Five times each day, you call me into your presence to converse with you and pour my heart out. Who better to solve my problems and comfort my soul than you? When I talk, you always listen, urging me to go on for you’ve got all the time in the world. When I come to you, millions of other people like me are also in your presence. Yet, you listen to each one as if they were alone.
For the first twelve years of my life, I rarely answered your call. When the rest of the Ummah came to you each day, I would come on a Sunday morning, singing my heart out and anticipating the end of Mass. Even then, I wouldn’t really talk to you. While all around me, people knelt in your praise, I closed my eyes and longed for the usual trip to the supermarket. See, it was my uncle’s treat to us kids and was one of the main reasons we wouldn’t miss service. Back home, my old grandmother would spend each evening talking to you through her rosary beads. Believing that you would favor her because of her old age, I employed her as my messenger and talked to you through her. My conviction in her efficiency was further strengthened each time I walked in with my report card from school. As I grew older, she tried teaching me to talk to you in my own voice. I still stuck to my Sunday routine and would watch my aunt go back to you five times each day. Somehow, I was contented with the two meetings we had each year at Eid.
I turned twelve and was blessed with early maturity… at least mentally. In school, I was listed as a Muslim and so had to take up the Islamic Knowledge classes. Now, I wonder why I hadn’t asked for a change of class and be grouped with others who recited the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary. I dreaded IRK period, for it took my shine away. My classmates would recite from your book, while I just stared and wished upon the stars that I don’t get called upon. I made sure I always excelled in the exams though and resolved to embark on a journey of spiritual discovery. It sounded funny at the time, but my young mind was set and I employed the services of a teacher. Then I felt I could talk to you… that I could speak your language and join my aunt each time she came to you. It felt good and I felt renewed, but that didn’t stop me from registering my presence on Sundays. From that point, it has been a journey of highs and lows, expectations and disappointment, hope and doubt. The trip to Morocco came, and with it came a new life… not too different from the last, but still different. I was diligent in answering to your call and was happy each time I spoke to you. I was grateful for my room-mate with whom I played the ‘juli jotna’ game. We had learned that one could gain points from reminding the other about the call and had great fun doing this. As the year went by, I learnt more about you and decided to add some more meetings. These were all voluntary, but gave as much comfort to the heart as the obligatory meetings… until I started going downhill again.
My Rabb, times have changed and I believe I’ve changed too. I hear you call and instead of running to speak with you, I choose to stay in bed attending to other matters. When I finally drag my feet to your presence, our meeting is short, made up of only the standard minutes and nothing more. When I’m allowed to leave your presence, I no longer engage in reading your letters to me, as I had done in the past two years. Sometimes, I find myself wishing my leave from service would come earlier than usual. Through it all, I have remained steadfast to our appointments. I might leave them less fulfilled than before, but my heart takes with it the hope that things shall return to normal. I’ve questioned myself and wondered why I find it difficult to talk to you now. The long discussions and interrogations have been cut short and I have simply reverted to asking for more.
I know you are still the same as you’ve always been. Each day, I am reminded of your greatness. I also know that your ever attentive spirit will always welcome me back and listen to me, as usual. I know you’re kind enough to forgive me for breaking our covenant. What I do not know, however, is why I can no longer talk to you as much as I’d love to. The heart is willing; the soul is willing; do help me get the rest to submit to you. I look forward to longer, deeper and more meaningful conversations with you… everyday… five times each day.