Five Duas Every Muslim Should Make

duahandsIn the Quran, Allah (swt) says, “O mankind! You are Fuqara (those in need).” We have many needs. We look at other people and are reminded of our own deprivations. Zakariya (as) looked at Mariam (as) and realised he has a need. He immediately turned to Allah (swt) in need.

All day long we remind ourselves of what is missing from our lives, yet when we get on the prayer mat we forget to ask. Allah (swt) did a great favour upon us by collecting the Duas of His beloved servants (as) and preserving them. The Companions (as) forwarded the kindness by recording the supplications of the Prophet (sa). These are the Duas for us to take inspiration from.

Let’s look at some of the Duas that the Prophets (as) made and we should too.

1. Protection from Shirk

Following people and keeping a tab on their lives might appear trifling. But when people become the sole focus of our lives – we live for them, we seek and cherish their praises – then certainly it is not a petty matter. We have fallen for Shirk. Allah (swt) should be the main focus of our lives. We should seek love and acknowledgement from Him. In the times of trials, we should remember He is the One to ask help from. Seeing our blessings, we should thank Him first and then the people. We need to learn about the different forms of Shirk and protect ourselves from falling for them.

Ibrahim (as) lost his family, his people and his town, but he did not associate anyone with Allah (swt). He asked Allah (swt) to protect him and his sons from worshipping idols. “And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said: O my Lord! Make this city (Makkah) one of peace and security, and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols.” (Ibrahim 14:35)

2. Peace and Sustenance

Hearing the news of another bomb blast or another strike, one wonders how life will continue. How will the businesses function? Fearing for safety and sustenance leaves one anxious and disturbed. Nothing can be accomplished. Leaving his family in an uninhabited land, Ibrahim (as) asked Allah (swt) for peace, sustenance and warmth of the people. He knew they will need all these to survive their challenges. “O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka’bah at Makkah); in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.” (Ibrahim 14:37)

3. Righteous Companions

A Hadeeth tells us that we will be resurrected with the people that we love. Who do we love? Yusuf (as) a righteous man himself, especially prayed to Allah (swt) to join him with the righteous in the hereafter. “My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of dreams; The (only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian, etc.) in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your Will), and join me with the righteous.” (Yusuf 12:101) Ask Allah (swt) to grant you righteous friends, righteous spouses, righteous children in this world and to raise you and your loved ones with the righteous, in the hereafter.

4. Protection from Zulm

Zulm is not giving someone his right. You take the telephone set off its stand and place it on the floor, you have done Zulm. We must ask Allah (swt) to not make of those who commit injustice or injustice is done to us. All the arguments of someone not giving us our right will just end.

5. Acceptance of Deeds

Upon doing a good deed we must remember Ibrahim’s (as) humility. Never should we be boastful. Ibrahim (as) was chosen by Allah (swt) to build His House, yet he feared acceptance. “And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) and (his son) Isma’il (Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), (saying), Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”(Al-Baqarah 2:127)

Ask Allah (swt) to guide us to the deeds which are accepted and allow us to do them.

Five Ways to Cleanse Your Thoughts

11775The Quran contains details of the previous nations so that we may take heed and not repeat their mistakes. Allah (swt) mentions the tales of both the obedient and the disobedient, giving us a choice as to which group we want to be from.

When the obedient people received a command from Allah (swt), they surrendered before Him and accepted it right away. For example, when Prophet Ibrahim (as) was asked to submit: “He said: I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).” (Al-Baqarah 2:131) No further questions.

When the other group was commanded to do something- they transgressed, rejected and ridiculed the message. For example: “And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow. They said: Do you make fun of us? He said: I take Allah’s Refuge from being among Al-Jahilun (the ignorant or the foolish).” (Al-Baqarah 2:67) A prophet does not make fun of others. He is sincere to his cause and wishes the best for everyone.

Why did they deduce a different meaning than the one intended?

The problem was in their thinking. They did not give due respect to their messenger; they always undermined his sincerity and harmed themselves.

