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Are My Supplications Insincere?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: Every time I make dua for something I feel like I am not sincere enough. Would this be considered waswasa? Also, is there a specific dua you should make when you ask Allah (SWT) for something?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum sister,

Thank you for this excellent question.

Allah, Most High, says, “[O Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.
So let them respond to Me in obedience, and believe in Me, so that they may be rightly guided.“ [Qur`an, 2:186]
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Supplication is worship.” [Abu Dawud]

Supplication (du`a) is the door to your relationship with Allah. Thinking that you are not sincere is surely from the Devil (Shaytan) and you must ignore it. Allah is the only judge of your sincerity, and customarily a person who doesn’t think he is sincere, is in fact sincere. Beware of letting the Shaytan dissuade you from du`a. Your Lord, Most High, has proclaimed, “Call upon Me, I will respond to you. Surely those who are too proud to worship Me will enter Hell, fully humbled.” [Qur`an, 40:60]

I have heard from a scholar once that the whole point of performing the prayer is to make du’a at the end. When one raises up one’s hands, one’s inner secrets, feelings, thoughts, doubts, and aspirations come to the lips. Who better to tell them to then the Creator? He knows them all anyway! But, we ask Him because we are the ones who need it. Our love, trust, devotion, submission, gratitude, and contentment will flourish when we turn to Him in du`a. This direct and intimate discourse that we have with Allah can be disturbed or influenced by no one. It’s just you and your Lord, especially if it is in the depth of the night.

When you ask Allah for something, some basic etiquettes come to mind.

1) Have ritual purity (ablution)
2) Face the Qibla, cover your head
3) Begin by blessing the Prophet, and end with it
4) Thank Allah for his blessing and mention his favors on you
5) Ask him to forgive you for your sins, and proceed to ask what you wish
6) Pray for others because of the following hadith: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “There is no believing servant who supplicates for his brother behind his back (in his absence) that the Angels do not say: The same be for you too.“ [Muslim]

One of my teacher’s teachers had taught her not to bother making du’a for oneself, but instead, only for the ummah of Islam, because it would come back to one, in any case. One of the best du`as that was often recited by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace is, “O our Lord, grant us the best in this life and the best in the next life, and protect us from the punishment of the Fire. [Bukhari and Muslim]

Please see the following lecture on the subject. I have also linked a number of du’as and manners (adab) associated with du`a. Be sure to see them all.

Supplication is the Essence of Worship: The Reality and Proper Manners of Asking Allah (Dua)

Invocations and Supplications: A Comprehensive SeekersGuidance Reader
VIDEO: Three Manners of Supplication
Adab of Dua: Leave All Rhyme and Ask the Divine
Adab of Dua: The States That Can Change Fate
Adab of Dua: Are My Duas Being Answered?
Adab of Dua: Why Is My Dua Not Answered
Adab of Dua: Impermissible Duas
Adab of Dua: When Praying Is Haram

I pray that you take advantage of the very moment and supplicate. JazakAllah khayran.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, 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 recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Are There Prohibited Duas?

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked if there are prohibited duas, or a limit to what Allah gives.

There are a lot of sites saying that Allah answers all your duas. But are there not certain duas that are prohibited e.g. a dua asking Allah to beautify oneself. Can you please enlist all the duas Allah prohibited?

And is there a limit to which Allah grants one’s duas? I mean you cannot really ask for a unicorn and expect Allah to give it to you, right?

It is not permissible to supplicate Allah (dua) for:

  1. harm to someone else,
  2. something truly miraculous (a unicorn),
  3. something logically impossible (making two be three),
  4. or something religiously impossible (being reincarnated).

Besides that, we should ask for whatever we wish for of this life or the next, even if it seems far-fetched.

As for any limitations to what Allah gives, it is without limits: “Indeed Allah provides whosoever He wills without stint.” (Sura Aal Imran 3:37)

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Praiseworthy Acts to Do Before Sleeping

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: Is the following narration authentic:

“The Prophet said, ‘Always do five actions before going to sleep. Give in charity four thousand dinars. Finish the Qur’an. Pay the value of paradise. Compromise between two people. Perform Hajj.’ `Ali said in answer, ‘Messenger of Allah, these are very difficult, How can I do these?’ The Prophet said, ‘Do the following: Read Fatiha four times, this is equal giving four thousand dinars in charity. Read Ikhlas three times, this is equal to finishing one Qur’an. Send blessings on me three times, this is equal to paradise. Say astagfirullah ten times, this is equal for compromising between two people. Say the testimony of faith (shahada) four times, this is equal to performing Hajj.’”

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well.

The above narration is not to be found in any of the major works of prophetic narratives. Nor was it found in any of the lesser known works. As such, it would be best to avoid attributing such a narration to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) until one finds a sound source documenting it.

However, at the same time, the acts mentioned in the narration are no doubt praiseworthy, such as recitation of the Qur’an, blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), seeking Allah’s forgiveness, and so forth. Thus, if one were to perform them before sleeping without thinking it to be a specific sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) then there is no harm in this.

