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The Tongue says what is not in the Heart 11 August 2008

Posted by MOZAFFAR in Misc.
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When it is time for the young child to go to bed, immediately, she suddenly gets hungry. She demands chicken. When she is served the chicken, she then demands grapes. When she is served the grapes, she next demands something else. After six months, her father realizes something simple: she is not hungry. Rather, she just wants to stay awake.

We do not grow out of that practice, especially when we speak to God.

When we make a prayer with our tongue, it does not necessarily match the prayer of our heart. To find out what your heart wants, think of what you just asked Allah, and then ask yourself why you want it.

You overslept for work, and are racing to get to work on time. Thus, on the way, you are begging God to get you to work on time. Why? You do not want to be late. Why do you not want to be late? Because you might get in trouble. Why do you not want to get in trouble? Because you might lose your job. The prayer of the tongue was “get me to work on time.” The prayer closer to your heart was “do not let me lose my job.” But that was not the prayer of your heart.

Why do you not want to lose your job? You will not have money. Why do you not want to lose your money? Because you will then not be able to provide for your family and yourself. What is your concern then? You might lose your family. What is your concern then? Perhaps it is a fear of poverty. Perhaps it is a fear of death. Perhaps it is a fear of loneliness.

As we grow up through life, we capture moments less, and interpret moments more and more. As we grow up through life, we add layers of interpretation upon layers. The child seeks to stay awake, perhaps because the child does not want to miss anything. Perhaps the child wants to be like her father. Thus, the child seeks food. That interpretation might become a behavior. The child — seeking anything — seeks food to fulfill that purpose.

The prayer of your heart might have been, “please take away this fear,” or “please do not let me die,” or “please give me mercy,” or “please keep my family together.” Because of the years of growth, and layers of interpretation, the prayer of the tongue became, “get me to work on time.”

Thus, I arrive to work on time. And, I get surprised. But, suppose I arrive to work late? Was my prayer answered?

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Comments»

1. Baraka - 14 August 2008

Salaams dear Omer,

My favorite post by you yet. I’ve returned every day since you posted it to reread it.

Thank you!

Warmly,
Baraka

2. MOZAFFAR - 14 August 2008

Salams ya Baraka,

Jazaks for the very kind words. Insha Allah, the post will be of continued benefit, and we can then share in the, uh, baraka. It’s just a reflection on an ayah, with some inverting of al-Muhasibi.

I hope all is well.

May Allah bless you.

Omer M


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