Mawlana [Rashid Ahmad] Gangohi would strongly emphasise abundant invocation of blessings and peace (salawat) upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) to his disciples, devotees, friends and sincere seekers. He would describe the invoking of blessings and peace upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as being beneficial for both worlds.
He once advised in a letter ‘‘invoke blessings and peace upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) regularly, for that is extremely beneficial for the needs of both worlds.’’ (Maktubat Akabir-e-Deoband, (Deoband: Mi‘raj Book Depot), p. 56)
Hakim al-Ummat Mawlana [Ashraf ‘Ali] Thanawi would say of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi: ‘‘I saw that Mawlana Gangohi would always be reciting a wird (litany) of salawat and that he talked very little.’’ (Wa‘z al-Nur, p.20)
His disciples had been instructed by him to invoke blessings and peace upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) at least three hundred times a day.
[…] Mawlana Gangohi would say, ‘‘If you are unable to invoke blessings and peace this many times, you should not go without invoking blessings and peace at least once [a day].’’ He would say, ‘‘we are indebted to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace). If you are then miserly in invoking blessings and peace upon him, it is a matter of great disrespect and loss.’’ He preferred the Durud-e-Ibrahimi, which is [usually] recited in salat (prayer). (Bis Barey Musalman, p. 205)
Akabir-e-Deoband Awr ‘Ishq-e-Rasul (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, p.247-248 (Karachi: Maktabah Arsalan, May 2003) By Muhammad Arsalan ibn Akhtar.
In the 1970s, there was an advert on TV for a popular brand of moisturising cream. The advert sought to show how great the cream was by first showing us a dry autumn leaf which, upon being scrunched in the palm of the hand, crumbled into pieces.
Next came another dry leaf, this time the moisturising cream was applied to it. After it was squeezed, one saw the dry leaf gently unfolding back to its original shape. Themessage: If this is what the cream can do to a dry leaf, imagine what it could do for your dry or crinkled skin. I suspect many were sold on this moisturiser … including a young, teenage me!
The idea of moistening or revitalising faces and hands also applies to spiritual hearts. For the remembrance of Allah – dhikru’Llah– nourishes and revitalises the heart like nothing else. Indeed, it is its very lifeline. So much so, that Ibn Taymiyyah once made this following comparison:
‘Dhikr is to the heart as water is to a fish. Don’t you see what happens to a fish when it is taken out of water?’*
Islam’s masters of the heart teach us, then, to be constant in remembering Allah and in invoking Him. Consistent dhikr, with the required courtesy or adab towards the One being invoked, is key. As commitment to dhikr grows and deepens, and as souls begin to be illumined by the mention of His holy Name, Allah will cover our weaknesses with His might, cloth our lowliness in His glory, conceal our ignorance with His knowledge, heal the anger of our ego with His clemency, and calm the agitations of our heart with His assurance and serenity; such that one will be given to taste the bliss of the eternal realm whilst still living in this earthly abode.
*Cited in Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, al-Wabil al-Sayyib (Damascus: Maktabah Dar al-Bayyan, 2006), 93.
Do not be sad. If you are poor, then someone else is immersed in debt. If you do not own your own means of transportation then someone else has been deprived of his legs. If you have reason to complain concerning the pains of sickness then someone else has been bedridden for years. And if you have lost a child, then someone else has lost many children, for instance in a single car accident.
Do not be sad. You are a Muslim who believes in Allah, His messengers, His angels, the Hereafter and Preordainment – both the good and bad of it. While you are blessed with this faith, which is the greatest of blessings, others disbelieve in Allah, discredit the messengers, differ among themselves concerning the Book, deny the Hereafter, and deviate in their understanding of Divine Preordainment.
Do not be sad, because if you are, you disturb your soul and heart, and you prevent yourself from sleeping.
One of the Arab poets said:
“How often is the young man overcome with despair when afflicted, and with Allah is the way out.
The situation becomes unbearable and when the rope tightens it snaps, and throughout, he never thought that he would be saved.”
Bismillah most of us have lost conviction in the Power of Dua, it is something we turn to only as a last resort, once all our other efforts have failed, for our pious predecessors Dua was the first resort before any action, so much so that if they felt thirsty they would make Dua to Allah and then get up to pour a glass water for themselves. The following is a nice reminder.
The Most You Can Do Is Du’a! – Abeer Sadary
“The least you can do is duʿāʾ”
NO! The MOST you can do is duʿāʾ; the GREATEST you can do is duʿāʾ.
Never underestimate the power of duʿāʾ!
Duʿāʾ is not a series of blank, meaningless words uttered half-heartedly by the tongue; it’s when your heart is in sync with your tongue is in sync with your actions — that’s a recipe for a successful duʿāʾ.
As the great ʿOmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb used to say,
❝I’m not worried about receiving an answer but I’m worried about being able to invoke Allāh successfully.❞
Shortcomings in asking are our own, because Allāh has promised that He will answer.
﴾Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil…?!﴿ an-Naml:62
While giving a lecture on Istikhara [consulting with Allah Ta’ala] Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani دامت برکاتہم told,
“I’ve seen my respected father Mufti-e-‘Azam Pakistan Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ Sahab نوراللہ مرقدہ doing this [following] ‘Amal his whole life long. That whenever any issue arised in which a decision had to be made immediately and from two ways one had to be chosen, then at that time he used to close his eyes for a few moments.
Now, the person who was not aware of his habit had no idea what is happening while the eyes were closed. But in reality he would close his eyes and resort to Allah Ta’ala for a very short while and just inside his heart invoke Allah Ta’ala, ‘O Allah! This turmoil came up to me and I don’t understand what to decide. You put the thing in my heart, which according to You is better.’ That’s all, just inside the heart this little and brief Istikhara was done.”
[from Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani’s “Islahi Khutbat”]
O you who are in the company of their worldly goods and great expectations! The appointed times of death will soon come and separate you from your hopes. Hurry up before the arrival of these appointed times. Look at sudden death. Death is not necessarily preceded by an illness. Iblīs is your enemy so do not heed to his advice. Do not trust him for he is not trustworthy. Beware of him. He wants you to die while you are standing on the foot of heedlessness, disobedience, and disbelief. Do not be forgetful of your enemy for his sword will not be prevented from hitting the truthful person or the disbeliever. Only a few individuals escape it. He removed your father Adam and your mother Eve (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on them) from Paradise and he works diligently to prevent you from entering it. He urges you to commit disobedience, sins, disbelief, and noncompliance. All acts of disobedience are attributed to him, after Allah’s decree and His destiny. All creatures are subject to affliction except Allah’s sincere servants who have realized their servanthood to Him (mighty and glorified is He), so he has no authority over them. At times, he can cause them some harm, for when it is time for a decreed matter to take place, the eye becomes blind. His effect on them touches only the body, not the heart or the innermost being; only matters relating to this world, not matters pertaining to the hereafter; only matters relating to the creatures, not matters related to the Creator (mighty and glorified is He). He approaches the creatures mainly through the attachment to this world and the lower self. Seeking this world is a burning fire.
O young men, occupy yourselves with what concerns and is good for you. Preparing for what follows death is of concern to you, striving against your lower self is of concern to you, paying attention to your faults is of concern to you, but attending to the faults of other people is of no concern for you. Remember death and work in preparation for what is after it, for the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “The intelligent person is one who calls himself to account and works in preparation for what follows death, whereas the incompetent person is one who lets his lower self follow its passion, yet still wishes for forgiveness from Allah.”
And your Lord said: “Call upon Me, I will answer you. Verily, those who scorn My worship they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!
( Soorah Ghafir 40:60)
Allah encourages His servants to call upon Him, and He guarantees to respond.
Sufyan Ath-Thawri used to say:
“O You Who love most those who ask of You, and O You Who hate most those who do not ask of You, and there is no one like that apart from You, O Lord.”
This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim.
Similarly; the poet said:
“Allah hates not to be asked, and the son of Adam hates to be asked.”
Qatadah said that Ka`b Al-Ahbar said,
“This Ummah has been given three things which were not given to any nation before, only to Prophets.
(1) When Allah sent a Prophet, He said to him, `You are a witness over your nation.’ But you have been made witnesses over mankind;
(2) It was said to the Prophets individually, `Allah has not laid upon you any hardship in religion,’ but He said to this entire Ummah: (and﴿ Allah ﴾has not laid upon you in religion any hardship) (22:78) and
(3) It was said to the Prophets individually; `Call upon Me, I will answer you,’ but it was said to this Ummah, (Call upon Me, I will answer you).”
This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Nu`man bin Bashir, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah said:
(Indeed the supplication is the worship. )” Then he recited,
(And your Lord said: “Call upon Me, I will answer you. Verily, those who scorn My worship they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!”).
This was also recorded by the Sunan compilers; At-Tirmdhi, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.” It was also recorded by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, and Ibn Jarir with a different chain of narration. Allah’s saying:
(Verily, those who scorn My worship) means, `those who are too proud to call on Me and single Me out,’
(they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!) means, in disgrace and insignificance. Imam Ahmad recorded from `Amr bin Shu`ayb from his father, from his grandfather that the Prophet said:
(The proud will be gathered on the Day of Resurrection like ants in the image of people, and everything will be stepping on them, humiliating them, until they enter a prison in Hell called Bulas. They will be fed flames of fire, and given for drink a paste of insanity dripping from the people the Fire.)”
Source: Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Dar-us-Salam English Publication
I was once accompanying my Shaykh Dr Abdul Hay during his travels. After Fajr I went to sit in Shaykh's company.
Shaykh enquired whether I had taken my breakfast. I replied in the negative. Shaykh further enquired for the reason. I responded that the hosts had yet not prepared it.
Shaykh replied, "I am not enquiring about that breakfast. I am enquiring about the breakfast for your soul, which is in your control.”
Take out some time in the mornings for Zikrullah, remembering Allah. This is the breakfast for your soul."
Shaykh continued, "When a person has something to eat in the morning, it serves as energy and a source of strength for his body. If a person leaves home without breakfast he ends up struggling at work.”
Similarly if you present yourself before Allah and do Zikr of Allah swt, this will serve as a spiritual breakfast for you, and your soul will acquire energy and strength.
After this when you go out you will confront your Nafs and Shaytan.
If you have had your spiritual breakfast you will find within you the energy and strength to combat your Nafs and Shaytan. They will then not be able to defeat you."
Online dictionaries define hope as the feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen, or feeling that events will turn out for the best.
Hope is something to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence. It is an ethereal quality that enables us to keep going in the direst of circumstances. We keep moving forward with optimism because hope allows us to envisage a better future or a good outcome.
Never Give up Hope In the hustle and bustle of the twenty first century, hope often gives way to despair. Not because we no longer have reason to hope, but because we are so preoccupied and busy with affairs of this world that we do not give hope the chance to blossom.
Actually God has supplied us with an unending supply of hope. And when we begin to feel the pangs of hopelessness, we need to remember that God gave us every reason to rely on Him and to hope for His forgiveness and His mercy.
We should expect things to turn out for the best and we can look forward to tomorrow with confidence. God has promised us that following His guidance will lead us to the best outcome.
It is easy to forget one of the most essential things pertaining to hope and that is that God, the creator of human kind, understands that at various times in our lives, we will feel like giving into despair.
And to encourage us to look forward with hope, He reminds us consistently that we should never ever despair of His mercy, kindness and forgiveness.
The Quran and the traditions and sayings of Prophet Muhammad abound with references to how much God wants to be Merciful and how much He wants to forgive us.
What Makes us Lose Hope?
One of the reasons believers feel anxious and despairing is due to the fact that they have sinned. Sinning makes us feel bad, we are often ashamed and disappointed in ourselves, and when we feel like that over and over, it can easily become hopelessness.
People feel terrible when they think that God will not forgive them or is angry with them. It is dark and heavy feeling, and it is also one of Satan’s most useful weapons. Satan uses our despair to push us further away from God.
When a person thinks that they will not be forgiven, they may respond by turning away from God. That would be a grave mistake because turning towards God is the one thing that can restore hope.
Almighty God says:
I treat my slave according to his expectations from Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him in My heart; if he remembers Me in a gathering, I remember him in a better and nobler gathering (i.e. of angels), if he comes closer to Me by one span, I go towards him a cubit’s length, if he comes toward Me by a cubit’s length, I go towards him an arm’s length, and if he walks towards Me, I run unto him.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The companions of Prophet Muhammad were not angels, they were human beings, they made mistakes and they committed sins. They also had a different understanding of the nature of sin and how it is connected to forgiveness.
The early Muslims understood that God has what we would nowadays call an open door policy. There is no sin big enough to make a person despair of God’s mercy and forgiveness. No matter how big the sin, God’s mercy is bigger.
Even after all the crimes Pharaoh committed against God and the Children of Israel, God still commanded Moses to speak kindly to him just in case he would ask for forgiveness.
Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, verily, he has transgressed all bounds in disbelief and disobedience and behaved as an arrogant tyrant. And speak to him kindly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear God. (Quran 20:43)
Whatever sin causes your despair, it does not compare to the sins of Pharaoh. As human beings have the ability to make a choice. We can choose despair or we can do as God advises and choose hope.
Say, My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. (Quran 39:53)
…Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve. (Quran 12:87)
Stress and anxiety seem to be the plagues of this new century. Depression, fatigue and sorrow all try to strip hope away from us.
Hopelessness is becoming more common, isn’t it? Hopelessness is not a new trait, it has been with humankind from the beginning; and from the beginning, God and His Messengers have urged us to be hopeful. They have given us guidance and encouragement.
Whoever asks often for forgiveness, God will provide for him a way out of each concern he has, and will solve all his troubles, and will provide him with livelihood from sources that were not known to him. (Ahmad)
God has told us on numerous occasions to call on Him for help; and Prophet Muhammad reminds us that relief is no more than a supplication away.
Make supplication to God Almighty and know that He will answer your prayer. (At-Tirmidhi)
He even gave his companions advice on how to dispel feelings of anxiety and despair. He told them to recite this supplication:
Oh God, I seek your protection from anxiety, sorrow, inability, laziness, cowardice, stinginess, overpowering debt and subjugation by fellow man. (Al-Bukhari Abu Dawud and others)
This certainly seems to cover all the stresses of our daily lives, just as it covered the stresses that afflicted Prophet Muhammad’s companions. Our burdens today are no greater than burdens in the past, and the cure is still the same. Turn to God, beg His forgiveness and hope for relief.
…After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief. (Quran 65:7)
So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief: Verily with every difficulty there is relief. (Quran 94:5)
The life of a human being can be difficult. And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. (Quran 2:155)
The life of this world is filled with tests, trials, and tribulations but these must be faced with patience and hope. Hope that God will guide you to the best outcome. Hope will guide you through the darkness, but despair will only lengthen the journey.
God is merciful, what we see around us every day is only one percent of His mercy. Every time a mother holds her child, or a nurse wipes the brow of a suffering patient, or rain falls on the parched earth in a drought stricken area… it is God’s mercy alive in the world.
The other 99% remains with God for Him to distribute on the Day of Judgment. That is certainly a reason for hope.
God created mercy in one hundred parts and sent down to earth only one part. Because of this one part, there is mutual love amongst creation, so much so that an animal will lift up its hoof from its young one, fearing that it might harm it. God has reserved the remaining ninety-nine parts of this mercy to favor His believing servants on the Day of Judgment. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Afterword Sometimes stress and anxiety can turn into the type of hopelessness we nowadays call depression. If this is the case for you, or someone you know, it is essential that you seek medical advice and help. This too is a mercy from God.
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
“Allah, all Glory and Praise be to Him, has said, ‘”Whatever My servant assumes of Me, that is how I will treat him, and I am with him when he remembers Me.'”
[Reported by Muslim, from Abu Hurayrah, as mentioned in Sahih al-Jami #8138]
“So if a person only expects good from Allah, and it certain that Allah will not destroy his hopes and desires, then Allah will fulfil his expectations. On the other hand, if he is not certain of the response of Allah, and he feels that he will not be responded to, then he will be treated the way that he feels. Al-Shawkani cmmented on this hadith as follows:
‘In this hadith, Allah encourages His servants to expect the best from Him, since He will treat them accordingly to their expectations. So whoever expects good from Him will be showered with His Good, and will be shown His Beautiful Generosity… But he who is not like that will not be treated in this manner. And this is the meaning of the fact that He is with him when he remembers Him. So it is obligatory on the slave to always assume the best of Allah. And he should help himself to achieve this state by always recalling the texts (of Qur’an and Sunnah) that show the great Mercy of Allah.’
This is why the true Muslim always expects the best from Allah.
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) states:
‘Let not any of you die except that he assumes the best from Allah’
[Reported by Muslim (#2877) and others]
Since a person does not know when he will die, the implication of the hadith is that a Muslim must always have good thoughts and assume the best about his Creator, such that, when death does overtake him, he is still intent upon this feeling.”
Ibn al-Qayyim said,
‘Whoever reflects upon this issue deeply will realise that having the best expectations from Allah is equivalent to having good deeds, and doing good from one’s soul. For only when a person expects the best from Allah will he perfom food deeds, since he will expect that Allah will reward him for his deeds and accept them. Therefore, the reason that he performed these good deeds was because of his good expectations of Allah; so the more a person betters his expectations from Allah, the more good deeds he does!’
