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A Du’aa Better than Hours of Worship

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One day Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) left the home of his wife, Juwayreyyah bint Al-Hareth (may Allah be pleased by her), to go for salatul-Fajr, the dawn Prayer, while she was worshipping Allah in her designated prayer area at home.

After several hours, during the time of Duha, in the forenoon, the Prophet (ﷺ) returned home and saw his wife Juwayreah remembering Allah in the same place she was at when he left earlier in the morning. So, he asked her: “ما زلتِ على الحالِ التي فارقتُكِ عليها ؟” (Are you still in the same position since I have left you?) She replied in the affirmative and said: “Yes.”

The Prophet (ﷺ), being who he is, the loving and caring man to his family, friends, me and you, taught us all the following great du’aa and lesson. He said: “I have recited 4 statements 3 times after I had left you. If they were to be weighed with what you said it would outweigh them!” (they are) سبحان اللهِ وبحمدِه ، عددَ خلقِه ورضَا نفسِه وزِنَةِ عرشِه ومِدادَ كلماتِه “Subhana-llahi wa behamdih, (1) ‘adada khalqih, (2) wa reDa nafsih, (3) wa zenata ‘arshih, (4) wa me dada kalemaatih.” [Muslim]

That is all. So the Pprophet (ﷺ) repeating these words 3 times, spending less than 30 seconds, was more rewarding and blessed than the hours of worship our beloved mother Juwayreyyah (may Allah be pleased by her) has spent! Allahu akbar- God is Great.

Let’s explain each segment of the supplication to fully appreciate how powerful it is. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) began that du’aa by saying:

  • Subhana Allah
    • Usually translated as: All glory be to Allah.
    • It can be further explained as follows: O Allah you are free from any imperfection, free from any shortcoming, free from any lie attributed to you by the haters and the ignorant and free from any association or similarity in any way to any being.
    • So here, you negate every negative attributed to Allah. Subhana Allah!
  • Then he (ﷺ) said, wa behamdih
    • One of the meanings of it is: “O Allah you are deserving of all praise”
    • With that praise, you affirm Allah’s oneness, uniqueness, strength, capability and all of His beautiful names and all types of praise!
    • So here, you affirm every positive attributed to Allah.

Now what remained in that du’aa is the description and explanation of to what extent we want to negate the negative and affirm the positive attributed to Allah.

Let me give you a quick analogy to help appreciate what remained in the du’aa, there is a child who would tell their parents “I love you!” and there is another child who further describes to what extent is that love by saying: “I love you sooooooooo much! As bright as the sun! As biiiiiiiiiiiig as the sky!”. Both have verbally expressed their love but surely the latter had stronger expressions.

Allah is the best of examples, to what extent you want to express to Allah the statement, Subhana Allahi wa be7amdih, to what extent you want to negate the negative and affirm the positive attributed to Allah?

  • # 1: ‘adada khalqih:
    • By the amount and number of His creation!
    • Do you realize how large of a number that will come up to!
      • That includes every human being, every jinn, every angel, every animal, every living and non-living thing, every grain of sand in the deserts and every drop of water in the oceans! Every star and plant! Every creation, that which we know about and that which we do not know about! Allahu akbar!
  • # 2: Wa ReDa nafsih:
    • Until He is pleased!
    • O Allah I glorify you and praise you with the quality and quantity of that which pleases you.
    • This is the greatest goal you can achieve and the greatest extent you can reach!
  • # 3: Wa zenata ‘arshih:
    • As heavy as His throne!
    • Reflect on the greatness of Allah’s throne. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:
      • ‏ أُذِنَ لِي أَنْ أُحَدِّثَ عَنْ مَلَكٍ مِنْ مَلاَئِكَةِ اللَّهِ مِنْ حَمَلَةِ الْعَرْشِ إِنَّ مَا بَيْنَ شَحْمَةِ أُذُنِهِ إِلَى عَاتِقِهِ مَسِيرَةُ سَبْعِمِائَةِ عَامٍ
      • “I have been permitted to tell about one of Allah’s angels who bears the throne that the distance between the lobe of his ear and his shoulder is a journey of seven hundred years.” [Abu Dawud]
    • Allahu akbar, how magnificent is Allah’s throne!
  • #4: Wa medaada kalemaatih:
    • And by the amount of ink and pens that are required to write down His words:
      • His words include: His commands, what He has decreed and His knowledge of everything including the knowledge of the unseen, and the knowledge of what happens on the land and sea, and his knowledge of every leaf that falls from the tree.
      • Allah has said:
        • وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّـهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
        • “And if whatever trees upon the earth were pens and the sea [was ink], refilled thereafter by seven [more] seas, the words of Allah would not be exhausted (but the ink and the pens would be exhausted). Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” [31:27]

