Why the answer to prayer is delayed
Ah! many earnest suppliants wail forth prayers,
Till the smoke of their wailing rises to heaven ;
Yea, the perfume of the incense of sinners' groans
Mounts up above the lofty roof of heaven.
Then the angels supplicate God, saying,
“O Thou that hearest prayer and relievest pain,
Thy faithful slave is bowing down before Thee.
He knows of none on whom to rely save Thee;
Thou bestowest favours on the helpless.
Every suppliant obtains his desire from Thee.”
God makes answer, “The delay in granting his prayer
Is intended to benefit him, not to harm him.
His pressing need draws him from his negligence to me;
Yea, drags him by the hair into my courts.
If I at once remove his need he will go away,
And will be destroyed in his idle sports.
Though he is wailing with heartfelt cry of ‘O Aider!’
Bid him wail on with broken heart and contrite breast.
His voice sounds sweet in my ears,
And his wailing and cries of ‘O God!’
In this way by supplication and lamentation
He prevails with me altogether.”
It is on account of their sweet voices
That choice parrots and nightingales are prisoned in cages.
Ugly owls and crows are never prisoned in cages;
Such a thing was never heard of in history.
The disappointments of the pious, be sure,
Are appointed for this wise purpose.
From: The Masnavi, Book VI.