Everyone claims to ask. We fulfill the tradition of asking in every prayer we say. We have been educated about the process of asking from our childhood. But though everyone asks, perhaps only one in a million can be referred to as a genuine ‘asker.’
An asker is one who perfects the art of asking and such people are rare in this day and age. Asking is not the prize of worship. Neither is it the concluding act that has to be performed at the end of the worship. To ask is itself a form of worship. The asker is one who gets true delight out of asking and who seems to have no other task to perform in life besides asking. He lives, walks, sits, talks, and becomes the complete embodiment of asking. He not only asks when he speaks but also when he is silent.
His silence communicates with the silence of the Lord. When he lifts his empty hands to ask, the invocations come running to him and embrace his fingers and palms. The asker is a hermit, not a beggar. A beggar asks from all; the hermit asks from One. There is no greater beggar in the city except the hermit who continually has his palms outstretched to the skies. He has little concern for how much or how little he gets. His pleading and beseeching just keep escalating. Whatever he gets, he distributes, whatever he gains, he shares, and whatever he is granted, he pours back. Then he returns again to his state of asking in his life of solitary reclusion.
One cannot claim to be the asker until the exultation of asking gets greater than the desire, the beauty of request increases a hundred fold than that of being granted, the sweetness of the question leaves the actual response behind, when the angels start to breath longing into the heart and say Amen to the outreached hands, when Allah (swt) comes to one like a mother to her child when he first calls out her name, when the reach of the heart leaves perception behind, and when the flight of imagination starts to circumambulate the Creator.
When the asker falls silent, nature calls out for him to start asking again. And when he starts to speak again, the nature makes everything fall silent in order to listen. When the asker cries, nature requests him to smile just once. This is the asker who has no wish to despair without his desire being granted. His heart becomes a piston and his throat produces such sounds as if the soul is about to depart from the body.
The asker has full faith in his Lord and is convinced that his benediction will be entertained. He tears away the quill and the paper from the writer and then returns them without penning a single word.
If this asker developed fervency in his asking, he would probably end up asking for God from God. He asks from the One who grants to all. He asks light for light, color for color, brilliance for brilliance, and then burns to ashes in the inferno of his own yearning desires.
Not a single human is his in a world of seven billion. No hands are raised in benediction for him. But he, in the middle of dark nights, sits awake, begging for the Lord’s blessings for everyone and in the name of all these people, begs for the post of ‘asker’ from the Lord. Asking runs like an intoxication through their veins. To swear by the Lord, they have no one except the Lord. Not even their own self is their own. Their heart is immersed so deeply in the love of the Creator and they cannot even recognize their own presence or the cage of the body it is enslaved within.
One should never bother such a person who has no one on his side except Allah (swt). These disturbed people have given up the world, yet they remain smiling. How can one battle with them? They award their gifts to others and ask for themselves the bliss of continual asking. The world considers them menial and lowly, and rejects, criticizes, and curses them, calling them non-believers, heretics, and blasphemers.
They listen, but they don’t respond. They know that night will come, darkness will fall, the sun will set, and hands will rise.
They look forward to seeing who, then, will become the asker and who will turn into the request. They are keen to find out who then will get the world and who will get the Creator of the world.