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Are you afraid of something? Say the following:

The remembrance of Allāh is Sakeena (tranquillity). Allāh said: أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allāh hearts find rest.”[1]

The remembrance of Allah is a chief way in easing all difficulties. Allāh said, speaking about Prophet Yunus (ʿalayhi al-Salām) who was swallowed by a whale:

فَلَوْلَا أَنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُسَبِّحِينَ (143) لَلَبِثَ فِي بَطْنِهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ (144)

“And had he not been of those who remembered Allṣh in Tasbeeh, He would have remained inside its belly until the Day they are resurrected.” [2]

The remembrance of Allāh is greater than every action as Allāh also said:  وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ

“.. and the remembrance of Allah is greater” [3]

There is yet another benefit within these remembrances, particularly for the Muslim of the 21st century. At a time when humanity finds itself dealing with ever-increasing rates of cancer, strokes, sudden deaths and unprecedented diseases, when warfare has engulfed much of the Muslim world as families sit together, waiting for the roofs of their homes to be decked with a missile, when fear of poverty has spiked, it has become clearer than ever that the Fear of Harm syndrome is in fact consuming mankind at large. Bearing this in mind, these remembrances provide yet another service which we have never been more in need of than today; Protection by Allāh.

This article will focus on this one dimension of Dhikr. We will explore certain remembrances of protection as were taught to us by the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), for this study is one which will surely change our attitude towards these words and consequently our enthusiasm to apply them and teach them to those we care about.

The remembrances for protection that pertain to Al-Istādha  

Al-Isti’aadha refers to seeking refuge in Allāh by saying, for example, ‘A’ūdhu Billāh’ (I seek refuge in Allāh). We hear this phrase thrown about a lot, but what are you actually saying when you utter these words?  Imām Al-Qurtubi said,

معنى الاستعاذة في كلام العرب: الاستجارة والتحيز إلى الشيء، على معنى الامتناع به من المكروه

“The term Al-Isti’ādha in the usage of Arabs is to request protection and to retreat to a matter, seeking security in it from something that is disliked.” [4]

The Arabs call the camel that is less than 10 days old “عوذ” / ‘Ūdh’. Ponder over the similarity between this term and Al-Isti’ādha. Such a young camel is fragile and remains in close proximity to its mother, fearing harm. When we say ‘A’ūdhu billāh’ (I seek refuge in Allāh) we are saying “I need Him”, “I flee to Him”, “I find safety with Him”, “I am lost if He abandons me.”

The first duʿā’

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

مَن قالَ حينَ يمسي ثلاثَ مرَّاتٍ : أعوذُ بِكَلماتِ اللَّهِ التَّامَّاتِ من شرِّ ماخلقَ ، لم يضُرَّهُ حُمةٌ تلكَ اللَّيلةَ

“Whoever recites in the evening three times; ‘I seek protection in the perfect words of Allāh from every evil that He has created’ no sting of an insect will harm him that evening.” Suhail, one of the narrators, said,

فَكانَ أَهْلُنا تعلَّموها فَكانوا يقولونَها كلَّ ليلةٍ فلُدِغَت جاريةٌ منهم فلم تجِدْ لَها وجعًا

“Our families learnt this and would say it each night. A young girl was then stung but she didn’t experience any pain.”[5]

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would say, اللَّهمَّ إنِّي أعوذُ بك من البرَصِ والجنونِ ، والجُذامِ وسيِّئِ الأسقامِ

“O Allāh, I seek your refuge from leukoderma (a rare disease which is characterised by white patches on the body), insanity, leprosy and from all serious illnesses.”[6]

This last phrase ‘from all serious illnesses’ captures every illness of the past, present and future, whether it pertains to cancer in its countless manifestations or its likes.