Other Actions One Can Perform Before Sleeping

There are a number of invocations that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would perform before going to sleep. These include:

a.     1. The narration of Anas ibn Malik (Allah be well pleased with him) that when the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) went to bed he would state:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَطْعَمَنَا وَسَقَانَا وَكَفَانَا وَآوَانَا فَكَمْ مِمَّنْ لَا كَافِيَ لَهُ وَلَا مُؤْوِيَ

[Muslim]

b.     2. The narration of `A’isha (Allah be well pleased with her) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would recite the three Quls, namely al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq, and al-Nas, every night and then rub his body with his two hands. [Bukhari]

c.     3.The narration of Abu Hurayra (Allah be well pleased with him) where the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) instructed him to recite ayat al-kursi before sleeping, which would prevent the devil from coming close to him and Allah would protect him throughout the night.

d.     4. The narration of Bara’ (Allah be well pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Shall I not teach you some words that you’ll say when going to bed such that if you die that night you will die on the fitra and if you wake up you will attain the good? Say:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْلَمْتُ نَفْسِي إِلَيْكَ وَوَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إِلَيْكَ رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ لَا مَلْجَأَ وَلَا مَنْجَى مِنْكَ إِلَّا إِلَيْكَ آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلْتَ وَنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ

[Tirmidhi]

e.    5. The narration of Abu Hurayra that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would say before going to sleep while lying on his right:

بِاسْمِكَ رَبِّي وَضَعْتُ جَنْبِي وَبِكَ أَرْفَعُهُ إِنْ أَمْسَكْتَ نَفْسِي فَارْحَمْهَا وَإِنْ أَرْسَلْتَهَا فَاحْفَظْهَا بِمَا تَحْفَظُ بِهِ عِبَادَكَ الصَّالِحِينَ

[Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Muslim with very similar wording]

f.       6. The narration of Bara’ (Allah be well pleased with him) that when the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) intended to sleep he would place his hand under his cheek and say:

اللَّهُمَّ قِنِي عَذَابَكَ يَوْمَ تَبْعَثُ عِبَادَكَ

[Abu Dawud, Ahmad]

There are a number of other soundly established narrations relating to what one can do and say before sleeping. The above should, insha’Allah, suffice.

Wassalam

Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Do I Raise My Resolve to do Good & Overcome Hardness of the Heart?

Answered by Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish

Question: When I began practicing, I used to be very motivated to perform the good. Now, I feel a hardness in my heart and less motivated to do good deeds. Can you please give some advice on how I can raise my motivation?

Answer: Bismillah

Allah Most High says,

“O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful.” [Qur’an 9.119]

Thus, with our taqwa (God-consciousness), it is necessary to keep the company of the truthful and righteous.

With this, we should supplicate often with the words of the Best of Creation (peace and blessings be upon him),

“O over-turner of hearts, make my heart firm on your religion.”

If our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to make this supplication, it behooves us to follow his example (peace and blessings be upon him) and have fear of the overturning of hearts. And Allah Most Glorious is the Overwhelming over His creation, and He decrees whatever He wills for whoever He wishes. Thus, we ask Him to make us with the truthful and righteous, and to give us a good ending. And we seek refuge in Him from deception and being led astray, for He is the Hearing and Answering.

Worshiping Allah for His sake, not for illumination

When a believer obeys Allah Most High, they do so in obedience to the command of Allah. This good deed gives fruit to a light in the heart, and an increase in one’s spiritual resolve (himma). However, if our good deeds do not give apparent fruits, it is not allowed for us to leave them, because whenever we do the good, we will have obeyed the command of Allah—this is our duty.

Then, [having done our duty] if we find the apparent fruits of our deeds, then so be it. Otherwise, we at least obeyed the command of Allah, and we ask Him for acceptance. We are the servants of Allah, not the servants of illuminations that result from our deeds. The one who worships Allah for the fruits of their worship, such as the light and softness they find in their heart, are in need of sincerity to Allah alone in their worship.

What to do about hardness of heart and weakness of resolve

As for when one fears non-acceptance when they find hardness of heart and weakness in resolve, then one should make remembrance of Allah and istighfar (seeking forgiveness). It has been related in a hadith from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that he said,

“Truly, hearts rust just as iron rusts, and their polishing is La ilaha illa Allah (‘There is no god but Allah’) and seeking forgiveness.”

Thus, if a Muslim seeks to polish their heart, they should adhere to the remembrance of Allah until their heart is purified and illumined. If one makes remembrance of Allah but finds no light therein, then they should make themselves in a position to benefit from the winds of Allah’s beneficence.

It has been related in hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“You Lord has in the days of your lives winds of beneficence, so benefit from them.”

Among these winds of beneficence are the blessed days mentioned in the Prophetic hadiths, in which worship is especially virtuous.

Among them is to search for truthful and righteous believers and to keep their company.

Among them is to establish night worship at the end of the night, and to supplicate at that time.

Among them is to remain constantly in the remembrance of Allah. Sayyidi Ibn `Ata’illah says,

“Do not leave the remembrance because of your lack of presence of heart with Allah therein, because your heedlessness of the remembrance of Allah is more harmful than your heedlessness during the remembrance of Allah. It may well be that He take you from remembrance in which there is heedlessness to remembrance in which there is consciousness; and from remembrance in which there is consciousness to remembrance in which there is presence of heart; and from remembrance in which there is presence of heart to remembrance in which there is obliviousness to all but the One Remembered, “And that is not difficult for Allah.””

Loss of motivation and the importance of moderation

As for loss of motivation, this is natural to the human temperament, and is the reason why the acts of good and worship are variegated—so that the lower selves of creation not get weary. Thus, if one finds weakness in one’s resolve, then move to another type of good, while being wary—when given success—not to take on too many voluntary acts of worship, lest this lead to loss of motivation and a sense of being fed up. Allah Most High enjoined upon us certain obligations which we cannot leave. After this, He encouraged us to supererogatory works from which we should take that which our selves can handle, sustain, and remain avid for the good.

Imam Muslim related in his Sahih, in the chapter on ‘Moderation in Exhortation,’ from Shaqiq that he said,

“We were sitting before the door of Abdullah [ibn Masud (Allah be pleased with him), the great companion of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)], waiting for him, when Yazid ibn Mu`awiya al-Nakha`i passed by us. We said to him, “Tell him about our presence.” He entered. Soon after, Abdullah [ibn Mas`ud] came out. He said, “I have been told about your presence. The only thing preventing me from coming out to you is my dislike of boring you. Verily, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to carefully choose when to give us exhortation, out of fear of us becoming weary.”

