Home / Islam / The Supplication Series / The Supplication Series: Being Praised

Praise is an action that should be used in moderation by a Muslim. When used excessively, it can lead to problems with Eman. The guidelines from the Sunnah on how to appropriately praise others presents the Muslim with a balanced approach to this natural human tendency.

The Supplication Series: Being Praised

Bismillah

For many Muslims involved in da'wah work or Islamic studies, one of the biggest struggles they face is praise and fame from their communities and peers. It is the nature of humans to praise what they see of people, but we are taught in our Deen that too much praise can harm a person.

Once, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) heard a man praising another, and he responded to him, “”May Allāh 's Mercy be upon you! You have cut the neck of your friend.” [Bukhāri]

My teacher used to say, “praise is poison”, because of how it can ruin a good intention into a corrupt one. When we are constantly praised, our weak souls begin to rely and covet this praise, so good deeds are then done solely to hear those words of praise. A person's nafs may rely so much on this praise that they begin seeking it for what they did not do. Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) describes in the Qur'an:

لَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْرَحُونَ بِمَا أَتَوا وَّيُحِبُّونَ أَن يُحْمَدُوا بِمَا لَمْ يَفْعَلُوا

“Think not that those who rejoice in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done…” (3:188)

The scholars and righteous of the past would find ways to keep this praise away from themselves and remind those around them to not over praise others. This is why we find many narrations where they humiliate or speak lowly of themselves - it is to keep their nafs in check.

This supplication was not taught to us by the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), but it is one that his best friend, Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) would make after being praised (some narrations state that it was a duaa of Ali radi Allahu anhu).

It is reported that he would say,

اللهمَ اجْعَلْنِى خَيْرًا مِمَّا يَظُنُّونَ وَاغْفِرْ لِى مَا لَا يَعْلَمُونَ وَلَا تُؤَاخِذْنِى بِمَا يَقُولُون

Allahumma-ja'lni khayran mima yadhunoon wa-ghfir li ma la ya'lamoon wa la tu'akhidhni bi ma yaquloon.

O Allāh, make me better than what they think of me, and forgive me for what they do not know about me, and do not take me to account for what they say about me.

Audio

Listen to the duaa:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download here.

Selected Word Analysis

yadhunnundhann is supposition. Notice here that Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) did not say, “ya'lamoon“, “what they know” but rather, what they THINK about me. He is showing us through the use of this word that what people think is not always true, and supposition can never equal actual knowledge.

tu'akhidhni - aakhadha means to reproach or blame someone. It means to hold someone accountable for something. Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) is asking that he not be held accountable for what is said about him, because it is not in his control.

Points of Benefit

  • Being praised is something that even giants struggle with. Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was the giant of this Ummah, the greatest man after the Prophets, yet he struggled with hearing the praise of others. Struggling with praise does not mean you are weak, rather it means you are human.
  • Be careful in overpraising others. Sometimes we praise people in an extravagant way, and this only hurts the person more. As the Prophet (alayhi salaatu wa salaam) said, “you are cutting the neck of your brother”- you may think you are benefiting the person but it may only be hurting them more.
  • It is important to be balanced when praising others. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “If it is necessary for any of you to praise someone, then he should say: 'I think! that he is so and-so', if he really thinks that he is such. Allāh is the One Who will take his account (as He knows his reality), and none can sanctify anyone before Allāh.” [Bukhāri]
  • Once a man was praised by another, so he responded to him and asked him, “Have you seen me while I was angry, and found me forbearing?” The man who praised him said no. He then asked, “Have you traveled with me and saw that I had good character (during travels)?” He said no. Then he asked, “Have you found me trustworthy with regards to fulfilling the trusts?” He said no. The man concluded, “then it is not allowed for you to praise someone if you have not seen his behavior with regards to these situations.”
  • Make duaa for those who are faced with popularity, fame and praise. It is a great inner struggle for them.
  • Being praised for an action you did secretly for the sake of Allāh is a good thing. It was said to Allāh's Messenger (may peace be upon him): What is your opinion about the person who has done good deeds and the people praise him? He said: It is glad tidings for a believer (which he has received in this world). [Saheeh Muslim] This is not the same as someone acting out of seeking praise or changing their deeds afterward for praise, but this when someone is praised for what they've already done such as people finding out they were feeding the poor or praying during the night.
  • If you are praised, then be careful not to let praise and self-admiration overcome you. Praise makes people content with their deeds so they do not worship or do good as much because they are happy with their situation.

