All Praise and Thanks are for Allāh Alone – The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance, the Severe in punishment, the Bestower (of favors). None has the right to be worshipped but Him, to Him is the final return.
This month of mercy will soon come to an end, and this post will be last in the Ramadan duaa series. Alḥamdulillāh we've learned during this blessed month to ask Allāh for The Greatest Delight, The Best of Both Worlds and Success in the Hereafter.
We've saved the best for last, the Attribute of Allāh that embraces all things, His Mercy. Allāh ta'ala says:
وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ
and My Mercy embraces all things. (7:156)
We should constantly seek forgiveness of Allāh and turn back to Him while hoping in His Mercy and fearing His Punishment. What better way to end this month of mercy than by seeking forgiveness and mercy from Allāh!
The Supplication of Abu Bakr
The first duaa is known as the duaa of Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu. In a hadeeth in Saheeh Bukhāri and Muslim, he narrated, “I asked Allāh's Apostle sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam to teach me an invocation so that I may invoke Allāh with it in my prayer. He told me to say,
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي ظُلْمًًا كَثِيرًا وَ لَا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَا أَنْتَ فَاغُفِرْ لِي
مَغْفِرَةً مِنْ عِنْدِكَ وَارْحَمْنِي إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Allāhumma Innī dhalamtu Nafsī dhulman Kathīran Walā Yaghfirudh Dhunuba Illā Anta Faghfir Lī Maghfiratħan Min 'Indika Warḥamnī Innaka Anta Al-Ghafūrur Raḥīm
“O Allāh, Indeed I have wronged myself excessively, and none can forgive sins except You, so forgive me out of Your forgiveness, and have mercy on me. Truly, You are the Oft- Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”
Please download the word for word translation here.
Selected Word Analysis
Dhalamtu/dhulman: Committed wrong. Dhulm literally means to place something where it does not belong. It also means to reduce the right of someone and to not give something in full that one deserves. In the Qur'an, dhulm is used to describe many things. Shirk is referred to as the greatest dhulm because those who ascribe partners to Allāh are giving the rights of Allāh to those who do not deserve those rights. It is also the greatest dhulm because ascribing partners to Allāh is reducing the rights of Allāh ta'ala. Allāh also states in many ayat that He does not commit even the smallest amount of dhulm against anyone. This means that He does not reduce the recompense for anyone: whatever punishment or reward one deserves is what they will receive and He will not be unjust in giving the punishment. Furthermore, when one does not acknowledge the blessings of Allāh and is arrogant, they are committing dhulm against themselves.
In this duaa, the dhulm we have committed against ourselves are sins. Why are sins referred to as dhulm? It is because when we commit sins we are disobeying Allāh which is reducing His Rights.
Maghfiratan: Forgiveness. Maghfirah means covering the sin and not calling to account for it. When we ask Allāh for His maghfirah, we are asking for our sins to be concealed and that He does not punish us for them.
Warḥamnī: And have Mercy upon me. Rahmah, mercy, means compassion, kindness and gentleness. It is when a person is kind, compassionate and tenderhearted towards the other. From the root of 'rahmah' also comes the word for 'womb'. The Rahmah of Allāh ta'ala envelops us and protects us, just as we were protected in the wombs of our mothers.
Al Ghafūr: The Oft Forgiving. This Name of Allāh and the word “maghfirah” come from the same root. There are two opinions on the root meaning of this word. The first one means to cover, to conceal, and putting a shield over something. When Allāh forgives, He protects His slaves from their sins just like a shield would protect the soldier and He conceals their sins from others. The second meaning comes from the word for a plant with which wounds are healed. It is said that sins are like an ailment, a disease or a wound on a person, and maghfirah is a cure that Allāh gives us to heal the wounds that are all over us. The structure of “Ghafoor” denotes quality, indicating that He forgives sins that are small and big, those that are minor and major. If Allāh is Al Ghafur, it means that He does not expose the sins of the sinner and covers their sins while He is fully aware of their wrongdoing, He protects them from the consequences of their sins, He forgives when He is asked and when He is not asked.This Name of Allāh appears over 90 times in the Qur'an.
Al Raḥīm: The Especially Merciful. This Name of Allāh and the word “rahmah” come from the same root. Al Raḥīm is the One who has a lot of Rahmah and the One who expresses a lot of rahmah. This Name denotes that Allāh is the One who has extensive and great mercy but He expresses it on the ones whom He chooses, specifically the Believers. This Name of Allāh appears over 100 times in the Qur'an.
These two Names are paired 72 times in the Qur'an. The link between Al Ghafūr and Al Raḥīm is that He forgives the sins, over and over again, out of His Mercy.
