The Manner Of Supplication
Allah-SWT has taught mankind a comprehensive and complete prayer. It opens with His-SWT praise, followed by acknowledgement of His-SWT greatness and servitude of mankind to Him-SWT . Along with His-SWT glorification, it puts forth the request for His-SWT help and succour, as well as for bliss both in this world and the next. Thus it has been made clear that while praying or supplicating to Allah-SWT, the manner and sequence should be to glorify Him-SWT first. To express one's own humility and worthlessness; to promise complete submission to Him-SWT , and finally submit the request.
“All Praise is for Allah-SWT Alone, Rabb of the entire Universe.”
After seeking Allah-SWT's protection against Satan, and then beginning in His-SWT Name, the first thing is to acknowledge that Allaah-SWT is the centre of all excellence and positive attributes. Be it beauty or glory, strength or might, knowledge or skill: whenever any of the qualities is appreciated in the creation, the real credit shall always go to the Creator. By appreciating a piece of art one actually praises the artist. Allaah-SWT is the Nourisher of the universe, the Bestower of skills and excellence to the entire creation. His-SWT system of Providence is so comprehensive that the whole creation benefits from it simultaneously. He-SWT has not only given His-SWT creations an existence, but has also taught them how to grow and survive and to work for betterment. He-SWT blessed them with the awareness of their needs, and provided them with means and resources for the fulfilment. The universe has been so designed and the workshop of life so well organised that while the sun lights the royal palaces, it also illuminates the huts of the poor at the same time. While fruits ripen in the orchards, ant's eggs are also being hatched. Air, light, rain, seasons and the perpetual cycle of day and night affect the whole creation simultaneously, by regulating them, and providing them with necessities and all the benefits of life.
The Divine Way Of Educating The Creation
This is the excellence of His-SWT Providence that while He-SWT has provided all that is required, He-SWT has also given everyone the sense by discern its needs and the means fulfilment. A calf, instantly after birth, knows that its food is milk, and also knows where to look for it. It instinctively reaches for the udder. Similarly, a new born tadpole starts swimming as soon as it is born. Even a tiny little ant knows its course of action. The breeze carries the aroma of grains to it. It splits the grain into halves before storing it in its burrow, lest it may sprout due to the dampness of soil and render its effort futile. But it splits a coriander seed into quarters, fully aware that a coriander seed is capable of sprouting even from halves. This is the perfect system of Divine Providence that He-SWT has blessed the needy with complete realization of its needs along with appropriate knowledge for fulfilment.
The Quran presents this Divine Attribute of Providence as evidence to Allaah-SWT ’s Greatness and Absolute Divinity, and establishes it as the basis of human obligation to worship Him-SWT .
Prophethood-A Proof Of Allah-SWT's Providence
This Divine Attribute of Providence is indeed a proof of the validity of Prophethood. A human being does not represent a physical body alone, but both the body and the Spirit. Whereas the human being has the knowledge of his physical needs and the ways of fulfilment, he must also know his spiritual requirements and the means of accomplishment. The intellect and knowledge pertaining to physical body, its growth and the related sciences are granted to the mind. All minds differ in their capacity. Some people excel others in various fields, and their help is sought in matters pertaining to their particular specialization. Similarly, the Qalb was Divinely chosen as the seat of faculties required for growth and advancement of Spirit. Then Allaah-SWT sent Prophets–AS, masters in the art of reforming human hearts, and mankind benefited from these Prophets–AS and stood spiritually reformed. Those who failed to reform themselves died spiritually just like the one deprived of food dies physically. It is the Rabb, Who communicates with the ant and the calf, and guides the honeybee to flowers and teaches it to transform nectar into honey. These are all manifestations of His-SWT Attribute of Providence and it is befitting for His-SWT Providence to confer Prophethood upon His-SWT chosen people, and thus provided for the life and development of the Spirit. He-SWT speaks to the Prophets–AS and blesses them with Revelation or inspiration and intuition. The true and devoted followers of the Prophets–AS are those who practically spend their lives according to their teachings. Form amongst these devotees, some may receive a droplet of this great blessing, commensurate with their capacity, through sincere and devout adherence to the Prophet–AS. That actually is a reflection of the Prophetic excellence and is known as Kashf, Ilqa or intuition. A Prophet, however, clearly and correctly discerns the content and meaning of whatever is revealed upon him.
