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Supplication Series: Seeking Refuge from Four Things


Link to all Ramadan 2011 posts


Alhamdulillah I’m very excited to be sharing another Ramadan supplication series this year! Each week we will be posting a new duaa, maybe two, that you can learn inshaAllah.

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In a hadith recorded in Saheeh Muslim, Zaid bin AlqamRadhi Allahu Anhunarrated that the Prophetﷺ used to supplicate:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ لَا يَنْفَعُ وَمِنْ قَلْبٍ لَا يَخْشَعُ وَمِنْ نَفْسٍ ‏لَا تَشْبَعُ ‏ ‏وَمِنْ دَعْوَةٍ لَا يُسْتَجَابُ لَهَا‏

Allahumma inni a’udhu bika min ‘ilmin la yanfa’u wa min qalbin la yakhsha’u wa min nafsin la tashba’u wa min da’watin la yustajabu laha

“O Allah, I seek refuge in You from knowledge which does not benefit, from a heart that does not entertain the fear (of Allah), from a soul that is not satisfied and the supplication that is not answered.”


Listen to the duaa:


Download here.

Selected Word Analysis

yanfa’u: Nafa’a means to be beneficial and useful. With regards to knowledge, ilman naf’ian – beneficial knowledge – is knowledge that leads to action. We covered a whole supplication asking for beneficial knowledge.

yakhsha’u: Khushu’ is a fear that is manifested not only in your heart but it is shown on your face and limbs. Khushu’ literally means to bend down and to become still. Khushu’ is used for the submissiveness of the heart which is reflected on the limbs.

tashba’u: The root of this word means to be satisfied, to eat to one’s fill and to gratify. This word can apply to eating or fulfilling desires. From this root is ishbaa’ which means satisfaction and satiation.

da’watin: Da’wah literally means a call, request or invocation. When someone is involved in da’wah, it literally means they are calling others to Allah azza wa jal. From this root is the word du’aa, both words have the same meaning when referring to a supplication.

Points of Benefit

The Prophetﷺ  seeks refuge from four disastrous things in this supplication. Each one gives us a different lesson:

  • “Knowledge that does not benefit”: This can mean knowledge that is not acted upon, or knowledge that has no use – such as worldly matters that do not give any benefit. The first type can lead to punishment, Rasul Allah ﷺ said, “On the night that I was ascended up to the heavens, I came upon a people whose lips were being cut off by pliers made from Fire. Every time their lips were severed, they would be brought back and formed again. So I said: ‘O Jibreel, who are these people?’ He said: ‘They are speakers from your nation, who say words but do not do deeds, and who read the Book of Allah yet do not act (on it).”‘ [Al Bayhaqi, Hasan]
  • “A heart that is not fearful”: In the Qur’an, Allah (Subhanawata’la) describes the true believers as having khushu’ in their prayer – a humility that is seen on their limbs. If the heart has khushu’, the body will have khushu’. So khushu’ is not just a state of the heart, it is a state of the heart which is visible on a person’s actions, in their posture, and in their movements. In the hereafter, Allah says that the disbelievers: أَبْصَارُهَا خَاشِعَةٌ “Their eyes will be downcast.” (79:9) These eyes that did not humble themselves to Allah in the dunya, will have fear in the aakhirah. This fear will be apparent on their faces; faces that are full of shame, humiliation and abasement.
  • “A soul that is not satisfied”: The nature of humans is to always want more, which is why we train ourselves to be pleased with the minimum. When a person is not satisfied, it may bring about greed, jealousy, ungratefulness, and a lack of contentment. The believers are satisfied with whatever they are given in this life, and in the hereafter, Allah (Subhanawata’la) says: “And therein is whatever the souls desire and [what] delights the eyes.” (43:71) By refraining from indulgence in this worldly life, Allah blesses the believers with everything they desire in the hereafter.
  • When these three things exist in someone; a heart that is not fearful, a soul that is not satisfied and knowledge that is not beneficial, it leads to the four thing we seek refuge from: a supplication that is not answered. Why? For a duaa to be answered, the person has to be humble and showing their need to Allah. A person with a heart that is not fearful has a hard heart, and one that is not satisfied is greedy.
  • “A supplication that is not answered”: Not having supplications answered by Allah is a scary matter. Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala tells us to call upon Him, to ask Him and that He will give us. For Allah (Subhanawata’la) to not answer a supplication, it means that the person in involved in something wrong. In a famous hadith, we learn that the man who eats, drinks and is clothed from what is haram will not have his duaa answered.
  • Also, we must remember that a duaa is answered in three ways: Allah will grant the person what they are asking for, or the person is protected from something harmful or Allah will respond to the person in the hereafter. So we seek refuge from Allah from it being not answered, but we still have to have faith that we may not completely understand the wisdom if we do not see the answer we expect, since Allah may answer it in one of these three ways.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Amatullah 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.



