You come to me, and you call me “teacher.”
I make you tea and call you “friend.”
We with focused attention before Allah and we call it “prayer.”
Don’t look to me for answers. Don’t suppose for a minute
that I know what I’m doing, here. I don’t.
It isn’t my wisdom being spoken into the silence between us.
I open my mouth and the winds of heaven
move my lips, or they don’t.
When we are finished, we will be fortunate if we are both a little wiser.
I am not the teacher. I am the tea-maker.
Allah is the teacher.
You and I are both students, and always will be.
My love, if I ever get to the point where I say, “I can answer that”
please do not strike me dead.
But kindly persuade my wife to inform me that my teaching days are over.
For if I think I have any answers,
If I am foolish enough to believe that I know what I am doing
If I am ever arrogant enough to suppose that my own wisdom exceeds yours
then my usefulness in this world is at an end
and my time is better spent wetting myself and drooling into a towel
until the angel of sleep closes my eyes forever to this good life.
Najat is only skilled as a teacher
by knowing that his own wisdom is only slightly more valuable
than his excrement.