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What’s the Point in Supplicating?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalaamu alaikum,
I understand the importance of praying for those who are in need, in tumultuous or oppressive situations, but lately I’ve been thinking about what exact purpose our supplications serve. How can we make du’a for others so that it is not in vain, especially in situations when all we can do is pray?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The best thing that one can do is to work on your relationship with Allah, avoid the unlawful (haram), and strive to fill your life with worship. The greater the taqwa, the greater the baraka, and the greater the success in lifting the harm affecting the community (umma) of believers.
We are responsible for our responses. The believer hates oppression and does what is in his capacity to lift it– if that entails supplication, in his current state, then he rushes to the good in sincere faith and in wishing for others what he wishes for himself.
What’s the Point in Supplicating?
Firstly, supplications can change relative destiny (al-qadar al-mu`allaq) in a manner that is of great benefit to the oppressed, as well as the entire Muslim community. [see:Can Supplication Change Destiny?]
Secondly, it is established from the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that he prayed for the believers, specifically when distressful events occurred; an example being the occasion of the martyrdom of tens of reciters (qurra’) of the Qur’an in which he prayed against the killers for a month.
Thirdly, it is also an opportunity to increase in gratitude (shukr) for the blessings that one enjoys, and a reminder of the temporal and fleeting nature of this life.
Supplication as an Expression of Sincere Concern
Supplication is a sign of the genuineness of one’s concern for other believers. If we put ourselves in the shoes of the oppressed for a moment, wouldn’t we wish for other believers to be praying for us?
An-Nu’man ibn Bashir reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Supplication is worship itself.” [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]
Abu Ruqayya Tamim ibn Aws ad-Dari reported the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The deen is good counsel.” We said, “For whom?” He said, “For Allah, His Book, His Messenger, the Imams of the Muslims and their common people.”
Striving to remove harm, in whatever manner is possible, is from wishing well and from sincere concern for one’s fellow believers.
The Supplication for Another is his Absence
Abu’d-Darda’ reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to say, “A supplication which a Muslim man makes secretly for his brother is answered. At his head is a guardian angel. Whenever he makes supplication for good for his brother, the angel who guards him says, ‘Amen, and for you the same.'” [Muslim]
The commentator, Ibn `Allan, quotes from Nawawi saying, “If he prays for a group of Muslims, he gets the virtue mentioned in the tradition (hadith), and likewise if he prays for the entire community (umma) of Muslims.” [Ibn `Allan, Dalil al-Falihin]
Abu Umama said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked, ‘What supplication is the most likely to be heard?’ He said, ‘That in the last part of the middle of the night and after the obligatory prayers.” [at-Tirmidhi]
Ibn `Allan comments, with respect to supplicating at night, it is the best time “due to the perfection of his directing himself towards his Lord, and the absence of relations [= with others] and distractions, because it is a time of divine theophanies and descent of Lordly outpourings.” [ibid.]
Please also see: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a and: Suffering and Divine Wisdom
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I was interested in a brother for a while but it never worked out. Now this brother is getting married. I know this is ultimately for the best but it’s been very difficult for my heart to accept. I feel envious of the sister he is marrying and keep wishing it were me that was chosen. Is there some dua/adhkar that can help with this? I feel very depressed about my inner state and my reaction to this situation, knowing that Allah is the best of planners. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

May Allah reward you for your patience throughout this trial and raise your rank in both this world and the next. I understand the pain you must be going through; this is by no means an easy situation. Having said that, such situations are in reality immense spiritual opportunities by which we can display our true sincerity and trust in Allah Most High.

The Divine Decree

One of the central tenets of our faith is belief in the Divine Decree, as established in many Qur’anic verses and prophetic hadiths. Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) would often stress the importance of conviction in the Divine Decree, both its good and its evil, and according to some narrations, both its sweet and its bitter [Sahih Ibn Hibban].

