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The Dua of Those Grounded in Knowledge

Conversing with Allāh

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Du’ā  2

رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ

“Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower.”[1]

To title this Du’ā as being that of the scholars would be an understatement, rather it is the Du’ā, according to Allāh, of al-Rāsikhūna fil-ʿilm/ those who are established in knowledge.

The Arabic word for “deviate” which the Du’ā teaches us to seek refuge from is Zaygh, which literally refers to something that moves away from where it should be. For this reason, when the sun moves from its zenith, it is described in Arabic as having zāghat; deviated from its original position. Thus when you say – as is in the Du’ā above – “Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us”, you are begging Allāh to prevent your heart from moving from where it is intended to be.

We mentioned earlier that this Du’ā is in fact that of the people of knowledge. This is taken from its context  where Allāh says:

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هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

“It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muḥammad], the Book; in it are verses that are precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. So, as for those in whose hearts is deviation, they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them] and no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allāh. But those who are firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All of it is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.”[2]

Here, Allāh informs us that some of the verses of Qur’ān are clear (definite in their meaning) whilst others are not so clear for some, and that the people whose hearts are ill seek out those verses that are not so definite in their meaning with the intention of stirring problems, doubts and fitnah amongst people. After mentioning this, Allāh informs us that there are exceptions to these people – the people who are firm in their knowledge – who acknowledge that all of the Qur’ān is from Allāh and that their Du’ā is, as is found in the verse immediately after it:

“Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower.”

Therefore, if you wish to know what true knowledge should give rise to, this Du’ā would be part of the answer; a Du’ā of desperation for Allāh to keep you a Muslim and allow you to die as one. It certainly sounds like a simple request but according to Allāh, this Du’ā is the fruit of true scholarship.

What other requests from Allāh are embedded within this Du’ā? You are begging Allāh to love īmān, to hate what contradicts it, to send in your direction the people of righteousness, to close the opportunities that lead to sin, to develop an attachment to the Masjid, a desire to recite the Qur’ān, a yearning to pray on time, to protect it from illusionary attachments, and so on and so forth.  

It is for this reason that when our mother, Umm Salamah, was asked regarding the most frequent Du’ā which she heard the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) making, she told them that the Du’ā was:

يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِى عَلَى دِينِكَ

‘O turner of hearts, keep my heart steadfast on your Dīn’.[3]

And in another narration:  

“O Allāh, You are the One who controls hearts, allow my heart to turn towards Your obedience.”[4]

Do not for a single moment belittle the importance of this Du’ā, for the One who has been carrying you on your journey of īmān is and was always Allāh, and should He choose to let go, you can never find your way back to īmān. Have you thought about what that means? Have you considered the dark thought of waking up one morning where you no longer feel like glorifying Allāh?

Allāh said to the very Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) himself:

وَلَوْلَا أَن ثَبَّتْنَاكَ لَقَدْ كِدتَّ تَرْكَنُ إِلَيْهِمْ شَيْئًا قَلِيلًا

“And had We not strengthened you, you would have almost inclined to them a little.”[5]

Deviation is not a distant possibility for any heart. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

The example of the heart is that of a feather blown about by the wind of the desert.[6]

On what side will such a feather land? Allāh knows. This is the analogy of our hearts and the weight of this Du’ā.

The Du’ā continues:

“Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy…[7]

The fact that the Arabic term Raḥma/mercy appears in the indefinite form (Raḥma/ “mercy”) as opposed to the definite form (al-Raḥma/ “The mercy”) indicates greatness, importance and weight. So we are not asking for any type of mercy, but one of greatness.

We often hear Imāms in their Duʿā’ imploring Allāh with heavy weeping for His mercy. We hear our teachers strongly encouraging us to beg Allāh for His mercy, and in our conversations we always hear people saying, “Allāh! Have mercy on us!” Although we know what mercy means as a term, in all honesty, many of us are pestered with a question which we are too shy to vocalise, namely: “What does it mean for Allāh to have mercy on me?” Consider the following carefully, for you may never see the Raḥma of Allāh the same way again.

1) When you beg Allāh, saying “Have mercy on me” you are asking Allāh to give you knowledge of the Qur’ān. Allāh says,

الرَّحْمَنُ – عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ – خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ – عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ

The Most Merciful. He taught the Qur’ān. He created man. He taught Him clear speech”[8]

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim comments on this:

تأمل كَيْفَ جَعَلَ الْخَلْقَ وَالتَّعْلِيمَ نَاشِئًا عَنْ صِفَةِ الرَّحْمَةِ مُتَعَلِّقًا بِاسْمِ الرَّحْمَنِ

“Ponder over how Allāh made one’s creation and his teaching a product of Allāh’s mercy, connected to His name, al-Raḥmān.”[9]

2) When you cry for Allāh’s mercy, you are also asking Him to make you a successful Dā’iya (caller to Islām). Allāh says to His messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam),

 فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ

“It was by the mercy of Allāh that you were gentle with them and had you been stern and harsh-hearted they would have dispersed from around you”[10]

Are you tired of being an inactive Muslim and crave for the day when people turn to Allāh through you? For homes in Paradise to be built because of you? Do you long for the skills needed to unlock the highest grades in Jannah? Then beg Allāh for His Raḥma,

3) You are asking Him to erase your sins, both the ones which you remember and the ones which you have forgotten. Allāh says,

كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ أَنَّهُ مَنْ عَمِلَ مِنْكُمْ سُوءًا بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ تَابَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَنَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

“Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy: that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself – indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.”[11]

If the mercy of Allāh touches you, your sins will forsake you.