Possibility And Cause Of Error In The Kashf Of A Wali
The Kashf of a Wali is also true, being a communication from Allah-SWT, yet the possibility of error in its interpretation cannot be ruled out, because the perceptions of a Wali are not as refined as that of a Prophet–AS. Therefore, it is imperative that a Kashf of a Wali must conform to the teachings of the Prophet-SW. Otherwise, it should be out rightly rejected. Besides, it is incumbent on the entire Ummah to obey all commands of their Prophet-SW, while the Kashf of a Wali constitutes no authority for others to follow.
“The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”
Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim are two synonymous Divine Attributes pertaining to His-SWT Mercy. Al-Rahman or the Gracious signifies a transient Attribute. In Arabic grammar, verbs of such phonetic balance (an) denote those conditions, which do not exhibit permanency, like ghaghban (to be angry), atshan (to be thirsty), hairan (to be surprised). This Attribute of Grace too, is a branch of Allaah-SWT ’s Providence. Since He-SWT is the Creator and the Rabb of the entire universe, He-SWT is also Rahman, as it does not befit Him-SWT to deprive any of His-SWT creatures from the resources and means of sustaining life. Therefore, as long as this universe exists, all the creations will receive their share of necessities to maintain their existence. This is the general Mercy for all. Yet there is another special and classified Mercy, emanating from His-SWT Attribute of al-Rahim. Grammatically, the verbs in this tense in Arabic language denote permanence of attributes or actions, e.g., ‘Alim (The Knower), Hakim (The Wise). The manifestation of Mercy in this case is extensive and eternal, which will neither diminish nor disconnect.
If we analyze His-SWT attribute of Mercy we will see that His-SWT Providence (Rabubiyat) inspite of its diversity is in itself. This aspect of His-SWT Mercy (al-Rahim), in spite of its element of Providence is in itself only a speck of the vast field of Mercy. It is an aspect of Mercy as it deals with educating the entire universe on each and every aspect of their existence. The knowledge given to the creation for the fulfilment of their needs is also a manifestation of this Attribute. The conferring of honour and awards upon leading a successful noble life, and the gifts of excellence, beauty, and unlimited and unimaginable favours in the Aakhirah, all originate from the fountainhead of the Attribute of Mercy as no one could have compelled Allaah-SWT to do so. While the knowledge granted by Allaah-SWT for the fulfilment of needs is also a display of His-SWT Mercy.
Attainment Of Rahimyat (Allah-SWT ’s Mercy) Is A Human Need
The highest form of knowledge is the one that is acquired through the Prophets–AS, which served as the means of attaining the Rahimyat aspect of people. It should also be noted that Allaah-SWT ’s Grace (flowing from His-SWT Attribute of Al-Rahman) is being manifested only as long as this world exists, and the believers and the non believers are equally availing it. But once this world, which is the stage for its display, comes to an end, this Attribute too would cease to manifest. Since the human beings have to pass on the eternal world, they must seek, through the Prophets–AS, the eternal component of Allaah-SWT ’s Mercy (flowing from Al-Rahim). If people remain indifferent towards the attainment of Allaah-SWT ’s Rahimyat, and feel contented with His-SWT Grace / Rahimyat alone, they must realize that it will discontinue as soon as this life is over. Then, if they had not attained the former, they will be seized by His-SWT punishment. For that reason He-SWT is called Rahman ad-Dunya (Gracious in the world) and Rahim al-Akhira (Merciful in the Hereafter). It is by His-SWT Mercy that He-SWT not only creates the entire universe but also gives it a perfect balance, beauty and grandeur. In short, every change contains positive and constructive aspect, no matter how destructive it may appear. Withering of each flower actually heralds the blossoming of a new bud. Again, in the disappearance of the bud is the emergence of a new flower. Thus a harp made by a craftsman does not compose melodies on its own, but it is the contribution of a tree that had been felled for it.
