We have all pretty much heard about the above saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). A lot of us engage in daily dhikr (counting beads) through istighfar to have our duas answered. Even the Quran has numerous verses which talk about the benefits of asking for forgiveness- both worldly and for the hereafter.Benefits of istighfar are widespread all over the internet, alhamdulillah, in case you want to know more about it.
The idea is basically to have our sins forgiven. Most definitely the first way to do so is to do istighfar, verbally asking Allah to overlook our shortcomings. But thats not the only way. There are plenty of other deeds which forgive our sins as well. For eg, dua after eating, doing wudu, dua after leaving washroom, saying subhanAllah, alhamdulillah and allahu akbar 33 times each followed by la ilala illallahu…shayin qadeer once. ( I am skipping details because this post is really not about knowledge, please refer to more scholarly platforms for in depth knowledge of duas and dhikrs with their virtues.)
So when we are tying our intention to do as much istighfar as possible so to have our doors opened, we should focus on all those things which forgive our sins, along with doing the istighfar per se. We will notice so many mundane things we do already contain the virtue of having sins forgiven, we just need to have the intention and presence of mind. Every good that we do, we can make the intention to have some of our sins forgiven for that.
Therefore, if you are looking to do lots of istighfar, look out for all the deeds which have the reward of having sins forgiven. You should get them in the books of hadith or other scholarly resources, inshaAllah.
This post is actually inspired from a lecture of Mufti Menk.
Take the good that you get, and leave the rest to collect dust.
Disclaimer: The title does NOT refer to the literal meaning of having no strings attached. I have attempted to use it in a different context.
About 10mins ago I was making dua after Asr prayer for someone- she wants to come close to Allah and His book, and wants to know Allah better by His names. Again, it wasnt one of those bawling or crying my eyes out dua- but yes I knew what I was asking for her and the importance of that.
Just as I finished my prayer, she texted me. Goes without saying, I told her that I was just making dua for her about 10mins back. Her reply? “About 10 mins ago I was reading the Quran, and came across this verse that really touched my heart”.
SubhanAllah, Glory is to The Lord of the Skies and the Earth. When I was making dua for her, I wasnt even thinking about her- in the sense what is she doing now, is she eating, basically at that moment she only existed in my “dua world” to Allah. At the same time, she was reading the Book of Allah, listening to what He has to say, not remembering (that exact moment) that she asked someone to make dua for her Quran journey. We both were vested in our own relationship with Allah that moment, and Allah was busy using one of us to benefit the other.
I dont know if I could explain the chorewheel as simply as I hoped I would. Because its not simple. I sometimes really cant fathom the multitude of strings Allah pulls to make an event, as mundane as this to happen. Somehow He connects people He wants to connect, without attaching any visible strings. You know there is a string but you cant put your fingers on it. And that baffles me, because countless of such things happen to us everyday, and we let go of them without contemplating about the scenes in the background.
That moment when you are fervently making dua for something, but instead Allah puts you in service of others. Those who perhaps didn’t even ask Allah, but Allah still answered their unsaid prayers through you. Feel the honor.
As for yourself, perhaps you helping them will be your gateway to His Divine Mercy- opening the doors you have been knocking for so long. After all the Allah’s messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) promised that Allah will come to our aid as long as we aid our brothers.
Scholars of dua always emphasize on taking actions when making dua and placing trust in Allah. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also advised us that we should do our part to the best of our ability and trust Allah for the best outcome. This is the law of life. We must work hard to excel in tests, jobs etc and place our trust in Allah that He will reward us with success for our efforts. The Quran also testifies for this- we have examples of Prophets who did their part and made dua to Allah, and Allah gave them miracles after miracles.
Not all prophets though. And similarly, not for all of us, not always. Prophet Yunus AS was swallowed by a whale, and the whale settled itself at the bottom of the ocean, on a dark, stormy night. Darkness of the night, the bottom of the sea and the stomach of the whale. What action could he possibly take? Could he scream for help? Knock the walls of the whale’s stomach to let him out? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Literally, in the ultimate sense of the word, there was NOTHING TO DO.
Every single of one us go through events in life where our hands are tied. There is practically nothing we can do, within the realm of our individual as well as human capacities. We are often stuck in the dark chambers of hardships, surrounded by walls of impossibilities and road blocks. There is no one to go to, and no one who is able to help. Sometimes the ordeal is such that even if the whole world were to gather together to help, it would still remain a futile effort. We are left absolutely alone and unheardIn his immense wisdom, Allah made sure to include the example of Prophet Yunus (AS) in the Quran, because He knows that we will need this counsel. Those of us who find themselves in such a situation, firstly understand that it is a sunnah of this great Prophet Allah has honored us with. Therefore it is only befitting that we follow example and learn from him.
So what did Prophet Yunus do? He made dua. His dua became his action. He kept on pleading to Allah to let him out and soon enough, Allah did.
Faith is in the heart. Sincerity is in the heart. Yaqeen is in the heart. These are unseen, unheard matters of the heart, of the soul. But not dua. Dua is action. It is very much an action that manifests from deep faith in Allah. When you are really serious about something, you will take out time from your daily life to make dua about it. You will spend hours every day to talk to Allah about your problems. You will wake up in the middle of the night only to make dua. You will do more good deeds to have your dua answered. You will do more istighfar to have your ways opened up by Allah’s mercy. You will help others so Allah helps you. If none of these are actions, then what is?
So never let anyone make you feel that making dua is not action. In fact, making dua is the most important action.