4) When you ask for His mercy, you are asking for the easing and removal of every one of your difficulties in life. With the Raḥma of Allāh, life becomes a dream come true and, without it, life becomes a long lasting nightmare. By Allāh, one may be sleeping on the softest of silk and eating from the finest of food, but if Allāh’s Raḥma is not present, that silk will seem like thorns and that food will seem like poison. On the other hand, one may be sleeping on thorns and his income may be minimal, but if the Raḥma of Allāh is with him, those thorns will be made to seem softer than silk, his poverty will seem to be affluence and trauma will seem to be bliss.

This was the Raḥma which Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām) experienced when he was in the fire. It became bliss. This was the Raḥma which Yūsuf (ʿalayhi al-Salām) experienced in the well and in the prison. It too became bliss. This was the Raḥma which Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) experienced as he grew up in the care of a tyrant; the Raḥma which Yunus (ʿalayhi al-Salām) experienced as he sat in the belly of the whale, and the Raḥma which the youth of the cave experienced in a dark and dingy cave, it all became bliss. If this mercy touches any human being after begging Allāh for it, his pain becomes happiness, his sorrow becomes joy and the trial becomes a garden of bliss and contentment.

Should Allāh accept your Duʿā’ for His Raḥma, you will be the happiest person in the world and no one can take away this Raḥma from you ever again. Allāh says,

ما يفتح اللَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ مِن رَّحْمَةٍ فَلَا مُمْسِكَ لَهَا وَمَا يُمْسِكْ فَلَا مُرْسِلَ لَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

“Whatever Allāh grants to people of mercy, none can withhold it; and whatever He withholds, none can release it thereafter. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”[12]

5) Focus on this last one carefully: When you ask Allāh to give you from His Raḥma, you are asking Him to allow you to walk into Paradise. Our deeds cannot and will not give us access to Jannah on their own, for even the deeds of the Prophets do not qualify them for a moment in Paradise. People will only enter by Allāh’s Raḥma. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

قَارِبُوا وَسَدِّدُوا ، وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّهُ لَنْ يَنْجُوَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ بعَمَلِهِ  قالُوا : وَلا أَنْتَ يَا رَسُول الله ؟ قَالَ : وَلاَ أنا إلاَّ أنْ يَتَغَمَّدَني الله برَحمَةٍ مِنهُ وَفَضْلٍ

“Do your best in doing good deeds and come as close as you can to perfection, but know that none of you will enter paradise through his good deeds.” The companions asked: “Not even you, O messenger of Allāh?!” He said: “Not even me, unless Allāh showers me with His mercy and His kindness.”[13]

Returning to the Du’ā:

“Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy…”[14]

We mentioned earlier that this is no ordinary Du’ā, but one that belongs to the people of knowledge, and so what follows on from this Du’ā in the Āyah after it, comes as no surprise, for they say:

رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ جَامِعُ النَّاسِ لِيَوْمٍ لَّا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَادَ

“Our Lord, surely You will gather the people for a Day about which there is no doubt. Indeed, Allāh does not fail in His promise.”[15]

Since the users of this Du’ā are the people of knowledge, they realise that despite the countless difficulties one experiences in the life of this world, there will never be a time where one will be more in need of Allāh’s mercy than on the Day of Reckoning.

Again, returning to the Du’a:

“Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower.[16]

Finally, the Du’ā is concluded with “Indeed, You are the Bestower”. The Bestower, in Arabic, is al-Wahhāb and is one of the divine names of Allāh. It is in reference to He who gives Hibāt/gifts over and over again. A Hiba is a gift that is given without a return. So, in essence, we are saying “O Allāh, we ask You to protect our hearts from deviation and to give us from Your mercy; they are gifts we do not deserve in the least but are purely from Your kindness and we have nothing to offer in return for it.”

Benefits to keep in mind:

1) The fruit of true knowledge

A sign that one is acquiring true knowledge that will be of benefit is that it produces the likes of these Du’ā in one’s life, Du’ā that indicate just how īmān­ and Hereafter-orientated such a student of knowledge is becoming.

2) Acknowledging His favours

A key ingredient in the recipe of an answered Du’ā is the acknowledgement of His favours, for the Du’ā mentions: “Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us…

Thus, as you beg Him in any circumstance, confess to Him His many favours upon You and allow such acknowledgement to open up for you the heavens.

3) Emptying comes before filling   

Before any dirty vessel can be filled with goodness, it must first be emptied and cleansed. Similarly, should one’s heart be able to take full benefit of revelation, it first must be emptied from its grime. This is inspired by the very wording of the Du’ā:

  1. “Let not our hearts deviate..” – The emptying of the vessel
  2. “And grant us from Yourself mercy..” – The filling of it

A conscious effort must be made to eliminate the hurdles and obstacles that stand between such aspirations and our hearts by those who yearn for Allāh’s mercy and for the light of īmān to illuminate their way. Such obstacles, however, vary from person to person. For some, they are friends who need reconsidering, habits behind closed doors that need tackling, a financial transaction that requires rethinking, a secret lover whom one has been claiming intentions to marry for years on end, and so on.

If such efforts are not made in removing these obstacles we cannot wonder why nothing seems to be changing with Du’ā and why īmān is still failing to appear in our lives.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’ān 3:9

[2] Al-Qur’ān 3:7

[3] Silsilah as-Saheeha

[4] Muslim

[5] Al-Qur’ān 17:74

[6] Ibnu Mājah, on the authority of Abū Musa

[7] Al-Qur’ān 3:9

[8] Al-Qur’ān, 55:1-4

[9] AsSawaa’iqul Mursala

[10] Al-Qur’ān, 3:159

[11] Al-Qur’ān, 6:54

[12] Al-Qur’ān, 35:2

[13] Muslim, on the authority of Abū Huraira

[14] Al-Qur’ān 3:9

[15] Al-Qur’ān 3:9

[16] Al-Qur’ān 3:9

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.

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