Three questions about prayer, taken from a collective class with Hazrat Inayat Khan.
Q.: I have been for some time a mureed, and think it all very beautiful, it gives me a great feeling of comfort, and connection with Murshid, and the Movement. But I am a very busy person, and I cannot say the prayers, words that have been invented, even by Murshid. It must not be something made, it must come from the heart, not something in a definite form.
A.: I will tell you, prayer does not mean a thought; prayer does not mean a feeling, imagination. Prayer means words that you say in the praise of the Lord. The words that you say are recorded on your spirit, and your spirit works like a talking machine continually. Once you have said the prayer, it goes on in the depth of your mind continually. Therefore perhaps you have said it once in twenty four hours, but the prayer goes on day and night in the depth of your soul. Therefore the power of the prayer that is said is great. But since you feel agitated against the prayer, I would stop it. I tell you from today: do not say it; if you can, be content by prayer in your feelings or thought.
What do we want? Our contentment is that they are satisfied. If a patient says: I am cured, a doctor must not give him a medicine. Medicine is for the person who says he is ill. If a person is pleased with what he does, we do not wish something better for him. He is already pleased, that is all we want for him, happiness. If he is happy without saying prayers, we do not want to make him unhappy by saying prayers.
Q.: Would he be happier by blindly obeying?
A.: No, if it is not his tendency, why must he? You must never make that principle; blindly following is a pleasure to one; but the one who has not that pleasure, he must not follow blindly.
Q.: Somebody told me he preferred to say the old Arabic prayer which the Prophet had given.
A.: What one prefers, one must do. If one prefers an Arabic prayer, let him do it. You must never deprive a person of his freedom. Since the Sufi Message is not dogmatic, we must keep it without dogma. We must give a person freedom of choice; in order to make others tolerant, we ought to be very tolerant to them.