The more you contemplate on these four descriptions the more you would appreciate the power of this du’aa and the more blessings you’d receive from Allah. Remember to repeat this supplication 3 times every morning and remind others too.

The Supplication Series: The Forgotten Piece of Flesh

Supplication Series: Seeking Refuge from Four Things

A Life-Changing Dua of Unimaginable Proportions

Majed completed a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Windsor, a Bachelor’s in Islamic Studies in Islamic Jurisprudence and Legal Theory from Al-Madinah International University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Wayne State University. As he travels worldwide lecturing about different aspects of Islam, Majed works full-time as a mechanical engineer and teaches with Al-Maghrib Institute. He currently lives in Michigan with his wife and children.

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    Fatima

    September 15, 2017 at 1:40 PM

    Subhanallahi Wabihamdihi, Adada Khalqihi, Wa Rida Nafsihi, Wa ziinata Arshi hi, Wa midada Khalimatih!!
    Allahu Akhbar!!

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14 Short Life Lessons From Studying Aqidah

Lessons I learned Studying Theology (Aqidah) with a Local Islamic Scholar in Jordan

Hamzah Raza

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I sit here in the Jordanian heat, with a kufi on and prayer beads in my hand. I watch as young kids play soccer with their kufis and kurtas on in the streets. They go on and on until the Adhan interrupts their game. I think of how different the kids back home in the United States are. Due to the rules for living in this quaint Jordanian neighborhood, the kids are not allowed to play video games, use social media, or watch television. This is the Kharabsheh neighborhood on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan.

I have spent the past two months living in this community. It is a community so similar to, yet so different from any community I have ever lived in. In many ways, it is just like any other community. People joke around with one another, invite people over for dinner, have jobs, go to the gym, and do other pervasive events of everyday life. But in many other respects, the community is different from most in the world today. Many of those living here are disciples (mureeds) in the Shadhili Sufi order. Sufism has faced a bad reputation in many parts of the world today. The stereotype is that Sufis are either not firm in their commitment to religious law (Sharia), or lax in their understanding of Islamic theology (aqidah). Far from the stereotype, I have never met any people in my life more committed to the Sharia. Nor have I ever met people so committed to staying true to Islamic orthodoxy. Just in seemingly mundanes conversations here in Kharabsheh, I find myself learning a plethora of life lessons, whether that be in regard to Islamic jurisprudence, the ontology of God, or the process of purifying one’s heart.

I have compiled a list of a few lessons I learned in studying an elementary aqidah (theology) text with a disciple of Shaykh Nuh, who is a scholar of theology and jurisprudence in himself. Without further adieu, here are some of the lessons I learned.

1) If you want to know the character of a man, ask his wife. People may think someone is great, but his wife will tell you how he actually is. One of the greatest proofs of the prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is that he had 11 wives over his lifespan and they all died upon Imaan (faith).

2) Humans are never static. We are always incrementally changing. No one changes in anything overnight. People are either gradually getting better, or gradually getting worse. Every day, you should sure that you are always improving. Do not get worse. If you only pray your Fard(mandatory) prayers, start to pray Sunnah(recommended prayers). If you are already praying your Sunnah prayers, improve the quality of your prayer or pray nafl (optional prayers).

3) Hope in the Mercy of God, and fear of His Justice, are two wings that we need to balance. If one has too much hope, they will become complacent and think they can refuse to follow God’s rules, and do whatever they want, because God is Merciful. If one has too much fear, they will give up. They will inevitably sin (as all humans do), and lose all motivation to better themselves.

