Friday, November 27, 2015

The Khushu' of Newborns

Bismillah. For Sophia, who taught me how to be with my Lord in prayer.

A baby comes into the world, as Anse Tamara says, "bursting with the Glory of God". As she leaves her home and enters the dunya, she immediately cries out. 

Listen to the reed as it tells its tale, 
complaining of separation.

"Ever since I was cut from the reed bed,
I have made this crying sound.

Anyone who is apart from who he loves,
understands what I say.

Anyone pulled from a source,
longs to go back."
(Rumi, Masnavi)

Her first instinct is to suckle. Why? Because it is the only connection she has to that home from which she has come. She learns quickly that she can no longer be inside that home, but must suffice herself now by latching on from the outside in order to drink of what is inside -- her source.

In the first days and weeks of life, she is more soul than she is body. So when she latches on to nurse, she has complete presence in this act. Look at her. Nothing and nobody can distract her. Older siblings crying of jealousy beside her. Firetrucks blasting their sirens. She doesn't flinch, she doesn't look, and she certainly doesn't unlatch. Look at her. It is as if none of this is taking place around her. She is connected to her source and nothing could be sweeter. Nothing more worthy of her, than her source. She connects with every ounce of her being. She is more soul than she is body.

As months begin to pass, as she slowly comes into her body a wee bit more with each passing day, her presence in the act of nursing slowly, but surely is diminishing. At first, she begins to notice whilst nursing that she can look up with her eyes and see mine smiling down at her. She smiles back, continuing to nourish herself all the while. She is ever so slowly, becoming less soul, increasingly body.

With time, she begins to actually unlatch to look towards sound. As she starts to roll over, crawl, cruise…as she is increasingly body, she finds it harder and harder to focus on suckling to nourish herself. Now she benefits from having quiet while she nurses. It's easier for her if she's in a dimly lit room. 

She begins to walk and is thus even more body now. And now? Now she can also benefit from secondary nourishment. She can eat and gain satiation through secondary sources. It no longer has to be  directly from the source. But even then, when she's not feeling well. When she gets hurt. When she's tired. Nothing soothes her like that direct connection to the source.

Indeed there is much to be gleaned from this for those who reflect. Suckling is the salat of a baby. The womb is her source. Milk is knowledge of that source.

Let us pray as if we were born today. Let us have khushu'!


  1. Anonymous12:05 AM

    Allah! Profound and so needed

  2. There is so much we can learn from babies, if we only take the time.