The second duʿā’

This is one which the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) taught Abū Bakr. Abū Bakr asked,

 يا رسولَ اللهِ أخبِرْني ما أقولُ إذا أصبَحْتُ وإذا أمسَيْتُ

‘O messenger of Allāh, what should I say in the morning and evening?’ He said,

يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ قُلْ: اللَّهمَّ فاطرَ السَّماواتِ والأرضِ عالِمَ الغيبِ والشَّهادةِ ربَّ كلِّ شيءٍ ومليكَهُ ومالِكَهُ أشهدُ أن لا إلهَ إلَّا أنتَ أعوذُ بكَ من شرِّ نفسي ومن شرِّ الشَّيطانِ وشركِهِ وأن أقترفَ على نفسي سوءًا أو أجرَّهُ إلى مسلمٍ

“O Allāh, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the unseen and the seen, Lord of everything and its owner. I testify that there is no god but You. I seek refuge with You from the evil of myself and the evil of Shayṭān and his encouragement to associate others with You, and that I just commit an evil against myself or be its cause for another Muslim.”[7]

We notice two things here:

(1) The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) chooses these words for Abū Bakr. He is the most pious human being after the prophets and yet he is taught to ask Allāh for refuge from Shayṭān’s whisperings and the evil of his own self.

(2) The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) teaches us to ask for protection from both the internal and external enemy which are, as Imām Ibnul Qayyim described,

مصدرَي الشر، وهما: النفس والشيطان

“The two originating sources of all evil; One’s self and Shayṭān.”[8]

The remembrances for protection that pertain to ‘Bismillah’

This is a statement that is advisable before eating, drinking, matrimonial relations, leaving one’s home, entering one’s car, closing doors, covering food, amidst many other times. It has a tremendous effect in turning away the plotting of Shayṭān, repelling his whisperings, blocking their eyes from seeing us when we are unclothed, preventing them from joining us when eating and drinking, preventing them from harming our children, expels them from our homes and bars them from even using our utensils in the kitchen.

As for one’s leaving of the home, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

إِذَا خَرَجَ الرَّجُلُ مِنْ بَيْتِهِ فَقَالَ: بِسْمِ اللَّهِ، تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللَّهِ، لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ، يُقَالُ حِينَئِذٍ: هُدِيتَ، وَكُفِيتَ، وَوُقِيتَ، فَتَتَنَحَّى لَهُ الشَّيَاطِينُ، فَيَقُولُ لَهُ شَيْطَانٌ آخَرُ: كَيْفَ لَكَ بِرَجُلٍ قَدْ هُدِيَ وَكُفِيَ وَوُقِيَ؟

“When a man goes out of his house and says: ‘In the name of Allāh, I place my trust in Allāh and there is no might and no power but in Allāh,’ it will be said to him, ‘You are guided, sufficed and protected’ and the devils will keep a distance from him, thus the devils will say, ‘How can you deal with a man who has been guided, sufficed and protected?!”[9]

As for when you return back home, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

أغلقْ بابَك واذكرِ اسمَ اللهِ ، فإنَّ الشيطانَ لا يفتحُ بابًا مُغلقًا ، وأطفِ مصباحَك واذكرِ اسمَ اللهِ ، وخمِّرْ إناءَك ولو بعودٍ تعرضُه عليه ، واذكرِ اسمَ اللهِ ، وأوكِ سقاءَك ، واذكرِ اسمَ اللهِ

“Close your door and mention the name of Allāh, for the Shayṭān does not open a closed door. And extinguish your lamp and mention the name of Allāh. And cover your vessels, even if it is simply by putting a straw over it and remember the name of Allāh. And tie up your waterskins and mention the name of Allāh.”[10]

As for your moments of anger, a man said:

كنتُ رديفَ النبيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فعثرت دابةٌ, فقلتُ: تَعِسَ الشيطانُ ,فقال: لا تقل تَعِسَ الشيطانُ؛ فإنك إذا قلتَ ذلك تعاظمَ حتى يكونَ مثلَ البيتِ ، ويقولُ: بقوتي، ولكن قل: بسمِ اللهِ؛ فإنك إذا قلتَ ذلك ، تصاغرَ حتى يكونَ مثلَ الذباب

“I was riding behind the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and the animal stumbled. I said, ‘Shayṭān is foolish!’ The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, ‘Do not say that Shayṭān is foolish, for if you say that, he grows in arrogance until he becomes like a house in size and he says, ‘I caused him to stumble by my strength!’ Rather, say ‘In the name of Allāh’, for if you say that, he diminishes in size until he becomes like a fly.”[11]

In fact, in one of the most precious remembrances under this category, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