We ask Allah to make our days rich with His obedience, and to increase love and desire of drawing closer to Him in our hearts, until we meet Him and He is pleased with us. Amin.

Muhammad Qaylish

(Translated by Faraz Rabbani, a student of Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish)

3- حينما بدأت ألتزم كنت أجد دافعاً قوياً في نفسي نحو الخيرات ونوافل العبادات وكثرة الذكر . وكنت أجد رقة في قلبي .. الآن لا أجد ذاك الدافع وأشعر بقسوة في قلبي وضعف في همتي .. لا أقع في معاص ظاهرة … لكن أخاف أن يزداد ضعفي … كيف أقوي عزمي نحو الخير وتنوير قلبي؟

الجواب: يقول الله تعالى : [يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله وكونوا مع الصادقين]. فمع التقوى لا بد من مصاحبة الصادقين . ومع هذا وذاك علينا أن نكثر من دعاء سيد الوجود e : “يا مقلب القلوب ثبت قلبي على دينك” . فإذا كان نبينا e يدعو بهذا الدعاء فعلينا أن نقتدي به e ونخاف من تقليب القلوب . والله سبحانه هو القاهر فوق عباده يحكم بما يشاء على من يشاء . فنسأله أن يجعلنا من الصالحين وأن يختم لنا بخاتمة الحسنى . ونعوذ به من المكر والاستدراج. إنه سميع مجيب.

والمؤمن حين يطيع الله عز وجل فإنه يفعل ذلك امتثالاً لأمر الله . فتثمر هذه الطاعة نوراً في القلب، وزيادة في الهمة . ولكن إذا لم تثمر الطاعة ثمارها فلا يجوز أن نتركها، لأننا حين نعمل الخيرات فإننا نكون قد امتثلنا أمر الله. وهذه هي وظيفتنا. ثم إذا أتت ثمار الطاعة فأهلاً وسهلاً. وإذا لم تأت نكون قد امتثلنا أمر الله. ونسأله سبحانه القبول. فنحن عباد الله ولسنا عباد الأنوار التي هي ثمرة عبادتنا . وإذا كان المسلم يعبد الله لأجل أن ينال ثمار العبادة من نور في القلب ورقة فيه فإن عبادته تحتاج إلى إخلاص النية لله وحده.

وأما إذا كان يخاف من عدم القبول حين يجد في القسوة في قلبه والضعف في همته فعليه بذكر الله والاستغفار . وقد ورد في الحديث عنه e : إن القلوب تصدأ كما يصدأ الحديد وجلاؤها لا إله إلا الله والاستغفار .

فإذا أراد المسلم أن يجلو قلبه فعليه بذكر الله حتى يصفو ويتنور. وإذا كان يذكر الله فلا يشعر بالنور يدخل إلى قلبه فليتعرض لنفحات الله سبحانه . فقد ورد في الحديث : إن لربكم في أيام دهركم نفحات . ألا فتعرضوا لها. ومن النفحات الأيام المباركة التي وردت الأحاديث في فضل العبادة فيها . ومنها البحث عن الصالحين الصادقين والبقاء معهم . ومنها قيام آخر الليل والدعاء فيه…. ومنها المداومة على الذكر . يقول سيدي ابن عطاء الله السكندري : لا تترك الذكر لعدم حضورك مع الله فيه فغفلتك عن وجود ذكره أشد من غفلتك مع وجود ذكره . فعسى أن ينقلك من ذكر مع وجود غفلة إلى ذكر مع وجود يقظة ومن ذكر مع وجود يقظة إلى ذكر مع وجود حضور ومن ذكر مع وجود حضور إلى ذكر مع غيبة عما سوى المذكور وما ذلك على الله بعزيز .

وإن السآمة من طبع النفوس البشرية . ولذلك تنوعت الطاعات والعبادات كيلا تمل نفوس العباد . فإذا شعر المسلم بشيء من الضعف في الهمة فلينتقل إلى نوع آخر من الطاعة . وليحذر الموفق من حمل نفسه على كثرة النوافل حتى لا تمل وتسأم . فإن الله سبحانه قد فرض علينا فروضاً لا يجوز لنا أن نتركها . ثم ندبنا بعد ذلك إلى نوافل نأخذ منها ما تحتمله نفوسنا وتبقى معه راغبة في الخير . وقد أخرج الإمام مسلم في صحيحه في باب الاقتصاد في الموعظة عن شقيق قال: كنا جلوساً عند باب عبد الله – بن مسعود – ننتظره، فمر بنا يزيد بن معاوية النخعي فقلنا: أعلمه بمكاننا. فدخل عليه، فلم يلبث أن خرج علينا عبد الله فقال: إني أُخْبَرُ بمكانكم، فما يمنعني أن أخرج إليكم إلا كراهية أن أُمِلَّكُمْ. إن رسول الله e كان يَتَخَوَّلُنَا بالموعظة في الأيام مخافة السآمة علينا. نسأل الله أن يجعل أيامنا بالطاعات عامرة وأن يزيد في قلوبنا محبته والرغبة بالإقبال عليه حتى نلقاه وهو عنا راض . آمين.

MMVIII © Faraz Rabbani and SunniPath.

Asking Allah for Well-Being: The Sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)

Answered by Sidi Waseem Hussain

Question: I was wondering do you know if there’s a hadith about a companion who was really sick and the Prophet prayed for his good health and then and told him never to pray for calamities because I think he had prayed for hardship. The thing is I have a friend who has been praying for tribulations and hardships. The first time she told me she had made this du`a in Makkah. She says it’s because she knows so many people who have suffered in life and she has life too easy. She says Allah tests people He loves and she thinks she’s a bad Muslim therefore being punished will help her feel good. Recently what’s come up is symptoms which the doctor has indicated could be cancer. Now she’s making du`a she gets cancer. I’m just very worried and tried explaining it to her, but if I can get a hadith I know she’ll take it to heart.