Often in life, we make the same mistakes. Without understanding the intentions of others, we engage in arguments, risk relationships, and see only one side of the coin. This is called mental slavery. Generally, people fashion their thoughts based on their experiences and not the truth. This promotes racism, hatred, and other evils. But, we do not need to live in this slavery – we can change it.

And here is how:

1. Study Your Thoughts
Before you react to a conversation or any event, pause and think. What makes me think what I am thinking right now? Is that really the truth or am I being biased? Recognize your biasness. And throw it out.

2. Restrict the Ego from Taking Over
Social media threads and political talk shows often end up in arguments and severed ties because each participant allows his or her ego to take over. Allow other people to have their opinions. The way your thoughts were shaped by your environment and experiences, the other person went through a similar process. He is entitled to think differently. Give respect. Do not abuse.

3. Broaden Your Information Sources
Diversify your information bank. Do not always read or follow opinions that match yours. Pick up a book or listen to someone who thinks differently. Similarly, improve your company. Seek learned, truthful, respectful, and positive thinkers. Seek the truth, not attention.

4. Stay Busy
Knowing that every word spilling off our tongues is being recorded should encourage us to speak only when spoken to. Speak a good word, and do not always be opinionated.

5. Study the Seerah of the Prophets
Learn from the best. Allah (swt) chose and shaped the prophets to overcome life’s challenges and carry forward His message. The Companions adopted their teachings and moulded themselves. Study their lives. How did they live in this world while focusing on the hereafter?

Seeking Lawful Livelihood – A Religious Obligation

Halal Earnings

Abdullah bin Masud (rtam) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “To seek lawful livelihood is next to the first rank obligations of religion.”

 

Scholars of Hadeeth unanimously regard this Hadeeth as authentic. The Prophet (sa) has said that to work and toil, and earn lawful livelihood is second only to the basic obligations: the pillars of Islam.

Seeking a lawful livelihood is not alien to religion. We may try to earn a livelihood through business, agriculture, employment or labour. Thus, if anyone avoids this duty and remains idle, not trying to earn a livelihood, one commits a sin. The Shariah calls upon us to shun laziness and not depend upon others for our livelihood. Man is asked not to beg from anyone besides Allah (swt). The Prophet (sa) has shown us a way to save ourselves from that by endeavouring, according to our capacities, to earn a lawful livelihood. Allah (swt) has not only placed on us certain duties concerning Himself and religion, but He has also placed on us rights of our bodies and souls and of our families. These rights cannot be given to them without trying to gain a lawful livelihood.

Prophets Earned Lawful Livelihood

Allah (swt) required all prophets to earn a lawful livelihood. Every one of them worked to meet ends. There were among them labourers, carpenters and shepherds. The Prophet (sa) also tended sheep against remuneration, worked as a labourer and engaged in business. He travelled to Syria twice in connection with business on behalf of Khadeeja (rtaf). We find him occupied in every way of earning a lawful livelihood, so that they are all Sunnah. Thus, if in pursuing them, we form an intention of following the Sunnah, then our endeavour will become part of religion, whether it is labour, business or farming.

We Must Seek the Lawful

To seek livelihood is an obligation, if it is the lawful that we seek. If we do not pay attention to this condition, then our effort loses its merit and does not form part of religion. There is then no difference in the effort for livelihood by a Muslim and a disbeliever. Believers examine every part of their earnings and ensure that they receive according to the pleasure of Allah (swt). They leave anything that is against it.

All Labour is not Lawful

Some people have adopted unlawful means of earning. Shariah disallows such efforts. For instance, some people live on interest earnings. If they are reminded of the evil, they are quick to indicate that they labour over it and put time into it. They must know that only that earning is lawful and that labour or effort is proper, which are sanctioned by Allah (swt). If we put in strenuous efforts and labour in ways not shown by the Prophet (sa), then our earnings are unlawful.

Is the Occupation Lawful?

Hence, when we have a means of earning before us, we must first examine, whether it is lawful or unlawful. If the Shariah does not allow it, then we must forsake it, no matter how much wealth we see in it. We must take up only that occupation, which has the approval of Allah (swt), no matter how little it holds for us.

