I came across this story on another blog, Damascus Dreams, and just had to repaste it here.
A Persian poet relates the story of a young man who was devoted to worship and who sincerely loved the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam). This young man wished to see the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) in his dreams. But, night after night, even though he prayed and hoped for it, he was not blessed with this vision. He decided to visit a wise shaykh he had heard mention of who lived on the far reaches of town and seek his advice.
He made his way to his home one evening, and the shaykh invited him in for discussion and tea. After explaining his situation to him, the shaykh nodded sagely and said, “Be my guest for tonight, and tomorrow morning I will give you some advice.”
That night, the shaykh served the young man dinner. Everything in the simple meal was covered with salt or was dry. Salty fish, dry, hard bread… and not a drop to drink. The young man craved water, but was offered none. His parched throat made him yearn to ask the shaykh for something to drink, but his manners kept him quiet. He ate the food without complaint, his thirst increasing with each bite.
After the Isha prayers the shaykh unfolded a mat, offered it to the young man for his night’s rest, and bade him good night.
That night, the young man dreamed of nothing but water. Cascading fountains, gushing rivers and streams, oceans full of pure, delicious, thirst-quenching water. He dreamed of it until he felt he was swimming in it, drinking huge gulps, until it filled his every pore. He woke before daybreak, one word croaking from his lips: ‘Water….’
The next morning the shaykh asked him if he rested well. The young man then told him about his thirst and his dreams.
The shaykh smiled. He said, “When you begin to have thirst and desire for the Prophet, salAllahu alayhi wa salam, the way you had thirst for water last night, then you will be blessed with his vision.”
Lol. It’s funny, because I know so many people, myself included, who spend the fasting hours with images of exactly what they’re going to eat, planned from the first sip of water down to the sweets after iftar, dancing around in their heads. Their entire day revolves around their hunger and their thirst. If half that amount of dedication went into keeping the Prophet, pbuh, or heaven, or hell, or whatever it is that motivates you, in your head all the time, wouldn’t life be grand? That is Islam.