The nature of this life is tribulation, which can be sweet when testing our gratitude or bitter when testing our patience. Life is not meant to be Paradise, and our outlook therefore is always meant to be directed ahead. “Our abode is in front of us, and our life comes after our death,” said Ibrahim ibn Adham. Even the Messenger himself (peace and blessings be upon him) used to say, “O Allah, there is no life except the life of the hereafter” [Bukhari]. Why is there no life except that of the hereafter? Because true life is one without stress and without the bitter blows of fate, which exists only in Paradise. This life, then, must for sure be bitter at times.

Furthermore, the tests of this life are absolute and fixed, as they were decreed preeternally by Allah Most High. As Imam Tahawi states in his treatise on Islamic creed:

We affirm the existence of the Preserved Tablet, the Pen, and all that has been inscribed in it. If all of creation were to unite in order to eliminate something whose existence had been inscribed in the Tablet based on Allāh’s decree, they would not be able to prevent its existence. Likewise if they were to unite altogether in order to bring into existence that which was inscribed in the Tablet to not exist, they would prove incapable. The [ink of the] Pen has dried with regard to the existence of all that shall exist until the Day of Arising.

Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) highlighted this tenet when he said, “Know that what does not afflict you could never have afflicted you; and what afflicts you would never have missed you.” He then followed the statement with the remedy for afflictions, “And realize that victory is with patience, relief is with stress, and indeed with difficulty comes ease.” [Nawawi’s 40 Hadith]

Contentment

Once the believer realizes that he/she has no control or power over the blows of fate, his/her only recourse is to submit to the Divine Decree and strive to actualize a state of total contentment. This is the very essence of our religion, itself named Islam or “submission.” From the Prophetic supplications in this regard is the statement, “I am pleased with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion, and with Muhammad as my Prophet” (peace and blessings be upon him). Our Prophet guaranteed that whoever says this is promised Paradise [Abu Dawud].

رَضِيْتُ بِاللهِ رَبّاً وَبِالإِسْلامِ دِيْناً وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَسُوْلاً

One of the most potent means by which one can realize true contentment is sincere supplication (du`a). It is narrated that Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say, “O Allah, make me content with what you have provided me, send blessings for me therein, and replace for me every absent thing with something good/better” [Bukhari/Adab al-Mufrad].

اللّهُمَّ قَنِّعْنِيْ بِمَا رَزَقْتَنِيْ ، وَبَارِكْ لِيْ فِيْهِ ، وَاخْلُفْ عَلَى كُلِّ غَائِبَةٍ بِخَيْرٍ

If one holds fast to sincere supplication for something, one should rejoice since the supplication itself is one of the strongest indicators that Allah Most High wants to give that person that thing. One’s asking for contentment is a sign that Allah wants to bestow contentment on that person.

Also, even from a purely worldly perspective, contentment is the greatest remedy for stress, as it is entails an enormous relief. For this reason, our Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Hold fast to contentment, for indeed it is wealth that never ends” [Tabarani/Awsat]. People under stress will pay enormous amounts of money to alleviate their pain, whether through pharmaceutical drugs, psychiatric therapy or the like, yet a believer that is content with Allah’s decree finds a greater relief without spending anything – a treasure indeed.

Contentment, then, is the source of true enrichment and honor; it is the way of relaxation and relief in a world designed to disappoint us, so that our true repose is only with the Creator of that world. Contentment is a trait of those who are truly intelligent and chivalrous; it transforms the bitter blows of fate into breezes of Paradise. It is indeed, as one early Imam put it, “a king that resides not except in the heart of a believer.” [Risala Qushayriyya]

From an otherworldly perspective, the fruits of contentment are of course much greater. We cannot fathom the reward that awaits a person of contentment in the next life; it is sufficient for us to know that if we are pleased with Allah, then Allah will be pleased with us.

Divine Wisdom and Good Opinion

Also, one should always remember that nothing exists except that it reflects Allah’s infinite wisdom, for He has called Himself “The All-Wise” (Al-Hakim). There is always the big picture, a larger context that we are unable to perceive with our short-sightedness. Allah Most High is fully aware of how things unfold in the long run, and we must place our trust in Him, fully realizing that there is wisdom in His decisions.

