Rabiya, a great Sufi mystic, was passing…. It was the street she used to pass every day on her way to the marketplace, because in the marketplace she would go every day and shout the truth that she had attained.
And for many days she had been watching a mystic, a well-known mystic, Hassan, sitting before the door of the mosque and praying to God, “God, open the door! Please open the door! Let me in!”
Rabiya could not tolerate it that day. Hassan was crying, tears were rolling down, and he was shouting again and again, “Open the door! Let me in! Why don’t you listen? Why don’t you hear my prayers?”
Every day she had laughed, whenever she had heard Hassan she had laughed, but it was too much today. Tears…and Hassan was really crying, weeping, crying his heart out. She went, she shook Hassan, and said, “Stop all this nonsense! The door is open — in fact you are already in!”
Hassan looked at Rabiya, and that moment became a moment of revelation. Looking into the eyes of Rabiya, he bowed down, touched her feet, and said, “You came in time; otherwise I would have called my whole life! For years I have been doing this — where have you been before? And I know you pass this street every day. You must have seen me crying, praying.”
Rabiya said, “Yes, but truth can only be said at a certain moment, in a certain space, in a certain context. I was waiting for the right, ripe moment. Today it has arrived; hence I came close to you. Yesterday if I had told you, you would have felt irritated; you may have even become angry. You may have reacted antagonistically; you may have told me, ‘You have disturbed my prayer!’ — and it is not right to disturb anybody’s prayer.”
Even the king is not allowed to disturb the prayer of a beggar. Even if a criminal, a murderer, is praying in Mohammedan countries, the police have to wait till he finishes his prayer, only then can he be caught. Prayer should not be disturbed.
Rabiya said, “I had wanted to tell you this, that ‘Hassan, don’t be a fool, the door is open — in fact, you are already in!’ But I had to wait for the right moment.
More at https://theunboundedspirit.com/10-sufi-stories/