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An Enviable Position

July 8, 2007

kr’s note: Nothing too paradigm-shift-inducing happening during my rotations lately. Instead, I’ll share a story that the great mystic and scholar, Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi relates:

There was once a man of humble existence who used to supplicate to Allah every single day with a great amount of zeal and sincerity. He would weep profusely during his prayers, singing the praises of the Most High, and calling upon His Majestic Names for his needs in the world. Every single day, without fail, he would do this, humbling himself in the midst of supplications, raising his arms to the sky and asking from his heart.

One day, a neighbor of this man who was a skeptic approached him and asked him: “I have seen you supplicating every day for dozens of years without fail. I have seen you spend many a day fasting, denying yourself of food and water, and many a night standing in prayer, denying yourself of the comfort of your bed. I have seen you call upon your Lord with humility and sincerity, begging and asking Him to fulfill your needs. You have done this for many years, but what have you gotten? What have your acts of worship earned you? Where is the answer to your supplications?”

Upon hearing these words, the man was deeply troubled, for indeed his neighbor had pointed out the obvious: that he, like the dutiful and obedient servant that he strove to be, had prayed for years and asked God to fulfill his various needs and desires of the world. He had not asked for much. He did not want the wealth of princes or the fame of generals but only enough to live comfortably. And wasn’t his Lord’s treasure endless? Surely, he was not asking for much and for Him to give what he had requested would not diminish him in the least. How could his Lord not respond to him all these years?

Sorely shaken and wearied, the man fell into a deep slumber. And as he dreamt that night, he was visited by the enigmatic Khidr, who asked him: “Why have you stopped praying when you have been praying all these nights for so many years?”

The man said: “What is the use? I have been praying for so many years and I have not gotten a single thing that I have asked for. I have done no wrong to anyone, I have not asked for much, and yet I have not received an answer to my supplications.”

Khidr replied: “For all of those years that you humbled yourself before your Lord, every time you prayed and supplicated, you were at the door of His Mercy. You thought your prayers weren’t answered. But did you not consider that if you were already at the door, what other position could you have wanted?”

And the man realized then that therein lay the answer to his prayers: it was the prayers themselves.

Sometimes in life we often consider something to be a means to an end, not realizing that the means were an end all along.


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  1. This is what I was talking about…Khidr is The Don.

  2. absolutely gotta love ar Rumi.
    gotta also love Will Ferrell. Talladega nights was awful funny.

  3. “Sometimes in life we often consider something to be a means to an end, not realizing that the means were an end all along. ” Cool thought. Perhaps you could have added some of your thoughts on the benefits of standing in prayer and dua etc. Otherwise it was short and sweet =)

  4. Enlightenment“ talks about enlightenment. Enlightenment is the education that results in understanding and the spread of knowledge. The enlightenment Ilchi Lee speaks of is not something extraordinary. Creating health, happiness, and peace is what Ilchi Lee calls enlightenment; it is creating a desirable environment rather than being controlled by it. When you internalize that the brain is not you but yours, you will finally be able to experience such awakenings in your life.†–SRV Danh Yoga </a> also helps with enlightenment!

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