Answer: Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullah

We always ask Allah for forgiveness and wellbeing. This is clearly stressed in many hadith.

There is a story quite close to the one mentioned that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) visited a person from amongst the Muslims, in order to inquire about his health, who had become weak like a small bird. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said, “Did you supplicate for anything or ask Allah for something?” The man said, “Yes. I used to say: “Oh Allah, what you are going to punish me with in the Hereafter then hasten it for me in this life”. Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said, “Glory be to Allah, you don’t have the ability to take it [the burden of His Punishment] upon yourself. Why did you not say, Oh Allah, grant us good in the world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of Fire?” The Prophet (may peace be upon him) made this supplication for him and he became well. [Muslim 2688, Tirmidhi 3487]

There are many other hadith, that stress the importance of always asking for wellbeing. Below are a few examples demonstrating this:

1. The Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon him) overheard a man asking for patience, so The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said to him, “You have asked Allah for a trial [to be patient in], rather ask for wellbeing.” [Tirmidhi 3527]

2. A man came to The Prophet (may peace be upon him) and asked him, “What supplication (du`a) is the best?” The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, “To ask for wellbeing and cure in this world and the next”

The man came the next day and asked, “What supplication is the best?” The Prophet (may peace be upon him) answered the same as before. The man came the next day and asked the same thing. The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, “If you are given wellbeing in this world and the next then you have succeeded.” [Tirmidhi 3512]

3. The Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah is not asked for anything more beloved to him than [being asked about] wellbeing” [Tirmidhi 3515]

4. The Prophet (may peace be upon him) ascended the mimbar crying and said, “Ask Allah for forgiveness and wellbeing, since no one has been given anything better than wellbeing after being given belief [in Islam].” [Tirmidhi 3588]

The above are examples of the sunna of the Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon him) and what he advised us to do. As it can be seen then we are not advised to supplicate for trials, tribulations and calamities upon ourselves. Rather we are advised to ask Allah to protect us and never to allow these aspects to befall us, and only when they befall us do we ask Allah to help us through them.

May Allah accept our prayers and grant you and your friend wellbeing in this world and the next,

Wassalam,

Waseem Hussain

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

عن أنس أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عاد رجلا من المسلمين قد خفت فصار مثل الفرخ فقال له رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم هل كنت تدعو بشيء أو تسأله إياه ؟ قال نعم كنت أقول اللهم ما كنت معاقبي به في الآخرة فعجله لي في الدنيا فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم سبحان الله لا تطيقه – أو لا تستطيعه – أفلا قلت اللهم آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار؟ قال فدعا الله له فشفا

عن معاذ بن جبل سمع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم رجلا وهو يقول اللهم إني أسألك الصبر فقال سألت الله البلاء فسله العافية

عن أنس بن مالك: أن رجلا جاء إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال يا رسول الله أي الدعاء أفضل ؟ قال سل ربك العافية والمعافاة في الدنيا والآخرة ثم أتاه في اليوم الثاني فقال يا رسول الله أي الدعاء أفضل ؟ فقال له مثل ذلك ثم أتاه في اليوم الثالث فقال له مثل ذلك قال فإذا أعطيت العافية في الدنيا وأعطيتها في الآخرة فقد أفلحت

عن ابن عمر قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ما سئل الله شيئا أحب إليه من أن يسأل العافية

قام أبو بكر الصديق على المنبر ثم بكى فقال قام رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عام الأول على المنبر ثم بكى فقال اسألوا الله العفو و العافية فإن أحد لم يعط بعد اليقين خيرا من العافية

Tackling Homosexual Feelings: Supplication, Repentance, and Going Cold Turkey

Answered bu Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: One of my friend has requested me to approach you and get some advice on his behalf. He is a young male adult currently studying with me. Recently he told me that he gets attracted to both sexes. Although he knows homosexuality is forbidden in Islam, he keeps getting into this kind of stuff again and again. He has also started watching gay porn. He seems to be depressed because of this as he knows it is not the right thing to do. Now it has come to a stage where he is complelty frustrated and doesnt know what to do. He is misrable and sometimes thinks of ending his life. He feels if something is not done with it soon he might get too much into homosextuality and it may make his whole life hell. Please advise.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

May Allah give your friend strength in this trial and a way out.

I think the first step is that we acknowledge his feelings and homosexual tendency as a reality that has to be dealt with. Often times such tendencies are denied altogether, which only accentuates the problem. These feelings are real and are an affliction whose remedy must be sought.

Having said that, the following can serve as an outline of a few steps that might prove beneficial, inshaAllah:

Recognizing the Problem and Desiring to Stop

The first step in this situation is to recognize the problem and have a sincere desire to quit. MashaAllah, your friend has already taken this first step, and this is not to be underestimated. It is a very praiseworthy thing for a person with a problem or addiction to at least admit he has a problem and genuinely want to rid himself of it. Your friend should have hope in Allah that with each step he takes towards Allah, Allah will take ten towards him.

Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) conveyed the following from his Lord, “When My servant draws near to Me a handspan, I draw near to Him a forearm’s length. And when he draws near to Me a forearm’s length, I draw near to him the span of two outstretched arms. And when comes to me walking, I come to Him running” [Bukhari].

The Power of Supplication [dua]

The next step is to make sincere supplication to Allah to help him get rid of the problem. He should beg Allah from the bottom of his heart to give him the strength, will and determination to forever close this door. He should make sure he fulfills the conditions of having his supplication answered, the most important of which are to eat only lawful food [halal], and to have conviction that Allah will answer his prayers. Allah never lets His servants down, and as hard as something might be for us, nothing is difficult for Him, Exalted and Glorious.

He should try to make dua at blessed times, especially in the last part of the night before fajr, as well as between the adhan and iqama of the prayer.