  1. Hira

    August 4, 2011 at 4:40 AM

    Excellent initiative masha Allah- I was actually looking for this dua to memorise.

    Jazak Allah khair!

  2. abu Abdullah

    August 4, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    mash Allah, very beneficial. Barak Allah feeki.

    Surah 59:10 is excellent reminder. wassalam

  3. birkah

    August 4, 2011 at 8:50 AM


  4. birkah

    August 4, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Im aware that their is a relationship between Kushu and Slaah. Is there any connection between the literay definition of the word — bend and still — and Salaah? Since we usually bow down in it, and are still in our sujoods. JKhair.

    • Amatullah

      August 4, 2011 at 5:24 PM

      Yes, it relates to both the literal and technical meanings. Allah knows best.

  5. Yasmin Raoufi

    August 4, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Vey meanigful and beautiful dua! Thank you so much for not only listing the dua but for thoroughly explaining it.

  6. Abubakar

    August 4, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    I need your kind help in repect of my this request my dear brothers and sisters in Islam. Kindly remind me in your Dua/prayer may ALLAH blessed me with a wife to marry and may Him also make eazy among eazy for me…

    • AMINU

      June 26, 2016 at 7:14 AM

      Alhamdu Mullah Masha Allah
      Wonderful and meaningful to Mankind in gernaral.Aminu (Al-Amin).

  7. shiney

    August 4, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    this is the best way to share a supplication series that i have ever seen (with the word break-downs and detailed meaning, etc.)! Jazakallah Khair for this amazing series=) can’t wait for more! Are these du’as specifically for Ramadan?

    • Amatullah

      August 4, 2011 at 5:28 PM

      wa iyyaki, Alhamdulillah I’m glad it’s beneficial.

      No, these duaas are not specific to Ramadan but since we make more duaa in Ramadan and we hope that they are all accepted, we can make these duaas from the authentic sunnah in prayer, while breaking our fast etc.

      • Aminnah ali

        April 2, 2016 at 6:05 PM

        What are the four things Muslims must know

  8. MariamSRE

    August 4, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    This is great. I’m going to take it upon myself to memorize this over the next couple of days.
    Insha’allah you are rewarded for this post and for every person who memorizes this duaa after this post.

  9. Abu Aaliyah

    August 4, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    JazakAllahu kair. I have been looking for dua’ to say in Ramadan and sometimes it is so hard to remember what to say. This really helps. Keep them coming inshaAllah.

  10. Mariam E.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Asalamu Alikum

    Beautiful series, may Allah reward you.

  11. mezaan

    August 4, 2011 at 4:47 PM


    When I click on “link to all Ramadan post” above I land on a page with a “Error 404: Page Not Found” message

    • Amatullah

      August 4, 2011 at 5:29 PM

      wa alaykum salam,

      I will let our site team know there is a problem with the link. jazak Allahu khayran.

