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 heard a man praising another, and he responded to him, “”May Allah ‘s Mercy be upon you! You have cut the neck of your friend.” [Bukhari]
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. Allah 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 ), but it is one that his best friend, Abu Bakr would make after being praised (some narrations state that it was a duaa of Ali .
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 Allah, 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.
Listen to the duaa:[audio:http://www.muslimmatters.org/audio/dua04022011.mp3]
Selected Word Analysis
yadhunnun – dhann 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 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 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 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. Allah is the One Who will take his account (as He knows his reality), and none can sanctify anyone before Allah.” [Bukhari]
- 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 Allah is a good thing. It was said to Allah’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 Allah 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 Allah. Don’t act in order to be mentioned, and hide your good deeds like you hide your bad ones.” (Al-Siyar: 10/476)
May Allah 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.
5 Duas For Ramadan Therapy | Sh Yahya Ibrahim
Use these precious days and night to ask Allah in the best of ways
Dua 01 – #RamadanTherapy – The Magnificence of Ayat ul Kursi and its Power with Yahya Ibrahim
Allahu laaa ilaaha illaa huwal haiyul qai-yoom; laa taakhuzuhoo sinatunw wa laa nawm; lahoo maa fissamaawaati wa maa fil ard; man zallazee yashfa’u indahooo illaa be iznih; ya’lamu maa baina aideehim wa maa khalfahum; wa laa yuheetoona beshai ‘immin ‘ilmihee illa be maa shaaaa; wasi’a kursiyyuhus samaa waati wal arda wa la ya’ooduho hifzuhumaa; wa huwal aliyyul ‘azeem
“Allah! There is no god but He – the Living, The Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him Nor Sleep. His are all things In the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede In His presence except As he permitted? He knoweth What (appeareth to His creatures As) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass Aught of his knowledge Except as He willeth. His throne doth extend Over the heavens And on earth, and He feeleth No fatigue in guarding And preserving them, For He is the Most High. The Supreme (in glory).”
Dua 02 A Treasure from Jannah – Last two verses of Al-Baqarah
The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.”
Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians); our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Maulâ (Patron, Supporter, and Protector) and give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)
Dua 03 Salawat & Durood upon our Nabi ﷺ help us in all hardships & circumstances
Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala aali Muhammadin, kama sallaita `ala aali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum Majid. Allahumma barik `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala aali Muhammadin, kama barakta `ala aali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum Majid
[O Allah, exalt the mention of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you exalted the family of Ibrahim. You are Praised and Glorious. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed the family of Ibrahim. You are Praised and Glorious.]”’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Dua 04 The Greatest #Dua of Seeking Forgiveness
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لا إِلَهَ إِلا أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَمَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلا أَنْتَ
“The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) used this particular expression – Sayyid al-Istighfar – literally, ‘the master of supplications’ to indicate that this is the best of supplications for those in need, and which will fulfil the need—sincere seeking of forgiveness”>Allahumma anta Rabbi la ilaha illa anta, Anta Khalaqtani wa ana abduka, wa ana ‘ala ahdika wa wa’dika mastata’tu, A’udhu bika min Sharri ma sana’tu, abu’u Laka bini’matika ‘alaiya, wa Abu Laka bidhanbi faghfirli innahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa anta
O Allah! You are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You.)
Shaddad ibn Aws relates that the Prophet said that he (Sayyid al-Istighfar) most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is to say (the above du’a). That “If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari; 8,75,318, at-Tirmidhi; 3393, an-Nasa’i; 5522, Ahmad; 16662]
Dua 05 When the Prophet’s ﷺ daughter felt weak he taught her this Zikr
حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنِ الْحَكَمِ، عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي لَيْلَى، عَنْ عَلِيٍّ، أَنَّ فَاطِمَةَ ـ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ ـ شَكَتْ مَا تَلْقَى فِي يَدِهَا مِنَ الرَّحَى، فَأَتَتِ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم تَسْأَلُهُ خَادِمًا، فَلَمْ تَجِدْهُ، فَذَكَرَتْ ذَلِكَ لِعَائِشَةَ، فَلَمَّا جَاءَ أَخْبَرَتْهُ. قَالَ فَجَاءَنَا وَقَدْ أَخَذْنَا مَضَاجِعَنَا، فَذَهَبْتُ أَقُومُ فَقَالَ ” مَكَانَكِ ”. فَجَلَسَ بَيْنَنَا حَتَّى وَجَدْتُ بَرْدَ قَدَمَيْهِ عَلَى صَدْرِي فَقَالَ ” أَلاَ أَدُلُّكُمَا عَلَى مَا هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمَا مِنْ خَادِمٍ، إِذَا أَوَيْتُمَا إِلَى فِرَاشِكُمَا، أَوْ أَخَذْتُمَا مَضَاجِعَكُمَا، فَكَبِّرَا ثَلاَثًا وَثَلاَثِينَ، وَسَبِّحَا ثَلاَثًا وَثَلاَثِينَ، وَاحْمَدَا ثَلاَثًا وَثَلاَثِينَ، فَهَذَا خَيْرٌ لَكُمَا مِنْ خَادِمٍ ”. وَعَنْ شُعْبَةَ عَنْ خَالِدٍ عَنِ ابْنِ سِيرِينَ
Fatima complained about the blisters on her hand because of using a mill-stone. She went to ask the Prophet for servant, but she did not find him (at home) and had to inform `Aisha of her need. When he came, `Aisha informed him about it. `Ali added: The Prophet (ﷺ) came to us when we had gone to our beds. When I was going to get up, he said, “‘Stay in your places,” and sat between us, till I felt the coolness of the feet on my chest. The Prophet (ﷺ) then said, “Shall I not tell you of a thing which is better for you than a servant? When you (both) go to your beds, say ‘Allahu Akbar’ thirty-four times, and ‘Subhan Allah’ thirty-three times, ‘Al hamdu ‘illah’ thirty-three times, for that is better for you than a servant.” Ibn Seereen said, “Subhan Allah’ (is to be said for) thirty-four times.”