He should also rejoice in his very supplication, for our master Ibn Ata’illah states, “If He [Most High] causes your tongue to ask [for something], then know that He wants to give it to you.” The greatest indication that your friend will overcome this problem, inshaAllah, is the fact that he consistently asks Allah to rid him of it.

Going Cold Turkey: The Only Solution

Now it’s time for your friend to really roll up his sleeves and be strong for the sake of Allah. Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, yet there is good in both. Be avid for that which benefits you, seek Allah’s help, and don’t be weak” [Muslim].

The only solution for this problem is to completely shut the door, 100%. He has to go cold turkey. It cannot be gradual, but sudden and final. He has to just stop. Now, this will no doubt be extremely difficult, especially at the beginning. But if he can simply get through the initial stage when it’s the hardest, it will only get easier.

Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, “No servant leaves something for the sake of Allah except that Allah replaces it with that which is better for his religion and his worldly affairs” [Hilyat al-Awliya’]. Your friend is guaranteed, if he can just get through this test, that Allah will replace the pleasure he found in the unlawful with a much greater pleasure in the lawful, inshaAllah. Something better is in store for your friend if he can just show Allah that he can be strong for His sake.

This promise is further explained by our master Ibn Ata’illah, who said, “Our Lord is far too magnificent to delay recompense if the servant pays up front.” That is, reward for good deeds – the very best of which is to leave the unlawful – does not come only in the next life. Allah is kinder and greater than that; rather, His recompense is immediate and in this life too, yet comes in various forms. He sends a certain kind of contentment, tranquility, and joy in the heart of the believer who avoids the unlawful and cleans up his life. As the Qur’an itself states, “Whoever acts righteously, whether male or female, while believing [in Allah],  We will certainly give him a renewed goodly life [of contentment and joy], and [furthermore] We will certainly recompense them with a reward based on the very best of what they used to do” [Nahl:97].

Some Practical Aids to Going Cold Turkey

Tell your friend to fast at least once a week. Fasting has an incredible effect on subduing the evil qualities and tendencies of the ego, and it is a prophetic cure. Fasting also gives one a window into the renewed goodly life promised by Allah, as the fasting person finds a new sort of contentment that does not come with eating all the time.

Your friend has to find good company. A common idiom in English is “Birds of a feather flock together,” and this is especially true when it comes to spiritual matters. Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) said, “A person is on the religion of his close friend, so let him carefully examine who he befriends” [Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud]. He should spend quality time with believers that are strong-willed and of good character, people who remind him of Allah Most High. Our Prophet [peace and blessings upon him] described such people when he said, “Indeed some people are keys to the remembrance of Allah; when they are seen, Allah is remembered” [Tabarani, Kabir]. Part of this entails that he goes the masjid regularly and prays with the believers.

Your friend has to develop a relationship with the Qur’an, and make much remembrance of Allah, especially sending blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him). He should spend at least half an hour every morning and every night doing this. Our Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) conveyed that Allah says, “Whoever is too preoccupied with reciting Qur’an to mention Me and ask Me for something, I shall give him something better than what I give to those who ask” [Bayhaqi, Shu’ab].

Lastly, your friend must adopt a new rule and make no exceptions whatsoever: He can never go on the internet alone. He must force himself to use the internet only in public places where the screen can be seen by others. This is not impossible, and is crucial to his success in this endeavor, inshaAllah.

The Power of Repentance (tawba)

Finally and most importantly, all of this is part of repentance or tawba. This is the most powerful tool we have as humans, because our very nature is one of incapacity, inability and utter need, as Allah says, “The human being was surely created weak” [Nisa:28]. Yet the beauty of our weakness is that Allah loves when we go back to Him broken and in pain. He loves to see us beg Him for help. He loves to see us put our heads on the ground and just ask Him, as our Beloved said, “Ask Allah out of His bounty, for verily Allah Mighty and Majestic loves to be asked” [Sunan Tirmidhi].

No sin is too great for Allah’s mercy. It’s never too late. As long as one has breath in his body, there is always hope. This is Allah’s promise, and cannot be stressed enough. And once we turn back to Him, the past darkness transforms into pure light, as He Most High states in His magnificent book, “…Except he who repents, believes, and works righteous deeds; verily, for those people, Allah transforms their evil deeds into good deeds. And Allah is Ever-Forgiving, All-Merciful” [Furqan:70].

All of the indecent and evil images your friend looked at can at once be transformed into beautiful righteous deeds that will shine with light on the Day of Judgment. This is the Divine Promise…if he can just have the strength to stop the sin, feel remorse, and have the resolve never to return again. This is tawba, and this is Allah’s gift to humanity.

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam

Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Am I Rewarded for Every Supplication I Make to Allah?

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: Concerning the dua when wearing a garment (alhamdu lillahil-lathee kasaanee…): If one makes this dua for each item that one wears during dressing e.g. shirt, trousers, socks etc can one gain reward per item or can it only be said once during dressing?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this reaches you in the best of health and faith.

Allah Most High loves for his servant to remember Him and call on Him, and He is Most Generous with His abundant reward. Every time the servant calls on Him in supplication (du`a) or makes remembrance (dhikr) of Him, He definitely rewards the servant and answers his or her call. This is a general principle based on the Qur’an and Noble Sunna, and can serve to answer your question, inshaAllah.

Allah Most High states in the Qur’an, “And remember Me – I will surely remember you” [2:152], as well as “And your Lord says, ‘Call on Me – I will surely answer you'” [40:60].

He Most High also states, immediately after a few verses describing believers who make remembrance of Him and call on Him in supplication, “So their Lord answered their call, ‘Verily, I will not let any deed of yours – whether of a male or female – go to waste…'” [3:195].

