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 10:Ramadan Reflections(Quran)- Twists In Faith

If you are struggling with faith, losing hope in dua, you can ask Allah to increase your faith through fulfilling your dua. Prophet Ibrahim did it, and Allah in His infinite wisdom actually recorded it in the Quran to exemplify for you. It won’t make you any less of a believer.

Even for Prophet Musa’s mother (peace be upon them both), Allah says Musa had to return home to his mother, (despite all the faith and strength Allah gave her to firm her heart), for her to have the ultimate comfort. Allah knows us- He knows that despite our faith tawaqqul at the end of the day we need to have the things we so dearly desire, for us to truly absorb the realisation that Allah’s promise is true.  

Therefore ask Allah to fulfill your desires, so just like her, you would also be of those who truly know that His promise is true. Because as Allah says, most of the people don’t. 

It doesn’t have to be so hard. We think everything worth achieving must be hard, with twists and turns. We made that rule, Allah didn’t.He created us, and He knows He didn’t create all five fingers equally.

Day 6: Ramadan DUAries(Dua+Stories)- Physics, Newton And Dua

Two nights ago someone requested me to make dua for her, that she comes closer to Allah through His book this Ramadan. So for the past two days, I have been making this dua for her. 

Now we all know the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that when you make dua for your brother or sister in their absence, the angel of Allah apppinted for you says “Ameen, and may the same be to you”. Goes without saying, duas of angels always hold high stations to Allah because of their purity.

Tonight, in my taraweeh, I found myself reciting a new surah and connecting with it in a very deep, surreal level. As I kept reciting the verses, I could see them play in front of me, in an unchained melody so familiar yet so new, the events of my life being the keys to the notes. It was not planned, but a sudden inspiration to recite those ayahs.

As I sit on my prayer mat basking in the fuzzy lights  peeking in through the window, I wonder if its one of the angels’ duas which manifested and I came closer to Allah tonight a little more, through His book, exactly how I made dua for someone else.

Because most definitely, my Lord did NOT create this without purpose. Yes IT! This wonderful gift of giving me the very thing which I asked for someone else.

Newton was right- for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You understand it if you can accept that DUA is the biggest action you can take.

Glamorizing Poverty -Islam Endorses Poverty?

Islam does not glamorize poverty or condemn prosperity. Commonly misrepresented, Allah does not instruct us to live a miserable life. In fact He commands us:

“…do not forget your share of this world” (Quran 28:77)

You have your share in this world, Allah says it clearly. And Allah commands that you MUST pursue it.

Ever Friday, we are encouraged to read Surah Kahf, for our guidance for the rest of the week. One of the stories that we read in this surah is the one of Dhul Qarnayin. He was a powerful and noble ruler. Allah praises Him in the Quran, and every Friday we draw lessons from his story  – the lesson of acting  fair when being in a position of leadership and authority.

Abu Bakr , Uthman, Khadija, may Allah be pleased with all of them, are three of the ten people who are guaranteed the Paradise by Allah Himself. Yet, they were the epitome of affluence and prosperity.In fact, it was their fortune and rigeteousness that earned them Allah’s pleasure.

Prophet Sulaiman (may peace be upon him) asked Allah for a kingdom, the likes of which no one has ever had in this history of mankind. Allah was so happy with his dua that He not only gave him what he asked for, He put the jinns at the service of his prophet. The jinns built for him monuments, art works, etc- the remnants of which are still found today. Moreover, Allah arranged the “flying carpet” for Prophet Sulaiman. The winds would take him wherever he wanted to go. Allah mentions these accounts in the Quran to encourage us to ask from Him.

He said: “My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow upon me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me. Verily, You are the Bestower.”So, We subjected to him the wind, it blew gently to his order whithersoever he willed, and also the devils from the jinns including every kind of builder and diver, and also other bound in fetters.  This is Our gift, so spend you or withhold, no account will be asked. And verily, he enjoyed a near access to Us, and a good final return Paradise. (Quran 38 :30-40).

As long as our wealth does inflict evil in us, and make us forget the hereafter ( as were the cases of Pharaoh and Qaroon in the Quran, in which case, Allah comdemns their wealth), Allah actually endorses prosperity. Prophet Sulaiman actually earned paradise, courtesy to his prosperity. How?

Because He made this dua:

“My Lord! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I maybe grateful for Your Favors which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.” (Quran 27:17-19).

Our wealth and prosperity MUST make us grateful to Allah, and instill a thirst for being a doer of good- spend in charity, feed the poor, aid the needy and helpless. Our prosperity needs to be a gateway for us to earn Paradise, afterall that is what Allah teaches us.

So do NOT shy away from asking for greatness from Allah. Allah loves that you ask. He has named Himself Al Wahhab (The Perpetual Giver of Grand Gifts), and we are commanded to take advantage of His Divine Magnanimity.