In this regard, our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) advised us to maintain a good opinion of our Lord, for He Most High states, “I am in the opinion of My servant” [Bukhari]. If we are convinced that Allah is looking out for our best interests when He decrees painful situations, and that He will replace what is lost with something much better for us in both this life and the next, then that is exactly how we will find Him, without a doubt.

A Reflection on the Year of Sadness

On a closing note, one can reflect on the Year of Sadness (`Aam al-Huzn) in the life of our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and find many lessons therein to help one in one’s own trials. I would just like to mention one aspect that will insha’Allah be a comfort for us in our times of difficulty.

This year was the most difficult year in the Prophet’s life (peace and blessings be upon him); in it, he lost his beloved wife Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) and his beloved uncle Abu Talib, and he was rejected by the people of Ta’if and violently driven out of their town, all the while being stoned by their children. Yet despite these severe trials, he turned to his Lord and sought only His good pleasure. The very next major event in his life was the blessed Night Journey and Heavenly Ascent (al-isra’ wal-mi`raj), arguably the greatest spiritual experience he had in his blessed life (peace and blessings be upon him). One can appreciate, then, that if we patiently endure our difficulties with contentment in the Divine and seeking His good pleasure, then He will replace those difficulties with our own spiritual “ascents.” This is the secret of tribulation – in it lies the greatest of opportunities for proximity to the Divine, insha’Allah.

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam

Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Can a Single Woman Attain the Reward a Married Woman Does? Being Content & Making Most of Life

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question: How can a single woman attempt to achieve the level of reward as a married woman who mothers children?  The mother receives paradise by going through the pains of labor and raising her children properly. She has the added reward of receiving good deeds after she dies through the righteous acts of her children. What can a single woman who will not receive this barakah [(piritual blessing) do to improve her afterlife (get the same amount/more reward in her life)?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and their followers.

Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question. I pray you are in good health and strong faith.

Your question is very important.

I want to clarify this matter for you. You should not view yourself in competition with women who are married and have children.

Motherhood is not an automatic ticket to Paradise. If a woman has a husband and children, yet does not fulfill her responsibility to them, and is ungrateful to Allah for these blessings, she very well may be jeopardizing the great reward promised to mothers in so many Prophetic traditions.

Allah Most High would not decree that a woman remain single or childless and then decrease her reward in comparison to mothers.

Hazrat Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, did not have children. Instead, she raised an Ummah and was a teacher of teachers.

The path to Paradise is in being content with Allah’s decree and making the best of your portion in life. There is so much you can do that a woman with children simply cannot dream of. So make the most of your free time!

May Allah reward you,
Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

July 25, 2010/Sha’ban 13, 1431

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq is a wife and mother residing in the southeastern United States. She graduated from Abu Nour University’s precollege program in 2000 and has remained active in teaching and studying sacred knowledge through SunniPath and SeekersGuidance. She holds undergraduate degrees in history and Middle Eastern Studies and is a certified public speaker.

Dealing With Infertility

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I haven’t been able to have children, and so I was wondering: 1. What are the best duas to make in this situation? 2. How to deal with the various emotions and keep oneself inspired in the light of Quran and Sunnah? 3. Everything is absolutely in Allah’s hands, but how to deal with the guilt that a woman remained unable to give her husband children? 4. How to deal with various social pressures such as people belittling you, suggesting this is some kind of punishment, or suggesting that a husband should remarry again? 5. How to respond to the constant irritating questions from people about children?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

1. Some supplications to make to bear children are the following:

(a) The prayer of Sayyidna Zakariyya in the Qur’an,

رَبِّ لَا تَذَرۡنِى فَرۡدً۬ا وَأَنتَ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡوَٲرِثِينَ

“O Lord! Do not leave me single (childless, without an inheritor), and You are the best of inheritors” [Surat al-Anbiya, 89]