ما مِنْ عبدٍ يقولُ في صباحِ كلِّ يومٍ ، ومساءِ كلِّ ليلةٍ ، بسمِ اللهِ الذي لايضُرُّ مع اسمِهِ شيءٌ في الأرضِ و لا في السماءِ ، وهُوَ السميعُ العليمُ ، ثلاثُ مراتٍ ، لم يضرَّهُ شيءٌ

“Whoever says, ‘In the name of Allāh with whose name nothing can harm on the earth or in the heaven, and He is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing’ three times in the morning and three times in the evening, nothing will harm him.”[12]

This is protection from everything that may harm a person. Imām Al-Qurtubi said,

اني منذ سمعت هذا الخبر عملت به فلم يضرني شي الى ان تركته لدغتني عقرب بالمدينة ليلا , فتفكرت في نفسي فاذا بي قد نسيت ان اتعوذ بتلك الكلمات

“I have been applying this duʿā’ since the day I learnt of it and nothing has harmed me since, except on one day when I was stung by a scorpion in Madīna. I began to think to myself and realised that I’d forgotten to say these words on that day.”[13]

In another narration to this, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) concluded by saying: لم تصبه فجأة بلاء

“He will not be afflicted by a sudden calamity.”[14]

Unexpected disasters are incredibly difficult to deal with, whether it i news that you receive about your health, wealth or family. The protection from this is in Bismillāh.

Ponder over the wording of this duʿā’ and how relevant it is for our brothers and sisters whose rain has become rockets, barrel bombs, phosphorous gas or its likes. Or those perhaps who are taken away by a land mine that they step on, for a calamity may come to you as you drive a car on land or as you fly on a plane by air; the ḥadīth caters for this all by saying, ‘In the name of Allāh with whose name nothing can harm on earth or in heaven..”

Abān, the son of the narrator of this ḥadīth, ʿUthmān, once related this ḥadīth to a group. Abān, however, was paralysed and so one of the listeners stared at Abān in a peculiar manner as if to say ‘you narrate to us this ḥadīth of protection whilst you are paralysed yourself!’ Abān realised this and said to him,

مالك تنظر إليّ ؟ فو الله ما كذبت على عثمان ، ولا كذب عثمان على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، ولكن اليوم الذي أصابني فيه ما أصابني غضبت فنسيت أن أقولها

‘Why are you looking at me? By Allāh! I have not told a lie about ʿUthmān nor has ʿUthmān told a lie about the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).  On the day that I became paralysed I was angry and thus I’d forgotten to say this duʿā.’ [15]

The remembrances for protection that relate to the Qur’`a`n

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) once said to the companion ʿAbdullāh b. Khubaib,

 { قُلْ هُوَ اللهُ أَحَدٌ } والمُعوِّذتَينِ حين تُمسي وحين تصبحُ ثلاثَ مراتٍ تَكفيك من كلِّ شيءٍ

‘Reciting Sūrat Al-Ikhlās, Sūrat Al-Falaq and Sūrat An-Nās three times in the morning and three times in the evening will protect you from everything.’[16]

Our need for these three chapters of the Qur’ān is greater than our need for food, drink and shelter. In fact, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would recite these three chapters into his palms combined before he would go to sleep, blowing into his hands and wiping over his body with them afterwards. He was so persistent on doing this every night that, on the night of his death, he asked his wife ʿĀ’isha to do this for him as, by that time, he had lost ability to do it himself. She lifted his blessed hands and wiped his body with them.

Another example of protection via the Qur’ān is given when the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

إذا أويتَ إلى فراشِكَ فاقرأ آيةَ الكرسيِّ اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ القَيُّومُ حتَّى تختمَ الآيةَ ، فإنَّك لَن يزالَ عليكَ منَ اللَّهِ حافظٌ ، ولا يقربُكَ شيطانٌ حتَّى تُصْبِحَ

‘If you go to your bed, then recite Āyat Al-Kursy,[17] you will continue to be protected by a protector from Allāh and no Shayṭān will come near you until the morning of the next day.’[18]

From the same Sūrah, Sūrat Al-Baqara, we are recommended to recite the last two Āyāt before we sleep and whoever does so, “كفتاه” (They will suffice him’).[19]

But, suffice him in what? From the harm of man? The mischief of Jinn? From whisperings of Shayṭān? From the affliction of disease? Imām Ibnul Qayyim answers, كفتاه من شر ما يؤذيه

“They will suffice him against any evil that may harm him.”[20]

The remembrances for protection that pertain to Al-ʿĀfiya (general wellbeing)   

The stress of deteriorating vision, hearing or health in general is a ghost that haunts every one of us one way or another. Thus the Prophet(sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would have something to say in this regard as well.