Blessings of Lawful Earnings

Allah (swt) has blessed lawful livelihood but not the unlawful; thus, a little of the lawful provides more benefit than much of the unlawful. The Prophet (sa) made this supplication after performing ablution: “O Allah! Forgive me my sins, and make my house spacious for me and bless me in my livelihood.”

Today, people do not appreciate the worth of blessings. They merely count money and think in monetary terms, without evaluating the normal return of their wealth in terms of comfort and peace. Blessings cannot be bought, and many rich people lack them. Blessings are found in lawful livelihood only. Therefore, we must pay attention to our earnings and ensure that we feed our family members only what is lawful and Shariah sanctioned.

Part of the Salary that is Unlawful

There are some sources of income, which are known to be unlawful: interest, bribery, etc. But there are some other sources, which we do not know as unlawful. For instance, hours of work are fixed and the employment is also proper and lawful. However, the employees are slack in observing these hours. The salary for the number of hours they are purposefully absent is their unlawful earning; similarly, the hours they waste at work are also unlawful.

Lack of Blessings

All of us experience a lot of anxiety today. The rich and the super-rich are uncomfortable and worried. Their expenses are mounting high, and their problems are multiplying. The reason is that we do not distinguish between lawful and unlawful. We keep ourselves away from the few prominently unlawful sources of income, but we disregard the various smaller ways, in which we earn unlawful money.

Cheating on Telephone and Electricity Bills

Some of us misuse official assets and privileges such as the office telephone to make unpaid calls. This is a way to deceive the employer, and our savings in this manner are unlawful. Similarly, the electric meter is tampered with and savings are made on consumption of electricity. Here again, the unlawful adulterates our lawful earnings. Usage of official stationery without permission, official contacts for personal gains and side businesses hurting our place of employment, leaking business secrets to competitors, and other similar ways of cheating deprive us of blessings.

We Must Think About it

In view of the above situation, before doing anything, we must ask ourselves, if what we hope to do is correct or not. If we spend our life, sifting the wrong from the right and refraining from unlawful earning, then we must be rest assured that though we may lag behind in supererogatory worship and remembrance of Allah (swt), we may go straight to Paradise, if Allah (swt) wills that. On the contrary, if we do not refrain from the unlawful and fail to distinguish between the lawful and the unlawful, then though we may get up in the middle of the night to pray and offer all kinds of optional prayers, these exercises will not protect us from chastisement against unlawful earnings. The damage this deliberate corruption does to the society is worse and until individuals forfeit it and repent sincerely to Allah (swt), their worship will be futile.

The Unlawful Devours the Lawful

Each one of us must take an account of our earnings and the work we do. We must make sure that there are no gaps, through which we get unlawful earnings. I have presented some examples of unlawful income but there are many ways in which one receives unlawful money, knowingly or unknowingly. Our elders have told us that when the unlawful becomes part of the lawful, then it destroys it. The blessings are lost and the man, whose wealth it is, loses peace and comfort; thus, it becomes necessary that we examine our deeds and incomes, and preserve ourselves from unlawful earnings.

May Allah (swt), through His mercy and favour, help us to understand this fact. And may He cause us to live accordingly. Ameen.

Adapted from “Discourses on Islamic Ways of Life” Volume 10. Transcribed for “Hiba” by Umm Ahmad.

The Right Beginning

Young men and women seeking marriage must ensure their future spouse’s stance on Halal earnings. Understand their propensity to spend and save. A slave of desires and materialistic world can drive you to comprise your Deen, especially when children and larger families come into picture. Observe how your future spouse reacts when the gifts or Hadya exchanged are less in frequency or monetary value. It can give one an insight into their fiance’s preferences for things and control over his or her Nafs. A content and caring partner is essential to help you build a home where, if the earning is lawful yet less, pressures are not exerted for impermissible sources of income.

Similarly, opt for places of employment or professions that facilitate Halal earnings. Self-employment and entrepreneurship is also an option with modern-day cyberspace and social media networks. This can reduce fixed costs, give you control over the nature of your business, provide opportunities to others for permissible employment, and grant you a corrupt-free environment to practice creative possibilities. It is not required to follow suit and become dissatisfied due to lack of control or decision-making power and fall prey to Haram business practices.