4) The believer has great hope in the Mercy of God, while also great fear in His Justice. It is an understanding of “If everyone were to enter Heaven except for one person, I would think that person is me. And if everyone were to enter Hell except for one person, I would think that person is me.”

5) Whether we do something good or bad, we turn to God. If we do something good, we thank God (i.e. say Alhamdulillah). If we do something wrong, we turn back to God(i.e. say Astagfirullah and/or make tawbah).

6) Everyone should have a healthy skepticism of their sincerity. Aisha (May God be pleased with her) said: “Only a hypocrite does not believe that they are a hypocrite.”

7) You are fighting a constant war of attrition with your carnal desires. Your soul (ruh) and lower self (nafs) battle it out until one party stops fighting. Either your soul gives up and lets your carnal desires overtake you, or your carnal desires cease to exist (i.e. when your physical body dies). Wage war on your carnal desires for as long as you live.

life lessons, aqidah

8) The sign of guidance is being self-aware, constantly reflecting and taking oneself to task. The evidence of this is repenting, and thinking well of others. If we find ourselves making excuses for our actions, refusing to repent for sins, or thinking badly of others, we need to change that.

9) The issue with religious people is that they are often tribalistic and exclusivist. The issue with secular people is that they often have no clear meaning in life, and are ignorant of what lies beyond our inevitable death. One should be able to cultivate this meaning without being tribalistic or arrogant towards others, who have not yet been given guidance.

10) There are philosophical questions regarding free will and determinism. But it is ultimately something that is best understood spiritually. An easy first step is to understand the actions of others as predetermined while understanding your response as acts of free will. This prevents one from getting too angry at what others do to them.

11) Always think the best of the beliefs of other Muslims. Do not be in a rush to condemn people as heretics or kuffar. Make excuses for people, and appreciate the wisdom and experiences behind those who may be seemingly strange in their understanding of things.

12) Oftentimes, people get obsessed with the problems of society and ignore the need to change themselves. We are not political quietists. But we recognize that if you want to turn society around, the first step is to turn yourself around.

13) Do not slam other individuals’ religious beliefs. It leads to arrogance and just makes them more defensive. If you are discussing theology with non-Muslims, be kind to them, even if pointing out flaws in their beliefs. People are more attracted to Islam through people of exemplary character than they are through charismatic debaters or academics that can tear them apart. As my teacher put it rather bluntly, “Don’t slam Christians on the Trinity. No one can actually explain it anyways.”

14) In the early period of Islam, worshipping God with perfection was the default. Then people strayed away and there was a need to coin this term called “Sufism.” All it means is to have Ihsan (perfection or beauty) in the way you worship God, and in the way you conduct each and every part of your life.

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Ten Things You Didn’t Know About The Kaaba- Video

Dr Muhammad Wajid Akhter

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Kaaba

Every Muslim knows the Kaaba, but did you know the Kaaba has been reconstructed several times? The Kaaba that we see today is not exactly the same structure that was constructed by Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail, may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon them. From time to time, it has needed rebuilding after natural and man-made disasters.

Watch to learn ten things that most people may not know about the Ka’aba, based on the full article Ten Things You Didn’t Know About the Ka’aba.

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Eid Lameness Syndrome: Diagnosis, Treatment, Cure

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How many of you have gone to work on Eid because you felt there was no point in taking off? No Eid fun. Have you ever found Eid boring, no different from any other day?

If so, you may suffer from ELS (Eid Lameness Syndrome). Growing up, I did too.

My family would wake up, go to salah, go out to breakfast, come home, take a 4+ hour nap and then go out to dinner. I didn’t have friends to celebrate with and even if I did, I wouldn’t see them because we stuck to our own immediate family just as they did.

On the occasion that we went to a park or convention center, we would sort of have fun. Being with other people was certainly better than breakfast-nap-dinner in isolation, but calling that a memorable, satisfying, or genuinely fun Eid would be a stretch.

I don’t blame my parents for the ELS though. They came from a country where Eid celebration was the norm; everyone was celebrating with everyone and you didn’t have to exert any effort. When they moved to the US, where Muslims were a minority, it was uncharted territory. They did the best they could with the limited resources they had.