[Al-Jawab al-Kafi, p. 23]
Taken from Du’a : The Weapon of the Believer p. 81
HOPE: Desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.
Following are some Quranic verses and a hadith that reflects the Islamic view about "Hope."
…And whosoever fears Allah…He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine.
…After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief.
So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief: Verily with every difficulty there is relief. Therefore, when you are free (from your immediate task), still labor hard. And to your Lord turn (all) your attention.
Allah promises us that after every difficulty is relief. We must never lose hope that our situation will improve.
Say: “My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”
Allah commands us to never lose hope in His mercy and forgiveness. Even if we have committed many sins, Allah forgives all sins except that of associating partners with Him.
O my sons (said Prophet Jacob)! Go you and enquire about Yusuf (Joseph) and his brother, and never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.
Losing hope in Allah’s mercy is likened to disbelieving in Allah.
Do you think that you will enter paradise without such trials as came to those who passed away before you? They experienced suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Prophet and the faithful who were with him cried, “When will Allah’s help come?” Ah, verily the help of Allah is near.
The path to paradise involves trials and difficulties. But never lose hope! It is just a test!
Surely there is in the person of Allah’s messenger an excellent example for you—for every person who has hope in Allah and the hereafter and who remembers Allah, reciting His name many times.
Hope is faith in Allah and the hereafter.
…So be not of the despairing.
Wealth and sons are allurements of the life of this world: but the things that endure, Good Deeds, are best in the sight of thy Lord, as rewards, and best as (the foundation for) hopes.
The true foundation of hope is the good that we do in this life.
God is with you and will never deprive you of your (good) deeds.
Do not lose heart nor fall into despair! You shall triumph if you are believers.
True success comes to those who believe.
Their limbs do forsake their beds of sleep, the while they call on their Lord, in Fear and Hope: and they spend (in charity) out of the sustenance which We have bestowed on them.
Waking up to pray to Allah when we are tired is a sure sign of our hope in Allah’s reward.
Call upon your Lord humbly and in secret. Lo! He loveth not transgressors. Work not confusion in the Earth after the fair ordering thereof, and call on Him in fear and hope. Lo! The mercy of Allah is nigh unto the good.
The believer calls on Allah in fear and hope: fear of His displeasure, and hope in His mercy and approval of us.
Allah created mercy in one hundred parts and sent down to earth only one part. Because of this one part, there is mutual love amongst creation, so much so that an animal will lift up its hoof from its young one, fearing that it might harm it. Allah has reserved the remaining ninety-nine parts of this mercy to favor His believing servants on the Day of Judgment.
Saying of Prophet Muhammad as recorded in Bukhari and Muslim, Book #037, Hadith #6631
This hadith is a source of great hope in that Allah has reserved 99 out of 100 parts of mercy for the Day of Judgment. Now reflect on this: only one part of this 100 is divided among all living creatures on earth, including every single human being. Whatever mercy there is on earth, 99 times of that is with Allah. We cannot even fathom how merciful God is!
So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.
Let us be hopeful about meeting our Lord with our worship of Him alone.
This is a chapter about HOPE from the book “The Basic Values of Islam” by Sheima Salam.
It’s a very small phrase— Astaghfirullah— we learned it when we were young. And yet do we know its benefits?
In the life of a Muslim, all that matters is earning the pleasure of Allah. Among the things that stop us from earning the pleasure of Allah are sins. And that’s where istighfar comes in.
Istighfar is what removes our sins from us and helps us attain the goal of Paradise. But what other benefits does istighfar bring? Allah always gives more than we ask. We ask for forgiveness, and these are the eight things that Allah gives us!
(1)Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. [Quran 71:10]We sin by the day and by the night, and Allah forgives by the day and the night. Allah’s forgiveness is vast. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, Allah extends His hand by the day so the sinner of the night can repent and He extends His hand by the night so the sinner of the day can repent. [Narrated by Muslim]. He also said, peace be upon him, The companion (Angel) on the left lifts his pen for six hours for the Muslim slave that errs or sins. If this slave repents and seeks Allah’s forgiveness for that error or sin, the Angel doesn’t record it. And if the slave doesn’t ask Allah for forgiveness, the Angel records it once. [Muslim]So whenever we sin, let’s rush to His forgiveness.
