Learn to Listen – Nouman Ali Khan Sometime ago, I actually attended a church gathering, just want to see what these guys do. So it’s like a Wednesday night, and the preacher speaks for like five minutes.
He says whatever he says. And then the most interesting thing happens. He asked the crowd, “So who’s having a problem? Tell me about it!” Some guy, “I just lost my job. It’s been tough.” “Alright everybody, pray for Jeff!” And everybody start praying for Jeff.
And then somebody’s like, “I just got divorced, she took the house.” Everybody pray for… And then this woman, “I just got diagnosed with cancer.” And everybody’s praying for her. And then this guy in the corner says, “He lost a job? Talk to me afterwards there’s opening in my company.
” And they start… What brings them closer together was not that this guy’s going to speak for hours and hours and they’re gonna sit there and listen, actually they were drawn to this gathering because they have a place where they can be heard where they can feel supported.
Rasulullah (ﷺ) was an amazing listener. We think of Rasulullah (ﷺ) is an amazing speaker. Yes he was. But he also an incredible listener. A lot of times, the people whose hearts you want to effect, you and I start thinking if we just talk to them, they’ll change.
Let me tell you, more than talking to people, we have to learn to listen to people, we have to learn to listen to people. You don’t listen to just answer them and argue back or before you even finish hearing what they have to say, you already have ten answers for them.
No, no, no. Just listen. Don’t listen with a pre-programmed, “I’m gonna answer them real good.” Now there are some people that are listening to a question, half way through… “Let me tell you what.” No, no, no.
Just listen. This is not a debate, it’s not a contest, you’re not gonna crush them with evidence, this is not going to be some sort of a competition we’re going to answer them real good. And we’re just going to go, “Takbeer!!” No, no, no, none of that.
Your job is just to be a good listener first. Let people say what they have to say, let your family members air out what they feel. And you have to first, if you can’t empathize…. You know one of the qualities of the Prophet (ﷺ)? (QS.
At-Taubah: 128) بِٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ The Prophet (ﷺ) is (رءوف) which means extremely empathetic. Meaning he goes out of his way to try to understand what others are feeling.
So many times you find narration of the Prophet (ﷺ) people came to him and said, “I need this, I need this, I need this.” You don’t find the Prophet (ﷺ) going directly to them and saying, “You need to do this, you need to do this, you need to do this.
” They’re coming to him and telling him their problem. This is the level of comfort that they have with Rasulullah (ﷺ). And today anybody who even looks religious or represents the religion, people don’t want to come to them, they want to run away from them.
“Oh, if I just go anywhere close, the lectures gonna start. I don’t want to do that.” So this is internalizing that you and I are not in control. Our job is to give a gentle reminder. And we cannot do so if we don’t become good-empathetic-listeners, if we don’t empathize with their feelings.
You don’t have to agree with somebody else’s feelings but everybody’s entitled to their feelings, everybody has feelings that they have to work through. And we have to be able to do that, especially for those that we love.