Some sayings of the Salaf regarding praise/fame:

Al-Kuraybi said, “They used to prefer that a man hide his righteous deeds, (to the extent), that his wife or anyone else wouldn't be aware of it. (Al-Siyar: 9/349)

Abu Hazim said, “Hide your good deeds more than you hide your bad deeds.” (Al-Musannaf: 7/195)

Al-Fudayl ibn 'Iyad said, “Whosoever is saddened by loneliness and feels tranquil around the people, is not safe from riyaa.” (Al-Siyar: 8/436)

Sa'eed ibn Al-Haddad said, “Nothing hinders from the path of Allāh like seeking praise and status.” (Al-Siyar: 14/214)

Sufyan ath-Thawri said, “Safety is that you don't desire to be known.” (Al-Siyar: 7:257)

Bishr ibn al-Harith said, “The (person) that loves fame has not feared Allāh. Don't act in order to be mentioned, and hide your good deeds like you hide your bad ones.” (Al-Siyar: 10/476)

May Allāh make us among the sincere ones and may He purify our hearts from seeking praise and being affected by it.

Find more supplications from this series here.

allah bukhari subhanahu wa ta'ala

About Yusra Owais (Amatullah)

Yusra is a student of the Qur'an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta'leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur'an, Tajwid (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has a Bachelors in Social Work and will be completing the Masters program in 2014 inshaAllah. Her experience includes working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement and accessibility for people with disabilities.

37 comments

  1. I wish I knew all of this sooner (sigh…)

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • It’s never too late iA!

      Jazakallah Khair for the reminder, I will try my best to memorize the Dua.

      Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh :)

      There is another dua that may then apply too, also in fortress of the muslim, page 121 in one of the printings I have, when something you dislike happens say, or when you fail to achieve what you attempt to do:

      qadr’Allahi wa maashaa’a fa’3l: It is the Decree of Allah and He does whatever He wills [Muslim]

      also in the footnote it says the hadith: “The strong believer is better and more dear to Allah than the weak believer, and in each of them there is good. Be vigilant for what is to your benefit and seek the help of Allah and do not falter. But when you are striken by some setback, do not say: ‘If only I had done such and such,’ rather say: ‘It is the Decree of Allah and He does whatever He wills.’ For verily the saying ‘if’ (i.e. if only I had) begins the work of the Devil.” [Muslim 4/2052]

      Alhamdullilah in all situations.

      Asalamu Alaykum

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. barak Allahu feeki. This supplication series is simply beautiful Subahan Allaah. jazaki Allahu khayran sister.
    I wrote down all of these on a piece of paper with their translation, those that aren’t in Hisnul Muslim, the pocket edition.

    From where I look at it, Beauty is that, this dua is applicable for both praise and dishonoring someone. Allahu ‘alam. Meaning if someone carries any ‘ghill’ about us in their heart and is exhibited by their (in)/actions we could ask Allah the same Dua and seek protection with Him. These seemingly impossible but towering examples of sahaba and the salaf , of keeping their hayaa with Allaah and not getting carried away with Praise needs to be cultivated. What better way to start except by ourselves.

    Remember someone threatening someone with deportation for reaching out with a direct proposal. What s/he needs to do is read this dua and keep quiet and pray for them. Some old lady of the town being regarded as the most pious of the lot, I was very concerned (and positively jealous) in a way, about her people thinking this way. mash Allaah. In a way she was politely advised to be very wary about it and read the same dua. On a similar note I feel many of Dua’t here, who are put in the celebrity status by the volunteers while praising their introductions before any of their speeches/lectures/classes should remind this dua sincerely.

