March 29, 2019

My wife sometimes asks me whether God likes it if we talk to Him in a rather informal way.

Like when we are walking down the street or shopping, or just relaxing on the sofa, as if He were to be a close friend.
I found this a very interesting question from a theological perspective, and went looking for an answer.
After some time I came across the story of Moses in the Quran. He was called by God to receive the command.
You see that not only Muhammad (peace be upon him) was called to receive the obligation to pray, but Moses as well.

And did the story of Moses reach you? When he saw a fire (in the distance) and said to his family, “Stay here, I have seen a flame of fire, perhaps a torch (to warm us up and to heat our food up), or maybe I will find guidance (as the fire indicates that someone’s there, and he might know more than I do about these lands I have just moved in to). When he arrived it was said: “Mozes: truly I am your Lord , so remove your sandals, as now you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa, and I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed to you: ” Indeed I am Allah, there is none but I, so adore Me and establish the PRAYER to commemorate me (and focus on Me).”

Qur’an, Taha, verses 9-14

What intrigues me is how Moses, in this same curious event, responded to God’s question:

And what is that which you hold in your right hand, Moses?

Instead of responding: “My cane.” He said:

This is my cane, I used it to walk and I guide my herd of sheep with it,  and I use it for many other different purposes.

The reason why I found the answer to be inspiring is the fact that he was not asked what he used it for but rather what it was. If he were to have said that it was his cane, this would have been sufficient. 
But Moses enjoyed communicating with God so much, that he took the opportunity to prolong the conversation and to say things that, at first sight, seem to be unnecessary. This is exactly the point I want to make.

Nothing is superfluous when you talk to God.

He knows that you are a human being and that you talk like human beings do.  All too often a forced attitude while supplicating is the very obstacle on the way to real and genuine communication with God.
So be like Moses and talk to God and share everything which matters and which doesn’t seem to matter as much. Didn’t He say:

He knows the seen and that which is hidden.

Share everything with Him, and prolong your prayer, cherish  this conversation and remain as long as you like in the  in the valley of proximity!

About the author 

Imam Van Ael is the founder of the Ark of knowledge and the former chaplain of London School of Economics, Imperial College, and SOAS, and Professor at University for Applied Sciences Rotterdam. His main interest is connecting people to God Almighty through the Book and the Sunna, through traditional knowledge within a contemporary framework.

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