A Translation & Commentary
A. RAHIM M.B.E. LONDON
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL
Allah! Bless Muhammad and his progeny.
O Allah! I
beseech Thee by Thy mercy which encompasses all things
"Allah" is the proper name applied to
Him only and it has no corresponding word in English. The English word
"God" merely means a deity - an object of worship and it may
be fire, image, animal, sun or other celestial body. It has
"Goddess" for its feminine and "Gods" for its
plural. Whilst the word "Allah" has neither feminine nor
plural and has never been applied to any person or thing other than the
unimaginable Supreme Being. The Arabic word "llahun", which
has for its dual "llahaini" and for its plural "Alihatun"
may perhaps be considered to be equivalent to the English word
"God". The word "Allah" comprises all the attributes
of perfection and, when used in the form of invocation as "Allahuma,"
the letter "Mim" is added in the end to compensate the
omission of the exclamation of entreaty "Ya" meaning "O
Allah!" Examples of such form of entreaty can be found in the
Qur'an: "Jesus, son of Mary, said "Allahuma" O Allah!
Lord of us! send down for us table spread with food from heaven".
C.5 v. 114 and the Holy Prophet was similarly directed to say - "Allahuma"
O Allah! Owner of Sovereignty Thou givest Government unto whom Thou wilt
and Thou withdrawest Government from whom wilt. C. 3 v. 26. According to
the teaching of the Qur'an, the all comprehensiveness of Allah is
referred to in the very first words of the Qur'an. He is the Creator,
the Nourisher and the Accomplisher of the entire creation.
The words "I beseech Thee" imply that
the beseecher does not deem any one else-besides Allah-deserving to be
sought from and the words "Thy Mercy which encompasses all things
represent exactly the description thereof given in C. 7 v. 156 of the
And by Thy
power by which Thou overcometh all things and submit to it all things
and humble before it all things
C. 39 v. 4 of the Qur'an states - "He is
Allah, the One, the Subduer (of all)." "Al Qahar" (the
Subduer) is an epithet of Allah and C. 2 v. 165 clarifies that "The
Power is wholly Allah's."
And by Thy
might by which Thou hast conquered all things
The word "Jabarut" meaning
"Might", is derived from the epithet of Allah "Al Jabbar"
meaning "The Mighty One."
And by Thy
majesty against which nothing can stand up
The word "Izzat" is derived from
Allah's epithet "Al Aziz" (The Glorious ).
And by Thy
grandeur which prevails upon all things
"He is the Most High, the Tremendous"
C. 2 v. 255 of the Qur'an.
And by Thy
authority which is exercised over all things
"O Thou against whose Authority no other
authority prevails" (Du'a Jaushan al-Kabir). The combined authority
of all worldly powers are incapable to prevent natural disasters like
earthquakes, cyclones or floods even though they may have had previous
notice of it.
And by Thy own
self that shall endure forever after all things have vanished
The expression "Wajhika" has been
defined by Malbubi as "Dhate Parwardighar" Allah Himself. The
Qur'an says - "Everything is perishable but He." C. 28 v. 88
and in C. 55 v. 27. it is stated "And there shall remain for ever
the Person of Thy Lord, the Lord of Glory and Honour."
And by Thy
Names which manifest Thy power over all things
This refers to "Asmaul Husna" the
Excellent Names of Allah. Malbubi states that these Names constitute the
props which sustain everything in existence.
And by Thy
knowledge which pervades all things
"The Omniscient" is one of the
positive attributes of Allah. The Qur'an states: "Allah indeed
encompasses all things in knowledge." C. 65 v. 12. "Al Muhitun"
meaning "One who Encompasses or Comprehends" is one of the
epithets of Allah.
And by the
light of Thy countenance which illuminates everything
The word "Wajh" has a wide meaning
including "cause, countenance, support, appearance, aspect and
look". According to Malbubi, it refers here to the "light of
His Own Self". In interpreting the same expression used in
C. 55 v. 27 of the Qur'an, Imam Zainul Abidin (A.S.)
has stated that the Imams are the countenance of Allah. (Tafsir Safi).
Imam al-Ridha (A.S.) has stated that the Prophets, the Messengers and
the Imams are meant by the phrase "Countenance of Allah" (Tafsir
Qummi ) .
O Thou who art
the light! O Thou who art the most holy! O Thou who existed before the
foremost! O Thou who shall exist after the last!
This passage asserts that Allah's eternity has
no beginning and no end.
Forgive me my such sins as would affront my continency
The word "Isam" is the plural of
"Ismat" meaning immaculacy, defence or continency. Whilst
immaculacy is reserved for Imams and the Prophets, every sane and adult
person is endowed by Allah with faculty to defend himself against or
resist sins and keep himself chaste. But the commission of certain sins
assail his powers of defence and even destroy his continency whereby he
becomes a profligate and a depraved person. May Allah protect us from
such sins! Imam Ja'far al Sadiq (A.S.) has enumerated the following sins
amongst those which abash one's chastity: (1 ) The drinking of
intoxicants; (2) Gambling, (3) Indulging in plays which cause mockery or
derision amongst people, (4) Gossiping about other people's vices or
infamies; and (5) Associating with those who are sceptics or agnostics (Anisul
Forgive me my such sins as would bring down calamity
According to a Hadith, the following sins bring
down calamity: (1) Breach of a covenant; (2) Manifestation of shameful
conduct; (3) Publication of falsehood; (4) Giving judgement contrary to
Allah's revelation; (5) Refusing, or preventing the payment of Zakaat,
and (6) Giving of short measure. (Malbubi ).