    I remember seeing a YouTube video, it was an audio put as youtube video actually, where Shaykh Albani or Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on both) was praised in the begining of a speech and he read the same dua after weeping for the praise, albeit in different sequence, citing the reference of Siddiq Akbar who did the same for public praise. Subahan Allaah.

    No wonder so many miraculous works could be accomplished in this world if we simply don’t worry about the credit of it (I remember being guilty of it a few times. Astaghfirullah.). And here often people claim credit of the work they did not do. At work we are required to prove our worth, for maintaining jobs and year end appraisals. In a way, asking managers to praiseour work and give good ratings? How do we strike a balance?

    may Allah keep us and our families safe. and I ask Allah to not hold us accountable for what other people think/speak about and do to us. And forgive us and make us better. Ameen. Wassalamu Alaykum.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. May Allah make us among the sincere ones and may He purify our hearts from seeking praise and being affected by it.

    Jazak Allahu khairan for your article.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Baarak Allaahu feeki. Can you give the reference of this hadith/du’aa’?

    Jazaak Allaahu Khayr

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • wa feeki barak Allah. It is narrated in al-Adab al-Mufrad that the Companions used to say this when they were praised, also in Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah, and in another hadith collection “Jami’ al-Ahadith” it is connected to Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Asalaamu’Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuhu:
        I had this question for a very long time, when praising someone, what should be said: BarakAllahu Feeki or Masha’Allah? and plz explain
        -JazakAllahu Khairan Wa Ahsanul Jazaa fid Daarain.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Subhan Allah. It is a beautiful article and very well written.

    Jazakallah sister for sharing the dua. We all need it and inshallah will teach my children too.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Jazak’Allah Khairin. Insha’Allah I will try my best to learn this dua.

    -Aly

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. The audio is the wrong dua?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Asalamu Alikum

    Wonderful post mashaAllah. May Allah reward you.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Barakallhu fiki, I thnk this is a very needed reminder nowadays, with the soceity we live in …

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. JazakALLAHu khairan

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. JazakiAllahu Khairan for the wonderful Sharh. May Allah increase you and your family in Khair and grant you the company of the Prophet SalAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.

    SubhanAllah Shaykh Al-Albani said this Du’a when he was being praised, and Alhamdulillah someone put it up on youtube. You will cry everytime you listen to this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFzTPHR3Ukk

    May Allah grant us humility and forgive our trespasses.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Asalamu Alaykum

    Jazakum’Allahu Khayran Sister Amatullah.

    This dua, or at least a similar narration, can be found in Fortification of the Muslim, at least the Darussalam edition, in case others wanted it in a book in hand.

    Asalamu Alaykum

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. To everyone,

    You can benefit from these articles that touch upon fame, arrogance, riya and ways to protect oneself from it on Imam Suhaib Webb’s site
    http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-studies/showing-off-the-minor-shirk/
    http://www.suhaibwebb.com/personaldvlpt/character/different-forms-of-riya/

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. I was searching for this topic months ago all around the Internet. This is an an eye opener…a revolutionary… I’ll limit the praise lol.

    No but seriously, I was searching for this information almost a year back and found nothing. So happy I found this as I had a question in my mind about the concept of praising and overpraising.
    Anyway thanks a lot. JazakAllah khair.

    Assalamu alaykum.