Memorize this duaa:
Ali radi Allahu anhu narrated that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam used to recite this duaa in his prayer before saying the tasleem:
اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَ مَا أَخَّرْتُ وَ مَا أَسْرَرْتُ وَ مَا أَعْلَنْتُ وَ مَا
أَسْرَفْتُ وَمَا أَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِ مِنِّي أَنْتَ المُقَدِّمُ وَ أَنْتَ المُؤَخِّرُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَا أَنْتَ
Allāhummaghfir Lī Mā Qaddamtu Wa Mā Akhkhartu Wa Mā Asrartu Wa Ma A'lantu Wa Mā Asraftu Wa Mā Anta A'lamu Bihi Minnī. Antal-Muqaddimu Wa Antal-Mu'akhkhiru Lā Ilāha Illā Anta
“O Allāh! Forgive me what I have done in the past, and what I will do in the future, and what I have concealed, and what I have done openly, and what I have exceeded in, and whatever You are More Knowing of than I. You are the One who Brings Forward, and You are the One who Delays, there is no (true) diety except You.” (Ahmad, Saheeh)
Download the word for word translation here.
Selected Word Analysis
Qaddamtu: I committed in the past. Qadam is an interesting word in Arabic because it can have opposite meanings depending on the context. Qadam can mean to advance and it can also mean something that was left behind or previously done. In a way these meanings are connected because deeds that we did in the past have been advanced to Allāh. In this duaa, 'qaddamtu' means sins that we already did in the past.
Akhkhartu: I will commit in the future. Akhkhar literally means to defer or delay something. It also means something that comes later, or has not come yet or has remained behind. The hereafter is called the aakhirah because it is something that comes later and it is the last life. In this duaa, 'akhkhartu' means sins that we will commit in the future.
Asrartu: I concealed. This word comes from the root 'sirr' which means something done in private and is a secret. In this duaa, 'asrartu' means sins that no one knows about except for Allāh.
A'lantu: I did publicly. This word comes from the root which means something that is done publicly and is manifest. In this duaa, 'a'lantu' means sins that were not done secretly.
Asraftu: I exceeded all bounds. This word comes from the root 'israaf' which literally means to eat away. Israaf not only means to be excessive, but it means to waste and be extravagant. Israaf means someone spends more in quantity than is actually needed. The who who transgresses is wasteful because they waste their own selves and destroy their moral and spiritual potential. In this duaa, 'asraftu' means those sins that we transgressed the bounds of Allāh and may have done in excess.
Al Muqaddim: The One who Brings Forward. Al Muqaddim is a Name of Allāh ta'ala which means the One who hastens or speeds whatever He wills. Allāh can hasten our punishment if we do not repent for our sins.
Al Muakhkhir: The One who Delays. Al Muakhkhir is a Name of Allāh ta'ala which means the One who delays or slows whatever He wills. Allāh can delay our punishment until we repent from our sins. Out of His Mercy, He gives us respite and forgives much of what we do because if Allāh were to take us fully to account for our wrong doings, not a single creature would remain on this earth. Rather Al Muakhkhir delays punishment so those who are sincere can repent to Him and those who disbelieve in Him can increase in sin.
Memorize this duaa:
Since both of these duaas relate to the forgiveness and mercy of Allāh, their points of benefits have been combined.
Points of Benefit
- The sunnah time to recite both of these duaas is during the tashahud before saying the salaam.
- The first duaa was given by the best, to the best. If the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu are calling upon Allāh saying, “I have wronged myself greatly”, then where do we stand? We learn from this that we should be humble in front of Allāh and never think ourselves to be better or more righteous than anyone.
- The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam loves you. He made a duaa like the second one for his ummah after every prayer, showing how much he loved his ummah. 'A'ishah radi Allahu anha narrated: “Once, when I saw the Prophet in a good mood, I said to him: “O Messenger of Allāh! Supplicate to Allāh for me!” So, he said: “O Allāh! Forgive 'A'ishah her past and future sins, what she has hidden, as well as what she has made apparent.” So, I began smiling, to the point that my head fell into the lap of the Messenger of Allāh sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam out of joy. The Messenger of Allāh said to me: “Does my supplication make you happy?” I replied: “And how can your supplication not make me happy?” He then said: “By Allāh, it is the supplication that I make for my Ummah in every prayer.” [Al Bazzaar, Hasan]
- The nature of mankind is that we will sin, but the best are those who repent to Allāh. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Were you not to commit sins, Allāh would create people who would commit sins and ask for forgiveness and He would forgive them.” [Muslim] Allāh ta'ala says in a beautiful āyah that includes both Names that are in the first duaa duaa and the word “dhulm”:
وَمَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرِ اللَّهَ يَجِدِ اللَّهَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allāh's Forgiveness, he will find Allāh Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (4:111)
- Only Allāh, Al Ghafūr, can forgive our sins. To receive His forgiveness and mercy, forgive and be merciful to others. The Messenger of Allāh alayhi salaatu wa salaam stated in a beautiful hadeeth, “irhamoo turhamoo, be merciful so Allāh will be merciful to you, ighfiroo yaghfirullahu lakum, forgive others so Allāh will forgive you.” In another hadeeth it states, “The merciful will be give mercy by the Most Merciful. Have mercy to those on earth and the one in the heavens will have mercy upon you.”