ʿAbdurRaḥmān b. Abī Bakra said,

يا أبت إني أسمعك تدعو كل غداة اللهم عافني في بدني اللهم عافني في سمعي اللهم عافني في بصري لا إله إلا أنت اللهم إني أعوذ بك من الكفر والفقر اللهم إني أعوذ بك من عذاب القبر لا إله إلا أنت تعيدها حين تصبح ثلاثا وثلاثا حين تمسي قال نعم يا بني إني سمعت النبي صلى الله عليه وسيلم يدعو بهن فأحب أن أستن بسنته

“O my father, I hear you saying every morning, ‘O Allāh, grant me wellbeing in my body; O Allāh, grant me wellbeing in my hearing; O Allāh, grant me wellbeing in my sight, there is no god but You. O Allāh, I seek refuge with You from disbelief and poverty; O Allāh, I seek refuge with You from the torment of the grave; there is no god but You’ and you repeat it three times in the morning and three times in the evening. He said: ‘Yes, O my son; I heard the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) repeating these words and I like to follow his Sunnah.”[21]

Furthermore, if a calamity is going to befall us, how many different directions can it come to us from? From six directions: from above us, or beneath us, our right, left, front or back. Bearing this mind, Ibnu ʿUmar said that,

لم يكن رسولُ اللهِ صلَّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّمَ يدَعُ هؤلاءِ الدَّعواتِ حين يُمسي وحين يُصبح اللهمَّ إني أسألُك العفوَ

العافيةَ في الدنيا والآخرةِ ، اللهمَّ إني أسألك العفوَ والعافية في ديني ودنياي وأهلي ومالي ، اللهمَّ استُرْعوْرتي وآمِنْ رَوْعاتي ؛ اللهمَّ احفَظْني من بين يديَّ ومِن خلْفي وعن يميني وعن شمالي ومن فوقي ، وأعوذُ بعظَمتِك أن أُغتالَ مِن تَحتي

“The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) never abandoned these words either in the evening or in the morning: ‘O Allāh, I ask You for wellbeing in this world and in the hereafter. O Allāh, I ask You for forgiveness and wellbeing in my religious and worldly affairs, and my family and my property. O Allāh, conceal my faults and keep me safe from the things that I fear. O Allāh, protect me from the front and from behind, and on my right and on my left and from above, and I seek refuge in Your greatness from receiving unexpected harm from beneath me.”[22]

Life experiences suggest, however, that it could be that one repeats these words but something still manages to find its way to such a person. How is this? This is a situation which requires analysis, for

(1) It may be that such a person uttered these words without definite belief but with a trial and error mentality

(2) That his utterance of these words were not coupled with an attentive heart, but robotic utterances or

(3) The calamity which makes its way to him does not actually end up harming him. In fact, one may be afflicted with a calamity and, after it passes, his situation becomes better than before.

Finally, there is a very important point that must be made here. Some of us may be under the impression that the sole purpose of these remembrances is to shield a person from physical illnesses and worldly problems like loss of money and family, but in reality they do much more. They also shield a person from sins and create barriers between one and the whisperings of Shayṭān. Thus, when you ask Allāh, for example, to give you ‘wellbeing in your body’ you are also asking Allāh to protect this body from being used in any aspect of Harām. ‘O Allāh, give me wellbeing in my eyes’ includes a duʿā’ to help you not use them to glare at the Harām, to help you see guidance, to see the light of Islām. This must be our intention as we utter these supplications.

Those who complain of being so easily influenced by Shayṭān’s suggestions, of not being able to lower their gaze, of not being able to resist any sin, whether pertaining to one’s appearance, communication, behaviour in privacy or its likes, then immediately revisit how consistent you have been with these Adhkār.

