Reflections On Istighfar (To Have Duas Answered)

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.

Day 16: Ramadan Reflections- A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Disclaimer: Contains tiny bit of poignant hues

I was really hoping I would be catching some sleep that night. I didnt want the night to turn out like this. I wished I didnt know about it, I wished I could unhear what I heard. I honestly wished I could travel to the world above the skies for couple days, perhaps the weekend, and come back on Monday morning. Take the weekend off- because in my world, taking the weekend off is pretty analogous to that.

After I hung up on the phone, I sat on my bed, trying to make sense of what or how am i supposed to feel. Nowadays it doesnt even hurt anymore, I guess the sensations in the nerves have wilted out over the years. It hurts so bad it doesnt hurt anymore. I still needed to know what am I supposed to feel- because the darkness seemed to trump the faint light that was struggling to peek. And I wanted that light, albeit small, its much better than the mostrous darkness. The darkness is like a canine, a hound may be- just the presence of it sometimes is ominous.

As much as my sinister lower self tried to let itself fall prey on the sadistic, merciless predator, my corresponding meek, vulnerable, still wanting to live and not leave part saw something. Something that no matter how much my ego tried to dismiss saying the tragedy is greater- failed.

The Moon. The moon and I have come pretty close since last winter. I like it. When I am alone among the 6bn people in the world, the moon joins me and we silently glorify our Creator everynight. 

In the Quran, Allah says He is 

Everything that is illuminating- sun, moon, star- all are from Allah’s Light.Even in that dark, ruthless night, the Moon was there with me, and through it, Light of My Creator. Even in that turmoil of emotions, amidst the chaos of my raging heart, I noticed how beautiful the Light was. Soft, subtle, silently illuminating the very area where I pray. For a moment my thoughts drifted to the moon, that Light, those memories. I remembered my dream dua- that of my dream home, where I pray to Allah in the depths of the night, with the moonlight filling up my entire bedroom, falling right on my bed. The very bed where I was sitting that time and thinking about it all.

So I got up, gently pulled the blanket aside, and joined the moon. Together we silently glorified Our Creator, and as I prayed for my dream life, I hope it joined me too.

Perhaps thats why the night was so dark, thats why I had to hear what I hear, went through the incidents of that night. So I could see that the only pretty thing that night was the moon.

And my dream duas.

Day 15: Ramadan DUAries (DUA+Stories)-No Strings Attached

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. 

Day 12: Ramadan DUAries(Dua+Stories)-Faith Is A Funny Thing


This morning I was making dua for my friend. Among other things I threw in a casual dua for her- I wanted Allah to give her some peace and time so she can spend quality time with herself, contemplating and thinking about what she wants to do for her ownself. Her domestic affairs always keep her on her toes 24×7. I want her to do something constructive with her life, which, given her present circumstances is not usually possible. She didnt ask me to make this dua and I didnt tell her either. It was more like something I personally asked for her, because I knew she wants it deep down.

About less than 2 hours later, i texted her asking how is her day going, only to hear that she is looking through the applications of the courses she wishes to do. 

I was baffled at that moment. I had absolutely no clue she was toying with this idea. I just truly wanted her to have some time off for herself to atleast be able to think properly, let alone look through courses. The dua that I made for her, albeit heartfelt, wasnt something I was “begging for” either. It was a pretty casual dua, in fact I was just sitting on my bed when I made it. But Allah already started the chorewheel for her before makind dua for it even came to my mind. Allah just wanted someone to perhaps “lobby” for her, because He loved being called for her. Because He loves her.

The same way He loves you.



Complains Do Not Negate Gratitude: Counsel From The Quran

Complains and gratitude are not mutually exclusive. You can grieve and complain to Allah, and yet remain grateful. When Prophet Yaqoob lost his 10year old son Yusuf, he was devastated and he cried so much he lost his eye sight. Yet when Allah narrates us the story,  NO WHERE does He mention anything about gratitude. Allah never tells him to be grateful that his other sons are alive. None. In fact, Allah captures his struggle by actually telling us that his grief did in fact affect his health, people around him were uncomfortable with his sorrow so they told him to move on- all things that every single one of us unfortunately have heard or told others. 

In this very famous verse Allah actually glorifies the fact that this prophet did complain. He kept telling Allah about his sorrow UNAPOLOGETICALLY. Unlike us humans, Allah did not guilt trip him into being grateful to supress his emotions. In His immense wisdom Allah never tells us to suppress our emotions because He knows it is not healthy.

What is also remarkable is that Allah revealed this story when His messenger (peace be upon him) needed counsel, when he was goung through the most difficult phase of his life. So basically even to his messenger (peace be upon him) Allah did not condemn his grief or ask him to stop complaining and be grateful. Allah gave both these prophets the time and space to grieve, to mourn. Allah acknowledged their sorrow and if any He actually tells us that through their legacies that we can turn to Him too to complain. Complain with unwavering certainty that Allah will change our condition for the better.


Even in this very famous verse of gratitude if you look at the background, Allah revealed it to the Children of Israel after Pharaoh killed their baby boys. Allah through His messenger Moses consoled them and encouraged them to be grateful. But Allah did NOT negate their grief or ask them to stop complaining. That is not a practice of Allah. He gives us the leeway to be grateful and still lament.

Basically what I am trying to convey is that we shouldn’t be ungrateful. We shouldn’t try to negate the value of what we have. But that does not mean that we settle with our miseries. It does not mean we pretend life is a bed of roses when in reality it might be not. There is a reason Allah says in the Quran “and do not forget your share of the world” (28:77)

So relieve yourself of that burden today. That burden where you are “supposed” to be only grateful and not complain. You can do both. You can complain to Allah, complain like nobody’s business, pour out to Him every bitterness that is there. As long as you are not being ungrateful, as long as you are not dismissing the favors He has done to you, you are good. “Remember Me, I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.”(2:152). 

If you are still unsure, try it today. I do this experiment with myself. I was at a very bad situation and I complained to Allah a lot, but the whole time I kept an eye on my attitude. I figured that I did not feel “ingratitude”, I did feel grateful for what I have, but the pain of what I dont have, that sense of inadequacy created from that void was unbearable. 

Pain is given to us for a reason, to feel it. Feeling the sense of incompleteness for the things we do not have in life, for our unfulfilled dreams, wishes and desires, its part of our human creation. It is how Allah created us. We cant cloak them up with veils of gratitude and run away from acknowledging those emotions. Gratitude has its own place and so does our want and need for a better life.

That Faith Muscle

So my friend and I were discussing the topic of certainty and belief in the prayers that we make. Discovering that we both suffer from that hollow in the pit of the stomach or the sinking of the heart that is felt when we are to take a leap of faith, was an eye opening experience, much to our chagrin. We both felt it is something we need to help each other with, and I just wanted to share some of the realisations we had in the process.

So let’s start with an example. You are ravenously famished and you still are en route to home from work, so you call home to your mother and ask her to have the food ready. Would it ever occur to you in the fragment of your imagination that your mother might NOT keep the food ready for you? Would you ever have that feeling of “What if I go home and she doesnt make food for me so I have to spend the night hungry?” The thoughts wouldnt even cross your mind. Because you are certain and you have that trust in her that she will.

But unfortunately this equation gets horribly messed up when we are put in a position to place that same unwavering certainty in Allah. No matter how much we know and learn, the human psychology defies them. May be some very highly spiritual scholars have that level of certainty, but I believe I am speaking for the everyday Jane/John Does like you and me. 

So my friend and I have decided to take the following actions and monitor our progress on a weekly basis:

1) We ask Allah to give us our wishes despite our lack of sufficient, unfaltering faith. He is Al Wasie (The all Encompassing)- so His love and generosity encompasses our shortcomings. 

2) Even Prophet Ibrahim asked Allah to fulfil his dua and use that as a means to firm his faith. So realise that weakness of the heart is a human phenomenon which Allah actually acknowledges in the Quran. Allah teaches us from the example of this great Prophet that we can ask Allah to increase our faith by actualising our prayers and desires.

3) Positive affirmations dont work. If any, the closest it can get to is by talking to Allah. Now what to do I mean by that? For eg, you want to be married. So you call upon Al Wali (The Guardian) in a manner where you explain to Him the significance of His name. Its not that Allah doesnt know the significance of that particular name; but it is through explaining to Allah that you basically strengthen your own faith muscle. For eg you tell Allah that ” You are my guardian, so You are responsible for finding a spouse for me. You have assigned Yourself as my guardian so You have to find someone who You trust me with, who will be my guardian in this world. You have to find this person for me because no one else will do a better job than You.”

As you will keep talking like this to Allah you will feel a sense of power inside you- that is the power from having trust on Allah. The power that you are aided, helped, assisted. This will grow your faith muscle. But just like any workout, you got to be diligent and focussed. Its no less than a workout trust me.

4) Make little duas everyday and as they manifest write them down- details of the experience and what you learnt.

I just wanted to say that everything I have written above is from first hand experience. I don’t if these doubts and self talks ever completely go away, but for what its worth, it most definitely gets better and lesser. Take it from someone who was a paranoid in asking something from Allah because of the ill thoughts and expectations, courtesy to the voice of the devil pretending to be God and telling you that you wont get your prayers.

Serendipity:From Snow To Spring of Showers

I started my Serendipity Series towards the end of Winter- in the last remaining days of  snow. Winter is beautiful- or may be this winter I actually was blessed with the ability to actually feel that beauty. This winter came with promises for a life I never knew existed- much to my own surprise, for the better. I learnt to smile this winter, I learnt to be grateful, but most importantly, I learnt one or two things about believing.

Believing- yes. This winter taught me what it means to ” Be Living”, beyond just a set of breathes and days culminating into an abyss of despair. It gave me a purpose, a reason to get up and marvel at the beauty of His Divine Creations. With every flake of snow falling soundlessly, I felt myself slowly changing,evolving and rising. Rising to be the person I never was. This winter taught me strength,and as I spent the long nights marvelling at the magnificent beauty of the moon and the snow, I learnt that the morning was near. The daybreak was nearer than I thought.


As the winter prepared to bid adieus for this season, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of poignancy creep in. To me, this winter was the best thing that happened after what seemed like an eternity. I was scared that perhaps spring will be harsh, despite its lushy green foliages. But winter was loving enough to quelch my fears. As it parted, it left behind for me a gift which forever changed the life I was living. It left behind for me a season full of promises, joy, unprecented amount of gratitude, and faith. 

Yes, winter left behind for me a Spring of Serendipities. Because more often that not, Serendipities Do Happen.


I started my serendipity series when it used to snow. As I continue with my journey and hence this series, its not snowing anymore now.

Its showering. Winter made sure to leave behind a spring of showers for me.



Thank you God.