Why is my du‘a not being answered?

Ibn ‘Aṭāillāh al-Iskandari [d. 709AH/1309CE] says in his famous work, al-Ḥikam – or “Aphorisms”:

6. If, in spite of intense supplication, there is a delay in the timing of the Gift, let that not be the cause for your despair. For He ﷻ has guaranteed you a response in what He ﷻ chooses for you, not in what you choose for yourself; and at the time He ﷻ desires, not the time you desire.

‘Abd al-Majīd al-Shurnūbī [d. 1348H/1929CE] explains this aphorism in his work, Sharḥ al-Ḥikam:

That is, let not a delay in the timing of a gift [response] – despite persistence and firm continuance in making du‘a – be a cause to despair about a response to the du‘a. For Allah, transcendent is He, has guaranteed you a response, as per His ﷻ words: “Call upon Me, and I will respond to you” [60:40] in what He ﷻ chooses for you, not what you choose for yourself. For He ﷻ knows what is better for you than you do. Perhaps you may ask for a thing, the denial of which is better for you.

The author writes later: “Sometimes He ﷻ gives while depriving you, and sometimes He ﷻ deprives while giving to you.” This is witnessed by those who realise the station: It may be that you hate a thing though it is good for you, or love a thing though it is bad for you. Allah knows, but you know not.” [2:216] This is why one of the gnostics stated: “His ﷻ withholding from you is, in reality, a form of giving.”

Likewise, He ﷻ has guaranteed you a response in the time He ﷻ chooses, not in the time of your choosing. You ought to cultivate a Moses like patience, for patience and avoiding hastiness more befits the servant. Don’t you see that Moses would supplicate against Pharaoh and his people, and Aaron would say: “Amen” to it: “O Lord, destroy their riches and harden their hearts so that they persist in disbelief, until they face the painful torment.” [10:88] Yet only after forty years were their prayers answered, as He ﷻ said: “Your prayer is answered. Follow, both of you, the right path and do not walk in the footsteps of those who know not.” [10:89] In one ḥadīth [it says]: “Indeed, Allah loves those who are persistent in supplicating.” It has also been related that when a righteous slave supplicates to Allah, exalted is He, Gabriel says: O Lord, your slave wants a need of his fulfilled. So Allah ﷻ responds: “Leave my slave; for I love him and love to hear his voice.”

So, O aspirant, fulfil what Allah ﷻ has instructed you with in respect to supplication, and submit to His ﷻ will. Perhaps you will be responded to by Him ﷻ withholding from you and giving you other than what you were seeking, by which you are then granted the greatest good, and even more. [10:26]


Source: The Humble “I”
Picture by: Umar Khan ©

The World is like Water – Imam al-Qurtubi [d. 671 AH]

Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says:

Tell them, too, what the life of this world is like: We send water down from the skies and the Earth’s vegetation absorbs it, but soon the plants turn to dry stubble scattered about by the wind: God has power over everything.” [Sūrah al-Kahf 18:45]

Commentary:


Imām Al-Qurṭubī says that Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, compares the world to water for five reasons:

  1. Water does not settle in any location, similarly this world does not remain with one person for life.
  2. Water does not remain in a single state, similarly this world is constantly changing.
  3. Water does not last, it disappears after some time, similarly this world disappears sooner or later.
  4. No one can enter water without getting wet; similarly anyone who enters this world will not be safe from its trials and tribulations.
  5. In certain limited amounts water is beneficial and causes plants to grow. But if it surpasses the beneficial amount it becomes harmful and destructive. Similarly, taking what is sufficient from this world is beneficial, while taking excess can be harmful.

Will I be punished even if I believe in the Divine?

hopeThe answer can be found in the following verse of the Qur’an, Surah an-Nisā 4:147, in which Allah says:

{ مَّا يَفْعَلُ ٱللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ إِن شَكَرْتُمْ وَآمَنْتُمْ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ شَاكِراً عَلِيماً }

Why would God punish you if you are thankful and believe? God is ever Thankful, Knowing.

Imam al-Qushayrī [d.376 AH] comments:

This verse is among the verses which engenders beautiful hopefulness and powerful optimism because He has made two things: “Thankfulness” (Shukr) and “Belief” (Īmān), among the signs of protection (amān) in what is to come; and these are easy and light qualities…

It is said that if you are thankful and believe, you confirm the truth that your salvation is through God, not because of your thankfulness or your belief.

It is said, Allah is thankful to his servant because He knows his weakness, and it is said He is thankful to him because He knows that his servant is not disobedient and that his aim is not to oppose His Lord. Rather, he sins because of the overwhelming cravings that are among the states of being human.

It is said [the servant] is thankful to Him because he knows in the state of his sins that he has a Lord who pardons him.

[Latā’if al-Ishārāt [Subtleties of the Allusions] by Imām Abu’l-Qāsim al-Qushayrī].

If you look for the words “most people” in the Qur’an, you will find that most of mankind:

 “do not know” [7:187],
“do not give thanks” [2:243]
“do not believe” [11:17].
“defiantly disobedient” [5:59],
“ignorant” [6:111],
“turning away” [21:24],
“do not reason” [29:23], and
“do not listen” [8:21].

So be of the “few”, whom Allah says about them:

“And few of My servants are grateful.” (34:13)
“But none had believed with him, except a few.” (11:40)

May Allah forgive us all and make us amongst those who believe and are thankful.

The Way of Sunni Islam – The Creed of Imam Al-Haddad, the great Hadrami scholar

The Way of Sunni Islam

The Creed of Imām Al Haddād, the great Hadrami scholar.

Imām al-Haddād said (may Allāh bring us benefit from him):

“Praise belongs to Allāh alone. May Allāh bless our master Muhammad, and his Family, and Companions, and grant them peace. We know, assent, believe, confess with certainty, and testify, that there is no god but Allāh, Alone without partner. He is a Mighty God, a Great King. There is no lord beside Him, and we worship none than He. He is Ancient and Pre-Existent, Eternal and Everlasting. His firstness has no beginning, neither has His lastness any end. He is Solitary, Self-Subsistent, neither begetting nor begotten, matchless, without partner or peer. There is nothing that resembles Him, yet He is the Hearer, the Seer. [42:11]

“And we confess that His holiness (Exalted in He!) renders Him beyond time and space, beyond resembling anything in existence, so that He cannot be encompassed by directions, nor be subject to contingent events. And that He is Established on His Throne in the manner which He has described, and in the sense which He has intended, in a Establishment befitting the might of His Majesty, and the exaltation of His glory and magnificence. And that He (Exalted is He!) is Near to everything in existence, being closer to man than his jugular vein. [50:16] He is Watchful and Seeing over all things. He is the Living, the Self-Subsistent, slumber overtakes Him not, nor sleep; [2:255] He is the Originator of the heavens and earth; when He decrees a thing He only says to it Be! And it is. [2:117] Allāh is Creator of all things, and He is Guardian over everything. [39:62]

“And that He (Exalted is He!) is over all things Powerful, and of all things Knower; His knowledge is all-embracing and He keeps count of all things. Not an atom’s weight in the earth or in the sky escapes your Lord. [10:61] He knows what goes down into the earth and that which comes forth from it, and what descends from heaven and what ascends into it. He is with you wherever you may be, and Allāh is Seer of what you do. [57:4] He knows the secret thought, and what is even more concealed. [20:7] He knows what is in the land and the sea. A leaf cannot fall but that He knows it, nor is there a grain amid the darkness of the earth, nor a wet or dry thing, but that it is recorded in a clear Book. [6:59]

“And that He (Exalted is He!) wills existent things, and directs events. And that nothing may exist, whether good or evil, beneficial or harmful, except by His decree and will. Whatever He wills is, whatever He does not, is not. Should all creatures unite to move or halt a single atom in the universe, in the absence of His will, they would be unable to do so.