Baby It’s Cold Outside: A Dua To Help You Make The Most of The Severely Cold Weather
لا ِاله ِالا الله ُمَا أشَدَّ بَرْدَ هذا الْيَوْمْ ، اَللّهُمَّ أجِرْنِيْ مِنْ زَمْهَريْرِجَهَنَّمْ – رواه ابن السني
Laa ilaaha illallahu ma ashadda barda hazhal yawm , allahumma ajirni min zamhareeri jahannam.
Translation: “There is no deity but Allah, How severe is the cold of today!
O Allah! Protect me from the severe cold of Jahannam”
Rasulullah is reported to have said: ” When a person recites this supplication, Allah says to Jahannam: “Verily a servant of mine has sought refuge in me from you, bear testimony that I have granted him salvation from you”
Here is a hadith that makes this clear.
Sayyiduna Abu Hurarah Radiyallahu Anhu reported that Rasulullah said: “ Jahannam complained to its Lord saying ;”Oh My Lord! Parts within me have devoured each other” So Allah allowed it two breaths; one in summer and the other in winter. Therefore the extreme heat that you experience (on earth) is caused by the heat of Jahannam and the severe cold too is due to the Az-zamhareer (the extreme cold section of Jahannam)
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 537, Sahih Muslim).
This article on Ilmgate explains the cold section of hell in detail.
A Powerful Dua for Happiness
‘Abdullāh ibn Masʿūd (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet ﷺ said, “No person (“no believer” in another report) suffers any anxiety or grief, and then says:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي عَبْدُكَ ، وَابْنُ عَبْدِكَ ، وَابْنُ أَمَتِكَ ، نَاصِيَتِي بِيَدِكَ ، مَاضٍ فِيَّ حُكْمُكَ ، عَدْلٌ فِيَّ قَضَاؤُكَ ، أَسْأَلُكَ بِكُلِّ اسْمٍ هُوَ لَكَ ، سَمَّيْتَ بِهِ نَفْسَكَ ، أَوْ أَنْزَلْتَهُ فِي كِتَابِكَ ، أَوْ عَلَّمْتَهُ أَحَدًا مِنْ خَلْقِكَ ، أَوْ اسْتَأْثَرْتَ بِهِ فِي عِلْمِ الْغَيْبِ عِنْدَكَ ، أَنْ تَجْعَلَ الْقُرْآنَ رَبِيعَ قَلْبِي ، وَنُورَ صَدْرِي ، وَجَلَاءَ حُزْنِي ، وَذَهَابَ هَمِّي
(O Allah, I am your slave, the son of your slave and the son of your maid-slave. Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask you by every Name belonging to You, which You have Named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’ān the life of my heart and the light of my chest, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety) except that Allah will remove his sorrow and replace it with happiness.”
They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, should we memorize these phrases (of the supplication)?” He responded, “Yes, whoever hears these words should memorize them.”
Allaahumma innee ʿabduk, wabnu ʿabdik, wabnu amatik, naasiyati beyadik, maadhin fiyya hukmuk, ʿadlun fiyya qadhaa’uk, as’aluka bi kullismin huwa lak, sammayta bihi nafsak, aw anzaltahu fee kitaabik, aw ʿalamtahu ahadan min khalqik, awista-tharta bihi fee ʿilmil ghaybi ʿindak, an taj-ʿal al-Qur’aan al-ʿađ̣eema rabeeʿa qalbi, wa noora sadri, wa jalā’a huzni, wa dhahāba hammi.
Duʿā breakdown and reflections:
“O Allah, I am your slave, the son of your slave and the son of your maid-slave”
Ibn al-Qayyim stated in his book, Zād al-Ma’ād, that these words are full of recognition of who Allah is, and in it, the worshipper is calling upon the Lord, acknowledging the Creator, and presenting oneself as the slave of Allah, and the son/daughter of His slaves.