Forgive me my such sins as would change divine favours (into disfavours)
Imam Sadiq (A.S.) has stated that these include
the following sins: (1) Inequity against people; (2) Silencing or
opposing an Alim; (3) Being ingratitude to Allah's Grace; and (4)
Assigning associate to Allah. Imam Sadiq (A.S.) has also included the
following other sins under this category:- (1) Displaying one's own
poverty; (2) Despising Allah's Favour; and (3) Uttering a complaint
against Allah. ( Anisul Lail ).
Forgive me my such sins as would hinder my supplication
According to Imam Sadiq (A.S.), such sins are:-
bad faith (mala fide), ceasing to believe in the prayer being answered
(granted ), hypocrisy towards brethren, delay in the saying of prayers
in time and violation of duties towards the two parents (Uququl Walidain).
Forgive me such sins as bring down misfortunes (or afflictions)
According to Imam Zainul Abidin (A.S.), the
following sins bring down misfortunes or afflictions: (1) Abandoning aid
to those in affliction; (2) Abandoning assistance to oppressed persons
calling for assistance; and (3) To render abortive (or destroy) the
enjoining of good acts and forbidding that which is evil (Amr bil Ma'ruf
and Nahi Anil Munkar). (Anisul Lail).
Forgive my such sins as would suppress hope
Although this paragraph has been omitted from
Sheikh Abbas Qummi's edition, it does exist in other authoritative books
and commentaries of the "Du'a".
According to Imam Sadiq (A.S.), the following
sins are those which suppress hope:- (1) Despairment of the Mercy of
Allah; (2) To entertain no hope of Allah's Clemency; (3) Reliance upon
someone else besides Allah; and (4) Disbelief in Allah's promises. Imam
Zainul Abidin (A.S.) has referred in Sahifa Sajjadiya to the similar
effect. He has said:-"The seeking by one indigent person from
another necessitous being is a folly of his brain and loss of his common
sense. My Lord! How many men have sought honour from others than Thee
and have been dishonoured; they, who sought wealth from others than
Thee, were struck with poverty and those who sought greatness from
others than Thee, met with destruction.
Mohammed Ibn `Ajlaan relates:-"Once I
became so distressed, constrained and helpless that I decided to appeal
for financial assistance from Hassan Ibn Zaid, who was then the Governor
of Medina. As he was a friend of mine, I had hoped he would be
sympathetic towards me. On my way to the Government House, I met
Mohammed Ibn Abdulla, who was the grandson of Imam Mohammed Baqir (A.S.).
On noticing my perplexity, he inquired as where I was going. I informed
him of all my circumstances and said that I saw no other way except to
seek aid from Hassan Ibn Zaid. He said, "Your need will not be
fulfilled for verily I have heard my uncle, Imam Ja'far as Sadiq (A.S.)
saying that Allah had revealed to one of his Prophets as follows
-"I swear by My Greatness and Majesty that I shall sever the hope
of every person who hopes, by reason of despair, to obtain aid from any
one else besides Me and I shall disgrace him in the eyes of the people
and I shall place him further from My Grace and Favour. What! Does My
bondman, in his distress, hope for relief from any one else save Myself
whilst I control destinies? Does he hope to acquire anything from any
one else when I am All Sufficing and Generous?" ( Anisul Lail ).
Forgive every sin that I have committed and every error that I have
"Sin" must be distinguished from an
"error" which may be due to a mistake. "To error is
human" as it may be due to a mistake or misunderstanding the
position. The former implies intention to do wrong but the latter may be
due to a mistake made in good faith but as both may result in
considerable damage, they need Allah's grace of forgiveness.
C. 4 v. 17 of the Qur'an says-"Repentance
with Allah is only for those who do evil in ignorance, then turn (to
Allah) soon, so these it is to whom Allah turns (mercifully), and Allah
is ever Knowing, Wise."
O Allah! I
endeavour to draw myself nigh to Thee through Thy invocation
Every prayer, every act of piety, every act of
charity and benevolence must be intended with the object of drawing one
self nigh to Allah. Indeed the entire life of a faithful must be aimed
at achieving this aspiration for which every jinn and man was created.
Being nigh to Allah is the highest prize a human being to attain. The
Qur'an says-"Then if he is one of those drawn nigh (to Allah); Then
happiness and bounty and a garden of bliss (for them)" (C. 56 v. 88
And I pray to
Thee to intercede on my behalf
The power of intercession is solely vested in
Allah. C.39 v.44 states:- "Say: Allah's is the intercession
altogether." But He may permit others also to intercede. See Verse
109 of C. 20 which reads- "On that day shall no intercession avail
except of him whom the Beneficent God allows and whose word He is
And I entreat
Thee by Thy benevolence to draw me nearer to Thee
The nearness to God signifies the perfection of
a human being
And grant me
that I should be grateful to Thee and inspire me to remember and to
"Gratitude to Allah" implies being
faithful to His commandments and remembering Him at every moment.
Remembering Him at every stage deters us from committing sins and our
hearts are laid at rest. The Qur'an says-"Surely by Allah's
remembrance are the hearts set at rest." C. 13 v. 29.
O Allah! I
entreat Thee begging Thee submissively, humbly and awestrickenly
These are the essential qualities needed for
approaching Allah. A person is required to have awe of his Lord and fear
the evil consequences of the Day of Reckoning. See C. 13 v. 21 of the
To treat me
with clemency and mercy, and to make me pleased and contented with what
Thou hast allotted to me
The beseecher seeks the clemency of Allah in
respect of his sins and short comings; contentment and pleasure with the
necessaries of life bestowed upon him by Allah without seeking to beg
the same from others. It is stated in Hadith by Imam Ali (A.S.)
that-"He who is contented, is honoured and ignominious is he who
yearns." It is stated in the second Hadith that "One who is
contented is self-sufficient even if he is hungry and naked; One who is
contented triumphs over the people of his time and one who is contented
has sufficiency of means over his generation; He who is contented has
selected self sufficiency over ignominy and ease over hardship".
Imam Amir el Muminin (A.S.) has stated:-"I sought richness but did
not find it except in contentment and so it behoves you to be contented
and feel enriched, I sought for Glory and Position but did not find them
except in knowledge and it behoves you to acquire knowledge and it will
secure you glory and position in both the worlds; I sought to obtain
nobility and I could not find it except by fearing Allah, therefore,
fear Allah to become noble; I sought for tranquillity and found it in
abandoning mingling with people, therefore, leave the worldly people and
you will obtain tranquillity." (Malbubi).
The Holy Prophet has also said
"Contentment is a treasure which does not exhaust." (Malbubi).
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an-"We
distribute among them their sustenance (rizq) in the life of the
world.'' C. 43 v. 32 (Malbubi).
And cause me
to be modest and unassuming in all circumstances
It is stated in Hadith that Allah has appointed
two angels over each of his bondsmen; whoever is humble and unassuming
over others, Allah exalts him, but whoever is arrogant suffers
humiliation. ( Malbubi ) .
O Allah! I beg
Thee as one who is passing through extreme privation and who supplicates
his needs to Thee and his hope has been greatly raised by that which is
Paradise, forgiveness and all that is good for
human being are in the control of Allah. But hope must be combined with
fear of Allah. In one of our supplications, we pray "O Thou! from
Whom I hope (reward) for every good and fear His Wrath for every evil
(intended to be committed)." It is stated by Allah in Hadith Qudsi
"When hope and fear (of His Wrath) combine in a believer, I make
paradise for him incumbent." ( Malbubi ) .
O Allah! Great
is Thy kingdom and exalted is Thy greatness
This passage is auxiliary to the last passage
in which a human being, having acknowledged his own disability to remedy
his own privation, seeks succour from the Lord Whose Kingdom is great
and Might is exalted. (Malbubi).
Thy plan is
secret, Thy authority is manifest, Thy might is victorious and subduing
and Thy power is prevalent throughout and it is not possible to escape
from Thy dominion
Imam Hussein (A.S.) reports that a man came to
see his father Amir al Mominin (A.S.) and said-"I am a sinner and
find it difficult to resist the temptation to sin. Wilt thou advise me
what to do?"
Imam Amir al Mominin (A.S.) admonished the man
as follows- If you possess the ability for these five pre requisites,
then you may commit any sin as you like:- Firstly, stop partaking of
sustenance (rizq) provided by Allah; Secondly, get out of Allah's
domain; Thirdly, find a place where Allah does not see, Fourthly,
acquire power to prevent the Angel of Death from taking away your soul;
and Fifthly, gather the strength to resist Malik, the Angel in charge of
the Hell, flinging you into the Hell. If you are able to do these five
things, then sin as you like. (Malbubi).
Except Thee I do not find any one able to pardon my sins nor to conceal
my loathsome acts
The Qur'an clearly states - "and who
forgives the sins but Allah" C. 3 v. 134. It is the exclusive right
of Allah, though others may intercede with His permission. Qur'an C. 2
"Satir" (the concealor of loathsome
acts of His bondsmen) is one of Allah's attributes. By His infinite
Grace, He conceals a lot of our loathsome acts from the knowledge of the
society, but discloses our virtues. In one of our supplications, we say
"O Thou! who makes conspicuous our decorous actions and conceals
those that are loathsome." ( Malbubi ) .
Nor have I any
one except Thee to change my evil deeds into virtues
It is Almighty alone who has the power to
change our evil deeds into virtues. Says the Holy Qur'an-"Except
him who repents and believes and does a good deed; so these are they of
whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones; and Allah is Forgiving
and Merciful." C. 25 v. 70.
There is no
god but Thou glory and praise be to Thee I have made my own soul to
suffer I had the audacity (to sin) by my ignorance
"Ignorance" here means
"foolishness or stupidity" (Malbubi).
my past remembrance of Thee and Thy grace towards me
Allah is, of course, Ever Gracious but it is
sheer audacity and foolishness to regard His Grace as a licence to
commit sins and expose one's own soul to the hazard of sufferings in the
hereafter. The passage teaches us that every sin will cause suffering to
the soul unless immediate repentance is made and Allah's forgiveness is
sought. Repentance implies determination not to repeat the sin.
Mansur el Ammar relates that once he had an
occasion to go out of his house at midnight and on his way he heard the
pathetic voice of a young man making supplication to Allah and saying:
"My Lord! The sin which I have just committed was not done with the
intention of disobeying or defying Thee but was actuated by sheer, lust
over powering me and Satan leading me astray. I have made my own soul to
suffer and be liable to Thine indignation and chastisement." Mansur
states-"When I heard these words of supplication by the young man,
I went to the crevice of the young man's door and recited in a loud
voice this verse of the Qur'an-"O you who believe! Save yourselves
and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones, over it are
angels stern and strong, they do not disobey Allah in what He commands
them, and do as they are commanded." (C. 66 v. 6). Mansur continues
to say "When I had recited this verse, the young man raised a cry
of lamentation and I heard him cry out-"My Lord! my weak body has
no power to become the fuel of the hell fire'." Mansur walked away
from the house and says - "When the next morning I passed by that
house from which I had heard the young man's supplication, I heard women
wailing. I went to inquire the cause for wailing and an old lady came to
the door and said-'Last night when my youthful son was engaged, through
fear of Allah, in supplication someone called at the door of our house
and recited an admonishing verse of the Qur'an which caused my son to
shout and fall on the ground palpitating and died immediately.' Mansur
states that he informed the old lady that as he was the cause of her
son's death, would she permit him to wash and shroud his dead body. The
old lady permitted him to do so and Mansur states-"When I entered
the young man's room, I saw him lying facing towards Ka'ba (Mecca) and I
saw a piece of canvas on his chest. When I moved away the canvas, I saw
the following words engraved on his chest in clear letters:-'I have
washed this bondman with the water of penitence, now My bondman is pure
from sins.' (Anisul Lail).
O Allah! My
Lord! How many of my loathsome acts hast Thou screened (from public
How many of my
grievous afflictions (distresses) hast Thou reduced in severity
The word "Maula" has here been used
in the sense of "Master" and the word "Fadihin"
means "heavy" or "grievous" (Malbubi).
And how many
of my stumblings hast Thou protected, how many of my detestable acts has
Thou averted, and how many of my undeserving praises hast Thou spread
The Arabic word "ithar" has been
translated by Malbubi as meaning "laghzish" in Farsi language
which means "a slip, slipping or stumbling." " Makruhin"
is used in the general sense to mean "any blameworthy act."
O Allah! My
trails and sufferings have increased and my evilness has worsened, my
good deeds have diminished and my yokes (of misdeeds) have become firm
According to Maibubi, the Arabic word "afrata"
means "increased" and that "aghlal" is the plural of
"ghalla" meaning restrained like imprisonment and deprived of
Allah's taufiq (the favour of Allah) to accomplish good deeds."
When the yokes of sins become heavy, they over power the sinner and
prevent him from accomplishing good deeds. ( Malbubi ) .
hopes restrain me to profit (by good deeds) and the world has deceived
me with its allurements and my own self has been affected by treachery
I have translated the Arabic word "nafs"
as "self". The word "nafs" has been used in the
Qur'an in various ways according to its context e.g. "Nafsul Ammara"
referred to in C. 12 v. 52 means "soul prone to evil", "Nafsul
Mutmainna" referred to in C. 81 v. 18 means "soul at
peace" and "Nafsul Lawamma" referred to in C. 75 v. 2
means "self reproaching soul". Indeed Malbubi states that Imam
Ali (A.S.) has referred to several types of `nafs'' in a Hadith recorded
in Majma' ul Bahraini but in the passage of this supplication, the
supplicant obviously refers to his own self.
Lord! I implore Thee by Thy greatness not to let my sins and my misdeeds
shut out access to my prayers from reaching Thy realm and not to
disgrace me by exposing those (hidden ones) of which Thou hast knowledge
nor to hasten my retribution for those vices and misdeeds committed by
me in secret which were due to evilmindedness, ignorance, excessive
lustfulness and my negligence
O Allah! I beg
Thee by Thy greatness to be compassionate to me in all circumstances and
well disposed towards me in all matters
My God! My
Nourisher! Have I anyone except Thee from whom I can seek the dislodging
of my evils and understanding of my problems?
According to Malbubi, the evils may be physical
or spiritual and it is only Allah Who can perceive them and dislodge
them. The Holy Qur'an says "Who answers the distressed one when he
calls upon Him and dislodges the evil" C. 27 v. 62. One of the
attributes of Allah is "Reliever of distresses" and every
Prophet has sought relief from Him during distress.
My God! My
Master! Thou decreed a law for me but instead I obeyed my own low
And I did not
guard myself against the allurements of my enemy
The enemy referred to is Satan who had declared
before Allah- "I will certainty make (evil) fairseeming to them on
earth and I will cause them all to deviate." C. 15 v. 39 of the
He deceived me
with vain hopes whereby I was led astray and fate helped him in that
I have translated the word "Qaza"
here as "fate" to accord with the context. Malbubi states that
according to Maima'ul Bahrain "Qaza" has numerous meanings
amongst them it means "decreed", "created".
"accomplished", "brought to an end",
"completed", "fulfilled", "destiny",
"death", "fatality", "prayer after the time
appointed for it elapsed", "adjudged", "fate",
"predestination", or "inevitable fate".
transgressed some of its limits set for me by Thee and I disobeyed some
of Thy commandments; Thou hast therefore a (just) cause against me in
all those matters and I have no plea against Thy judgement passed
"Hujjat" means an argument, proof,
reason, alteration or disputation. "Hujjat by Allah" in the
above passage signifies that the sinner confesses that Allah had justly
passed His judgement against him as Allah had done all that was
necessary for his guidance by sending an Apostle, revealing the Qur'an
and appointing the Imams to interpret His laws and the sinner further
admits that he has no "plea" or argument for excusing himself
from transgressing Allah's laws. ( Malbubi ) .
therefore become (justifiably) liable to Thy judgement and afflictions
But now I have
turned Thee, my Lord, after being guilty of omissions and transgressions
against my soul, apologetically, repentantly, broken heartedly,
entreating earnestly for forgiveness, yieldingly confessing (to my
guilt) as I can find no escape from that which was done by me and having
no refuge to which I could turn except seeking Thy acceptance of my
excuse and admitting me into the realm of Thy capacious mercy
Accept my apology and have pity on my intense sufferings and set me free
from my heavy fetters (of evil deeds)
Have mercy on the infirmity of my body, the delicacy of my skin and the
brittleness of my bones
O' Thou! Who
originated my creation and (accorded me) my individuality, and (ensured)
my upbringing and welfare (and provided) my sustenance (I beg Thee) to
restore Thy favours and blessings upon me as Thou didst in the beginning
of my life
O' my God! My
master! My Lord! And my Nourisher! What! Wilt Thou see me punished with
the fire kindled by Thee despite my belief in Thy unity? And despite the
fact that my heart has been filled with (pure) knowledge of Thee and
when my tongue has repeatedly praised Thee and my conscience has
acknowledged Thy love and despite my sincere confessions (of my sins)
and my humble entreaties submissively made to Thy divinity?
Nay, Thou art
far too kind and generous to destroy one whom thyself nourished and
supported, or to drive away from Thyself one whom Thou has kept under
Thy protection, or to scare away one whom Thy self hast given shelter,
or to abandon in affliction one Thou hast maintained and to whom Thou
hast been merciful
I wish I had
known o' my Master, my God and my Lord! Wilt Thou inflict fire upon
faces which have submissively bowed in prostration to Thy greatness, or
upon the tongues which have sincerely confirmed Thy unity and have
always expressed gratitude to Thee, or upon hearts which have
acknowledged Thy divinity with conviction, or upon the minds which
accumulated so much knowledge of Thee until they became submissive to
Thee, or upon the limbs which strove, at the places appointed for Thy
worship, to adore Thee willingly and seek Thy forgiveness submissively?
In translating the above passage, I have
adopted the Persian translation thereof given by Malbubi. For instance,
he translates the expression "laita shi'ri" as "kash mi
danistam" which means "I wish I had known", he translates
"kharrat" as "falling down on earth and
prostrating"; he translates "jawarih" as "limbs of
the body"; he translates "hawat" as "to gather"
which I have rendered into English as "to accumulate", he
translates "autaan" as plural of "Watan" meaning
centres or homes and "ta'abudi" as "worship" and I
have rendered the expression in English as "places appointed for
worship" which include mosques, places of prayers like namaz gah.
In fact every inch of the earth, which is not privately owned and is
pure from pollution (najasat) is a place of worship".
Such sort (of
harshness) is not expected from Thee as it is remote from Thy grace, o'
Although the Qur'an proclaims Allah as
"severe in requiting (evil)" in C. 2 v. 165, He is also
described as "Oft relenting and Merciful." C. 9 v. 118.
According to Malbubi, a Hadith directs us always to have "Husni
dhan a good and favourable opinion for Allah.
O' Lord! Thou
art aware of my weakness to bear even a minor affliction of this world
and its consequence and adversity affecting the denizen of this earth,
although such afflictions are momentary, short-lived and transient
How then can I
bear the retributions and the punishments of the hereafter which are
enormous and of intensive sufferings, of prolonged period and perpetual
duration, and which shall never be alleviated for those who deserve the
same as those retributions will be the result of Thy wrath; and Thy
punishment which neither the heavens nor the earth can withstand and
My Lord! How
can I, a weak, insignificant, humble, poor and destitute creature of
Thine be able to bear them?
O' my God! My
Lord! My King! And Master! Which of the matters shall I complain to Thee
and for which of them shall I bewail and weep?
Shall I bewail
for the pains and pangs of the punishment and their intensity or for the
length of sufferings and their duration?
Lord!) If Thou wilt subject me to the penalties (of hell) in company of
Thy enemies and cast me with those who merited Thy punishments and tear
me apart from Thy friends and those who will be near to Thee, then my
God, my Lord and my Master, though I may patiently bear Thy punishments,
how can I calmly accept being kept away from Thee?
I reckon that
though I may patiently endure the scorching fire of Thy hell, yet how
can I resign myself to the denial of Thy pity and clemency? How can I
remain in the fire while I have hopes of Thy forgiveness?
Wailing, lamentation and weeping over one's own
sins are the only weapons available to a repentant sinner who seeks
Allah's Mercy and Forgiveness. "Call on your Lord," says the
Qur'an, "humbly and secretly." In fact it is stated in an
authenticated hadith-"The most beloved tears in Allah's sight are
those that are shed by a repentant sinner" and numerous instances
are recorded of some reputed transgressors of Allah's laws being
forgiven and granted Allah's Mercy and Forgiveness by means of this
Sheikh Bahai, (1) one of the leading Muslim
theologians, records in Vo. 5 of his book called "Kashkul"
that a reputed sinner happened to die in the suburb of Basra, Iraq, and
his widow did her best to obtain the assistance of the villagers to
wash, shroud and bury his body according to Muslim rites but none of
them, because of the deceased's notoriety, could be persuaded to
co-operate. As a last recourse, she had the deceased's body removed by
porters to a place where the Muslims usually assembled for their prayers
in the hope that some of the congregation might recite the funeral
prayer on the dead body but no one took any notice of the body. She then
got the porters to remove the corpse to a desert and accompanied the
body with the intention of getting a grave dug and bury it without
ablution, shrouds or funeral prayers. On reaching the desert, she was
surprised to see an aged devout worshipper, who lived in a cave near by
to spend the rest of his life in devotion and worship of Allah, waiting
to receive the corpse. The devout worshipper took over the corpse,
washed and shrouded it and despatched a courier to the villagers in the
vicinity that he was going to recite the funeral prayer on the body.
When the villagers and the people in the city of Basra got this news, a
crowd of them assembled in the desert and inquired from the venerable
worshipper, who was held in high esteem for his piety and asceticism, as
to what prompted him, to leave the place of his worship and attend to
the funeral rites of a reputed wretch. He replied that he had seen a
vision commanding him to attend to the funeral rites of the deceased
who, he said, was described in the vision as "a; repentant person
whom Allah had forgiven and had assigned to him a place in the vicinity
of His Mercy." The crowd being astonished to hear of this vision,
asked the deceased's widow if he had any virtues to deserve a place in
the Divine Mercy. She said that so far as she knew, her husband was
addicted to drinking and gay life but he did possess three peculiar
qualities. Firstly, when he woke up at day break, he used to perform an
absolute ablution of his body, dress in pure garments and say his
morning prayers. Secondly, never a day passed without him doing some
kindness to orphans. It was his habit to refuse taking his meals unless
two or three orphans joined him and he used to treat orphans more kindly
than his own children. Thirdly, if he happened to wake up in the middle
of the night, he used to weep and pray "My Lord! Is it possible for
my body to be so enlarged as to fill up the entire pit of hell so that
there would be no room in it for any one else; my Master! I shall endure
Thy hell fire but I shall not be able to endure to see the sufferings of
Thine other creatures." When the crowd heard this talk of the
widow, they all -including the devout worshipper wept and
said-"Indeed, we are fortunate to be able to join the funeral
prayer of such a patron of orphans and tender hearted person." They
then all joined in the funeral prayer and buried the body with respect
and dignity. (Anisul Lail).
(1) Sheikh Bahai (whose full name is Bahau Deen
Amili and ranks high amongst Shia Ithna asheri theologians) should not
be confused with the new Bahai religious system which is a comparatively
new system founded in the 19th century by a person who was called "Baab"
and was shortly thereafter followed by a man called Bahau llah" who
claimed to have received divine revelation. (The Reader's Digest Great
O' my Lord! By
Thy honour truly do I swear that, if Thou wilt allow my power of speech
to be retained by me in the hell, I shall amongst its inmates cry out
bewailingly unto Thee like the cry of those who have faith in Thy
kindness and compassion
And I shall
bemoan for Thee (for being deprived of nearness to Thee) the lamentation
of those who are bereaved, and I shall keep on calling unto Thee:
"Where art Thou o' Friend of the believers! O' (Thou who art) the
last hope and resort of those who acknowledge Thee and have faith in Thy
clemency and kindness; o' Thou who art the helper of those seeking help!
O' Thou who art dear to the hearts of those who truly believe in Thee!
And o' Thou who art the Lord of the universe."
Heart felt words are these to manifest the
anguish and sorrow of a believer who, while not resenting the justice
meted out to him by Allah in casting him into the hell, nevertheless
deplores the fact that he has been separated from Allah's Grace and
Mercy. Appropriate phrases such as these for the purpose of supplication
can only be learnt from a true Imam who knows the proper method of
approach to Allah. We have instances of similar words employed by Imam
Zainul Abidin (A.S.) in the Du'a which he taught Abu Hamza Thamali to
recite in the early dawn of the holy month of Ramadhan. One of the
passages reads-"My Lord! If Thou wilt cast me into fire, it will
only delight Thy enemies but if Thou wilt cause me to enter paradise it
will delight Thy Prophet and by Allah I am aware that the joy of Thy
Prophet is more beloved to Thee than the joy of Thy enemies."
Another passage of the Du'a reads: My God! My Lord! I swear by Thy
Honour and Majesty, if Thou seeks (to punish me) for my sins, I shall
seek Thy Forgiveness; if Thou seeks to reprove me for my blames, I shall
seek from Thee Thy Generosity; If Thou wilt cast me into the fire, I
shall inform its denizens of my love for Thee."
My Lord! Glory
and praise be to Thee, wouldst Thou (wish) to be seen (disregarding) the
voice of a muslim bondman, incarcerated therein (the hell) for his
disobedience and imprisoned within its pits for his evildoings and
misdeeds, crying out to Thee the utterance of one who has faith in Thy
mercy and calling out to Thee in the language of those who believe in
Thy unity and seeking to approach Thee by means of Thy epithet "the
Creator, the Nourisher, the Accomplisher and the Protector of the entire
"Afaturaka" is composed of
interrogative article "Aa" the conjunction "Fe" and
the word "Turaka" meaning "thou be seen" and every
effort has been made to render the complex Arabic passage comprehensible
by the addition of a couple of words in brackets, without omitting any
of the original words. This passage represents a humble reasoning,
submitted with all humility, by a fallible creature to invoke the mercy
of the Creator.
The word "Rububiyyataka" is difficult
to render accurately in English, "Rabb" has been frequently
used in the Qur'an and translated by most translators into English as
"Lord" but the word is very comprehensive and means also
"Nourisher", "Fosterer", "Accomplisher"
and "Protector", when used in respect of Allah, it covers all
these meanings and means "The Author and the Originator of all the
My Lord! Then
how could he remain in torments when he hopefully relies upon Thy past
forbearance, compassion and mercy?
Indeed. Allah has himself drawn attention to
these attributes in the following verses of the Holy Qur'an:
"Announce (O' Mohammed) unto my slaves that verily I am Forgiving,
Merciful." C. 15 v. 49. Allah is not the Lord of Vengeance but of
Mercy. In Ch. 6 verse 54 of the Holy Qur'an, He says - "Your Lord
hath prescribed for Himself Mercy." (Malbubi).
And how can
the fire cause him suffering when he hopes for Thy grace and mercy and
how can its roaring flames char him when Thou hearest his voice and sees
his plight? And how can he withstand its roaring flames when Thou
knowest his frailness? And how can he be tossed about between its layers
when Thou knowest his sincerity? And how can the guards of hell threaten
him when he calls out to Thee?
Lord", and how would Thou abandon him therein (the hell) when he
has faith in Thy grace to set him free?
Alas! That is
not the concept (held by us) of Thee nor has Thy grace such a reputation
nor does it resemble that which Thou hast awarded by Thy kindness and
generosity to those who believe in Thy unity
conclude that hadst Thou not ordained punishment for those who
disbelieved in Thee, and hadst Thou not decreed Thy enemies to remain in
hell, Thou wouldst have made the hell cold and peaceful and there would
never have been an abode or place for any one in it; but sanctified be
Thy Names, Thou hast sworn to fill the hell with the disbelievers from
amongst the jinns and mankind together and to place forever Thy enemies
exalted be Thy praises, hadst made manifest, out of Thy generosity and
kindness, that a believer is not like unto him who is an evil-liver
See C. 32 v. 18 of the Holy Qur'an, Pickthall's
My Lord! My
Master! I, therefore implore Thee by that power which Thou determineth
and by the decree which Thou hast finalised and ordained whereby Thou
hath prevailed upon whom Thou hast imposed it, to bestow upon me this
night and this very hour the forgiveness for all the transgressions that
I have been guilty of, for all the sins that I have committed, for all
the loathsome acts that I have kept secret and for all the evils done by
me, secretly or openly, in concealment or outwardly and for every evil
action that Thou hast ordered the two noble scribes to confirm whom Thou
hast appointed to record all my actions and to be witnesses over me
along with the limbs of my body, whilst Thou observeth over me besides
them and wast witness to those acts concealed from them? Which Thou in
Thy mercy hast kept secret and through Thy kindness unexposed
And I pray to
Thee to make my share plentiful in all the good that Thou dost bestow;
in all the favours that Thou dost grant; and in all the virtues that
Thou dost allow to be known everywhere; and in all the sustenance and
livelihood that Thou dost expand and in respect of all the sins that
Thou dost forgive and the wrongs that Thou dost cover up
O' Lord! O'
Lord! O' Lord! O' my God! My Lord! My King! O' Master of my freedom! O'
Thou who holdeth my destiny and who art aware of my suffering and
poverty, o' Thou who knoweth my destitution and starvation, o' my Lord!
O' Lord, o' Lord!
I beseech Thee
by Thy glory and Thy honour, by Thy supremely high attributes and by Thy
names to cause me to utilise my time, day and night, in Thy remembrance,
by engaging myself in serving Thee (Thy cause) and to let my deeds be
such as to be acceptable to Thee, so much so that all my actions and
offerings (prayers) may be transformed into one continuous and sustained
effort and my life may take the form of constant and perpetual service
The Holy Qur'an says "Verily in the
remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest." C. 13 v. 28. It gives
solace to those suffering misery, bereavement, destitution or
sinfulness. Service to Allah includes service to family and humanity.
"Offering prayers", of course, has been particularly mentioned
because without observing the daily prayers, there can be no
"remembrance of Allah." Allah says in the Qur'an-
"Therefore, remember Me, I will remember you." C. 2 v. 152. It
is stated in the Hadith of the Imam that when the time arrives for
saying the prayers, an angel calls out to the people-"Stand up to
extinguish the fire that you have kindled behind your backs and put it
out by means of your mouths (prayers)" (Malbubi).
O' my Master!
O' Thou upon Whom I rely! O' Thou unto Whom I express my distress! O' my
Lord! My Lord! My Lord! Strengthen my limbs for Thy service and sustain
the strength of my hands to persevere in Thy service and bestow upon me
the eagerness to fear Thee and constantly to serve Thee
"Fear of Allah" is the sheet anchor
for preventing disorders, crimes and vandalism. The sanctions of human
made laws cannot do so. To instil the fear of Allah needs to introduce
into human minds the knowledge of Allah, His Powers and Retributions.
"Only the erudite among His bondsmen fear Allah" Qur'an C. 25
In order to warn mankind of the catastrophic
results of their misdeeds, Allah does some time create symbolic
punishments in this world in the form of hurricanes, earthquakes and
floods which no power on earth, despite being fore warned by barometers
and other scientific means, can forestall or prevent. These are mere
symbols of Allah's Power to deter us from our sinful courses. But,
instead of drawing any lessons from them, we have, by human made laws,
legalised the abominable acts of homosexualism and have condoned
immorality by changing its nomenclature to "permissiveness"
and have thereby, in the name of liberty, allowed our daughters, mothers
and sisters, to purvey their most sacred jewel, Chastity as a saleable
commodity and to portray one of the most beloved servants of Allah,
Prophet Jesus Christ, as a homosexualist! Does this type of conduct
justify us to plead to our Creator to save us from the Doom hereafter
which has been described as one which "the earth and heavens cannot
withstand." What is called for, is pure character and not
"songs of Praise."
So that I may
lead myself towards Thee in the field with the vanguards who are in the
fore rank and be swift towards Thee among those who hasten towards Thee
and urge eagerly to be near Thee and draw myself towards Thee like them
who sincerely draw themselves towards Thee and to fear Thee like the
fear of those who believe firmly in Thee and thus I may join the
congregation of the faithful congregated near Thee (for protection)
According to Malbubi, the words "saraha"
means `to lead out" the word "mayadin" is the plural of
"maidan" meaning "the battle field" which obviously
means "spiritual" battle field whose van guards (leaders) are
the prophets and friends of Allah and the word "jawar" is the
plural of `Jar" meaning a neighbour and in the passage above it
means "Allah's protection."
Whosoever intendeth evil against me, let ill befall on him and frustrate
him who plots against me and assign for me a place in Thy presence with
the best of Thy bondsmen and nearer abode to Thee, for verily that
position cannot be attained except through Thy grace and treat me
benevolently, and through Thy greatness extend Thy munificence towards
me and through Thy mercy protect me and cause my tongue to accentuate
Thy remembrance and my heart filled with Thy love and be liberal to me
by Thy gracious response and cause my evils to appear fewer and forgive
me my errors for verily, Thou hast ordained for Thy bondsmen Thy worship
and bidden them to supplicate unto Thee and hast assured them (of Thy)
The assurance referred to in the above passage
is given in Ch. 40 v. 60 of the Qur'an which reads-"And your Lord
hath said: "Call on Me, I will answer your call". But there
are requisites laid down by the Holy Qur'an for the supplication to be
answered. Allah says in Ch. 2 v. 186: "I answer the supplication of
every supplicant who calleth on Me, let them also, with a will, answer
My call, and have faith in Me, that they may proceed aright."
"Faith in Me" means a vivid realisation of His Living Presence
and the truth of His having care of us. "Answer My call" means
obedience to His commandments. He says "Fulfil your promise to Me
and I will fulfil Mine to you." (Ch. 2 v. 40).
So, my Lord! I
look earnestly towards Thee and towards Thee, my Lord! I have stretched
forth my hands therefore, by Thy honour, respond to my supplication and
let me attain my wishes and, by Thy bounty, frustrate not my hopes and
protect me from the evils of my enemies, from among the jinns and
mankind o' Thou! Who readily pleased, forgive one who owns nothing but
supplication for Thou doest what Thou willest o' Thou! Whose Name is the
remedy (for all ills) and Whose remembrance is a sure cure for all
ailments and obedience to Whom makes one self sufficient; have mercy on
one whose only asset is hope and whose only armour is lamentation
O' Thou! Who
perfecteth all bounties and Who wardeth off all misfortunes! O' Light!
Who illuminateth those who are in bewilderment! O' Omniscient! Who
knoweth without (acquisition of) learning! Bless Mohammed and the
Descendants of Mohammed and do unto me in accordance with that which
befitteth Thee, and deal with me not in accordance to my worth
The supplicant, in utter humility, entreats
Allah, to deal with him not in accordance with what he deserves as a
sinner, but in compatibility with Allah's own high attributes as
Forgiver, Merciful and Cherisher of His bondman and lead him to the path
of piety and righteousness as He, Allah, is the Lord of Piety and
blessings of Allah be bestowed upon His Apostle and the Rightful Imams
from his Descendants and His peace be upon them plentifully
The Author acknowledges with gratitude the
assistance received from the following works -
(a) "KNOW YOUR ISLAM" published by
Peermohamed Ebrahim Trust of Karachi (Pakistan), which contains a
verbatim translation of the "Du'a" in the English language,
and which has been reproduced mutatis mutandis in this Commentary.
(b) "ANISUL LAIL Fl SHARHI DU'AIL KUMEIL"
which is an Arabic commentary on the "Du'a"; and
(c) "DARMAN RUHO RAWAN" which is a
commentary in the Farsi language of the Du'a and contains scholarly
interpretations of its words and phrases written by the learned Aqa
Mohammed Baqir Malbubi