(b) Some scholars suggest the verse

وَٱلَّتِىٓ أَحۡصَنَتۡ فَرۡجَهَا فَنَفَخۡنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهَا وَٱبۡنَهَآ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ إِنَّ هَـٰذِهِۦۤ أُمَّتُكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ وَأَنَا۟

رَبُّڪُمۡ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ

“And (remember) her [Maryam] who guarded her chastity. We breathed into her of Our spirit her and her son a sign for mankind and jinn. Truly, this is your religion, the one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me.” [Surat al-Anbiya, 91-92]

Follow this by the following prayers on the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace):

اللهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ طِبِّ القُلُوبِ وَدَوائِها وعَافِيَةِ الأَبْدانِ وَشِفَائِها ونُورِ الأَبْصارِ وضِيائِها وعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ وَسَلِّمْ

“O Allah, send blessings upon our master Muhammad, the medicine of hearts and their cure, the health of bodies and their healing, and the light of eyes and their illumination, and upon his family and companions, and send peace.”

(c) Also see this previous answer: Invocations to Bear Children.

2. Many of the most beloved people to Allah, such as Prophets and the wives of Prophets, were given the trial of not having children. As with any trial, one can draw closer to Allah through it by having patience and contentment, or one can be driven further away from Allah by becoming bitter and discontent. Many Prophets (may Allah be please with them) faced the trial of not having children and their correct response to the trial is what continued to increase them in degrees with Allah.

The Prophet (may Allah’s blessings be upon him), when asked about who suffers the greatest tribulations, answered, “The prophets, then those who come next to them, then those who come next to them. A man is afflicted in accordance to his religion. If his religion is firm, his trial is severe; if there is weakness in his religion, then it [the trial] is in accordance. Trials will continue for a servant until he walks on the earth having no sin.” [Tirmidhi]

He also said, “Trials will continue for the believing man and the believing woman, in person, property and children, until they meet Allah free from sin.” [Tirmidhi]

Remember Allah’s word in the Qur’an, “O you who have believed! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer: for certainly Allah is with those who patiently persevere. [Surat al-Baqara, 153]

Remember that each person has their own trial. Allah is the One who Gives, as He is the One who Withholds. If He withholds children from you, know that He has given you other innumerable blessings that require your gratitude. Likewise, though He has given others children, He has also withheld from them other blessings.

3. A wife should not feel guilty about not being able to give her husband children because the matter is ultimately in the hands of Allah. Just as every person’s rizq (provision) in money is determined, one’s rizq in other things in life has also been divinely apportioned. How many children one has is part of Allah’s decree.

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, “To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female (offspring) for whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) for whom He wills. Or He joins them (bestows both), males and females. And He makes barren whom He will: for certainly, He is All-Knowing, All-Powerful.” [Surat al-Shura, 49-50]

4 & 5. The questions and hints you will receive from others about your personal struggle with infertility is out of your control. However, there are some things you can do to mitigate these awkward situations. You can answer that Allah grants children at the time He wills. You should answer confidently and in a manner that shows that you are pleased with what He has decreed. You can also curtly reply that Allah is the best of planners. If you don’t give further information, the other person should realize that it is not their concern and leave the matter. If you feel comfortable enough with the person, you may also simply ask them to make du`a for you for a healthy, righteous child.

May Allah grant you ease and increase you in closeness to Him.

wassalam,
Sulma

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Can Supplication Change Destiny?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : Can du’a change qadr?

Answer:

[1] There is no doubt that the Divine Decree is eternal–beyond time–and therefore not subject to “change.”

[2] Du`a’ “changes” destiny in the relative sense: it is a means (like other means) towards the good, so it turns to flow of one’s life towards the good, by Divine facilitation, in accordance with the eternal Decree (qada’) of Allah.

[3] To understand this, one must appreciate that there are two types of decree (qada’):

(a) The absolute decree (al-qada’ al-mubram), which is what Allah willed in eternity. This isn’t subject to change, by definition; and

(b) The relative or conditional decree (al-qada’ al-mu`allaq), which is the direction in which the flow of life events seems to be going. This is what can change. This could be referred to as “apparent destiny.”
And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani.