SAFAR - RABI-UL-AWWAL
Volume 17-04 No : 208
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There are many Hadiths mentioning several formulae of the Prophet's (Pbuh) supplication at various times of the day. One of these is reported by Hudhayfah who says: "When the Prophet wanted to sleep, he would say: 'It is in Your name, my Lord, that I die and live.' When he woke up from sleep, he would say: 'Praise be to God who has given us life after he has caused us to die, and to Him we all return'.
Commentary by Adil Salahi
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said a prayer practically at every turn throughout the day, but he said certain prayers regularly, at special times, such as in the morning and in the evening.
At times one of his companions asked him to teach him something to say at a particular time, and he would teach him that. The teaching is never meant for that particular person, but rather for all of us. Hence, we do well to learn it and use it as the Prophet advises.
Abu Bakr, the Prophet's closest companion, said to him once: "Messenger of God! Teach me something to say, morning and evening.' The Prophet told him to say: "My Lord, You know all that lies beyond the reach of human perception and all that is witnessed. You are the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Everything is in Your hand. I bear witness that there is no deity other than You. I seek Your shelter against the evil that is in my soul and the evil of Satan and his tricks." He then told him to say this prayer morning and evening, and also when he lies down to sleep. (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Al-Nassaie, Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi and others). It is useful to mention the wording in Arabic so that people may use the exact formula used by the Prophet: "Allahumma 'aalima al-ghayb wal-shahaadah, fatira al-samaawaati wal-ardh, kullu shay'in bikaffik. Ashhadu an la ilaha illa ant. A'oozu bika min sharri nafsi, wa min sharri al-Shaytan wa sharakih."
We note that whenever the Prophet wanted to pray God for something, he starts with praising and glorifying Him in clear terms, acknowledging His oneness and His creation and control of the universe. This is strongly recommended, because it establishes the true and correct relationship between God and the supplicant.
We are all God's creatures and servants who need His help, protection and forgiveness. Our acknowledgement of this makes our supplication more sincere. Here, when the Prophet teaches Abu Bakr what to say, he begins with such acknowledgement of God's position. When we say that God knows everything in our world and beyond, we remember that He knows our thoughts.
Hence, we try to make our supplication sincere, free of any thoughts that may not please God.
When we say that He is the creator of the heavens and the earth, we acknowledge His supreme Godhead over the entire universe. We realize our position as small creatures in a tiny planet in the solar system. But then we reiterate our belief in God's oneness before asking Him for protection against evil that may come from within ourselves or from Satan.
These are the two sources of evil thoughts and actions. It is either personal greed and desire, or Satan and his continuous attempts to trick us into doing what displeases God.
This Hadith is reported in more than one version. It is useful to add here another version which is reported by Abu Rashid Al-Habarani who says: "I visited Abdullah ibn Amr (a learned companion of the Prophet) and said to him: 'Tell us something you heard from the Prophet.' He gave me a sheet and said: 'The Prophet ordered this to be written for me.' I looked at it and read that Abu Bakr asked the Prophet to teach him something to say in the morning and evening. The Prophet said: 'Abu Bakr, say: My Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, who knows what lies beyond the reach of human perception and what is witnessed, You are the Lord and owner of everything. I seek Your shelter against the evil that is in my soul and the evil of Satan and his tricks. And I seek Your protection from perpetrating harm to myself, or causing it to another Muslim." (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Al-Nassaie, Abu Dawood and Al-Tirmidhi).
This version adds more to the earlier formula of supplication. In Arabic, this addition goes as follows: "A'oozu bika min sharri nafsi, wa min sharri al-Shaytan wa sharakih, wa an aqtarifa ala nafsi soo'an aw ajurrahu ila Muslim."
Another point in the day when the Prophet was keen to say some supplication was when he went to bed. There are many Hadiths mentioning several formulae of his supplication at that time. One of these is reported by Hudhayfah who says: "When the Prophet wanted to sleep, he would say: 'It is in Your name, my Lord, that I die and live.' When he woke up from sleep, he would say: 'Praise be to God who has given us life after he has caused us to die, and to Him we all return.'" (Related by Al-Bukahri, Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nassaie and Ibn Majah). The Arabic wording of the first part which is said when going to sleep is: "Bismika allahumma amootu wa ahya." The wording of the second goes as follows: "Al-hamdu lillahi alladhi ahyana ba'da ma amatanaa wa ilayhi al-nushoor."
We note here that the Prophet compares sleep to death and waking up to coming back to life. This is a point the Prophet stressed many times.
It is indeed accurate, because when we go to sleep, we lose consciousness of everything around us, in the same way a dead person is unconscious of what goes on next to him. Waking up is a return to activity and full control of one's senses.
This comparison is stated also in the Qur'an, when God states that He gathers people's souls when they die, but those who are not dead, He gathers their souls when they sleep.
He then keeps with Him those who died and releases the others for a specified time. (39: 42) To acknowledge this, as the Prophet teaches us in this supplication, is to acknowledge God's control of our lives and that death is as near to us as the next time we go to sleep.
Another Hadith quotes Anas, who served the Prophet throughout his stay in Madinah, as saying: "When the Prophet went to bed, he used to say: 'Praise be to God, who has fed us and given us drink, giving us all that we need and provided us with shelter. Many are those who neither get what they need nor are provided with shelter.'" (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Al-Nassaie and Al-Tirmidhi).
In Arabic this supplication reads as follows: "Alhamd lillah alladhi at'amana wa saqaana, wa kafaana wa aawaana. Kam mimman la kaafya lahu wa la ma'wa."
In this Hadith, the Prophet does not pray to be given anything. He simply acknowledges God's favours and praises Him for them.
Thus, food, drink, home and everything we have come from God, and He is to be thanked for them. The praise is made by way of thanksgiving, which ensures continuity of the blessings. God has promised that when we thank Him for His favours, He gives us more of them and even better ones.
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