Great Expectations: Istighfar

(A/N:Istighfar=Asking for forgiveness from Allah)

When I started my daily Istighfar challenge in November with 2 other friends, Alhamdulillah I did see things happen in life. As usual they start with little miracles and progressively increase, of course by will of Allah. HOWEVER, as months passed, I felt that my Istighfars were not really working as well, in terms of manifestations, or at least as I would expect. I have heard stories of so many people having mountains moved in days or weeks just by doing Istighfar, so my expectations were similar to that level. So at the end of 3 months I actually sat down and reflected over the Istighfars that I was doing.

I realised that when I started doing Istighfar, I took it up as one of the many things I was already doing as a challenge, for eg Gratitude Journal ( G Journal), Tahajjud (Night Vigil Prayer) etc. If I can be honest with myself, my hidden mentality was ” I am already doing so many things,  might as well add Istighfar to it. Doesn’t harm to try it out.”  I was doing my Istighfars half-heartedly, and as a result I felt my life was also moving half-heartedly.

Now, ‘half- heartedly’ doesnt mean I wasn’t focussed. I was paying complete attention to my Istighfars as much as I could, I would think of the mistakes I would make throughout the day and ask forgiveness for those. “Asking for forgiveness” isn’t what I was making the mistake in. My mistake was in my “half-hearted intention”. I wasn’t putting the absolute intention, having absolute conviction, absolute expectations of things changing from my Istighfars. I was not putting as much care in my intentions as I was putting in the physical efforts of counting the beads to do Istighfars. It was more like a chore. I was doing it as one of the “many things” that help with answering of dua. In fact, I wasn’t really putting as much expectations from my Istighfars as I was perhaps putting from Baqarah or G Journal. (That’s what happens when we take too many things in our plate and then crash with them altogether, net final result being zilch. That’s why the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him said Allah loves deeds which are regular, albeit small.)

So my take away from all of this is that, for getting solid results from Istighfar, we need to be mindful of the intention behind doing them, and the results that we are expecting, along with being genuine in our repentance. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, because Allah Himself has “bribed” us with so many incentives to do Istighfars (you can read up here for details prescribed in the Quran as Istighfar benefits). If He didn’t want us to have them, why would He promise?


I personally felt that we need to realise that sometimes years of  delay wash away our motivation and strength to “get up one more time and try this one more time, when all else has failed”, and that’s why we often miss the results. Its incredibly easier said than done, I know! But that’s also why I usually try to give myself shorter deadlines. For eg, set a certain number of days to focus on Istighfar, and then write down all the changes that happen. (Writing is always more powerful that keeping tabs in mind, the latter is what most of us do unfortunately, including myself.) That helps establish the faith in extending that challenge to more number of days ( I have done that with G Journal, Baqarah and currently on Istighfar).

Read the verse above. Allah will not change out condition until WE change whats inside of us. So not only is the pre-requisite for external change is a shift in our inner mindset, but also that inner change has to be brought about by us. YOU need to change your insides for Allah to change whats on your outside. Its simple but not always easy, and thats why we take baby steps. Allah appreciates those baby steps and rewards us, giving us the strength and courage to take the bigger, “adult” steps. You become happy, give Him thanks, and He gives you more.

And the cycle continues.

A/N: Nothing mentioned here are a scholarly opinion and are intended to be taken only as reflections to strengthen faith. As always, take any good you get and leave the rest to collect dust❤️

And please do remember me in your duas, that Allah opens my doors that I am asking Him to open. Thank you for reading ❤️❤️

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Reflections On La Hawla Wala Quwata and Dua Manifestations

Recently I came across few stories where people who had been in a lot of hot water, waiting for their duas to come to fruition, finally got their wishes fulfilled by Istighfar, Night Prayers and Reciting La Hawla Wala Quwata Illa Billah (There is No Power or Might except Allah). Difficulties ranging anywhere from waiting for decades to be married, to marrital troubles, not being able toget pregnant, financial predicaments or mental wellbeing, all were resolved with the above formulae, by the permission of Allah. The stories are from today’s time, not from the pious precedessors.

Its not surprising though. When we go through difficulties and see no possible way out- it is true. In the realms of our limited perceptions,in the confinements of possibilities of this world, more often than not the doors are closed. More often than not there is no possible solutions to our problems, atleast in the perceptions of our mind. And that is when Allah sends us help from Jannah. He opens the skies by virtue of istighfar (please refer to The Quran’s Surahs Nuh and Hud for details) or makes a key in the heavens and sends down to the earth (ref to the hadith mentioned above on La Hawla). That is when “out of the world” experiences happen, literally and figuratively! When you tap on the treasures of Jannah, the pearls drop on this world. It has always happened, and still happening.

Of Pen And Muses: Story Of Duha Prayer

I was going over my gratitude journal for January…on January 20th out of frustration I prayed duha prayer with the intent that Allah grants me my dd job…I started a duha challenge with myself that daily I will read duha prayer (which is equivalent to doing charity, based on the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him)… On 22nd and 23rd I got 3 interview calls, after trying since November…I also do daily istighfar, Baqarah and qiyam alhamdulillah…I have never had such interviews and yes they are not my dream job, but they definitely will make it easy for me to get that…

We don’tget a lot of stories of duha prayer so I thought I would write one…

It might sound crazy but I think its because I prayer duha, but ALSO because I wrote about this challenge to monitor changes. There is something about writing- goals, challenges, duas, affirmations, gratitude; changes in external affairs happen more significantly when we write. This is something that took me a long time to realise. And it makes sense because Allah has highlighted the power of pen by taking an oath with it. I always felt that no matter how “crappy” my gratitude journal entries are, as long as I wrote them, Allah would see my efforts to be grateful. But once I extended that “experiment” to writing other things like goals and etc, I realised there is something “more” in the “realm of the unseen” about the power of pen.

Disclaimer: The views presented in the post solely are my personal opinion from experience; it is NOT AT ALL any scholarly view. So take the good you get and leave the rest to collect dust.

If you benefitted from this post, albeit as insignificantly as having a good time, please make dua that Allah puts barakah in all my efforts and grants me all the doors I am asking to be opened, quickly and not delayed. I am at a time constraint here. You can just say ameen in your heart and that should suffice too, biidnillah, by the permission of Allah)

Lost In Translation: Detouring With Your Prayers

I am someone who not only needs Allah to “give me” things, but I also need Him to “tell me” things. On few occasions, I have felt that my prayers (duas) are sort of knocking a dead door, no matter how much I am making them something is not working out. Its not that Allah wont give them, but over the course of time I have come to realise that I needed to understand “how” to ask. I understood that sometimes Allah wants us to get it ourselves ( of course He will help through the process, not like you are on your own) and not give it to us.

For example, if you are praying for Allah to guide someone and its not working, may be you need to ask Allah what you should do to guide them. If you child isnt listening to you despite you praying for it, perhaps instead of praying that they listen to you, you pray that Allah tells you what the problem is, and how you can solve it to get what you want. If your dream job isnt coming, may be you can ask Allah to tell you what are you doing wrong/ take you to that which will give you the job. In general if any door in your life is locked, and you feel despite your sincere please its not moving, may be you can ask Allah to tell you something, may be you lack the information or instructions, may be you are not being able to hear what Allah is saying. So reroute the prayer and seek Allah’s counsel- what should you do to get what you want.

So this way, you will be able to keep your mind open to opportunities to take action for your prayers. Perhaps you wont even realise but things will be changing, chores will be moving, and it will be pointing and leading to your prayer.  Its not at all a scholarly suggestion and not necessarily fits in all situations, so please use your discretion.

Don’t forget to make the prayer our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) recited quite often (it will help keep your heart firm with certainty in your prayers, inshaAllah):

Take the good that you get and leave the rest to collect dust.

Inspite Of The Overwhelming Evidence To The Contrary, Please Do

Sometimes a random baby smiling at you in the elevator is the best thing that happens in that day, and you shouldnt discredit that happy feeling just because you didnt climb Everest that day. The happiness might be as short lived as heartbeat’s worth of time, but you still have to be grateful for it,  still have to count is as something, still have to value it as something. You have to be grateful when the scale hasnt moved even though you finished up an entire tub of butter the night before, even though you didnt get caught stiffling that sob and passing it on as another episode of runny nose due to bad weather, you have to count those blessings. Even though you threw up in the middle of the night, the fact that noone heard you- you should be grateful for that. Even though its been hell of a year, the fact that Allah somehow sustains you amidst all these excruciatingly monstrous pains, you should be grateful. You must be grateful, you need to be grateful. 

Not being grateful isnt an option because you have to get out of this mess and this is the only way I know how to. Cant feel it? Then fake it, but still do. Inspite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, please do. 