When I grew up, I did about the same too. When I hear friends or acquaintances tell me that they’re working, doing laundry or whatever other mundane things on Eid, I understand.  Eid has been lame for so long that some people have given up trying to see it any other way. Why take personal time off to sit at home and do nothing?

I stuck to whatever my parents did for Eid because “Eid was a time for family.” In doing so, I was honoring their cultural ideas of honoring family, but not Eid. It wasn’t until I moved away that I decided to rebel and spend Eid with convert friends (versus family) who didn’t have Muslim families to celebrate with on Eid, rather than drive for hours to get home for another lame salah-breakfast-nap-dinner.

That was a game-changing Eid for me. It was the first non-lame Eid I ever had, not because we did anything extraordinary or amazing, but because we made the day special by doing things that we wouldn’t normally do on a weekday together. It was then that I made a determination to never have a lame Eid ever again InshaAllah.

I’m not the only one fighting ELS. Mosques and organizations are creating events for people to attend and enjoy together, and families are opting to spend Eid with other families. There is still much more than can be done, as converts, students, single people, couples without children and couples with very small children, are hard-hit by the isolation and sadness that ELS brings. Here are a few suggestions for helping treat ELS in your community:

Host an open house

Opening up your home to a large group of people is a monumental task that takes a lot of planning and strength. But it comes with a lot of baraka and reward. Imagine the smiling faces of people who would have had nowhere to go on Eid, but suddenly find themselves in your home being hosted. If you have a big home, hosting an open house is an opportunity to express your gratitude to Allah for blessing you with it.

Expand your circle

Eid is about commUNITY. Many people spend Eid alone when potential hosts stick to their own race/class/social status. Invite and welcome others to spend Eid with you in whatever capacity you can.

Delegate

You can enlist the help of close friends and family to help so it’s not all on you. Delegate food, setup, and clean-up across your family and social network so that no one person will be burdened by the effort InshaAllah.

Squeeze in

Don’t worry if you don’t have a big house, you’ll find out how much barakah your home has by how many people are able to fit in it. I’ve been to iftars in teeny tiny apartments where there’s little space but lots of love. If you manage to squeeze in even two or three extra guests, you’ve saved two or three people from ELS for that year.

Outsource Eid Fun

If you have the financial means or know enough friends who can pool together, rent a house. Some housing share sites have homes that can be rented specifically for events, giving you the space to consolidate many, smaller efforts into one larger, more streamlined party.

Flock together

It can be a challenge to find Eid buddies to spend the day with. Try looking for people in similar circumstances as you. I’m a single woman and have hosted a ladies game night for the last few Eids where both married and single women attend.  If you are a couple with young kids, find a few families with children of similar age groups. If you’re a student, start collecting classmates. Don’t wait for other people to invite you, make a list in advance and get working to fend off ELS together.

Give gifts

The Prophet ﷺ said: تَهَادُوا تَحَابُّوا‏ “Give gifts to increase love for each other”. One of my siblings started a tradition of getting a gift for each person in the family. If that’s too much, pick one friend or family member and give them a gift. If you can’t afford gifts, give something that doesn’t require much money like a card or just your time. You never know how much a card with kind, caring words can brighten a person’s Eid.

Get out of your comfort zone

If you have ELS, chances are there is someone else out there who has it too. The only way to find out if someone is sad and alone on Eid is by admitting that we are first, and asking if they are too.

Try, try, try again…

Maybe you’ve taken off work only to find that going would have been less of a waste of time. Maybe you tried giving gifts and it didn’t go well. Maybe you threw an open house and are still cleaning up/dealing with the aftermath until now. It’s understandable to want to quit and say never again, to relent and accept that you have ELS and always will but please, keep trying. The Ummah needs to believe that Eid can and should be fun and special for everyone.

While it is hard to be vulnerable and we may be afraid of rejection or judgment, the risk is worth it. As a survivor and recoverer of ELS, I know how hard it can be and also how rewarding it is to be free of it. May Allah bless us all with the best Eids and to make the most of the blessed days before and after, Ameen.

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