If it is not the fear over yourself that is keeping you up at night, it is your fear over someone you love. But the truest way of showing this love is not by depriving yourself from sleep nor by shedding tears for them, rather, it is by sharing with them the likes of these prophetic remembrances of protection.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’an, 13:28

[2] Al-Qur’an, 37:143-144

[3] Al-Qur’an, 29:45

[4] Tafsir Al-Qurtubi

[5] Narrated by At-Tirmidhi in his ‘Jaami’’, on the authority of Abu Huraira

Transliteration: ‘A’oodhu bikalimaatillaahit taammaat, min sharri ma khalaq’

 

[6] Narrated by An-Nawawi in ‘Al-Adhkaar’, on the authority of Anas

Transliteration: ‘Allahumma inni a’oodhu bika minal baras, waljunoon, waljudhaam, wa sayyi’ al-asqaam’

 

[7] Narrated by At-Tirmidhi in his ‘Jaami’’, on the authority of Abu Huraira

Transliteration: ‘Allahumma faatiras samaawaati wal ard, ‘aalimal ghaibi wash shahaadah, laa ilaaha illa ant, rabba kulli shay’in wa maleekah, a’oodhu bika min sharri nafsi, wa min sharrish shaytaani wa shirkih, wa an aqtarifa ‘ala nafsee soo’an, aw ajurrahu ila Muslim.’

 

[8] From his book, ‘Badaai’ Al-Fawaa’id’

[9] Narrated by Abu Daawood in his ‘Sunan’, on the authority of Anas

Translisteration: ‘Bismilla, tawakkaltu ‘alallaah, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaah’

 

[10] Narrated by Abu Daawood in his ‘Sunan’, on the authority of Jaabir

[11] Narrated by Abu Dawood, on the authority of Abu Maleeh

[12] Narrated by Al-Bukhari in ‘Al-Adabul Mufrad’, on the authority of ‘Uthman

Transliteration: ‘Bismillaahil ladhi laa yadurru ma’ismihi shay’un, fil ardi wa laa fis samaa’i wahuwas samee’ul ‘aleem’

[13] Al-Futoohaat Ar-Rabbaaniyyah by Ibn ‘Illaan

[14] Narrated by Abu Dawood, on the authority of ‘Uthman

[15] Narrated by Abu Dawood

[16] Narrated by Abu Dawood in his ‘Sunan’

[17] Al-Qur’an, 2:255

[18] Narrated by Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Abu Huraira

[19] Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Abu Mas’ood Al-Ansari

[20] Al-Waabil As-Sayyib

[21] Narrated by Abu Dawood, on the authority of ‘AbdurRahman Ibn Abi Bakra

Transliteration: ‘Allahumma ‘aafini fee badani, Allahumma ‘aafini fee sam’i, Allahumma ‘aafini fee basaree, laa ilaaha illa ant. Allahumma inni a’oodhu bika minal kufr wal faqr. Allahumma inna a’oodhu bika min ‘adhaabil qabr. Laa ilaaha illa ant.’

 

[22] Narrated by Abu Dawood in his ‘Sunan’

Transliteration: ‘Allahumma inni as’alukal ‘afwa wal ‘aafiyata fid dunya wal aakhira. Allahumma inni as’alukal ‘afwa wal ‘aafiyata fee deeni wa dunyaay, wa ahlee wa maali. Allahummastur ‘awraati, wa aamin raw’aati. Allahummah fadhni min bayni yadayya wa min khalfi, wa ‘an yameeni wa ‘an shimaali wa min fawqi, wa a’oodhu bi’adhamatika an ughtaala min tahti’

About Ustādh Ali Hammuda

Ustadh Ali Ihsan Hammuda is an educator and writer on Islam. He is of Palestinian origin but was brought up in the UK and although an architect/planner by profession, he currently works with Al-Manar (Cardiff) as the English Islamic programmes officer. Ali is known as the author of various books including 'Origins of the Mosque of Cordoba' and 'The End of Times', and continues to deliver sermons, lectures and regular classes across the country. He is a regular writer on Islamic issues to a wide audience.

2 comments

  1. abd wahab saba...habibi

    Mashyia mashyia..kda wa kida….

    I understand a muslim is one who others are protected from mouth and hand….

    Albeit……lets see…..more than 3 days or not….coming to a mosque near you….sooner or later..if the mercy continues to come…..even if have to crawl…..

    You muslims are so blessed and the best of nations…..keep up your good work…..

  2. Asa. .. please do you have these in transliteration for those of us who can’t read Arabic?
    Jazak Allah

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