And our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] is reported to have said, “Supplication is the very essence of worship” [Tirmidhi, Sunan; Tabarani, Awsat], as well as “Ask Allah from His bounty, for verily Allah loves to be asked.” [Bayhaqi, Shu`ab]

It is also reported that two bedouins came to the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), and one of them said, “Who is the best of people?” He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “He whose life is long and whose works are good.” Then the second one said, “The legal rulings of Islam are many for me, so give me something I can hold on to,” to which he (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Let your tongue always be moist with the remembrance of Allah, Exalted and Majestic” [Musnad Ahmed].

Based on the above, we have full hope and conviction in our All-Merciful Creator that He will reward you for each and every time you make any supplication or remembrance, inshaAllah.

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Faraz A. Khan has lived in Amman, Jordan, for several years studying and teaching traditional Islamic sciences, with a focus on Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith studies, theology, logic, and Arabic grammar. He translated and annotated the classical Hanafi primer “Ascent to Felicity” (Maraqi ‘l-Sa`adat) by Imam Shurunbulali, recently published by White Thread Press.

Dealing With Non-Muslim Parents (II)

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My non-Muslim parents and relatives are against my practicing of Islam. Obedience and submission to God has no place in their mind. Since I am with them now, far away from scholars and people to ask for advice, my faith is terribly low. Here, I’m involved in sin because I don’t find the strength to tell my family I don’t shake hands with women and that I must fast in Ramadan. My mother seems to be unable to bear such changes because she had many trials in the last years. She cries almost every day. So I don’t know how to tell her that it’s not finished, there’s something more, it’s not just praying five times a day and not eating non halal meat and not having girlfriends.

I keep making supplication to be delivered from this situation but I think my faith is weak. I don’t uphold the prophetic character because it’s hard for me, having no living example around me, being sad and stressed for this situation, finding hard to communicate with people, particularly my parents, without starting talking about impermissible stuff, slandering, or things like that. Please advise me.

Answer:
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this reaches you in the best of health and faith. May Allah Most High shower you with blessings and ease for you your affairs, especially in the approaching blessed month of Ramadan.

Misgivings Regarding Weakness of Faith and Supplication Not Being Answered

In the Qur’an, Allah Most High calls the devil “the deceiver” [gharur], as he most often resorts to trickery and deception when casting misgivings in the breast of the believer. This is termed “satanic whispering” [waswasa], and is such a common tactic of the devil that Allah sealed His Book with the chapter that teaches us to seek refuge in Him Most High from such whisperings [Sura Nas].

Moreover, one of the aims of the devil’s whispering is to push the human being into despair and depression, making him feel so low as to lose all hope in Allah and His infinite mercy. When the believer entertains feelings of worthlessness and being undeserving of Allah’s compassion, he should immediately recognize those feelings as stemming directly from the devil and, as the Qur’an commands, “take him as an enemy” [35:6]. How does one respond to an enemy? Combat. This combat against the devil entails seeking refuge in Allah Most High, performing ablution, and turning one’s heart sincerely and solely to Allah Most High, in full hope, reliance, gratitude and love of the Divine. These lofty states of the heart are the most potent weapons against Satan, as he despises nothing more than a believer expressing love and gratitude towards Allah. Part of having true hope in Allah is to be certain that He will answer one’s supplication, as He Himself states in the Qur’an, “Call on Me, and I will surely answer you” [40:60]. This is a promise from Allah, and as He Most High states, “Allah never breaks His promise” [3:9].

Increasing the strength of one’s faith is a gradual process, and one should not get disheartened by slips and lapses in one’s practice, but rather take the means to ensure long-term growth and improvement. These include learning one’s religion, implementing what one learns to the best of one’s ability, and turning to Allah for help in obeying His commands. In light of your being a convert to Islam, I would recommend taking the steps outlined in the following answer with regards to dealing with your non-Muslim parents:

Love For Your Parents and When Not to Obey

Allah and His Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] exhort the believer to love his parents and family, whether they are Muslim or not. The believer’s attitude towards his family should reflect ihsan, or kindness and excellence in conduct, in all circumstances. Allah Most High says, “And We have enjoined upon man kindness to his parents” [29:8]. However, obedience to one’s parents is conditioned upon it being in accordance with the Sacred Law. As such, the verse continues, “But if they strive to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not.” Allah Most High gives the example of parents trying to compel their child to engage in the most heinous of crimes, namely, associating partners with the Divine [shirk], yet the verse extends to anything prohibited by Allah. This is supported by the oft-cited prophetic statement, “There is no obedience to creation if it entails disobedience to the Creator” [Tabarani]. On a practical note, I would strongly encourage you to take courses on Islamic law [fiqh] to learn the limits of the Sacred Law and when you can or cannot take legal dispensations when dealing with your parents.

Finally, to encourage the believer to be strong and steadfast in the face of such an overwhelming trial, that of refusing to obey one’s parents in sin while simultaneously displaying the kindness and excellence owed to them despite their attitude, Allah Most High ends the verse with the most important thing to keep in mind with trials, “To Me is your final return, so I will inform you of what you used to do.” [Nasafi/Madarik al-Tanzil] The believer’s destination is Allah, and as such his hope is in Allah, his heart is with Allah, his days are for Allah, his nights are for Allah, and his very breaths are for Allah. The believer desires nothing except to win the good pleasure of his Lord. Keeping one’s destination in mind alleviates the toils of the journey, no matter how arduous, especially when the destination is one of ultimate joy and felicity.

Feelings of Being Left Without Guidance

If your questions to scholars are not being answered immediately, be patient and have a good opinion of both those scholars as well as Allah. Allah would never leave a servant without guidance; rather, such delays are part of the trials of life that He gives us to test our patience and contentment with the Divine Decree. Have the very best opinion of your Lord, and you will find Him to be as you conceive of Him. If you have firm conviction that He is always with you and will always give you a way out of your troubles, then He will never leave you in a bind. Our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] taught us that Allah says, “I am in the opinion of My servant” [Bukhari].

Remember also that such thoughts, that Allah would leave you without guidance, are again from the devil’s whispering, so take him as an enemy and never believe his vicious lies.