- We learn from the second duaa that Allāh knows everything we do, He is All-Aware of our sins; those we do in complete secrecy that even our close relatives don't know about and those sins that we do publicly and can be seen by the whole world.
- Feel regret for your sins but never give up hope in the mercy of Allāh. If you commit a sin, repent immediately. Rasul Allāh sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said in a hadeeth, “”Allāh, the Exalted, and Glorious said: `A slave committed a sin and he said: O Allāh, forgive my sin,' and Allāh said: `My slave committed a sin and then he realized that he has a Rubb Who forgives the sins and punishes for the sin.' He then again committed a sin and said: `My Rabb, forgive my sin,' and Allāh said: `My slave committed a sin and then realized that he has a Rubb Who forgives his sin and punishes for the sin.' He again committed a sin and said: `My Rabb, forgive my sin,' and Allāh said: `My slave has committed a sin and then realized that he has a Rubb Who forgives the sin or takes (him) to account for sin. I have granted forgiveness to my slave. Let him do whatever he likes”. [Bukhāri]
- We are deprived of great good when we don't seek forgiveness from Allāh. Nuh alayhi salaam tells his people, ” 'Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft-Forgiving; 'He will send rain to you in abundance, and give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.'” (71:10-12)
- When a person seeks forgiveness from Allāh ta'ala, He forgives him, and He will do things that are not done normally to forgive that person. In the narration of the man who killed 100 people, Allāh commanded the earth to shrink so that the person could be forgiven. Imagine the earth was reduced for him, because he was sincere! If we are sincere in our repentance, and we seek forgiveness, Allāh will forgive us. It is only our arrogance that is holding us back, yet Allāh is ready to forgive.
- Make Allāh Happy! Allāh loves those who repent and turn back to Him. (2:222) He azza wa jal laughs and is happy when one of His slaves repents to Him. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Truly, Allāh is happier with the repentance of His slave than one of you who is on his mount, and upon his mount is his drink and food; then he loses his mount in the desert, and he searches for it until he loses hope; so he sleeps and then wakes up to find that his mount is beside him, and he says, 'O' Allāh, you are my slave and I am your Lord'. He pronounced this mistake as a result of extreme happiness.” [Bukhāri]
- Allāh covers the sins on His slaves in this life and the next. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “A believer will be brought close to his Rabb on the Day of Resurrection and enveloping him in His Mercy, He will make him confess his sins by saying: `Do you remember (doing) this sin and this sin?' He will reply: `My Rabb, I remember.' Then He will say: `I covered it up for you in the life of world, and I forgive it for you today.' Then the record of his good deeds will be handed to him”. [Bukhāri]
- Allāh's Rahmah is greater than we can ever imagine. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Allāh created one hundred units of mercy on the Day He created the heavens and the earth. Each one of them can contain all that is between the heaven and the earth. Of them, he put one on earth, through which a mother has compassion for her children and animals and birds have compassion for one another. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect and complete His Mercy”. [Bukhāri]
- Think of how much your mother loves you. Al Rahim is more merciful to us than our own mothers. Umar ibn Al-Khattab said: Some captives were brought to the Messenger of Allāh. Suddenly, this woman saw an infant in the midst of the captives. She took hold of it, brought it into her bosom, and started nursing it. The Prophet then told the Companions, “Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?” We said, “No, By Allāh she would not, if she is able not to!” He then said, “Allāh the Exalted is more merciful with His slave than this woman with her child.” [Bukhāri]
How Merciful, how Compassionate, how Loving, how Forgiving is our Lord. Seek His forgiveness now, The Messenger of Allāh sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Allāh, the Exalted, stretches His Hand during the night so that those who commit sins by day may repent, and He stretches His Hand in the day so that those who commit sins by night may repent. He keeps doing so until the sun rises from the West.” [Muslim]
What are you waiting for?