The supplicating believer also places things where they belong by recognizing (the following):
- that his fate is in Allah’s control
- that his destiny takes place according to the Divine Plan
- that Allah does whatever He Pleases with it
- that the servant can neither bring benefit nor harm to himself
- that he cannot bring about his own birth, death, or resurrection
- that he has no power to alter his decree except as Allah Wills
- that he is completely dependent on his Creator, Cherisher, Sustainer, and Lord
- that his own existence is subject to whatever Allah Decrees, and
- that Allah is Just, and what He Wills shall Be.
Your Command over me is forever executed and Your Decree over me is just.
This part of the supplication highlights two important points related to the Oneness of Allah:
- The first is the recognition and confirmation of fate, and that Allah’s Decree regarding His slaves shall unfailingly come into being, and that His slaves cannot escape it or repel it.
- The second point is that Allah is Just; He does not oppress His servants, and His decree takes place by virtue of His Knowledge and Divine Justice. This is because injustice represents the need, ignorance, incompetence, weakness, and inferiority of an unjust individual, and therefore, such attributes are not Divine, and they cannot come from one who is Omniscient, All-Knowing, Wise, and has no needs.
Allah is the All-Wise (Al-Hakeem), and thus His Wisdom is in effect wherever His Will is executed and ordained. Every atom and every cell in the universe and the entirety of His creation is in need of Him, but He is Rich beyond any need, and His Will affects all of His creation at all times and places. Belief in His Wisdom, therefore, must be combined with full acknowledgement and humble recognition that the slave is unaware of the full scope of matters, even when they are perceived to be difficult, for the All-Wise does not oppress His slaves. He tests them to elevate them, to purify them, to strengthen them, and to increase them in gratitude, guidance, resilience, and purpose. He plans for His slaves better than they plan for themselves, and He wants mercy and salvation for His slaves more than they want it for themselves.
We are in need of exemplifying gratitude towards Him, and as a result, He increases us in blessings for our action of praise.
وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in blessings]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ “
I ask you by every Name belonging to You, which You have Named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You…
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ is calling upon Allah by His beautiful Names and Attributes that He named Himself with, revealed in His Book, taught to any of His creation, or preserved in the knowledge of the unseen – to the extent that even the angels amongst His creation do not know of them – in a manner that is powerful, for such a prayer surpasses other prayers and is beloved to Allah and most certainly worthy of a response, because it highlights the slave’s humility, knowledge, and recognition of the Lord of the Worlds.
…that You make the Qur’ān the life of my heart and the light of my chest, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety
The Qur’an, by Allah, is a cure for every type of illness in this world: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual, if only we took it as a cure for everything, knowing that it is a means to rebalance the heart and retune the heart to its original natural disposition.
The Qur’an, by Allah, is a light for every type of darkness in this world, if only we embraced that light consistently, knowing that it removes the dark corrosions of sinfulness and heedlessness that accumulate in one’s heart.
The Qur’an, by Allah, is a relief for every type of sorrow and anxiety in this world, if only we resorted to it constantly through ease and through difficulty, knowing that it is a means of wiping away one’s stress, pain, anxiety, and sorrows.
The Qur’an as a cure, however, works only in proportion to how patient and sincere the believer is in embracing it, trusting in its effectiveness, and knowing that Allah’s Will, with His Speech as a prescription, will lead to an excellent and complete recovery, for Allah’s Promise is always fulfilled.
No person suffers any anxiety or grief, and then says … except that Allah will remove his sorrow and replace it with happiness.”
This is a guarantee from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ who does not speak about religious matters from himself but rather from revelation. This is a guarantee that the one who prays with this prayer, sincerely, humbly, gratefully, persistently, and patiently, will see that their sorrows are replaced with happiness. The one doing so, however, should not give up quickly on their supplication and should ideally implement as many of the etiquettes of duʿā as possible, such as repenting for one’s sins, being in a state of purification, facing the Qiblah, raising one’s hands, and so forth.
They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, should we memorize these phrases (of the supplication)?” He responded, “Yes, whoever hears these words should memorize them.”
This final part of the narration reminds us of at least two significant points:
- It is important to benefit from what we hear as believers, particularly when there is an advice to do so. With this particular narration in mind, remember that every human being will face some type of sorrow or anxiety at one point or another in their lives, and thus it is wise for the believer to know these words and to pray with them often.
- It is imperative as believers to also share this duʿā with others for the sake of helping them gain nearness to Allah and relief from their hardships, by His will, while being rewarded for our sharing of knowledge that is of vast benefit. The one who encourages others to do good is rewarded equally – every time they perform that deed – without the performer of the deed losing anything of their reward, as was authentically reported.
This duʿā is one of many reminders to bring us closer to Allah through sincerity, humility, gratitude, submission, and acknowledgement of His Majesty and the status of His Speech. Memorize this invocation and its meanings, pray with it frequently, and teach it to your loved ones, and may Allah the Exalted rectify your affairs, relieve you of your hardships, and reward you immensely for your patience and good deeds in this life and the next.
 Recorded by Aḥmad (4167), al-Ḥākim (1809), and Ibn Ḥibbān (984).
 See: Ibn al-Qayyim, Provisions for the Hereafter.
 Qur’ān 14:7.
 See: Qur’ān 53:4.
 Reported by at-Tirmidhi (2613).