Don’t look at me like that.
Allah is a powerful God, and can weather any abuse
you can level at Him.
Ah, I can see it in your eyes
that you are afraid of Hell
if you dare speak to Allah in this way.
Allow Najat to comfort you.
I speak to Allah this way all the time.
All lovers fight.
If there is no honesty, no redress, no accountability,
there is no relationship. Allah wants nothing from you
quite so much as relationship.
I know you are scared, but my friend, you must speak
of the barrier that separates you and Allah.
Once you have named it, together we can overcome it.
So speak! Speak! Whatever is weighing down your soul.
For if you are not free to speak your mind
you are not free to love.