Fasting in Ramadan and Your Mother’s Feelings

If you are of sound health then you must fast in Ramadan. Do not worry about your mother’s emotions. Treat her with as much kindness, love and respect as you are able to, and leave the rest to Allah. The word for “heart” in Arabic is qalb, derived from a root meaning “to turn over or change.” Human hearts by their very nature are constantly changing, swaying from one emotion to the next, except those who Allah Most High makes steadfast on the truth. Remember that everything in this universe, including the emotional state of your parents, is in Allah’s hands. Our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] is reported to have said, “The hearts of the children of Adam, all of them, are between two fingers of the fingers of the All-Merciful, like one single heart; He turns them whichever way He wants” [Muslim]. And Allah says in the Qur’an, “And verily, He alone is the One who causes laughter and causes crying” [53:43]. So consign the matter of your mother’s heart and emotional states to Him, and trust His wisdom and decree. He is in full control, and He will never let you down, inshaAllah.

Dealing with Hardship

Focus instead on your own heart and relationship with Allah. The above hadith regarding human hearts ends with the following beautiful supplication: “O Turner of hearts, make my heart steadfast on Your obedience.”

اللّهُمَّ مُصَرِّفَ الْقُلُوْبِ صَرِّفْ قُلُوْبَنَا عَلى طَاعَتِك

Along with this supplication, keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah, send abundant blessings upon the Messenger, and learn about his blessed life and character [peace and blessings be upon him]. The more one learns about his life, the more tranquility one finds in the face of hardship.

Lastly, remember the following words of our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] and realize that the hardship you face brings much good for you in both this life and the next: “No toil, sickness, anxiety, sadness, harm, or stress afflicts a Muslim – even the thorn that pricks him – except that with it, Allah erases some of his sins” [Bukhari, Muslim].

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Faraz A. Khan has lived in Amman, Jordan, for several years studying and teaching traditional Islamic sciences, with a focus on Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith studies, theology, logic, and Arabic grammar. He translated and annotated the classical Hanafi primer “Ascent to Felicity” (Maraqi ‘l-Sa`adat) by Imam Shurunbulali, recently published by White Thread Press.

The Loss of a Child: Seeking & Turning to Allah in Difficult Times

Answered by Sidi Tabraze Azam

Question: Can you recommend any duas to restore strength or hope for parents who have lost a child through miscarriage or by stillbirth?

Answer: Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are in the best of health and spirits insha’Allah.

Firstly, take recourse with the words of Allah, Most High, “So truly with hardship comes ease. Truly with hardship comes ease.” [94:5-6] This is the promise of Allah.

Further, as we mentioned in a previous answer, “in times of difficulty, follow the Qur’anic advice, ‘Seek help through patience and prayer’ [2:45]. In such situations, it is call and a reminder from Allah to turn back to Him, be grateful for one’s blessings and to re-focus one’s heart to Allah.”

Turning to Allah in Supplication

Allah Most High states in the Qur’an, “If My slaves ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me.” [2:185] There are a number of prophetic supplications that one can make in this situation, such as:

أَسْأَلك الْهُدَى وَالتُّقَى وَالْعَفَاف وَالْغِنَى

“O Allah, I ask You for guidance, fearful awareness, chastity and self-sufficiency.”

اللهم أصلح لي ديني الذي هو عصمة أمري، وأصلح لي دنياي التي فيها معاشي، وأصلح لي آخرتي التي فيها معادي، واجعل الحياة زيادةً لي في كل خيرٍ، واجعل الموت راحةً لي من كل شر

“O Allah, put right for me my din in which lies the protection of my affair and put right for me this world in which lies my livelihood and put right for me the Next World in which is my future. Make life increase in every good thing for me and make death a rest for me from every evil thing.”

One should remember to make one’s supplications in a heartfelt manner, in absolute need of Allah and with a living heart that is engaged in intimate discourse with the Divine. Don’t feel obliged to make your supplications in Arabic, use any language you feel comfortable with and ask as He loves to be asked.

The Day of the Eclipse and the Passing of Sayyiduna Ibrahim (Allah be pleased with him)

It is related that al-Mughira ibn Shu’ba said, “There was a solar eclipse in the time of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, on the day that Ibrahim died and the people said, ‘The sun is eclipsed because of the death of Ibrahim.’ The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, ‘The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of anyone’s life or death. Rather they are two of the signs of Allah. When you see them, pray and make supplication to Allah.'” [Bukhari]

This hadith shows us how even the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was tested, the leader of the Prophets and the beloved of Allah. However, even therein he remembered and took recourse with his Lord. Therefore we should remember that we are being tested because Allah knows that we can handle it. “Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of God: for without doubt in the remembrance of God do hearts find satisfaction. [13:28]

The Intercession of the Child for their Parents

Scholars have mentioned that the children who pass away at a young age will be waiting for their parents on the day of judgement so they can take their parents by the hand into gardens of bliss.

Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, say, ‘If anyone has three of his children die young and resigns them to Allah, he will enter the Garden.’ We said, ‘Messenger of Allah, what about two?’ ‘And two,’ he said.” Mahmud ibn Labid said to Jabir, “By Allah, I think that if you had asked, ‘And one?’ he would have given a similar answer.” He said, “By Allah, I think so too.” [Bukhari, al-Adab al-Mufrad]

Khalid al-‘Absi said, “A son of mine died and I felt intense grief over his loss. I said, ‘Abu Hurayra, have you heard anything from the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, to cheer us regarding our dead?’ He replied, ‘I heard the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, say, “Your children are roaming freely in the Garden.” [ibid.]

Sahl ibn al-Hanzala, who had no children, said, “I would prefer to have a miscarried child while I am a Muslim and resign that child to Allah than to have the entire world and what it contains.” [ibid.]

