Supplication for Continuing Life with Iman
The goal of believers is to live in this world with Iman, die with Iman, meet Allah on the Day of Judgement with Iman, and finally enter paradise in the life of eternity. They sincerely try to achieve this goal by obeying the commands of Allah. They firmly believe that in addition to hard work, they need to seek help from Allah for the success of their efforts for continuing life with Iman. The devil is an obstacle in our journey on the path of Iman. Despite our sincere Faith, sometimes due to incitement from the devil, we fail to maintain the quality that Iman deserves from us. In this situation, a believer needs to confront attacks from the devil in two ways:
First, a believer should sincerely try to do everything by obeying the order of Allah and try to stay on the path of Iman.
Second, a believer should supplicate to Allah for help for protection of Iman from the attack of the devil. Allah says:
“If an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan (devil), then seek refuge with Allah. Indeed, Allah is all Hearing and Knowing” (Quran 7:200).
Believers should adhere to the above order at the time of any ill intention that arises in their mind from the whispers of the devil. They should also supplicate to Allah: “My Lord! I seek refuge in you from the incitements of devils” (Quran 23:97).
The Quran guides believers to supplicate to Allah for all good in this world and in the afterlife. Among those good things, Iman, Islam and a righteous life are the most blessed things to ask. Allah teaches to supplicate for these in the first chapter of the Quran:
“Guide us to the right path. The path of those whom you have granted blessings, those who neither are subject to your anger nor have gone stray” (Quran 1:6-7).
Believers repeat this supplication many times in their five daily prayers. Supplication for the right path and sincere effort to pursue life on the right path, ‘Islam’, should happen simultaneously. It does not make sense that we supplicate to Allah for His Guidance while we continue to follow a path other than ‘Islam’. We should only follow the footsteps of those people who are on the path of Iman. We should never follow those who do not obey Allah nor those people who claim to obey Allah but not in the way of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Believers should also supplicate to Allah for protection of his Iman from misguidance. Allah teaches believers to supplicate: “Our Lord! Do not deviate our soul from Guidance” (Quran 3:8). Supplication for protection from misguidance is sincere only when we ourselves try to avoid following misguided people. Following misguided people and supplicating for protection from misguidance is contradictory.
Believers need to fulfill certain conditions for the supplication to be accepted by Allah. The most important of these are:
- Acceptance of supplication for Iman depends on how firmly we are ready to walk on the path of Iman. Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Allah loves those who earnestly persists in Supplication” (Tirmidhi).
- Concentration and focus on Iman in every activity in life is necessary for the acceptance of supplication. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Know that Allah does not answer a supplication from a distracted soul” (Tirmidhi).
- Believers should work hard to pursue a life based on Iman. Only supplicating to Allah to bless one with Iman does not work. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “A supplicant without effort and endeavor is like an archer without a bowstring.” (Nahlul Balagha, Letters and Sayings 337) An archer cannot shoot without a bowstring and is useless. The same is the fate of a person who supplicates to get something without making any effort to get it. Islam eliminates laziness in people by making acceptance of supplication conditional to endeavor. This is the natural process of success. Lazy people cannot achieve anything.
- Lawful income, expenditure and food is necessary to retain Iman. Supplication for Iman in a body built with unlawful provisions is never accepted by Allah. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “One who desires to have his supplication accepted, should purify his food and earnings.” He also said: “He lifts his hands and makes supplications, ‘O’ Lord, ‘O’ Lord! But his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothes unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful. How can his supplication be accepted then?” (Muslim).
- During difficult times, believers need patience for living with Iman. They also need patience for a supplication to be accepted. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “The supplication of anyone of you will be answered so long as he does not say, ‘I made supplication, but I had no answer’” (Bukhari, Muslim).
- Favorable conditions in society are necessary for living with Iman. For this, we need to promote good in society and forbid evil. Otherwise, evil will dominate and will make it difficult for us to live with Iman. In this situation, even supplication for Iman will not be accepted.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “You must encourage to do good and forbid evil or else Allah will cause the evil one to prevail over the righteous one from amongst you, and whatever much they pray, shall not be answered” (Tirmidhi).
He also said: “By the One in whose hand is my soul, you will encourage to do good and forbid evil or else Allah will soon send the punishment upon you. Then you will supplicate to Allah and He will not accept it from you” (Tirmidhi).
If believers try to live with Iman by fulfilling all conditions then supplications for living with Iman, dying with Iman, and meeting Allah with Iman will be accepted. Without serious effort, supplication alone is not helpful. To understand how supplication works, we are citing an example from the Prophet’s (PBUH) life:
“Omar (RA), second Caliph of Islam, said : “on the day of war of Badr, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) looked at the enemy army, who were one thousand strong and his companions numbered three hundred and nineteen. Then the Prophet (PBUH) turned to face the Qiblah (house of Allah in Makkah), he stretched forth his hands and started to cry out to his Lord: ‘O Allah, grant me what You have promised me, O Allah, give me what you have promised me. O Allah, if this small group of Muslims perish, you will not be worshipped on Earth.’ He kept on crying out to his Lord, stretching forth his hands, facing towards the Qiblah, until his cloak fell from his shoulders” (Muslim).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) mobilized all the resources at his hand to protect the city of Madinah from enemy attack. Then he supplicated to Allah to give him victory. Allah accepted his supplication and gave victory over an army that was three times bigger. This is how supplication works.
This is the way of supplication that the Prophet (PBUH) taught his followers. As a believer, we should work by obeying the Order of Allah in the way of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and then supplicate for His help to continue life with Iman.