(2) He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. [Quran, 71:11]Rain is a sign of Allah’s mercy as has been mentioned in the Quran and in the Sunnah. It is a time when Allah answers dua. Forgiveness is one of the causes for Allah to send rain down. It is symbolic as well for Allah to increase us in our provision and mercy. Even the guidance of the Quran has been compared to the effect that rain has on the dead earth. Perhaps istighfar is our door to opening our hearts to even more guidance and provision. Who doesn’t want more and more in this world and the next?
(3) And give you increase in wealth and children. [Quran, 71:12]Isn’t wealth one of the big things that we are running after today? Isn’t wealth one of the main aims of our capitalist society? Allah is promising us that wealth comes with istighfar, as does children. It is for us who are struggling financially, and also those who are struggling to conceive, that they do more and more istighfar. Istighfar will open the doors that have been closed till today. Wealth and children come from Allah and it is in turning to Him that we will get them, not in turning away from Him.
(4). . . and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers. [Quran, 71:12]Allah will not only give us what we want, He will give us more. Gardens and rivers are luxuries that very few of us can afford in life. And yet for istighfar, Allah promises us that. He promises us that we will be given gardens and rivers. It could be in this world and in the hereafter or only in the hereafter (as gardens and rivers are the most common description of paradise.) Isn’t this a cause worth struggling for? The paradise of Allah awaits those who make constant istighfar.
(5). . . ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength [added] to your strength. [Quran 11:52]Again this verse mentions the sending of rain from the sky. But also adds that Allah will add strength. For those of us who want strength added to our lives- whether mental, psychological, physical or otherwise, this is the deed we need to do! We are struggling with doing a good deed- make istighfar, Allah will provide strength. We are struggling with a sin, make istighfar, Allah will give strength. We are struggling with heartbreak, let us make istighfar, He will provide strength to get over it.
(6)Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favour his favour [Quran, 11:3]This verse promises again a good provision for a specified term for those who make istighfar. However, the specified term is important. It shows that life is not permanent and that the good provision will also come to an end one day. And that naturally makes us fearful. And that is where Allah gives His biggest promises to the people of astaghfirullah. He says He will grant us His good favour. What else in life do we want other than to know that we have earned His favour? Every blessing is a curse if His favour is not upon us, and everything can be endured if His favour is the answer. And yet, He asks for so little. All He asks is that we seek His forgiveness.
(7) And Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness [Quran, 8:33] One of the scariest things in human life is disaster— when something horrible happens out of the blue and without us expecting it. There are very few things that terrify people more than something like that. Islamically, they can be both tests and punishments. As Muslims, we don’t want to be punished by Allah. We don’t want to experience any of it. And istighfar is the promise from Allah that it’s not going to happen. He has our back as long as we seek His forgiveness.
(8) My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after me. Indeed, You are the Bestower. [Quran 38:35]This was the dua of Sulaiman, alayhi salam. The beauty of the dua is that he starts it by seeking forgiveness from Allah. And He makes a request. That request was granted and will stand until the day of judgement. The Prophet Sulaiman was given a kingdom that no one will ever be given after him. And he started his dua while making istighfar to Allah. Scholars say that one of the ways of having our duas answered is by making istighfar first and then seeking from Allah.
Incredibly, in our current times, we’ve come to almost abandon this virtue of constant istighfar and only seem to associate it with the major sins and when we fall into grave matters!
When reading through the books, in particular the biographies and statements of our pious predecessors, one beautiful thing that always amazes me is how important Istighfar (seeking forgiveness) was to our Salaf and how deeply engaged they were in this particular act. Now, these were a people who lived and breathed Islam, whose hearts overflowed with Iman, yaqin (certainty), humbleness, and all good, and they were of tremendous worth in the Sight of Allah. They were the scholars, the righteous and pious, the sincere worshippers of Allah `azza wa jall. They were our best generations whose sins were few and good deeds were many… and yet you’ll find that they never stopped seeking forgiveness. In fact, they’d spend some of their nights weeping and some of their days in sadness; always seeking forgiveness.
Incredibly, in our current times, we’ve come to almost abandon this virtue of constant istighfar and only seem to associate it with the major sins and when we fall into grave matters! But in reality, we shouldn’t seek forgiveness only when we fall into some wrong; rather it should be something that’s continuously present in our daily life regardless of whether we perceive a sin on our part or not. And this is what kept the righteous people engaged in this virtuous act; they knew the nature of the soul and the nature of the human being. Sometimes we fall into sin, sometimes we fall short in our duties, sometimes we forget and make mistakes, sometimes we lose sight of the ultimate purpose of our existence, sometimes we lose track of our sincerity and intentions, sometimes we suffer a spiritual loss without realising it, and sometimes our Deen spirals downwards and we do not even acknowledge it. We slowly begin to lose out on the Akhirah (Hereafter), but we remain in complete obliviousness.