“And that He (Exalted is He!) is Hearer, Seer, Speaker of a Speech that is pre-existent and does not resemble the speech of creatures. And that the Mighty Qur’an is His ancient speech, His Book which He sent down upon His Messenger and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

“And that He (Glorious is He!) is Creator of all things and their Provider, Who disposes them as He wills; neither rival nor opponent is there in His realm. He gives to whomsoever He wills and withholds from whomsoever He wills. He is not questioned about His actions, rather they are questioned. [21:23]

“And that He (Exalted is He!) is Wise in His acts, Just in His decrees, so that no injustice or tyranny can be imaginable on His part, and that no one has any rights over Him. Should He (Glorious is He!) destroy all His creatures in the blink of an eye, He would be neither unjust or tyrannous to them, for they are His dominion and His slaves. He has the right to do as He pleases in His dominion, and your Lord is not a tyrant to His slaves. [41:46] He rewards His slaves for obeying Him out of grace and generosity, and punishes them when they rebel out of His wisdom and justice.

“And that to obey Him is an obligation binding upon His bondsmen, as was made clear through the speech of His messengers (upon them be peace). We believe in every Book sent down by Allāh, and in all of His messengers, His angels, and in destiny, whether good or bad.

“And we testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, whom He sent to jinn and to mankind, to the Arabs and the non-Arabs, with guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion, though the polytheists be averse. [9:33] And that he delivered the Message, was faithful to his trust, advised the Nation, did away with grief, and strove for God’s sake as is His due, being truthful and trustworthy, supported by authentic proofs and norm-breaking miracles. And that Allāh has made it incumbent upon His bondsmen to believe , obey, and follow him, and that a man’s faith is not acceptable – even should he believe in Him – until he believes in Muhammad ﷺ and in everything that he brought and informed us of, whether of the affairs of this world or the next. This includes faith in the questioning of the dead by Munkar and Nakīr about religion, tawhīd and Prophethood, and in the bliss which is in the grave for those who were obedient, and the torment which it contains for the rebellions.

“And that one should believe in the Resurrection after Death, the gathering of bodies and spirits to stand in the presence of Allāh the Exalted, and in the Reckoning; and that His slaves will be at that time in different states, some being called to account, some being exempted, while others shall enter the Garden without reckoning. One should believe in the Scales in which good and evil deeds will be weighed; and in the Sirat, which is a bridge stretched over the depths of Hell; and in the Pool [ hawd] of our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the water of which is from the Garden, and from which the believers shall drink before entering the Garden. And in the Intercession of the Prophets, followed by the Truthful Saints [siddiqun], and then the ulema, the virtuous [salihun] and the other believers. And that the Greatest Intercession is the prerogative of Muhammad ﷺ. And that the people of tawhīd who have entered the Fire shall be taken out of it until not one person in whose heart there lies an atom’s weight of faith shall remain in it eternally. And that the people of polytheism and disbelief shall abide in the Fire eternally and for evermore, their suffering shall not be diminished; neither shall they be reprieved. [2:162] And that the believers shall abide in the Garden eternally without end , wherein no tiredness shall affect them, and from which they shall not be expelled. [15:48] And that the believers shall see their Lord with their eyes, in a way befitting His Majesty and the Holiness of His Perfection.

“And that the Companions of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ were virtuous, that their status was of various ranks, and that they were just, good, and trustworthy. Is not lawful to insult or denigrate any of them. And that the rightful successor [ khalīfah] to the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ was Abū Bakr al-Siddīq, followed by ‘Umar al-Fārūq, then ‘Uthmān al-Shahīd, then ‘Alī al-Murtadā, may Allāh be pleased with them and with all his other Companions, and with those who follow them with excellence until the Day of Judgement, and with us also, by Thy Mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful!”

Such is the rightly-guided creed, which conforms to be the Book and the Sunnah. No male or female Muslim should be ignorant of it. Without affirming it one’s faith is not sound. It is not a condition that every person should be able to articulate it fluently; rather, what counts is what lies in the heart.