This process of addition and elimination goes on endlessly, as He-SWT has indicated that He-SWT retains the beneficial and eradicates the useless. Any aspect of subversion is attributable to man himself, who foolishly distorts the beauty of the universe. The human life adds splendour and beauty to the canvas of this world. Every human activity defines a particular colour in this masterpiece. Thus, when man treads the righteous path he makes flowers bloom at each step. But when he commits sins and transgresses, he blemishes the beauty of the whole picture. He not only abuses his own soul by committing a sin, but the viciousness of his sin pollutes the whole environment. Sin generates and spreads mischief and trouble all around. That is why the Creator of this beautiful universe has warned the human beings: Do not create mischief in the land. Disobedience of this command deprives man of eternal salvation and His-SWT Mercy.
“Owner of the day of Judgement.”
The basic motive behind all human actions is the attainment of benefit, so the one who can reward a persons actions will naturally be the centre of all his hopes; whom he could never want to annoy. While it is Allaah-SWT Who has control over the end result of every action at all times and there shall be a Day of judgement when no soul will be absent, and no one will dare to claim any power or authority. That will be the Day of ultimate Requital. On that Day, the entire universe, including the most stubborn deniers will instantly acknowledge Allaah-SWT ’s Absolute Sovereignty and Majesty, because He-SWT is the Fountainhead of all excellence and the Sustainer of the universe. All blessings benefiting His-SWT creation, whether temporary or permanent, are manifestation of His-SWT Grace and Mercy. Indeed He-SWT Alone is the Owner, Whose Ownership will be acknowledged by everyone in the Aakhirah. He-SWT has always been other only One worthy of worship; and on the Day the denial of every arrogant shall be wiped away like sweepings.
“You-SWT Alone do we worship and from You-SWT Alone we seek help. Guide us onto the straight Path.”
By reciting the previous Ayah, the worshipper achieves a certain level of nearness with Allaah-SWT and feels himself in His-SWT exalted presence, As soon as he realizes this, he reverts from the indirect and submits directly: You-SWT Alone do we worship and from You-SWT Alone we seek help. For I have observed the entire universe as resourceless and You-SWT alone the Provider. I worship You-SWT , because I am nothing within myself, and I need Your-SWT help and support through every moment of my life. When You-SWT are so Gracious and Merciful, and we so helpless and humble pleading for your help with our foreheads touching down in Sajdah before You-SWT , then O Allaah-SWT ! Guide us unto the Straight Path. It is worth noticing that the singular pronoun ‘I’ has been replaced by the collective ‘us’. This is because the devotee observes himself and the entire universe in a state of Sajdah including Allaah-SWT ’s chosen friends. Now he cannot isolate himself from then and entreats: “O Allaah-SWT ! “You-SWT Alone do we worship and from You-SWT Alone we seek help, so Guide us unto the Straight Path”. The word us includes all the righteous, the Shuhada, the Siddiqin and the Prophets, All of whom are requesting Allaah-SWT for guidance and adherence to the right path. Because of collective prayer of these noble souls, many wrongdoers also receive Mercy and Guidance! Praise be to Allaah-SWT ! What an amazing prayer He-SWT has taught us; which can never be rejected; neither can Allaah-SWT ’s Magnificence diminish, nor can the ‘us’ of the implorer go in vain. As this ‘us’ comprises mainly of those who are held dearly by Allaah-SWT and are the bearers of His-SWT All-Embracing Grace, it is indeed beyond His-SWT Graciousness to accept the invocation of such a large group and reject the prayer of an individual. In truth, even the humblest and most devoted supplications and prayers can never be worthy of acceptance in His-SWT Court, because His-SWT Majesty and Glory are far too sublime. On the other hand our present situation is such that the element of humility and awe are totally missing from our prayers.
And when the supplications of the righteous, the Sujud of the Shuhada, the worship of the Mujahidin of Islam offered in the heat of the battle, the adoration of Angels and Allaah-SWT ’s Messengers, and above all those offered by the Holy Prophet-SW are taken in view, then our worship appears worthless. But observe Allaah-SWT ’s Mercy in the manner of prayer taught to us: “You-SWT Alone do we worship and from You-SWT Alone we seek help”, this collectively interlaces our prayers with those of the Prophets, the Aulia and the Shuhada and carries them to the Door of Divine acceptance.
