Reflections on Munajat Sha'baniyyah (2)

Reflections on Munajat Sha'baniyyah (2)

مُتَضرِّعاً اِلَيْكَ، راجِياً لِما لَدَيْكَ ثَوابي: I am humble before You, hopeful for what You have in terms of a reward. In other words, I humbly beseech you to help me and I know you have everything I need. I have not come to You by chance or accident. I know that I am in the right place and that You have whatever I need. I have utmost hope in Your reward.

وَتَعْلَمُ ما في نَفْسي : And You know what is in my heart. As I stand before You, I am aware that You know everything about me. You know my hidden and unhidden needs; You know how desperate I am and how I suffer, and nothing is hidden from You.

وَتَخْبُرُ حاجَتي، وَتَعْرِفُ ضَميري: You know my request, and You know what is in my innermost heart.

The Qur’an says: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

O you who have faith! Answer Allah and the Apostle when he summons you to that which will give you life. Know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that toward Him you will be mustered. (1)

Allah knows us extremely well. At times, it may take a person hours or even days to reflect and identify what is going on in his heart, but Allah already knows this: وَلا يَخْفى عَلَيْكَ اَمْرُ مُنْقَلَبي وَمَثْوايَ :And nothing is hidden from you of my future and my present. Such is the extent of Allah’s knowledge, that He knows even our futures, in this world and the Hereafter. We say to Him: ‘In this world of changes and transformation, You know everything, even death and the Hereafter, but I have no clue about these matters. I am unsure even about my next day or next moment.’

Allah is aware of our ultimate end, the difficult stations of the Hereafter that we must traverse, and our state before death, at death, before resurrection, at resurrection, and after resurrection. He knows everything, and so He knows our needs as well, more than we do.

وَما اُريدُ اَنْ اُبْدِئَ بِهِ مِنْ مَنْطِقي : [And You know] what I want and the start of all my utterances. In other words, ‘O Allah! You know what I am going to say, and what I am about to disclose and say to You.’ Even though He knows what we are about to say, we should not think therefore that there is no need for us to say it. It is a matter of etiquette and politeness to mention our requests and needs.

We should not think that because Allah knows everything there is no need to ask Him. Indeed, some people who have attained a very high station and have incredible trust in Him (tawakkul) may display this special position by not mentioning their requests – such as the great Prophet Ibrahim – but this is not applicable to the vast majority of people. We must always ask and mention our needs verbally, and this is a matter of etiquette and showing that we are not lazy.

واَتَفَوَّهُ بِهِ مِنْ طَلِبَتي، وَاَرْجُوهُ لِعاقِبَتي : I speak about my request, and I am hopeful by it for my ultimate end.

، وَقَدْ جَرَتْ مَقاديرُكَ عَليَّ يا سَيِّدي فيما يَكُونُ مِنّي اِلى آخِرِ عُمْري مِنْ سَريرَتي وَعَلانِيَتي: And, surely, all of that which You, my Master, have decided for me up to the end of my life, including my secret and open matters.

This is a very important sentence, and must not be misunderstood. In this excerpt, we say to Allah: ‘I know Your measures have embraced me and will apply to me till the end of my life. Nothing about my hidden and public aspects of life are outside Your decisions, Your will, and Your decree, as everything is covered by Your decree.’ This does not mean Islam believes in predestination, and that things are fixed in a way that they cannot be changed. Rather, it is a confession: ‘I know that my entire life and all of my affairs are totally covered and embraced by Your plans. You are the Lord, on Whose will and decision every aspect of my life hangs.

In this way, I have not come to a stranger who is not in charge of my affairs; You know everything about me and You are in charge of everything to do with me. I have certainly come to the right place and I am addressing the right person. Everything that will happen to me until the end of my life is part of Your plan for me and for all human beings. Hence, I cannot ask anyone else to change my destiny other than You.’ Therefore, we utter this phrase not in a sense of predestination that allows no change, but with the full recognition that He has a plan that we want to fall into. Ultimately, the direction we follow is up to us.

وَبِيَدِكَ لا بِيَدِ غَيْرِكَ زِيادَتي وَنَقْصي وَنَفْعي وَضرّي : And in Your hands, and not in anyone else’s, is my increase and decrease, my benefit and my loss. In other words, ‘Whilst I know that my destiny is not fixed and that it can be changed, I also know that the source of change is You, and it can only happen by Your hand. You can change me accordingly.’ Such a belief gives us great hope that it is never too late to change. He can bring interests and benefits for us, or He can let us suffer. He can add or take away his blessings.

اِلـهي اِنْ حَرَمْتَني فَمَنْ ذَا الَّذي يَرْزُقُني، وَاِنْ خَذَلْتَني فَمَنْ ذَا الَّذي يَنْصُرُني :My God, if you deprive me then who can sustain me, and if you disregard me then who can help me?

O Allah if You deprive me and disregard me in any way, then who else can provide me with what I need?’ Sustenance from Allah can be of many types. It can be physical, spiritual, and psychological; it can be to do with health, progress, food, medicine, water, knowledge, and wisdom. In short, it is anything that contributes to our success. In this passage we recognize that only He is the giver of sustenance.

Furthermore, the prayer states that if Allah forsakes someone, then none else can help. No one would dare to interfere, and none has the power to enact any change. When a powerful ruler, for example, decrees that a person should not be helped under any circumstance, then others would not dare to come and help. We recognize that there is no other that has independent power and can come and help once He has decided that a person cannot be helped. Therefore, the angels, prophets, imams, etc., cannot help us if Allah has decided not to help us.

اِلـهي اَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ غَضَبِكَ: My God, I seek refuge in You from Your anger. ‘Now that I have realized and have stated that everything is reliant upon You, and that I am in such a desperate situation and completely dependent upon You, what worries me is if You become angry with me and not satisfied with me, what will I do?’

We need our helper and the one who provides us with our sustenance and refuge to be happy with us, but if He is angry then we will be in great trouble. We can incur His anger by insulting Him or those close to Him. And if Allah chooses to declare us as His enemies then there is no way for us to receive help from elsewhere.

Therefore, in this part of the prayer, we seek refuge in Him from His anger, which is incurred through a person’s own immoral performance and behavior, and is not incurred without reason.

وَحُلُولِ سَخَطِكَ : And your established displeasure. Anger can come and go. But the term hulul refers to something that is well-established and settled. At times, through certain sins and sustained disobedience, Allah’s displeasure can become deep and cannot be resolved quickly. Hence, we seek refuge from His well- established anger.

Continue in the next article: ( Reflections on Munajat Sha'baniyyah (3) )



1. (The Holy Qur’an 8:24)