    • iMuslim

      August 4, 2011 at 9:11 PM

      Salam – it must have been fixed in the mean time as it’s working now, alhamdulillah.

  12. Amatullah

    August 4, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Barak Allahu feekum for the comments! I hope you are all having a great start to Ramadan so far!

  13. Rationalist Muslim

    August 4, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    What if the Muslim is dying from lung cancer and he prays to Allah to cure his cancer, but his cancer is not cured, does it mean his heart is hard or that he is being punished? What if the suffering from cancer has melted this Muslim’s heart and he now wishes Allah to remove cancer, Allah swt still will not cure the cancer. Its a fact. Most people who have lung cancer, will die of lung cancer. So what relationships is there between dua not being accepted and heart’s state?

    Regarding not being greedy, I yet have to meet a single Muslim in this world who is not greedy. Everyone is greedy to some extent. Lets say there is a very pious Muslimah, and she wants to marry the best Muslim man out there. Is not that being greedy?

    Lets say there is an amazing shaykh and scholar of Islam, and he wants best opportunities, such as Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and high income, for his children, is not that greediness as well?

    walaikum assalam

    • Shahzad

      August 5, 2011 at 9:58 AM

      Assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah,

      The believer finds acceptance of Allah’s decree and pleasure therein. Being afflicted by disease may be a punishment if it causes the afflicted one to run from Allah or reject Him. Or it may be a source of blessings if through the affliction one’s sins are erased and through his/her patience reward is gained. I would remind myself that the ultimate vision in my life is gaining Allah’s Pleasure, seeking His Face in the Last Day and residing in Jannah in which there is no pain or sorrow but only pleasure.

      As for how you have defined greed, I don’t agree with it. Greed is an inordinate desire, one that crosses the line from wanting the best that Allah can give you to obsessing about power and wealth. Allah knows best.

      • Rationalist Muslim

        August 5, 2011 at 5:07 PM

        walaikum assalam,

        JazakAllah for explaining the relationship between affliction and Allah’s pleasure. But I have some issues with accepting pain and suffering as decree of Allah swt. Being a psychiatry student for years have led me to realize that a human being evaluates his/her worth in two ways: 1- by evaluating if he/she has attained personal goals that he/she set for herself, 2- by comparing him/herself by peers and evaluating where one stands. This number 2 is very important, we usually tell each other that we should not compare ourself with others, but it is very important to gauge where one stands in relation to the dunya. Now lets say there is a very successful man, he is considered an authority, lets say, in orthopedic surgery. One day he is diagnosed with end-stage metastatic colon cancer and his time is near. He believes in God, yet now he is suffering when he compares himself with other peers. Others are enjoying life, earning money, publishing papers, and this Muslim continues into the downward spiral of destruction, annihilation and the inevitable death. What about this poor man’s ego that is unwilling to accept imperfectness in his health? Everyday he thinks why God chose him, why not someone else, and this keeps on depressing him. What is your Islamic solution to that?

        I understand that believing that affliction is from God and a means to erase sins can ease one’s suffering if he/she has cancer, if he/she has lost all the worldly authority in their area of academics, if he/she has lost all the respect, all the hard work. But it is very hard for the ego to do so. Put yourself in their shoes for one day, I’ve met only very few Islamic mystics who actually enjoy when Allah gives them trials, its not for the person with less than perfect eeman. What is the solution to that?

        I pardon for my verbosity but I had to ask this.

        • Siraaj

          August 6, 2011 at 4:28 AM

          Walaykum as salaam Rationalist Muslim,

          The man has to re-orient himself so that a third option is internalized – that seeking Allah’s Pleasure is his highest priority over the two motivations you have observed.

          The prophets and messengers were sent as men to be examples for us – if it were not possible for us to earn Allah’s Mercy and re-orient ourselves with proper iman (not necessarily perfect iman), then our test in this world would be unfair, and Allah’s Justice is perfect.

