Saturday, January 8, 2011

Talk and Listen

When I ask students about prayer,
all of them know how to bow towards Mecca.
This is the Prayer of the Body, and it is important.

But when I ask them about the Prayer of the Heart,
some of them have no idea what I am talking about.
These are the easy cases. They have little to unlearn.

Others, though, say that they talk to Allah
all day and all night. And I think, “my poor, poor Beloved
—who can bear to hear such incessant chatter?”

Still others say that they wait in silence
for the Beloved’s voice. And sometimes
they even hear it.

There is nothing wrong with the chatterers or the lovers of silence,
not really. Both of them are necessary.
The trouble comes when a seeker does only one and not the other.

Every wife wants her husband to talk.
Every wife wants her husband to listen.
Every husband hates to do either, usually.

But the wife knows what makes a good relationship.
It is this kind of relationship Allah wants to have
with each and every person alive.

So, my dear ones, listen to Najat:
if you want to be healed, talk.
if you want to be wise, listen.

But if you want to know the deepest intimacy
with your Beloved,
you must learn to do both.

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