Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I tend to find myself making dua for my past self. Sometimes I remember going through a difficult period in the past, and being thankful that Allah SWT has helped me; I also instinctively ask Allah SWT to grant her strength and peace. It was only fairly recently that I realized this was a habit I had. I know Allah SWT is not constrained by time and space, and upon some thinking and reflection, I did not feel this was wrong – but I am not the most knowledgeable, and I was still wondering if this might be problematic theologically or fiqh-wise?
Thank you for your question. Although there might be nothing wrong with making dua for your past self because Allah created time and space and is not constrained by them, this is not the sunna of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was sent to us to show us our religion, how to practice it, and he is the best example for us. Allah Most High told us in the Quran, “Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah, you have an excellent example for whoever has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah often.” [Quran, 33:21] As such, I advise you to break this habit and supplicate in the same way that the pious, the saints, the scholars, and the righteous predecessors did.
Please see the etiquettes of supplication here and memorize some of the beautiful supplications that have been taught to us, for they are comprehensive and bring us much benefit beyond what we can know.
The Reality and Etiquettes of Supplication: A Reader
Adab of Dua Series: Introduction and Etiquette
10 Powerful Duas That Will Change Your Life
Some Prophetic Supplications for Difficulty and Distress
The Best Dua
Contemplate this hadith. Anas bin Malik related, “A man came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what supplication is best?’ He said: ‘Ask your Lord for forgiveness and well-being in this world and the Hereafter.’
Then (the man) came the next day and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what supplication is best?’ He said: ‘Ask your Lord for forgiveness and well-being in this world and the Hereafter.’
Then (the man) came the third day and said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, what supplication is best?’ He said: ‘Ask your Lord for forgiveness and well-being in this world and the Hereafter, for if you are forgiven and given well-being in this world and the Hereafter, you will have succeeded.’” [Ibn Maja]
Please memorize this dua that contains the above supplication and more:
اللّهُـمَّ إِنِّـي أسْـأَلُـكَ العَـفْوَ وَالعـافِـيةَ في الدُّنْـيا وَالآخِـرَة
اللّهُـمَّ إِنِّـي أسْـأَلُـكَ العَـفْوَ وَالعـافِـيةَ في ديني وَدُنْـيايَ وَأهْـلي وَمالـي
اللّهُـمَّ اسْتُـرْ عـوْراتي وَآمِـنْ رَوْعاتـي
اللّهُـمَّ احْفَظْـني مِن بَـينِ يَدَيَّ وَمِن خَلْفـي وَعَن يَمـيني وَعَن شِمـالي
وَعَن يَمـيني وَعَن شِمـالي وَمِن فَوْقـي
وَأَعـوذُ بِعَظَمَـتِكَ أَن أُغْـتالَ مِن تَحْتـي
.O Allah, I seek Your forgiveness and Your protection in this world and the next
O Allah, I seek Your forgiveness and Your protection in my religion, in my worldly affairs, in my family, and in my wealth.
O Allah, conceal my secrets and preserve me from anguish.
O Allah, guard me against what is in front of me and behind me,
from my left, and from my right, and from above me.
I seek refuge in Your Greatness from being struck down from beneath me. [Ibn Maja]
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.