This is an honour and a mercy to the parents and the child for which one should seek to be grateful, as thankfulness and patience increase one’s reward tremendously, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you.’ [14:7] If we only knew the reality, we would be drowning in joy.

Afflictions and the Muslim

Abu Yahya Suhayb ibn Sinan said, “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, ‘What an extraordinary thing the business of the believer is! All of it is good for him. And that only applies to the believer. If good fortune is his lot, he is grateful and it is good for him. If something harmful happens to him, he is steadfast and that is good for him too.'” [Muslim]

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Believers, both men and women, will continue to be afflicted in respect of themselves, their children and their property until they meet Allah without any wrong actions at all.” [Tirmidhi]

This life is one of affliction, trials and tribulation and the next life will be one of tremendous bounty, everlasting happiness and eternal paradise for the one who attains it. There will be such bounty in paradise that when the inhabitants will be asked if they had any difficulty in the life of this world, they will say no, O Lord. Such will be there state in clothes of silk in gardens under which rivers flow. We say as our master Sayyiduna Ibrahim said to his Lord, ‘And place me among the inheritors of the Garden of Delight’ [26:85] May Allah make us all from amongst them. Amin.

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalaam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Sidi Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England where he memorized the entire Qur’an.  He was awarded a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Management from the University of Leicester where he also served as the president of the Islamic society. In 2009, after a few years of private study, he left for Jordan for advanced studies of the Islamic sciences. He currently resides in Amman where he studies Arabic, fiqh, `aqidah, and tajwid, attaining ijaza in the recitation of Hafs.

Marrying a Potential Convert: Supplication, the Prayer of Guidance, and Following Allah’s Guidance

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I was working with a Catholic man and he has expressed an interest in becoming a Muslim, and wanting to marry me. He used to go to the mosque and was very close to becoming Muslim but his strict Catholic family didnt allow him to. Even when he said he accepted all the Islamic tenets, he couldnt deny Jesus dying on the cross. The last few months he again expressed an interest in becoming a Muslim and marrying me. I made a lot of supplication and prayed istikhara many times as I feel he would make an excellent Muslim and husband.  He is very pious, chaste, and charitable, and unfortunately I have allowed myself to form an attachment to this man. He has now moved abroad for a new job. To me this seems like a clear sign from Allah in answer to my istikhara that this man wasn’t for me. But how does one really know for sure if there istikhara has been answered?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope this message reaches you in the best of states inshaAllah. May Allah reward you for being concerned and seeking understanding in these matters of your life and may He guide you to that which is best for you in your religion, life, and hereafter.

It is not clear from your question whether the man has actually become Muslim or not. In either case, it is important to know that while you can make du`a that Allah guides him to Islam and brings you both together in marriage, you should not form an emotional attachment to him. Since this has unfortunately already happened, you need to realize that Allah does not want this of you and He only dislikes for His servants that which is harmful for them. Having conviction in this will help you to ease the pain in your heart and release your attachment to this man inshaAllah.

You should discontinue contact with the man in a polite manner suitable to the situation, since remaining in contact with him is not benefiting you. Please consider asking a Muslim male you trust, such as your brother or an Imam in the community, to keep contact with him in order that he has access to answers about Islam. Perhaps an Imam can explain to him the appropriate understanding of the Prophet Jesus (may Allah grant him peace) in Islam. Accepting that Jesus (may Allah grant him peace) did not die on the cross is something that is known by necessity to be a part of the religion. Allah says in unequivocal terms in the Qur’an:

“…and they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but so it was made to appear to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no knowledge, but only conjecture to follow. Of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself. And Allah is Exalted in Power and Wise.” [Al-Nisā’, 156-157]

Since his embracing of Islam and its tenets is a prerequisite to him being a potential husband for you, and it not clear that he is Muslim, it would not be proper to pray istikhara regarding marrying him, as you cannot supplicate for or seek guidance in something that is unlawful. Give the situation some time in order to allow yourself to pull out of the situation, physically (by involving someone you trust to sort out the man’s beliefs) and emotionally. Continue during this time to ask Allah for what is good for you. Then reevaluate the situation and move from there.

Regarding istikhara: The istikhara is a prayer in which one seeks guidance and good from Allah in a particular matter. This guidance and good as unfold on the plane of worldly causes and effects, not merely dreams and feelings – meaning that Allah facilitates what is best for one if one genuinely supplicates for the good and strives to do what is best. As Shaykh Faraz Rabbani describes,

“the sunna regarding actions is two-fold: (a) one takes the best and most effective of means; and (b) one places one’s trust and reliance on Allah. The istikhara is primarily related to the latter. It in no way negates one’s duty to take the proper steps in choosing a marriage partner of finding out the relevant details related to their worldly and religious life, their character, conduct, and personality.”

The hadith that you mentioned contains the Prophetic guidance to not despair in Allah’s mercy and to have conviction in His wishing well for us and His ultimate wisdom. If the slave truly understands their slavehood to Allah, they will never abandon supplicating to Him, because it is a manifestation of the realization of their poverty-stricken state and Allah’s supreme Richness, Completeness and Generosity. Supplication is furthermore an answer to Allah’s request, “…and call upon Me, I will answer you…” [Surat Ghafir, 60]. However, one has to know that Allah’s answering of a prayer comes in different forms.  Likewise the answer of our istikhara can be in a form that we do not anticipate. Allah may respond to one’s supplications by giving one what was supplicated for, or by withholding it in order to store up good for them in the Hereafter, or by withholding evil from one in his life. In a similar hadith the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) says,

“There is not upon the face of this earth a Muslim who calls upon Allah with a supplication except that Allah gives it to them or withholds from him a harm commensurate in measure [the the good he was seeking], as long as does not ask for the sinful or severing of kinship.” [Al-Tirmidhi]

May Allah guide you and us to that in which His pleasure lies.

Wassalam,
Sulma Badrudduja

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani