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What Islam Is!

By: Mawlana Muhammad Manzoor Nomani (RA)


  Previous Page
  Preface
  Introduction
Lesson 1 The Kalimah
Lesson 2 Salaah
Lesson 3 Zakaah
Lesson 4 Saum
Lesson 5 Hajj
Lesson 6 Piety
Lesson 7 Honesty in Monetary Dealings
Lesson 8

Social Conduct and Mutual Relations

Lesson 9 Good Manners and Noble Qualities
Lesson 10 Love of Allah, The Prophet and the Faith
   
  This Section
Lesson 11 Constancy
Lesson 12 Jihaad
Lesson 13 Martyrdom
Lesson 14 Life After Death
Lesson 15 Heaven and Hell
Lesson 16 Zikr
Lesson 17 Du'a
Lesson 18 Durood Sharif
Lesson 19 Tauba
  Epilogue
  Forty Prayers from the Qur'an and the Traditions
  Prayers for Particular Occasions

 

 

Lesson 11

Constancy

One of the special responsibilities a man owes to Allah once he has accepted the faith of Islam is that he remains firm and steadfast in his faith at all times and in all circumstances. He is expected to uphold the faith with all his courage and strength, however, adverse the conditions may be. He must not prove disloyal to Islam in any event. He must not give it up. This is what is meant by 'constancy of faith.' Such men have been spoken of very highly in the Quran and a bountiful reward has been promised to them in the Hereafter. It says:

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In the case of those who say, "Our Lord is Allah, and further, stand straight and steadfast, the angles descend on them (from time to time): "Fear ye not" (they suggest), "Nor grieve! But receive the tidings of the Garden (of Bliss), which ye were promised! We are your protectors in this life and in the Hereafter! Therein shall ye have all that ye ask for! A hospitable gift from One, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful!" (41:30-32)

What wonderful tiding does the above verse contain for those who are constant in faith and who patiently preserve and remain steadfast in times of misfortune and peril. If one could attain this position even at the cost of one's life, property and everything it would not be a bad bargain indeed.

It is related that once a Companion asked the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to tell him something that could suffice for him always and after which he would not have the need to turn for advice to anyone. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "Say, 'Allah (alone) is my Lord', and stick to it (i.e., conduct your life in accordance with it unswervingly)."

For our benefit and guidance a number of extremely inspiring parables have been narrated in the Quran of devout and faithful servants of Allah who remained true to faith in circumstances of utmost distress and suffering. Neither fear nor greed could make them deviate form the path they had chosen. One such parable is of the prestidigitators of Egypt who were summoned to challenge Prophet Moses and great rewards and honors had been promised to them. Yet after the truth of Divine inspiration and the Apostolic message of Moses had dawned up to them they cared neither for the riches and honors the Pharaoh promised nor for the savage punishment they were sure to receive at his hands for disobeying his commands Rising above the considerations of gain or loss, they boldly declared before the vast assembly of men, "We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses." Later, when they were threatened by that enemy of Allah, the Pharaoh, that he would have their arms and legs severed and then they would be hanged on the gallows they replied dauntlessly, displaying magnificent courage of conviction that:

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"So decree whatever thou desirest to decree: for thou canst decree (touching) only the life of this world, For us, we have believed in our Lord: may He forgive us our sins." (20:72-73)

Still more inspiring it the story of Pharaoh's wife. You know that Pharaoh was the all-powerful monarch of Egypt whose wife was the sole mistress of his heart. From this you can imagine how enviable would have been her lot. All the world's glories and luxuries were at her feet. Yet when the innermost depths of her soul were stirred by the Divine call of Moses she did not give a thought to what her husband would do to her or how her life of cloudless bliss would change into one of colossal distress and misery. Regardless of the consequences she proclaimed her faith and once she had done so she flinched not from the path of duty towards Allah and religion although the torture she was subjected to be truly barbarous, the very idea of which is enough to make our flesh creep even today. In return for it, such a unique honour was conferred on her by Allah that her name has been mentioned reverentially in the Quran and the patient perseverance displayed by her and her sacrifice have been held forth as an example to all Muslims.

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And Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh: behold, she said! "Build for me in nearness to Thee, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from those that do wrong." (LXVI:11)

Glory be! What rare honor, what matchless distinction, really, that Allah has chosen the constancy of faith of that blessed lady to serve as an example to the entire Ummat. From Hazrat Abu Bakar down to the last generation of Muslims before the Last Day.

It is related that when the atrocities perpetrated by the Polytheists of Mecca on Muslims exceeded all limits and the Companion approached the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to pray to Allah for mercy and protection, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) remarked, "You have become disheartened so soon! Men of Allah before you were subjected to such brutal torture that combs of red hot iron were driven into their heads and the skulls of some of them were sawed off into two and yet they remained steadfast and did not abandon their faith."

 

Lesson 12

Jihaad

The believers are required emphatically to do whatever they can towards popularizing, defending and keeping alive and flourishing, as the best and the truest way of life, the way of Islam and servility to Allah they have chosen for themselves. This, in Islam, is called Jihaad. It can take many forms depending on the circumfrom time to time and place to place.

Suppose there arises a situation in which it becomes difficult or even dangerous for a person or his family or community to profess Islam and to remain true to it. To be a Muslim may become the hardest thing to do in the world. In that case Jihaad will lie in doing one's best for oneself, one's family or community to stay firmly devoted to Islam. It would, certainly, be a most splendid Jihaad in those circumstances. Similarly, should Muslims, through their own folly or negligence, start drifting away from the faith, then, at such a time, to devote one's time and energy to their religious revival and reform, too, would constitute a kind of Jihaad.

To carry the Divine guidance to those that are ignorant of it and to make an earnest effort to persuade them wisely and sympathetically to accept it is yet another form of Jihaad.

Should believers in Allah and the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) be in power somewhere and the conditions demand that collective force be used for the defence and assistance of the faith then, in the case, the use of force for the defence and assistance of faith according to the rules laid down for it, will constitute Jihaad. Two conditions, however, are essential for it. Firstly, such a step must not be motivated by any personal or national self-interest, greed or enmity. It should be taken solely to carry out the command of Allah and to serve the cause of His faith. And, secondly, that the rules prescribed for it are scrupulously observed. If force is used without the fulfillment of these conditions, it will not be Jihaad according to Islam but wanton wickedness and mischief.

To speak a just word before a tyrannical ruler (be he a Muslim or a non-Muslim) is, again, a form of Jihaad. In the Traditions it has been spoken as "the best of Jihaad"

All these forms of religious struggle and endeavour, at their proper time and place, are among the obligatory duties of Islam, and, as we have seen, the term Jihaad is applied to them in various degrees.

We now proceed to examine some of the verses of the Quran and Traditions of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) enjoining on Muslims the duty of Jihaad and revealing to them what unique glory and spiritual merit lies in it. First, the Quranic verses:

And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you. (22:78)

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O ye who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save your from a grievous penalty? That ye believe in Allah and His Apostle, and that ye strive (your utmost) in the cause of Allah, with your property and your person: that will be best for ye if ye but knew! He will forgive ye your sins and admit ye to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity: that is, indeed, the Supreme Achievement. (61:10-12)

After these, the Traditions:

"To believe truthfully in Allah and to strive in the cause of Faith is the best of all deeds."

"It shall not be that a person whose feet are covered with dust in the path of Allah went to Hell."

"For anyone of you to rise in the way of Allah (i.e., in the defence of Islam and to take some part in the struggle for its progress and glory) is better than seventy years of worship in the corner of his house."

May it be allotted to us also by Allah to earn the Divine reward that is for those who make earnest exertions in the path of His faith!

 

Lesson 13

Martyrdom

In the special language of Islam a person who meets his death in the path of faith either as a result of obeying its injunctions and carrying out its commands as a staunch and devoted follower or in the course of struggle for its defence is called a martyr. For such a man there is a place of unparalleled honour and distinction in the Hereafter. His lot is truly divine. About the martyrs it is said in the Quran that they should not be thought of as dead: they are alive, a very special existence is conferred on them and they are the recipients of boundless favours and blessings from their Lord.

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Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord. (3:169)

How marvelous is the fate of these true and noble sons of Islam, how mightily beloved of Allah they are and what glorious rewards are showered upon them by Him can be visualized from the Tradition we are going now to reproduce. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said:

"No one among the dwellers of the Paradise will ever want to be sent back to the world, although all the worldly joys and riches may be his if he is sent back, except one who had been killed in the way of Allah; such a man will want to be returned to the earth and killed in the cause of Allah ten times over because of the high honor and splendid ceremony with which he will be received in the Heaven on account of dying a martyr's death."

The sacred Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself was so enthusiastic about attaining martyrdom that he used often to say:

"By the Holy Being in whose power lies my life, I wish I was killed in Allah's way and brought back to life and killed once more and brought back to life and that this happened to me over and over again." Another of the Prophet's Traditions reads:

"Six rewards are conferred on a martyr by Allah: one, he is forgiven immediately and his abode in the Paradise is shown to him; two, he is spared the punishment of the grave; third, he is granted freedom from the acute fear and anxiety of the Day of Requital that will grip the heart of every one ('Except of those on whom there will be the favour of the Lord'); four, a crown of honour will be placed on his head, a single ruby of which will be more valuable than the whole world; five, seventy-two celestial brides will be given to him in marriage; and, six, his intercession will be accepted on behalf of seventy kinsmen."

Furthermore: "To fall a martyr in the cause of Allah atones for everything except a debt".

And, it should be remembered that the Divine reward and other wonderful favours promised on martyrdom are not dependent only a death occurring in the way of Allah. It is not that when a person is killed in the cause of Allah only then does he become entitled to them. Every loss or injury suffered, every pain and suffering undergone, in the service of the faith carries a bounteous reward. Any believer who may be persecuted, punished, beaten, insulted or tortured for the sake of Islam will be rewarded most lavishly in the Hereafter. Allah will raise him so high in honour that the most exalted of saints and divines will envy his fate. Just as soldiers, in this world, who serve their motherland gallantly and care nothing for their own safety when the call of duty comes are honoured with awards and decorations by their governments in the same way the servants of Allah who suffer loss or humiliation for the sake of faith occupy a special place of glory in the celestial scheme of things. On the Day of Recompense when these blessed children of Islam will receive their awards and decorations and Allah Almighty will honour them with His exquisite favours and bounties, all the rest of men will regretfully wish that they, too, had undergone a similar experience in the world, that they, too, had been punished, tortured and humiliated for the sake of faith so that they would also get those magnificent favours and rewards on that Day.

Should a trial of this kind be destined for us as well, O Allah, at that fateful hour, keep us brave and steadfast and withhold not from us Thy grace!

 

Lesson 14

Life after death

This much is known to everyone that whoever is born into the world has got to die one day or the other. But nobody knows on his own that happens or will happen after death. This is known only to Allah. Allah vouchsafes the knowledge of it to His Prophets and through the Prophets men like you and me also come to know about it. Every prophet of Allah, in his time, had revealed clearly to his people through what stages they would have to pass after death and how at each stage they would be recompensed for their deeds-good as well as bad-during their earthly sojourn. Since Prophet Mohammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon whom) is the last of the Divine Apostles and Messengers and no Prophet is going to be raised up after him, the different stages through which a man has to pass after death have been explained by him in greatest detail and with utmost clarity. If all that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has revealed in this connection is brought together it would make a volume by itself. We will, therefore, give a very brief summary of it over here.

There are to follow three stages after death. It is called Barzakh. Whether a person is buried when he dies or he is cremated or cast into the river his soul does not perish with him. It is immortal; it lives. It only migrates from this material world or ours to another world. In this other world the angels question him about his spiritual state. If he is true believer, he gives the correct answers; whereupon the angels impart to him the glad tidings that he is going to live in peace and happiness till the Last Day. And if it is otherwise, that is, he is an unbeliever, an infidel or a sham or hypocritical Muslim, he is, at once, placed under dreadful punishment which is not to cease before the Day of Reckoning.

The next stage comprises of the Last Day and the Resurrection. The Last Day means that there will come a time when the entire material world will be destroyed by the command of Allah. Annihilation will descend suddenly on everything that exists around us. The whole world will be thrown topsy-turvy. Then, after a long time, when Allah will wish, all men will be raised up again. Every person born into the world will be re-created and called upon to render a full account of his doings on the earth. In the Great Reckoning those who will be found worthy of deliverance will be awarded a place in the Paradise and those who will turn out to be guilty and deserving of Divine chastisement will be consigned to Hell.

After this, there will commence the last stage. The dwellers of the Paradise will live in a state of eternal bliss, supremely immune from every kind of pain, anxiety or suffering and exulting in the bounties of their Lord the like of which they would not have dreamt of in the world, while those that will be condemned to Hell will have to live permanently in a condition of unmitigated misery and distress. There will be for them nothing but horrible agony and castigation. This will be the ultimate stage after death. The above was the sum and substance of what the Prophets, specially the last of them, Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), have taught mankind about the Hereafter and what is indicated about it in the Quran and the Traditions. We will now examine some of the relevant verses of the Quran:

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Every soul shall have a taste of death: in the end to Us shall ye be brought back. (29:57)

Every soul shall have a taste of death: and only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. (3:185)

The Last Day will be a frightful, horrible day.

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O mankind! Fear your Lord! For the convulsion of the Hour (of Judgment) will be a thing terrible! the Day ye shall see it: every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling-babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load unformed! thou shall see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk! But dreadful shall be the wrath of Allah. (22:1-2)

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One day the earth and the mountains will be in violent commotion and the mountains will be as a heap of sand poured out and flowing down. (73:14)

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A day that will make children hoary-headed. (73:17)

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At length, when there comes the deafening noise, that Day shall a men flee from his own brothers, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and children. Each one of them, that Day, will have enough concern (of his own) to make him indifferent to others. Some faces that Day will be dust-stained; blackness will cover them. (80:33:41)

 

On the Day of Recompense:

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That Day shall ye be brought to Judgment! not an act of yours that ye hide will be hidden. (69:18)

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One day we shall remove the mountains, and thou will see the earth as a level stretch, and we shall gather them, altogether, nor shall leave out any of them, And they will be marshaled before the Lord in ranks, with the announcement, "Now have ye come to US (bare) as We created ye first! Aye, ye thought we shall not fulfill the appointment made to you to meet Us?" And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed before you; and thou will see the sinful in great terror because of what is recorded therein; they will say, "Ah! Woe to us! What a Book is this! It leaves nothing small or great, but takes account thereof! "They will find all that they did placed before them: and not one will thy Lord treat with injustice. (18:47-49)

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A man's own limbs will depose against him before Allah on the Day of Reconing. That day shall be set a seat on their mouths. But their hands will speak to Us, and their feet will bear witness to all that they did. (36:65)

The Quran, in fine, has portrayed most graphically and vividly the happenings of the Last Day: the terrific explosions and the dreadful tremors, the total annihilation of the world-even the mountains will be wiped out of existence, the rising again of men, the gathering together of them for the Judgment, the presentation of the Book of Deeds, the deposing of one's own limbs against oneself, the judgment, and, finally, the execution of the Divine Verdict and the allotment of Heaven and Hell. All these events have been described so candidly in some of the chapters of the Quran that one can obtain a full picture of the happenings of the Last Day by reading them. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), thus, is reported to have observed, "Anyone who wishes to know about the Last Day as if the scene of it was drawn before his eyes should read these chapters of the Quran: Tavkir, Infitar and Inshiqaq.

We will now see a few Traditions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) appertaining to Barzakh and the Last Day. Says he:

"When anyone of you dies the place that is going to be his abode in the Heaven or in the Hell (on the basis of his conduct in the world) is brought before his eyes every morning and evening and it is said to him, 'Behold, this is your destination, and, surely, you will reach it'."

"When the Trumpet will first be sounded on the Last Day by the command of Allah everyone will faint and drop dead on the ground. When it will be sounded next all men will rise again. They will then be commanded to proceed to make their presence before the Lord. The angels, thereafter, will be told to collect them together and here the investigation into their conduct on the earth will begin."

It is related that a Companion once enquired from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), "O Messenger of Allah, how will Allah raise up his creatures from the dead? Is there anything like it here in this world which may be cited as example?" The Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied, "Has it never accured to you that you may have passed by a stretch of land in your country and found it dry and bereft of all vegetation, and, then, on coming upon it again, after sometime, discovered that it was covered lavishly with fresh, green grass?"

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) remarked, "This typifies resurrection. Allah will raise from the dead in the same manner." The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have asked, after reciting the Quranic verse, On the Day (the earth) will declare her tidings, "Do you know what it means?" The companions are said to have replied, "Allah and His Apostle know best." The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), the Tradition goes on to tell, then said, "On the Day of Judgment the earth will bear witness to all the deeds performed by men on it (i.e., at the bidding of Allah the earth will tell that such and such a person had done such and such a thing on it on such and such a day)."

Speaking of the Day of Recompense the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), further, is reported to have said, "On that Day Allah will call upon everyone to come forward and be his own witness. He will say to him, today you are your own witness: Our recording angels are present; this much of evidence is enough'. Then by the command of Allah the lips of the person will become sealed and he will not be able to utter a word. His limbs (arms, legs, etc.) will then be commanded to speak and they will relate the whole story of his doings in the world."

It is reported that once a person went to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, I have some slaves who sometimes disobey me, or they steal or tell me a lie. I sometimes scold them and, sometimes, I also punish them. How is it going to turn out for me on the Day of Requital?" The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) observed, "Allah will dispense justice correctly on the Day of Judgment. If the punishment you mete out to them is proportionate to their faults you will neither get nor have to give anything; you will be quits. If the punishment turn out to be of a lesser degree than what they merited you will be recompensed for it. If the punishment proves to be excessive you will have to recompense the slaves. "On hearing the Prophet's reply the enquirer began to cry. He said, "Then, O Prophet of Allah, the best thing for me is to send them away. I declare before you that I have set them free." The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is also reported to have recited the following verse of the Quran to him:

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We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least. And if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it (to account)! And enough are we to take account: (21:47)

 

Lesson 15

Heaven and hell

In the preceding chapter it has been said that the Last Day will be the Day of Judgment. On that Day the believers who will also have done good deeds in the world and on whom there will be no punishment will rejoice. During the entire proceedings of the Day they will rest secure under the shadow of Divine benevolence and gain immediate admission into the Paradise. Such of them as well be adjudged worthy of deliverance but only after they have undergone a spell of punishment will be forgiven and admitted into the Paradise after they have suffered some of the agonies of the Day of Reckoning, or, at the utmost, after they have spent some time in Hell. In any case, those possessing the least amount of faith will, sooner or later, find their place in Heaven. Only men who will have departed from the world in a state of infidelity or polytheism will be doomed to live permanently in Hell. In sum, Heaven is the reward for faith, fidelity and good doing and

Hell for infidelity, polytheism and revolt against Allah and transgression against His will. The superlative, incomparable blissfulness of Heaven and the fearful,  loathsome punishment and torture of Hell have been described in proper detail in the Quran:

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For righteous are Gardens in nearness to their Lord, with rivers flowing beneath; therein is their eternal home; with Companions pure (and holy); and the good pleasure of Allah. For in Allah's sight are (all) His servants. (3:15)

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Verily the companions of Garden shall that Day have joy in all that they do; they and their associates will be in grove of (cool) shade; reclining on Thrones (of dignity); every fruit (enjoyment) will be there for them; they shall have whatever they call for; "Peace!" a word (of salutation) from a Lord Most Merciful. (36:55-58)

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There will be there all the souls could desire, all that the eyes could delight in; and ye shall abide therein (for eye). (43:71)

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(Here is) a Parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised: in it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine of joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey (pure and clear). In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and Garden from their Lord. (47:15)

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No sense of fatigue shall touch them. (15:48)

In short, Heaven is the abode of supreme and eternal blissfulness, felicity and happiness. There will not be the faintest trace of pain, sorrow or distress in it. Let us now see how will life in Hell be like:

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But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls; in Hell they will abide. The fire will burn their faces, and they will therein grin with their lips displaced. (23:103-4)

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For the wrong-doers We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames), like the walls and roof of a tent will hem them in: if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass, that will scald their faces. (18:29)

But those who deny (their Lord), for them will be cut out a garment of Fire; over their heads will be poured out boiling water.

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With it will be scalded what is within their bodies, as well as (their skins). In addition, there will be maces of iron (to punish) them. Every time they wish to get away therefore, from anguish, they will be forced back therein, and (it will be said), "Taste ye the Penalty of Burning!" (22:19-22)

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Verily the tree of Zaqqum will be the food of the sinful, like molten brass; it will boil in their insides, like the boiling of scalding water. (A voice will cry) "Sieze ye him and drag him into the midst of the Blazing Fire! Penalty of boiling water." (44:4348)

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And he is given for drink boiling fetid water. In gulps will he sip it, but never will be near swallowing it down his throat: death will come to him from every quarter, yet will he not die; and in front of him will be a chastisement unrelenting. (14:16-17)

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Those who reject Our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins that they may taste the Penalty. (4:56)

But enough. Here are hundreds of verses in the Quran that tell the same story. To take now some of the Traditions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam): "Says Allah, 'For My faithful servants I have got ready (in Heaven) things no eye has seen, nor ear heard of nor the thought of which has ever crossed a human heart'."

The delicious foods, the luscious fruit, the delightful drinks, the gorgeous clothes, the magnificent palaces, the splendid gardens, the delectable lakes, the wonderful houris (celestial brides) and other innumerable things of divine beauty and joy that will be available in Heaven are, to be sure, known only to Allah. We, on our part, believe in them implicitly and hold them to be absolutely true.

Says another Tradition: "As the dwellers will enter Heaven a heavenly herald will proclaim, 'Stay healthy; disease is not going to touch you here. Live forever; death does exist for you no more. Remain young; you shall not grow old in Heaven. Be happy always; for you, now, there is neither pain nor sorrow." But the greatest boon that will be conferred on the faithful, who also practice righteousness, after they have entered their celestial abode, is that they will see Allah in all His Divine Splendor. In the words of the holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) it will be like this:

"When the dwellers of Paradise have entered the home of celestial bliss Allah will enquire from them thus: 'Do you want that I may bestow a favour upon you over and above the blessings you enjoy?' The people of the Heaven will answer: 'Our Lord! Thou hast illumined our faces, saved us from Hell and granted us the paradise. (What more can we want)? The veil will then be lifted and they shall see their Lord unhindered. All the endless joys and blessings of the Paradise will fade away before the glorious spectacle of the Almighty."

In another Tradition it is related that once the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) while describing the marvelous pleasures of the Paradise and the extreme agony of the Hell observed:

"On the Day of Judgment a person will be brought who will have lived in greatest pomp and luxury in the world but will be condemned to hell because of his evil deeds. He will be dipped once into the fire of Hell and then taken out of it immediately and asked, "Have you ever known comfort?' The man will reply, 'No, our Lord. I swear by Thy name, I have never known what comfort is.' Afterwards, another person will be brought who will have led a life of rank misery and misfortune on the earth but will be found worthy of Paradise owing to his faithfulness of Allah and piety. He will be taken to Heaven and then led out of it immediately and asked, 'Have you ever known pain or misery?'. 'No, our Lord!' he will reply, 'I swear by Thy name, I have never known what pain or misery is?"

In truth, Allah has provided such wonderful joys and comforts in the Paradise that a man who has passed his days in the world in utmost distress will forget all about it as soon as he has had a taste of them. Likewise, the Hell is such an infernal place that a person who has lived all one's life in the world in rare luxury and happiness will at once feel, on stepping into it, that he had never known what it was to be happy or comfortable.

The severity and dreadfulness of the chastisement of the Hell can be imagined from this one Tradition of the sacred Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):

"The mildest punishment that will be inflicted on a person in the Hell is that he will be made to wear a pair of sandals made of fire which will be so hot as to set his brain boiling as if something was cooking in a pot on a stove."

The fare that will be served there has been indicated in the verses of the Quran we have quoted already. Here, also, are two Traditions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):

"The stinking pus people will be made to drink in Hell is such that if a bucket of it was thrown into the world the whole world would be filled with its infernal stench."

"If a drop of Zaqqum were to fall on the earth it would be enough to pollute all the articles of food and drink that are found here."

Brothers, all these things the holy Quran and the sacred Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) have told about the shape of things to come after death the Barzakah, the Resurrection, the Judgement and Heaven and Hell and we have discussed in this lesson and in the preceding one, are literally correct and true. There can be no doubting them at all. By the Almighty, they will come to pass exactly as the Quran and the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) have taught. We will see them ourselves, with our own eyes, after death.

The Last Day and Heaven and Hell have been dwelt upon in the Quran and the Traditions with such emphasis and thoroughness and referred to again and again a thousand times for no other reason except to arouse in us a living, genuine anxiety to do all that lies in our power to save ourselves from the fearful penalty of Hell and attain the cherished, supremely delightful goal of Paradise.

Brothers, life is transitory, One day we must die. Death is certain, and so is the Last Day. We will, surely, have to stand before Allah after death and answer for our deeds on the earth. What, then, is our eternal home going to be Heaven or Hell?

There is time still for us to mend our ways, to offer honest repentance for our misdeeds of the past and make a real, sincere effort for the attainment of Paradise.

Should, Allah forbid, the rest of our days in the world be also spent in neglect and folly, then, be sure, there is nothing in store for us in the Hereafter save regret and the punishment of Hell.

 

Lesson 16

Zikr

Islam stands for self-surrender and submission to Allah. It calls on men to fashion their lives according to the Divine Will. It wants them to be loyal to Him in all circumstance and in every sphere of their conduct, personal as well as social. This can be possible only when our mind's eye is fixed permanently on the Almighty, and the consciousness of His lover and Glory overshadows all our thoughts and actions.

It is, as such, one of the special teachings of Islam that we remember Allah much and often and keep our tongues fresh with the recital of His names, praises and attributes. It is an excellent  and well-tried method  for producing  in  our hearts  His  love  and the consciousness of His Greatness. It is natural for a man's heart to be filled with the love of anyone whose splendour and excellence his mind dwells all the time.

In any way, it is a fact that frequent remembrance kindles the flame of love and lends strength to it and so also that the life of complete loyalty and submission to Allah which is the essence of Islam can be possible only through Divine love. It is love alone that makes one the willing bondsman of another. As a Persian verse says:

What love is?

Say: "To be the beloved's bondsman."

Consequently, a very great stress has been laid in the Quran and by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) on Zikr (Allah remembrance). The Quran reads:

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O ye who believe! Celebrate the Praises of Allah, and do this often; and glorify Him morning and evening. (33:41-42)

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And celebrate the Praises of Allah much and often: that ye may prosper. (62:10)

There are two things, which lead one to forget Allah when one gets absorbed in them. These are wealth and family. So the Quran names them specifically and warns Muslims against becoming a prisoner to them.

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O ye who believe! Let not your riches or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. If any act thus, the loss is their own. (63:9)

The five daily prayers (Salaah) are obligatory for Muslims. These prayers, certainly, are a means of remembering Allah and a very good one too. But it would not be proper for a Muslim to stop at them considering that if he had offered the Salaah he had done all that was required of him by way of Allah remembrance and there was no need to do anything further. It is a clear commandment of Islam that, in addition to Salaah, one should also not neglect Zikr in whatever state one may be. It is said in Sura-I-Nissa:

When ye pass (congregational) prayers, celebrate Allah's Praises standing, sitting down or lying down. (4:103)

Thus, even those engaged in Jihaad are enjoined to carry out the Zikr of Allah keenly and enthusiastically. Says Sura-I-Anfal:

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O ye who believe! When ye meet a force, be firm and call Allah in remembrance much (and often); that ye may prosper. (8:45)

This verse, as the verse from Sura-I-Jum'a we have quoted earlier, "And celebrate the Praises of Allah much and often: that ye may prosper", shows that Zikr, by no means, constitutes an unimportant factor in the success and felicity of the believers. As against it, the verse from Sura-I-Munafiqoon we mentioned a few lines ago candidly declares that those who neglect the Zikr do a very wrong thing. They are at a great loss. In Sura-I-Ra'ad, further, it is stated as a characteristic of Zikr that it imparts peace and tranquility to the mind and the soul.

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For without a doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. (13:28)

It is related that once the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was asked who would be the most exalted among the servants of Allah on the Last Day. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, "Those who do the Zikr of Allah be they men or women".

Hazrat Abu Moosa relates from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that, "Those who remember Allah and those who do not are like those who are alive and those who are dead (i.e. those who remember Allah and celebrate His praises are alive while those who don't are dead)".

Relates Hazrat Abdullah bin Omar that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once said. 'There is a polish for everything; for the hearts it is the Zikr of Allah. Nothing is more effective then Zikr for deliverance from Divine chastisement."

It should be understood clearly that the real meaning of Zikr is that a man should never be without the thought of Allah. In whatever circumstances he may be placed, with whatever thing he may be occupied, he must not allow himself to become unmindful of Allah, His laws and ordinances. Though for this it is not necessary that the tongue should also always be repeating His names, attributes etc., such a state of permanent and all-pervading Allah consciousness is commonly found only in devout servants of the Lord who succeed in producing within themselves and everlasting awareness of Allah and a feeling of infinite devotion to Him through frequent Zikr. There is developing a tendency among some of the modern educated people to hold the Zikr as futile. This is a grave folly. Zikr is a most valuable instrument for forging a living and all-embracing link with Allah. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was very clear about its worth and importance. It is related by Hazrat Abdullah bin Busr that once a man presented himself before the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and said, "O Prophet of Allah, there are numerous teachings of Islam. Please tell me something which I may hold fast forever". The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, "Keep your tongue wet always with the Zikr of Allah. Another Tradition related by Hazrat Abu Huraira reads; "Allah says, 'when anyone remembers Me and his lips move in My Zikr, I am by his side'".

 

Some Zikr formulas of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)

The value and importance of Zikr would have become apparent from the Quranic verses and Traditions we have just quoted. We have seen how Zikr of Allah promotes and strengthens Divine love in our hearts. Below we give some of the favourite Zikr formulas of the holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

 

Foremost

Relates Hazrat Jabeer from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that: "The best of all Zikrs is the Zikr of."

Narrates Hazrat Abu Huraira that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once remarked: "When anyone recites from the depth of his heart the gates of the heavens open for the Kalima till it reaches the seventh heaven provided, of course, that the devotee abstains from the major sins."

According to another tradition the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said, "Once Moses begged the Lord to tell him something through which he could do His Zikr. The Lord told him to do so through the Kalima of upon which Mose said, "This is what every one does. I want something special. Came the reply, 'If the seven heavens and all the heavenly creatures and the seven climes on the earth and all that is contained in them are placed on one side of the balance and the Kalima of one the other, the later shall turn out to be heavier."

Such, indeed, is the splendour of People, unfortunately, take it to be a mere phrase. The present writer himself has heard it from an inspired devotee of the Lord in a moment of rare spiritual feeling that, "If someone with the entire wealth of the world at his command were to tell me to give him one Kalima of recited by me in return for his treasures this humble self shall refuse to do so."

 

The Third Kalima

Relates Hazarat Sumara bin Jundub that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once said that of all the spoken words and the Kalimas the most excellent were these four:

[Tranaliteration: Subhaa-nallaahi wal-hamdu lillaahi wa laa ilaaha illal laahu wal laahu akbar]

Glory be to Allah and all praise be to Allah, and there is no deity (worthy of worship) save Allah, and Allah is Great.

Narrates Abu Haraira that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "The Kalima of is dearer to me than the entire world on which the sun shines.

This Kalima is most complete and comprehensive and all the aspects of Divine Praise are covered by it. In some Traditions the phrase is also included in it. It occurs after . A revered spiritual mentor used to explain the import of the Kalima to the present writer in following manner:

Subhaa nallah, 'Glory be to Allah, Free from all faults and blemishes and other things that are not worthy of His Glory .

Alhamdu lillah, 'Praise be to Allah, He is the embodiment of perfection and the center of every kind of virtue, (therefore) all praise is for Him, and when such is His Glory that He is absolutely blemishless and all the wonderful virtues are assembled in Him, He alone is our Lord and the sole object of our heart's desire .

Laa ilaaha illalaah, 'There is no Allah save Him, We are His own helpless slaves and of no one else.

Allahu Akbar, 'Allah is Great, He is Most Powerful, Almighty. We can never acquit ourselves of our duties to Him as His slaves nor can we ever gain nearness onto Him except that he himself blesses us with His grace.

Laa howla walaa quwwata illa billaah,  'There is no power or virtue but in Allah."

 

Tasbihat-I-Fatima

A well-known Tradition of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has it that the Prophet's beloved daughter (and Hazrat Ali's wife), Hazrat Fatima, used to perform all the domestic duties with her own hands. She had even to draw water from the well and to carry it home and to grind the corn in the millstone. One day she begged the holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to provide her with a domestic servant upon which the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) observed, "I will tell you of something that will serve you better than a domestic servant. Recite Subhaa-nallaah 33 times, Alhamdu lillaah 33 times, and Allahu Akbar 34 times after each Salaah and on retiring to bed. This will be of greater value to you than a servant."

Another Tradition says, "Whoever will recite after each Salaah 33 times Subhaa-nallaah, 33 times Alhamdu lillaah, and 34 times Allahu Akbar, and, at the end of it, the Kalima of Laa ilaaha illal laahu wahdahu laa sharika lahu lahul mulku wa-lahul hamdu wa huwa alaa kulli shay-in qadiir. (There is no Allah but one Allah. He is alone. No partner hath. He Him belongs sovereignty and unto Him belongs Praise and He is all-Powerful) all his sins will be forgiven even if they be as profuse as the foam of the sea."

 

Subhan Allah we Behamdhi

It is related by Hazrat Abu Huraira that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "He who will recite Subhaa-nallahi wa bihamdihi a hundred times morning and evening regularly no one shall take with him a greater provision of virtue to the Hereafter than him save the person who recited it even more."

Another Tradition related again by Hazrat Abu Huraira says: "Two phrases sit very lightly on the tongue but are very heavy in the Balance of Deeds and Allah loves them very much. These are ." Subhaa-nallahi wa bihamdihi, Subhaa-nallahil adhiim.

 There are many other Zikr-formulas commended by the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). But the few we have given here are quite sufficient for anyone to adopt for regular recitation.

As regards the reward and recompense in the Hereafter promised in the Traditions it needs be noted that there is not fixed measure or a standard yardstick for it. Whoever will recite a Kalima of Zikr sincerely and with no other object than the propitiation of Allah will, Insha Allah, merit the full reward no matter how many times and at what hour he does so. But when a spiritual guide prescribes a Zikr for anyone for a particular purpose like the kindling of Divine love or the awakening of the heart and the creation of a permanent consciousness of Allah or for the eradication of a moral or spiritual ailment it is necessary to follow the routine he lays down and to do the Zikr as many times as he tells. Without this the desired results cannot be obtained by the devotee. For example, if a person recites the Sura of Al-Hamd-o-Sharif or any other Sura of the Quran as an act of religious merit there is no harm if he does so once in the morning, once at noon, once in the afternoon, once in the evening and couple of times in the night, but if he wants to learn the Sura by heart, also, he will have to recite it scores of times during one sitting. Otherwise he will not be able to memorize it. This is exactly the difference between an ordinary Zikr aimed only at Divine reward and the special Zikr which spiritual mentors prescribe to disciples for the cure of a spiritual morbidity or as a means for the attainment of any other objective of a similar category. Many people get caught in confusion because of not knowing this difference. This is why these few lines have been added here.

 

The reading of the Quran

The reading of the Quran is also a very good Zikr. A Tradition says:

"The superiority of the Word of Allah over any other word is the same as the superiority of

Allah over any of His creature."

And Hazrat Abdullah bin Masood relates from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that: "He who reads one letter of the Quran for him there is one virtue and the reward on this virtue is equal to that on ten other virtues. When I say this I do not mean that is one letter but that is one letter, another and the third."

Yet another Tradition, as related by Hazrat Abu Imama, reads:

"O People, read the Quran. On the Day of Judgment the Quran will intercede for those

who will have been reading it (in their lives)."

 

Some Suggestions

1. There is no need for those in whose hearts Zikr of Allah has come to dwell permanently as a result of constant endeavour and become a part of their existence to follow a set routine or to make a special effort in this respect. But if common people like us want to strengthen their bond with Allah and to partake of its auspiciousness and blessedness they must practise the Zikr at a fixed time and in a fixed number according to their individual circumstances. Better still, they should seek the advice of a spiritual guide while choosing a Zikr formula, for themselves. Or, they can select a Kalima from the Kalimas we have given above which may be most suited to their temperament. Time should also be set aside daily for the reading of the Quran.

2.       As far as possible, the meaning of the Kalima used for Zikr should be kept in mind
during the recitation. The Zikr should be done with an active awareness of Divine Glory
and Magnificence and with the feeling and the belief that Allah was near, right there,
listening to every word that was being recited.

3.       Wazu is not necessary for Zikr. It can be done freely without the Wazu. The reward
will not suffer because of it. But the effulgence and spiritual effectiveness of the Zikr is
very much enhanced when it is done with Wazu.

4.       It has been seen earlier that the third Kalima is the most comprehensive one among all
the Kalimas. If it is adopted for recitation it can fulfill all the needs. This writer has seen
that spiritual mentors generally prescribe it to their disciples along with Durood Sharif
and Istighfar.

May Allah grant us the good fortune to full our hearts and wet our tongues with Zikr, and favour us with the fruit of its illuminations and blessings.

 

Lesson 17

Du'a

When it is definite and beyond dispute that whatever happens in the world happens by the Will of Allah and that every thing that exists lies absolutely in His power and control, it is manifestly natural for us to supplicate to Him in our needs, big as well as small. Followers of all religions beseech Allah and address their petitions to Him. But in Islam it is a matter of paramount importance. States the Quran:

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And your Lord says: "Call on Me: I will answer (your Prayer)." (40:60)

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Say (to the rejectors): my Lord is not uneasy because of you if ye call not on Him. (25:77)

Together with calling on us to supplicate to Allah in our needs the Quran also goes on to assure that Allah is very close to His servants: He hears their petitions and grants them.

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When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close to them. I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on me. (2:186)

The holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) also assures that to beg to Allah for our needs, to turn to Him and to make our petitions to Him, is the very essence and marrow of worship. Says he:

"Du'a (making of earnest entreaties to Allah) is worship." (According to another version, the Tradition reads: "Du'a is the essence and marrow of worship)."

"Nothing enjoys a loftier place in the sight of Allah than Du'a".

Allah is displeased with those who do not beg for their needs to Him. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said, "Allah is displeased with His servant who does not supplicate for his needs to him."

Glory be! If a person approaches a close friend or a near relative with his needs every now and then they get sick of him, but Allah is so marvelously gracious and benevolent to His servants that He gets angry if they do not turn to Him in their need. A Tradition says:

"For whom the doors of Du'a have opened for him the doors of mercy have opened."

Anyway, to pray to Allah for one's needs or for the realization of one's ambition is not only a means to their fulfillment but also a superb act of worship and Allah is very happy with him who does so. He opens the gates of His mercy for him. This is true of all supplications whether they be of a religious or spiritual nature or for a worldly need. The only condition is that the object or need should be of a lawful and legitimate kind. To pray for an improper or sinful thing is also improper and sinful.

The greater the depth of feeling, the stronger the realization of one's own helplessness and the firmer the conviction of Divine Omnipotence and Benevolence with which a prayer is made, the greater the chances are of its acceptance. A prayer which does not spring from their heart but is uttered only by the mouth as a formality is not a prayer. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says:

"Allah does not grant a prayer that is made with a sleeping heart."

Allah listens to prayers at all hours but we learn from Traditions that there are certain occasions on which if a prayer is made it stands greater chances of acceptance as, for instance, after a Farz (obligatory) Salaah, during the later part of the night, at the time of breaking a fast or at any other moment of a similar nature when a good act is performed, and during the course of a journey particularly when it is undertaken for a religious purpose and for the sake of Allah.

It is not necessary for a man to be a saint, or innocent of sin, for his prayers to be granted. It is true that the prayers of noble and virtuous persons are granted more than those of others but it does not means that the prayers of ordinary men and sinners are not heard at all. One, therefore, must not give up making supplications to Allah thinking what would the supplications of a sinner do. Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, listens to the prayers of His sinning servants, too, just as He feeds them and clothes them in spite of their misdeeds. Everyone should, therefore, pray. We have seen how Du'a is regular worship. Divine recompense will in any case be his who will engage himself in it. It will be foolish to loose heart and cease praying if the object for which an earnest prayer is made to Allah is not realized. Allah, in any event, is not bound by our desires. Sometimes, in His judgment, it is in our own interest that our prayers should not be granted at once. Sometimes delay is found by Him to be better for us. But, we, in our ignorance, get disheartened. We are inclined to be hasty and when our prayers are not answered we give up praying as futile. As a Tradition of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) assures us:

"Du'a never wasted. But the forms of its acceptance vary. Sometimes a person gets what he begs for. Sometimes Allah does not think it best for him that the thing he prays for should be granted. So He does not give it to him but, in its place, a greater favour is bestowed on him or an impending calamity is averted or the prayer is made an atonement for his sins. (Since the supplicant does not know it he imagines that his entreaties and supplications have come to nothing). Sometimes the prayer is turned into the harvest of the Hereafter. The object for which a person prays is not granted to him in this life but a greater reward is reserved for him in the life to come as a compensation thereof." And here is another:

"Some people, many of whose prayers had not been granted in this world, when they will see in the Hereafter the glorious rewards and blessings that had been set aside for them as a recompense for their unfulfilled prayers, will exclaim mournfully how great would it have been had none of their prayers been granted in the world so that they could get the compensation for them all in the Hereafter."

In fine, everyone who believes in Allah should make it a habit of his to call on Him for his needs with all his heart and with an unshakeable faith in the Omnipotence and the Benevolence of the Almighty and believing positively that the prayer will be granted. He must be sure in his heart that his prayer shall never, never go waste. The endeavour should be to pray in words richly expressive of Divine Might and Magnificence and of one's own total helplessness. Many prayers are contained in the Quran and hundreds of them in the Traditions. These prayers, the prayers of the Quran and the Tradition, are by far the best. A selection of forty of these prayers is given at the end of the book.

 

 

Lesson 18

Durood Sharif

Durood Sharif is an invocation we make to Allah to bestow His choicest favours and blessings on the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It is a kind of prayer. The truth is that, after Allah, the greatest obligation on us is that of the sacred Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon whom). He underwent tremendous hardship and endured the bitterest of persecutions in order to convey the divine guidance to us had he not borne these trials and sufferings the light of faith would never have reached us. We would be dwelling in the gloom of apostasy and making our home in hell after death.

Since faith is the greatest blessing on the earth and we have attained it solely through the merciful agency of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), our greatest benefactor, next to Allah, is Prophet Mohammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). There is nothing we can do to pay back the enormous debt of gratitude we owe him. We can only pray for him to Allah as a token of our loyalty and gratefulness.

But what prayer can we make that may be worthy of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)? Naturally, none besides that Allah may magnify him and bless him with His choicest favours. This is just what Durood is.

The Quran clearly enjoins on us to offer the Durood, and in what a wonderful manner does it do so:

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Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam): O Ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him and salute him with all respect. (33:56)

In this verse we are first told that Allah Himself honours the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and holds him in strongest affection and that His Angels also do the same-they pay reverence to him and beseech Allah to bless him with His most marvelous favours. The verse then goes on to command us also, i.e., the believers to send blessings on him and salute him with all respect. Thus, before the command is given care is taken to explain to us that the thing we are being required to do is something which is particularly pleasing to Allah and which the angels also fondly do. After knowing it, what Muslim is there worth his name who will not make it a religious duty to offer the Durood?

Below we give a few Traditions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) extolling the virtue and merit of Durood Sharif.

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said: "He who will send blessings on me once Allah will confer ten favours on him." (In another Tradition it has also been said that, "Allah will forgive his ten sins and raise him higher in rank by ten degrees)".

"There are many angels of Allah whose special duty is that they keep on moving in the world and whichever follower of mine sends blessings on me they carry it to me at-once."

Gracious is the Lord! Our Durood is communicated to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) by the angels and through it we get a chance of being mentioned in his presence. What greater honour could there by for us, really.

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says: "Closest to me on the Day of Requital will be he who sends blessings on me oftener." "That man is a big miser in whose presence my name is taken and he does not offer the Durood." "May he be disgraced in whose presence my name is taken and he fails to offer the Durood." In sum, to send blessings on the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is a foremost duty we owe to him a source of stupendous virtue and blessedness and the fountainhead of prodigious blessings in this world and the next.

 

Words of Durood

Once the companions asked the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), "How are we to offer Durood and salutation." The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) advised them about Durood-I-Ibrahimi which is recited in the Salaah. We have already reproduced it in Lesson II.

Very much similar to Durood-I-Ibrahimi, but a little shorter, is another Durood, which was also taught by the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It reads:

"O Allah! Magnify Prophet Mohammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), the Unlettered, his wives, the mothers of the faithful, his posterity (followers), and his family as Thou hast magnified the family of Ibrahim. Verily, Thou art the Praiseworthy, the Majestic.

Whenever we take the name of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) or talk about him or hear about him from anyone we should at once send blessings on him. On such occasions it is enough to say only or .

 

Daily Routine

Some determined persons with a natural flair and fondness for Durood-I- Sharif make it a regular habit to recite it thousands of times daily. But if weak-willed men like ourselves can manage to recite it a hundred times morning and evening with proper devotion and reverence they will profit so much by it and there will be such exquisite favours of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) on him that it is not possible even to imagine them in this world.

The following Durood Sharif is suggested to those who may be wanting to know a brief one:

O Allah! Magnify Mohammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), the Unlettered Prophet (Peace be upon him), and his family.

 

Lesson 19

Tauba

Allah sent down His Apostles into the world and revealed His Books through them so that men may learn to distinguish good from evil, virtue from vice, and earn for themselves Divine approbation and deliverance in the life to come by abstaining from the wicked andthe unlawful and adopting what was good and virtuous. Thus, those who reject the faith and refuse to believe in the Prophets and the Divine guidance with which they had been raised up, their whole existence, so to speak, is one of defiance and transgression. They are totally indifferent to the message sent down by Allah. They will have nothing to do with it. Unless they believe in the Messengers and Apostles raised up by Allah and in the holy Scriptures revealed by Him, and, particularly, in the Last of the Prophets, Prophet Mohammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and the Divine Book he brought, i.e., the holy Quran, and accept his guidance they can never hope to attain the good pleasure of Allah and success and salvation in the Hereafter. The denial of Allah, His Apostles and His Books is not pardonable. It cannot be condoned. This fact has been made abundantly clear by every Prophet of Allah during his time. In any case, it is essential for the salvation of the Apostates and Polytheists that they first of all renounced Apostasy and Polytheism and took to the path of Faith and Monotheism. Without it salvation is not possible. Those who believe in the Prophets and affirm their intention to live according to their teachings also sometimes fall into error. They are misled by the Devil or by their own baser instincts and impulses into committing a sin. For such defaulters Allah has kept the door of Tauba (Repentance) open.

Tauba means that if a person many slip into folly and be guilty of a sin or an act of transgression against the law of Allah he should feel genuinely sorry and ashamed over it, and resolve sincerely not to do so again, and seek the forgiveness of Allah with all his heart. It is stated in the Quran and the Traditions that by doing only this much a man's sin is forgiven and he succeeds in winning the pleasure of the Almighty. It is essential to know that Tauba is not vocal penitence. It is not at all a matter of uttering so many words of repentance. The sorrow must be sincere, the shame must be felt in the heart and the resolution not to repeat the folly and be guilty of the sin again must be totally genuine. It is like this. Suppose in a fit of temper or in a moment of acute depression a person swallows poison with the intention of killing himself. But when the poison begins to work and a thousand knives begin to tear his intestines into pieces and he knows that death is near, he repents his folly and cries out in desperation for medical relief. Now, at that time, his first thought will be that if he survived he would never touch the poison again or think of committing suicide. This exactly should be the state of the man who repents after sin. His heart should be seized by the fear of Divine Chastisement, the resolution not to do the thing again should be an honest resolution and so also his entreaties to Allah for forgiveness.

If such a state of feeling is realized by a person in any degree he should be sure that the stain of sin has been washed away and the gates of mercy have opened for him. After such a Tauba the sinner is completely absolved of his sin, he is thoroughly sanctified and becomes even dearer in the sight of Allah than he was before, so much so that sometimes a person succeeds in attaining, through Tauba, a place which would be hard to reach even after a hundred years of prayer and fasting.

All this that we have said on the subject of Tauba was derived entirely from the twin sources of the Quran and the Traditions. We are going now to consider some of the relevant verses of the Quran:

O ye who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance: in the hope that your Lord will remove from you your ills and admit you to Gardens beneath which rivers flow. (46:8)

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Why turn they not to Allah, and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (5:74)

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When those come to thee who believe in Our Signs, say: "Peace be on you! Your Lord hath inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy: Verily, if any of you did evil in ignorance, and thereafter repented, and amended (his conduct); lo, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (6:54)

Also, look at the following Traditions:

"Allah says, 'O My Creatures! You commit follies day and night and I can forgive them all. So, seek My forgiveness. I will forgive'."

"Allah extends the arm of Mercy and Forgiveness every night so that the sinners of the day may repent and seek His pardon and every day so that the sinners of the night may repent and seek His pardon and it shall be like this with Allah till the sun rises from the West near the Doomsday."

"A man committed a sin and then he prayed to Allah, 'O Lord, I have sinned. Forgive me'. Upon this, the Lord observed, 'My servant knows that there is a Allah who can punish him for his sin as well as forgive. I have forgiven the sin of My servant. The person abstained from sin as long as the Lord wished after which he again went astray and fell into transgression. He once again prayed to Allah, 'O Lord, I have sinned. Forgive me.' The Lord observed. 'My servant knows that there is a Allah who can chastise him for sinning as well as forgive. I have forgiven the sin of My servant'. He remained free from sin as long as the Lord wished and then was again guilty of it. Once again he prayed to Allah, 'O Lord, I have sinned. Forgive me'. The Lord observed, 'My servant knows for certain that there is a Allah who can punish as well as forgive him for his sin. I have forgiven the sin of My servant'."

"One who seeks Divine forgiveness after sin becomes like one who has never been guilty of a sin".

These Traditions show how Merciful and Oft-Forgiving is the Lord. To get emboldened by them and to start indulging freely in sinful activities on the strength of Tauba is not worthy of a Muslim. Such verses and Traditions should, on the contrary, lend greater strength to the love of Allah. They should make one feel that it really was the height of meanness to act against the wishes of such a Compassionate and Benevolent Lord. If a master be of a most kind and affectionate nature, would it become his servants to pay back his kindness and affection by violating his wishes and disobeying his commands? What these verses and Traditions seek to convey is that should a person succumb to the temptations of the Devil or to his own ignoble desires and inclinations and commit a sin he must not despair of the mercy of the Lord and lose all hope of salvation. He should, on the other hand, turn his back immediately on the lapse and try earnestly to remove its stain through Tauba, by begging Allah, in all sincerity, His forgiveness. The Almighty, in His Infinite Mercy, will forgive and instead of being angry with him, He will become even more pleased for regretting sincerely what he had done and turning to Him hopefully for remission. A Tradition states:

"When a man turns to Allah after sin and repents sincerely for his folly it makes Allah even happier than a rider whose mount may have thrown him down in a vast desert and fled away with all the journey's provisions laden on its back, and, when the rider may have resigned himself to his fate and sat down under a tree to wait for his death, the animal may return, all of a sudden, with the provisions intact and the rider may catch hold of it and blurt our (stupidly) in sheer joy, 'O Allah, Thou, indeed, art may slave and me thy Master;." If, after knowing these verses and Traditions, someone still fails to seek Divine forgiveness and approbation by offering repentance for his sins through Tauba and resolving not to fall into error again he, emphatically, is most unfortunate. Many people are inclined to take a most complacent attitude towards Tauba. They say, "We are healthy and strong, so what's the hurry? We will do Tauba before dying." Brothers, this is an extremely dangerous deception, which the Devil practices on us. Deprived as he has himself of Divine Mercy and Beneficence and earned a permanent adobe in the Hell, he wants us also to go his way. No one knows when death may strike. Thus, we should consider every day to be the last day of our lives and lose no time in begging the forgiveness of Allah if and when we have been guilty of an evil. This, alone, is the path of wisdom. It is stated candidly in the Quran that. Allah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercy; for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, "Nor of those who die rejecting faith: for them have We prepared a punishment most grievous. (V: 17-18) We should catch time by the forelock and realize the value of life that is left to us. We should not put off Tauba by a moment; we must not procrastinate. We ought to set about, at once, reforming our ways. Allah alone knows when death is going to make its call on us, and, then, it may be too late. Who can tell whether, at that time, we will get the opportunity to offer Tauba or not?

Brother, we all have seen people dying. The general experience is that a person dies in the same state in which he has led his life. It does not happen that a person may have spent all his days in folly and negligence and, he, suddenly repented and turned into a saint a day or two before his death. Hence, a man who wants to die in a state of piety, for him it is necessary to become pious in his lifetime. Then alone can he hope to die as a good Muslim, by the grace of Allah, and to be raised up with the faithful and the righteous in the Hereafter.

If after offering repentance for a sin a person may be guilty of the same sin again there is no need for him to feel so frustrated over it as to lose faith in Divine Mercifulness. He should offer Tauba quickly again, and if again he may break it he should not hesitate in offering it once more even if it be a thousand times. Whenever he will repent with a sincere heart it is the promise of Allah that He will accept his repentance and forgive him. The Benevolence of the Lord, lie His Paradise, is Infinite.

 

Words of Tauba

Form the forgoing it would have been clear that in whatever words or language a person may offer Tauba Allah will listen and accept his penitence. But the holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has laid down certain specific phrases or prayers in this regard which he used to recite himself. These prayers, surely, are most pleasing to Him. We are reproducing some of these here for you to learn by heart and recite for seeking divine forgiveness.

I beg the forgiveness of the Lord save Whom there is no Allah, the living, the Eternal. Unto Him do I turn penitent.

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said, "Whoever will offer penitence to Allah and implore His forgiveness through this Kalima Allah will forgive him even if he has fled from the field of Jihaad which is a most mortal sin in the sight of Allah."

And again: "Whoever will recite this Kalima thrice before going to sleep Allah will forgive his sins even though they may be as profuse as the foam of the sea," Sometimes the sacred Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to recite only (I implore the forgiveness of the Lord). It is a very brief phrase and we should try to cultivate the habit of repeating it every now and then.

 

Sayyidul-Istighfar

It is related that the holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once remarked that the following prayer was Sayyidul-Istighfar (the leader of all the prayer formulas of Istighfar).

O Allah! Thou art my Lord; there is no Allah save Thee. Thou art my Creator and I am Thy slave. I abide by Thy covenant and promise as best as I can. I seek refuge in Thee from the mischief of what I have wrought. I acknowledge unto Thee Thy favour, which Thou hast bestowed upon me, I also confess mine inequity; so forgive me for none forgiveth sins save Thee.

Says the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):

"He who will offer repentance and beg the forgiveness of Allah reciting this prayer with faith and sincerity during day-time then if he died on that day, before nightfall, he shall go to Heaven, and he who will recite it at night, with faith and sincerity, and then if he died on that night, before day-break, he shall go to Heaven."

The three Kalimas of Tauba we have mentioned above are quite easy to remember. As a Tradition reads:

"Blessed, indeed, is the man in whose record the profusion of Tauba is written."

 

Epilogue

What has been stated in the twenty lessons of this small volume will, Insha Allah, suffice for anyone for the attainment of Divine pleasure and paradise. It seems appropriate here to give a brief resume of the whole discussion before bringing the book to a close. The first principle of Islam and the most essential pre-requisite of deliverance and the attainment of paradise is that a man affirms his faith in the Kalima of. After that, he should try to acquire knowledge of the tenets of Islam as least as far as it is necessary to know them in order to be a good Muslim. His constant endeavour should be to observe the Islamic teachings faithfully and to carry out sincerely the Divine commandments regarding the Rights of Allah as well as the Rights of Man and good social and moral behaviour. When there may occur a lapse on his part in respect of these matters he should feel genuinely sorry over it and repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness. He should resolve honestly not to be guilty of the transgression again. If he has transgressed against a fellow being by violating his rights or doing him any other harm he should seek his pardon and make amends for his fault or misconduct or pay suitable compensation as the case may be.

In the same way, the effort of a Muslim should always be that the love of Allah and of His Apostle and His Faith should be stronger in his heart than that of anyone or anything else in the world. He should remain steadfast in faith and waver not in the least form the path of duty to Allah and the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) whatever the circumstances. He should also, as a matter of duty, take some part or another in the preaching and propagation of Islam it is a thing of outstanding virtue and merit and a most special legacy of the Prophets. In the present age, particularly, its value is much greater than that of all other supererogatory prayers and forms of worship and when a person devotes himself to it his devotion to Allah, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and the Faith also develops and becomes stronger.

Among the supererogatory prayers, if possible, one should develop the habit of Tahajjud. Its auspiciousness is of the very highest.

One must always be on one's guard against sin, specially against the major sins, like adultery, stealing, falsehood, drink, and dishonestly in monetary affairs. It is advisable to do some Zikr every day. In case it may not be possible to spare more time for it one should recite at least Kalima-I-Tamjid Or only and Istighfar and Durood Sharif, a hundred times each, morning and evening.

Time should also be set aside for the daily reading of the Quran. It should be done with due religious respect and reverence. After every obligatory Salaah and at bedtime the Tasbeeh-I-Fatima may also be recited.

For those who aspire for more the advice is to seek guidance from a spiritual mentor who may be worthy of it. The last thing to be said in this connection is that the company of true, pious and exalted devotees of Allah and attachment and devotion to them is the very elixir of religious and spiritual existence. If this can fall to the lot of anyone all the rest will follow automatically.

 

Appendices

Forty prayers from the Quran and the traditions

Below we give a selection of forty prayers from the Quran and the Traditions as indicated in Lesson 17.

() () () () () ()

1)                                     Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
Owner of the Day of Judgment. Thee alone do we worship, and to Thee alone
do we beg for help. Show us the straight path: the path of those whom Thou
hast favoured; not the path (of those) who earn Thine anger, nor of those who
go astray. Amen!

2)                                     Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and defend
us from the torment of the Fire.

3)                                     Our Lord! We have, indeed, believed: forgive us, then, our sins, and save us
from the agony of the Fire.

4)                                     O Lord! Forgive us our sins and anything we may have done that transgressed
our duty: establish our feet firmly, and help us against this people that
resisteth faith.

 

5)                  Our Lord! We have heard the call of one calling us to Faith, "Believe ye in the
Lord", and we have believed. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins, blot out from us our inequities, and take to Thyself our souls in the company of the righteous, Our Lord! grant us what Thou didst promise unto us through Thine Apostle, and save us from shame on the day of Judgment: for Thou never breakest promise.