Praise be to Allaah-SWT ! The Magnificence of Allaah-SWT was already known to the worshipper, but as he observes the submission and humility of His-SWT elite, it is further endorsed on his Qalb that Allaah-SWT Alone is the Bestower, and all the rest are dependant upon Him-SWT .
“The path of those whom You-SWT rewarded.Not of those condemned by You-SWT nor of those who went astray.”
Now, when it comes to the acceptance of supplications, the devotee further states and defines his proposition. Allaah-SWT forbid, it is not that he is trying to elaborate things to Allah-SWT, but he is actually counselling himself while addressing the Almighty. “The path of those whom You-SWT rewarded, not of those condemned by You-SWT nor of those who went astray”. This can be illustrated by the example of a person praying for a long life, who is asked to choose between a cup of milk and a cup of poisonous drink. He will never opt for the latter if he wants to live long, because actions speak louder than words. On the contrary, if he takes poison, his prayer for long life would be meaningless. If he wants to live on, he will certainly lift the cup of milk and pray: “O Allaah-SWT ! I reject poison and seek your protection from it; please bless me with a sound health through this milk.” This is the desired harmony between words and actions. Similarly, when a person says “O Allaah-SWT ! let me follow the path of the Prophets–AS, Shuhada, true believers and the righteous,” he is actually telling his own self to adopt the ways of these exalted souls, according to his own capacity.
The righteous, the true friends of Allaah-SWT and the Shuhada receive beneficence from the Prophets–AS; who receive it directly from the Almighty. This is the channel to establish relationship with Allah-SWT; a cordial relationship, because Qalb is the ruler and the physical body is the subject, bound be the ruler’s commands. The love for the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet-SW is inspired in the Qalb by Zikr, which is also the instrument to strengthen it. For that reason, nearly eight hundred Aayaat of the Quran, directly or indirectly, enjoin Zikr. This was the path adopted by the Prophet–AS and the righteous and this is what tasawwuf is all about: that the Qalb be enlightened and all human actions may reflect the splendour of Divine Light. If sincerity of the Qalb is absent, the verbal declaration will be no more than a futile, untrustworthy exercise. If sincerity of the Qalb is absent on this path then it becomes a mere verbal claim, which cannot be relied upon.
Maghdhub (those who earn Allaah-SWT ’s annoyance) and Dhalin (Those who go astray) are two classes of disbelief. The first category includes those who oppose the Prophets–AS, both by word and action. The second category comprises those who verbally claim adherence to the Prophets–AS, but ideologically and practically oppose them. The seeker must keep this definition in mind during his practical life; else he may be taking poison while praying for a long life. He may indulge in a sinful activity like listening to music and believe that it is beautifying his eternal life, whereas his actual place is the masjid and his code of life is the Sunnah, The Holy Prophet-SW has said that Maghdhub denotes the Jews, and Dhalin denotes the Christians. Let us examine their characteristics, which earned them these titles. It was the blatant opposition of the Prophets–AS of Allaah-SWT ! They openly denied the Prophethood of the Prophets–AS, and strove hard to enforce their own concocted concepts and customs and tried ceaselessly to efface Prophetic teachings. Now, when a pseudo intellectual of today declares the Prophetic Knowledge as useless, terms the pilgrimage as a futile journey, pronounces the sacrifice to be a waste of money, and instead strives for the revival of obscene un-Islamic culture; he is indeed worse than both the Jews and the Christians in conduct. On the other extreme stand the ignorant, who claim to be devoted believers, but adopt their own innovations and anti-Sunnah rituals, to display this devotion. They do not comprehend that no expression of love, however profound, can cross the limits defined by Allah-SWT; and the only proper way of demonstrating one’s love is through total adherence to the Prophets-SW Sunnah.
Thus Allaah-SWT has prescribed this prayer as a sure treatment of all such ailments. It is so vital to human life that it has been enjoined as an integral part of each cycle of the Salaat. May Allaah-SWT guide us all. Ameen!