Source: Miftāh al-Jannah [The Key to The Garden] of Habīb Ahmad Mashhūr bin Tā-Hā al-Haddād. Translated by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi

“Who is God? What is God?” – The response of Imam `Ali bin Abi Talib

Muhammad ibn Ishaq narrated that Nu`man bin Sa`d said:

“In my presence, Nawf bin `Abdullah came to `Ali and said, “O Leader of the Believers! There is an assembly of about fourty Jews standing outside, and they are here to ask you a few questions.”

`Ali invited them in and asked them to put forth their questions. They asked `Ali different questions regarding the reality and howness (Kayfiyyah) of God (Allah). Imam `Ali bin Abi Talib, the great jurist, said the following in response to their questions:

O Assembly of Jews , listen to me. Do not be concerned about asking anyone but me in this affair.

My Lord – Mighty and Majestic – He is the First, without beginning

He is neither intermingled with His Creation

Nor is He in a state in between that

He is not a ghost or spirit that is remote

He is not remote where He does not know His Creation

He did not appear at some point where it could be said He is created

No, Majestic is He that He be decribed in this way when He has given all things their shape

He has always been and does not change through time

He was – when there was no thing – without time or place

And He is now as He ever was!

He is not distracted by different affairs

How can He be decribed as are ghosts and how can He be truly praised by people?

How can this be when He is not within things so as to be called separate?

He is without likeness and how yet He is closer to you than your jugular vein!

He is as far as can be from any likeness with the creation

The slightest thing from His Creation is not hidden from Him

Whether it is the slightest statement off the tongue, the hidden action or the single footstep

In the great shadows of the night, the shining of the moon, the brightness of the sun, nothing is hidden from Him when He is the source of light for all things.

He surrounds all in His Creation, whether it is the sudden onset of night or the sudden brightness of the day without His being encompassed by the creation.

He knows about every place and all of what is and will be

And also the end of all things that are to come

Time and ending is something that has been given to the creation.

Limits are only attributed to created things and not Him.

He did not create the things from the foundations of eternity where they always existed

Nor did He create from existing things already present.

No! Rather He created what He made and established its’ creation from nothing.

He gave shape and good form to everything.

He is One and Unique in His Oneness

There is nothing the creation can do that can harm Him and there is no way the creation can benefit Him

He is quick to answer the supplications of those that call upon Him

Yes, indeed the angels in the skies and earths obey Him.

His knowledge of all that has died or ceased is just as full as His knowledge of all things living and what is in the highest skies.

The same holds true for His knowledge in every thing and all the voices and languages do not confuse or baffle Him.

He hears all the different  voices and languages without limbs or organs

Indeed He is the Designer and the All Seeing, The Knower of all affairs, All Living, Self Sufficient

Glorified be He, He spoke to Musa directly without the need of limbs and instruments, lips or throat.

Glorified and Exalted is He from having a similarity like the creations.

Whoever claims that Our God has boundaries, then He does not know the Creator that is worshipped

The same is said of the one who says that the places encompass Him

This claim means that He is mingled with and contained by the creation!

No, He surrounds and encompasses every place.

The one that claims He is surrounded by His Creation when he describes the Most Merciful while He has no revelation or text to prove this, I have this question for him:

Describe for me (angel) Jibril, Mika’il, Israfil! Go ahead! I defy you to do so!

Are you then unable to describe what is a creation like you?

Are you unable to describe just a creation when you describe the Creator with form and organs, this same One who is neither overtaken by sleep nor slumber!

This is the same One who owns all that is in the skies and the earths, what is between them! He is the Lord of the Glorious Throne!

{This narration of Nu`man bin Sa`d is Ghareeb and Muhammad ibn Ishaq (who is Saduq) has narrated it Mursalan in Hilyat ul-Awliya wa Tabaqat ul-Asfiyah Volume 1, Page 72-73 of Imam Abu Nu`aym Ahmad Asfahani}