6)                                    Our Lord! We have wronged our souls; if Thou forgive us not and bestow not
on us Thy mercy we shall certainly be lost.

-

7)                                    Our Lord! Make us not a trail for those who practise oppression and deliver us
by Thy mercy from those who reject Thee.

8)                                    Creator of the heavens and the earth! Thou art my protector in this world and
the Hereafter. Take Thou my soul at death as one submitting to Thy Will (as a
Muslim), and unite us with the righteous.

-

9)                                    O my Lord! Make me one who establishes regular prayer, and also raise
among my off-spring, O our Lord, and accept Thou my Prayer. O our Lord!
Cover us with Thy forgiveness-me, my parents and all Believers, on the Day
that the reckoning will be established.

10)                             My Lord! Bestow on my parents Thy mercy even as they cherished me in my
childhood.

11)                             O my Lord! Advance me in my knowledge.

12)                             O my Lord! Grant Thou forgiveness and mercy! For Thou art the Best of
those who show mercy!

13)                             O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Thy favour, which Thou hast
bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents, and I may work righteousness
such as Thou mayst approve; and be gracious to me in my issue. Truly have I
turned to Thee and truly do I bow to Thee in Islam.

14)                             Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the Faith,
and leave not, in our hearts, rancour (or sense of injury) against those who
have believed. Our Lord! Thou at, indeed, full of kindness, Most Merciful.

15)                             Our Lord! Perfect our Light for us and grant us forgiveness: for Thou hast
power over all things.

16)                             O Thou Living, Eternal One! Unto Thy Mercy do I appeal.

17)                             O Allah! Set aright my faith which is the safeguard of all my affairs; set aright
my world wherein is my living, set aright my Hereafter whereto I have to
return. Let life be unto me a source of advance in every kind of righteousness,
and let death be to me a release from every kind of evil.

18)                             O Allah! I beg of Thee forgiveness and peace in this world and the next.

19)                             O Allah! I beg of Thee guidance and modesty and righteousness and freedom
from want.

20)                             O Allah! I beg of Thee sustenance that is clean, knowledge that is useful, and
conduct that is acceptable to Thee.

21)                             O Allah! Open the doors of Thy Mercy for us and make easy for us the doors of
sustenance.

22)                             O Allah! Let Thy lawful sustenance suffice for me against unlawful sustenance,
and let me be, by Thy Grace, dependent on no one besides Thee.

24)                              O Allah! Let it be my good fortune to do things that are pleasing to Thee and
make the Hereafter better for me than this world.

25)                              O Allah! Guide me to the right path, to the path of truth and piety, and save me
from the mischief of my own self.

26)                              O Allah! Help me in Thy remembrance and in being thankful to Thee and in
good worship.

27)                              O Thou who controlleth the hearts! Keep my heart steadfast in Thy faith.

28)                              O Allah! Grant me that I may live as a Muslim and die as a Muslim.

29)                              O Allah! I beg of Thee Thy love and the love of him who loveth Thee and the
conduct that will enable me to attain Thy love. O Allah! Let Thy love be dearer
to me than myself, my wealth, mine household and water that is cold.

30)                              O Allah! Cover me with Thy Mercy and save me from Thy punishment.

31)                              O Allah! Keep me steadfast when feet begin to waver.

32)                              O Allah! Judge me leniently on the Day of Judgment.

33)                              O Allah! Forgive me my sins on Day of Requital.

34)                              O Allah! Save me from Thy Chastisement on the Day Thou will raise up Thy
slaves.

35)                              O Allah! Thy forgiveness is wider than mine inequities and I have better hope
in thy Mercy than in my conduct.

36)                              O Allah! I beg of Thee Thy good pleasure and the Garden (i.e., Paradise). I also
beg of Thee to spare me out of Thy Mercy the Punishment of Fire.)

37)                              O Allah! I seek refuge in Thy good pleasure from Thy displeasure, and Thy
forgiveness from Thy retribution.

38)                              O Allah! Forgive me, be kind to me, have mercy on me Verily Thou art Most
Kind, Most Merciful.

39)                              O Allah! Thou art my Lord. There is no Allah save Thee. Thou hast created me
and I am thy slave. And I abide by Thy Covenant and Promise as best as I can.
I seek refuge in Thee from the mischief of what I have wrought. I
acknowledge unto thee Thy favour which Thou hast bestowed upon me. I
confess also my inequity: so, forgive me for none forgiveth sins save Thee.

40)                              O Allah! I seek refuge in Thee from the mischief of my ears, and from the
mischief of my eyes, and from the mischief of my tongue, and from the
mischief of my heart, and from the mischief of my carnal desires, and I seek
refuge in Thee from the punishment of Hell, and from the punishment of the
grave, and from the calamity of Dajjal, and I seek refuge in Thee from the
trails and temptations of life and death.

  ( ) ( )

41) O Allah! I beg of Thee all the good things that (Prophet) Mohammad (Peace be
upon him) had begged of Thee, and I seek Thy refuge from all the evils from
which (Prophet) Mohammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had sought refuge in Thee.

42)  O Allah! Magnify Mohammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and his posterity and followers as Thou has magnified Abraham and his posterity and followers;
verily, Thou art the Praiseworthy, the Majestic. O Allah! Send him down on
the Day of Judgment into the place of special nearness unto Thee and elevate
him to places of honour and intercession and grant him that place of choicest
favour and worthiness which Thou promised of him, and bless us with his
intercession on the Day of recompense: for Thou never breakest Thy promise.

 

 

Appendix (II)

Prayers for Particular Occasions

Many prayers for specific occasions have also been taught to us by the holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), We are reproducing some of them here that are easy to learn and can be made use of by us in our daily life. They should be learnt by heart and recited habitually at moments for which they are indicated.

1.                At Day break

O Allah! With Thy help do we enter upon the morning, and with Thy help do we enter upon the evening: with Thy help do we live and with Thy help do we die: and unto Thee shall be the Resurrection.

2.                When evening sets in

O Allah! With Thy help do we enter upon the evening and with Thy help do we enter upon the morning: with Thy help do we live and with Thy do we die: and unto Thee shall be the Resurrection.

3.                On retiring to bed

O Allah! In Thy name do we live and die.

4.                On rising up in the morning

Praise be to Allah who restored us unto life, having caused to die, and unto Him shall be the Resurrection.

5.                Before entering the lavatory

O Allah! I seek refuge in Thee from the wicked devils, both male and female.

6.                On coming out of the lavatory

Praise be to Allah who relieved me of faeces and gave health.

7.                While performing the Wazu

O Allah! Forgive me my sins, bless my household and grant auspiciousness and
prosperity to my sustenance.

8.                When the Wazu is finished

I bear witness that there is not except One Allah. He is alone: He hath no
partner. And I bear witness that Mohammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is His slave
and His Messenger. O Allah! Make me among those that repent and among
those that remain clean.

9.                On entering the mosque

O Lord! Forgive me my sins and open unto me the gates of Thy Mercy.

10.              One coming out of the mosque

O Lord! Forgive me my sins and open unto me the doors of Thy Bounty.

11.              Before commencing to eat

In the name of Allah and upon the blessings of the Lord

12.              At the end of meal

Praise be to Allah who fed us and gave us drink and raised us up as Muslims.

13.              When dining at someone's place

O Allah! Feed him who fed us and give him drink who gave us to drink.

14.              When riding a beast of burden or a carriage

Glory be to Him who hath subjugated it to us though we were unable to subdue it. Behold, we are assuredly to return unto the Lord.

15.        When setting forth on a journey

O Allah! Make this journey of ours easy for us and roll up for us the distance
thereof. O Allah! Thou art our Companion in the journey and the Caretaker of
our households when we are away. O Allah! I seek refuge in Thee from the toil
of the journey and from beholding a sad sight and a bad reverse in my
fortunes and on my return.

16.        On returning home from a journey

We return unto Allah, penitents, adorers and worshippers of the Lord.

17.        When bidding farewell to anyone

I place thee in the hands of Allah, and thy things that need protection and the
end of Thy deeds.

18.        On seeing anyone in distress

Praise be to Lord who saved me from that from which lie hath afflicted thee, and made me better than of His creatures (purely out of His Mercy. I claim no credit for it).

19.        On entering a town

O Allah! Bless this town for us and make it for us auspicious

20.        When rising from a company

O Allah! Glory be to Thee, celebrate Thy praises; There is no Lord save Thee, I beg Thy forgiveness and I repent.

  

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DARUL ULOOM ILAHIYAH
INSTITUTE OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH
ILAHI BAGH, BUCHPORA, SRINAGAR, 190011, KASHMIR, INDIA