Mixed Blessings: Surah Baqarah

I am one Surah Baqarah month old today, Alhamdulillah. I took up a “Finish Surah Baqarah Twice Every Month” challenge with my friend starting September 1, and I wanted to share some changes this has brought in my life.

To begin with, to my immense surprise instead of every 14 days (my Quran recitation is not the vert best, I am slow) it took my 2-3 days to complete Surah Baqarah. So every 2/3 days I would start over. In fact once I finished within one day only. Its unbelievable how my recitation speed picked up as soon as I made the intention. Alhamdulillah.

I saw a lot of changes in my daily life. All my day-to-day duas started to get answered, the ones like “Oh Allah please dont let their be any queue for coffee, I know I started late but I still want to reach on time, Please wake me up for Tahajjud”- all the daily duas were happening Alhamdulillah. What that did is to a great extent it smoothed out my day to day life, trimming the edges of daily challenges, and made things easily doable. Completing a  one hour assignment in 30mins, finding all the relevant information that is needed- soon became a routine. All praise and thanks to Allah.

Some other remarkable changes have happened on the personal forefront as well. Not to mention that the ease in day to day life has tremendously helped me keep up with gratitude- everyday manifesations of tiny little duas filled up my gratitude journal with entries and slowly (still in process) helping my faith muscle to build. The effects of gratitude have then been rippling on to the major duas and the carousel has since then been turning Alhamdulillah.

I am also someone with an extremely restless subconscious mind. Dreaming about everything that I do during the day has been something I have had since I can remember. Moreover, for about a year I have been suffering from nightmares. Even though I do the morning and everning recitations daily, for some reason I didnt really see much results in terms of peaceful sleep. But with recitation of Baqarah, alhamdulillah my subconscious has sobered up tremendously. In the entire month I probably had 3/4 nighmares which is nothing compared to multiple ones every night, and that too they came because I was overthinking from stress.

I read the Baqarah on my tablet. I read it while commuting, during TV commercials, at night as a bedtime read. So I am constantly hooked up to my tablet. After Fajr I try to read atleast 1 verse, because the benefits are more during that time. Allah said if you busy yourself with Quran recitation, He will suffice you in other areas.So sometimes if I am busy, I just read one verse after Fajr (because its already sunrise time by then) and then do my morning adhkars during breakfast. Because I have an extremely busy schedule, its hard for me to take out “quality time” for fancy recitations. I just do whatever, whenever, however I can. And from what I see (and I have always advocated for it), Allah sometimes likes the “crappy/ugly” acts of worship more than the “pretty and prettier” ones. Instead of couning how often I complete the surah or how much I read, I just make sure I read. Quantity is just a number.

For someone like me who has had troubles leading a normal day to day life, Surah Baqarah has helped me significantly in very subtle ways to push through in the past one month. If you want to add Baqarah in your daily life, let me tell you this- the devil will not like it at all. So it will tell you all the reasons it will not work out and how difficult it will be to keep up. Trust me, I know because it took me one month (the whole of August) to convince myself to add this in my life. But let me tell you, even if it seems “difficult”, there is something magical about the way it becomes “effortless”. It just becomes effortless doable to recite it everyday. 

Give it a shot!

(For details about the benefits of Surah Baqarah, please go over the sayings of our Prophet pertaining to them, may peace and blessings be upon him).

Take any good that you get, and leave the rest to collect dust.

Look Closer

I was waiting for the bus for a while, but as soon as I made dua it came. Alhamdulillah. My feet were sore so I made another quick dua to Allah to find me a seat inside, so I wont have to stand. When I got in, by force of habit my eyes scanned the single seats and found them occupied, so I resorted to standing with everyone else. But as the bus started moving, I turned and saw one empty seat at the back, staring back at me. Had I looked closer beyond my usual preferred seats, I would have found that Allah did infact answer my dua, I was the one who carelessly jumped into the conclusion that He didnt. I didnt look hard enough.

I started to wonder as I sat down, how many times do we do this with our duas? How many times we are quick enough to jump into the conclusion that our duas didnt get answered just by scanning the surface, carelessly overlooking the details? How much effort do we actually put into looking for our “answered duas”? Do we look enough? Should we search harder? Are we heedlessly dismissing our “already answered duas” just because we havent expanded our intellectual horizons to the possibility of the different ways they can be delivered?Are we really looking meticulously for the delivery of our wishes, wants and needs which we pray for?

Are we truely, sincerely, genuinely looking hard enough?

Something I ask myself first and foremost as I think of this verse from the Quran (3:191).