Seeking forgiveness and repentance is hence crucial for the human who has these short-comings. By nature and by definition we are a creation prone to forgetfulness; and naturally we forget our sins and forget our shortcomings. For many of us, we do not even acknowledge when we fall into the wrong and this is perhaps the scariest thing.
The effects of sin are many, but I just want to focus on a few:
1. One effect of sin is that a person will find themselves prevented from knowledge. I guess we’re all aware of the famous poem by Imam al-Shafi’i wherein he said,
“I complained to Waki’ regarding my poor memory
So he guided me to abandon all sins
And he said to me ‘The Knowledge of Allah is a Light
And the Light of Allah is not given to a sinner.’”
Point being is that Allah is Tayyib (good) and He accepts only that which is tayyib (good). Sins on the other hand are a form of oppression (as the sinner only oppresses themselves) and this represents darkness as deduced from the hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) when he said,الظلم ظلمات يوم القيامة “Oppression is darkness on the Day of Judgement.”The knowledge which Allah `azza wa jall has revealed and taught to His Messenger (of Qur’an and Islamic ‘ilm) is enshrouded in light and is in fact light itself – so it’s not proper for this light to remain in the dark caverns of a sinner’s heart. Darkness and light cannot co-exist. So persisting in wrong will forever keep you in darkness and prevent knowledge from reaching you and saving you. However, there is a way out… When you allow knowledge to benefit you and you act upon it as much as possible (beginning with abandoning sins and breaking its chains), darkness will instantly begin to fade away.
2. Another effect of sin is that a person will find themselves prevented from their rizq (provisions) or restricted in their livelihood. Do you ever find yourself in financial constraints without knowing why? Do you find that there is no barakah (blessing) in your money; the pay check arrives and within a few days or weeks you’re down to restricted means again? Maybe you keep seeking avenues to make a living but find every door closes on you and frustration just keeps building up? Perhaps this is a time to sit with your soul and seek forgiveness.
When the slave of Allah is continuous in Istighfar and Allah knows that they are always aware of their doings and they are cautious not to fall into sin, He will provide for them at every instance:“… And whoever fears Allah, He will make a way out for him and provide him from whence he did not expect.” He will bring them job opportunities without them even seeking or searching for it. The blessings of wealth, health and good means is brought to them and the Dunya itself brought to their feet. This is because the more God-conscious a person is, the higher their level of Taqwa. This means they are constantly thinking of their relationship with Allah and their focus is on the Hereafter, so Allah takes care of their Dunya and fills their life with provisions to help them maintain their focus on the Hereafter and His Remembrance. How Kind He is, subhanahu wa ta’ala.
“… Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send rain to you in abundance and give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” So the smart one realises that just as sins prevent provisions in life, seeking forgiveness will expand the provisions in their life, so they do not abandon it.
3. Another effect of sin is that one’s supplications are prevented from being answered. In Sahih Muslim, there is a hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) where he mentioned the case of a man who: “… having journeyed far, is dishevelled and dusty and spreads out his hands to the sky saying, “O Lord! O Lord!” (crying out in du’a) – while his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing is unlawful, and he is nourished from the unlawful, so how can he be answered?”
This ties in with what’s called ‘akl al-haram’ in Arabic, i.e. consuming from the unlawful. One of the greatest dangers we face in the West is the consumption of Riba’ (interest), the effects of which are deadly and tremendous. If things are not working out in your life, if despite your good job and family, there always seem to be problems and discontentment in life, then seek forgiveness; perhaps major sins such as this have come between you and Allah so you no longer find peace and happiness in your provision.
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) taught us well when he encouraged us with one particular supplication. He taught us to engage in saying:
اللهم إنك عفو تحب العفو فاعف عني
“O Allah, You are the Pardon and You love to Pardon, so pardon me.”
 Hence seeking forgiveness is not just for the sinner, but it is a habit of the righteous and pious. Allah opens doors and bestows many blessings upon a person by virtue of their istighfar and remembrance.
Let’s make it our daily habit insha’Allah!
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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