          On a practical level, the person should submit to the decree of Allah. Their terminal condition may be a test of the person’s iman, a mercy to erase sins, or it may be that Allah tests someone because He loves them, and knows that they will pass the test and it will enable greater reward for them in the Hereafter. If they have ego problems, then it is their responsibility to, using their self-awareness, to evaluate and at least attempt to overcome their deficiencies, and Allah knows best the efforts we put in, and how hard we tried to better ourselves for His Sake, and will no doubt take that into account when He judges us.

          If our minds are only focused on this world as the be-all end-all, then much of this will seem unfair and pointless. However, if our focus is on the full picture, and we regard this life as a tiny piece of the pie, then we realize that all of this, like all burdens in life, will pass and something far more significant in time and scope awaits us.


        • Shahzad

          August 8, 2011 at 1:26 AM

          Assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah.

          Firstly, I pray that this brother deals with his affliction with patience.

          There are two perspectives I wish to share with you.

          The first perspective is intellectual. You cannot but accept that pain and suffering is from the decree of Allah just as we accept that blessings and happiness are also from the decree of Allah. Firstly, Allah is perfect in His attributes and thus He is All-Knowing, He is the Creator of everything and He has control over all affairs. Nothing escapes His knowledge or control. If painful experiences are not from His decree, then clearly He is not perfect in His knowledge or control. That said, Allah is also perfect in His Wisdom. Nothing is without purpose even the most mundane. And Allah is Just and Kind to the believers. So even in this brother’s affliction there is wisdom if we tune into that. Secondly, forget this brother. What about the thousands of innocent people who die every year in just about every circumstance. Murder, war, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.? Where is the justice? The only way to reconcile this reality is our belief in the Akhirah. In the Akhirah, we know that Allah recompenses all suffering by His will and will not enter into the Hellfire anyone until he/she is tested. Without belief in the Akhirah, then truly, there isn’t ultimate justice.

          The second perspective is to look at our role models, namely the Prophets of old, the Messenger of Allah (saws), the Companions and our pious scholars. Suffering was not alien to them. How did they handle it? Read the seerah and see the Messenger of Allah’s (saws) conduct when he was dying. Read the story of Ayyub (as) in the Quran and see how he dealt with his suffering.

          I guess that’s why Islam is so important in our lives. By growing ourselves spiritually, and depending on Allah in all of our affairs, we will see that suffering and death are just natural parts of our lives. It’s easier to say that than to practice it. May Allah help us.

          Allah knows best…

          • Rationalist Muslim

            August 8, 2011 at 9:54 AM

            Siraj and Shahzad, jazakAllah for your responses. Ill contemplate on them.

            may Allah protect me (and you) from a trial that will break our back and patience and lead us to the Naar.

            I am so scared right now that I’ve stepped into irrationality and continually ask Allah to not give me an trials in this life in dunya ….

          • MX

            August 13, 2011 at 10:51 AM

            Salam, Rationalist Muslim.

            You can read this excellent Book Called “Don’t be sad” by Ibn Abdullah Al-Qarni.
            Basically this book is about what calamities and anxieties mean for us as Muslims and their purpose and how we cope with them.


  14. AH

    August 5, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Jazakum Allah kheir

  15. Ummi

    August 5, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Mashallah. inshallah i will also be learning this dua. May Allah swt reward u ameen. love u for the sake of Allah swt.

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  17. UmmAbdillah

    August 5, 2011 at 6:02 PM


    i always love the Selected Word Analysis I wish somoene could do that with the whole quran, it would be soo much better than just reading the english translation

    • Mariam

      August 5, 2011 at 9:16 PM

      Dr. Farhat Hashmi has done something similar to that for the entire Quran.

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  19. nimra

    January 9, 2015 at 2:37 PM

    SubhaanAllah, such a beautiful supplication. We should all memorize this !
    JazakaAllah for sharing!

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