    Umar.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Great reminder, mA. Definitely not talked about enough. Jazak Allah!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. اللهمَ اجْعَلْنِى خَيْرًا مِمَّا يَظُنُّونَ وَاغْفِرْ لِى مَا لَا يَعْلَمُونَ Allahumma Ameen. jazakiAllahKhayr!!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. My teacher used to say, “praise is poison”, because of how it can ruin a good intention into a corrupt one

    JazakAllah Khair for a much needed reminder! The scariest thing is that a person whose intention has been corrupted continues to do apparently good deeds but will find nothing in his/her account on the Day of Judgment.
    May Allah(swt) grant us true humility and allow us to serve His deen with sincerity.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. اللهُمَّ فأَيُّمَا مُؤْمِنٍ سَبَبْتُهُ فَاجْعَلْ ذَلِكَ لهُ قُرْبةً إليكَ يَوْمَ القِيَامةِ – Correction. The Du’a if someone is ‘insulted’ is this.
    O Allaah, to any believer whom I have insulted, let that be cause to draw him/her near to You on the Day of Resurrection. Ameen

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Lovely post, Amatullah!
    Jazakillahu khairan katheera.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. A good and humbling reminder, JazakAllahuKheiran!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. This is such a difficult topic:
    From Abu Hurayrah (r.a), who said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say,

    ‘ Verily, the first to be judged on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who had died as a Martyr. He will be brought forward. Allah will remind him of the favours He had bestowed upon him and the man will acknowledge them.

    Then He will ask him: `What did you do to express gratitude for it?’

    The man will reply: `I fought for Your Cause till I was martyred.’

    Allah will say: `You have lied. You fought so that people might call you courageous; and they have done so.’

    Command will then be issued about him and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell.

    Sometimes I think about the martyr mentioned in this narration. And I think to myself, surely when he was striving in the way of Allah, he must have thought to himself that he was doing what he was doing for Allah. This is why I find the topic of sincerity so difficult. I mean how do we truly know, that we’re doing what we’re doing exlusively for Allah?

    It has been related that a man was used to praying in the first row in the mosque. One day he was late for the prayer, so he prayed in the second row. Feeling embarrassment when people saw him in the second row, he realised that the pleasure and satisfaction of the heart that he used to gain from praying in the first row were due to his seeing people seeing him there and admiring him for it. This is a subtle and intangible condition and actions are rarely safe from it. Apart from those whom Allah has assisted, few are aware of such delicate matters. Those who do not realise it only come to see their good deeds appearing as bad ones on the Day of Resurrection; they are the ones referred to in Allah’s words:

    “And something will come to them from Allah which they had never anticipated, for the evil of their deeds will become apparent to them. (39:47-48)”

    And also: “Say: Shall We tell you who will lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts were astray in the life of this world, while they thought that they were doing good works. (18:103-104)”

    This topic is enough to drive a man crazy. What if you’re not sincere, but you don’t even know it? And you only find out on the day of judgement when there’s no opportunity to do anything about it. Sometimes I think it’s better not to do a good deed than to do one. Because if you don’t do it, at least there’s no chance that you’re showing off.

    May Allah purify our hearts, and make us of those who are sincere! Aameen

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. good article Alhamudillah.

    This article should definitely be read by all because the people who are not hafiz or ullama tend to be extravagant in their praise of people who are these.

    Like-wise, people with religous standings are also prone to start desiring this praise and this could affect how they treat others.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Subhanallah. Thank you so much for this post. It’s something I struggle with all the time.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. jazakillahu khairan wa barak Allahu feeki!

    Just for clarification, we are supposed to say this in the presence of the one who has praised us, correct?

    shukran jazeelan

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. I recommend everyone to see the beautiful and emotional response by al mujaddid, the late Shaykh al Albaanee when being praised in a gathering. He responded the same way as Abu Bakr As Siddeeq responded when he was praised: A short video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WxGBK7ToJY.

    The other personal tip I can share with others is one of my favourite duas below taken from http://islamqa.info/en/6356

    “If a person feels self admiration after doing something good or fears that he may show off, he should ward that off and resist it by seeking refuge with Allaah from it, and saying “Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika an ushrika bika wa ana a’lam, wa’staghfiruka lima laa a’lam (O Allaah, I seek refuge with you from knowingly associating anything with You, and I seek Your forgiveness for that of which I am unaware)” – as was reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).”

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Masha Allah beautiful article…jazak Allahu khair katheer.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Scroll To Top