Reflections on Munajat Sha'baniyyah (4)

Reflections on Munajat Sha'baniyyah (4)

A general remark about the supplications

Reflecting on this prayer and other prayers, a question may arise: why is it that most of the time the end results are asked from God, instead of asking Him to help us in our pursuit of those goals? For example, why do we ask God for complete detachment instead of asking Him to help us detach ourselves from anything other than Him? To answer this question we make few points:

First of all, we should remember that the supplications shared by the Ahlul Bayt are for hardworking people, and not for people who merely pray without putting the effort. Supplications are for those who dedicate their lives to pursuing perfection and nearness to Allah. These are the prayers of a mujahid and a salik, someone who is struggling in his journey to Allah. It is established that whatever these people ask for is what they have dedicated their lives to. It does not make sense for a person who is not accustomed to doing any kind of exercise and activity to say that he wants to win the world championship of a particular sport. However, if this is said by a person doing everything possible in the process of training and practicing it would make sense.

The supplicant knows he has to work hard, and in fact already has, but he is also aware that he should not rely on his own efforts. It could be that a person prepares all the ground work and all the prerequisites, but the end result still does not materialize. It could be that we go to the best doctor for the best medicine, but the healing (shifa) only comes from Allah. It is not sufficient in order to be healed that we merely go to the best doctor and take the best medicine. A person may go to the best school and attend the best hawza and learn from the best teachers, he may study hard and be dedicated, but knowledge is ultimately a gift from Allah; it is not necessarily guaranteed by having the best processes. The end result comes from Him.

The second point is that we do not want to restrict Allah to giving us what we want. Rather, we are to try our hardest, knowing that it could be that Allah will grant us in another way. For example, you may work hard to obtain sustenance (rizq), and you cannot say that you will ask Allah without making any efforts. Therefore, you start a business or become employed. But, it could be that Allah sends your sustenance through a gift, though it is not right that you wait for the gift and not do anything, and expect Allah to grant you sustenance directly. You cannot restrict Allah’s method of granting sustenance and insist that He only gives from your business or salary. (1)

In any case, we should not tell Allah to give us knowledge e.g. through attending classes, or to give us sustenance through a certain way, or to grant us nearness to Him through a particular action only; rather, we should request Him to grant us through any way that He sees fit. The third point is that on the spiritual journey it seems that to some extent it is the individual servant who is initially moving with the help of Allah, and with His guidance and assistance. It is for this reason that we tend to use ism al-fa’il, for example, we say mukhlis (one who is trying to purify himself, or his actions, or his intentions), or for example we say mutaqarrib and mutatahhir. But then there comes a stage after which it is only Allah who is the cause of our advancement. At that stage we have exhausted all our efforts and we are like a person who has travelled hard but has then lost his energy and falls down.

But then the beloved comes along and takes him to Himself. It is at this point that we use the term mukhlas – one who has been purified by Allah, but who has not started from scratch; rather, he has expended his effort and has exhausted himself. A muqarrab is different to a mutaqarrib as a mutahhar is different from a mutatahhir. For example, Allah says:

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا : Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification. (2)

That is a very high stage. It is at this point that there is no longer a process to go through; as such a person has done everything they can, and all their energies and talents have been used. It is from that point that Allah takes us towards Himself. Perhaps it is also a matter of being very much attracted to Allah that when a lover of Allah is talking to Him while knowing that everything is in His hands, he completely forgets himself and his efforts. He just asks Allah, because it would be impolite to think of yourself and your efforts. You should not say things like ‘I am also learning’ and ‘I am also doing something’ and ‘I am also doing ‘ibadat so just help me to reach the result’; no, you must become totally forgetful of yourself and only think of Allah and what He has.
Hence, there are different reasons as to why a person who does this kind of ‘ibadah and recites this kind of munajat would be more focused on the end result and on the being who has the end result.

BY: Mohammad Ali Shomali

This paper is based on a lecture delivered by the author in the Shrine of Lady Masumah (a) in Iran-Qum on 15th June 2013 and another in the Hawzah Ilmiyyah of England in London on 20th May 2016.



1) There is an idea – and perhaps there is a degree of wisdom in this – that those people who have fixed salaries have somehow closed the gates of rizq for themselves, because Allah is not able to give them rizq as they have signed a contract for a fixed salary. Whereas those who have their own business, there is more chance for their rizq to come to them, because in a business, Allah can send more clients. But if a person is employed then somehow he has narrowed down the possibilities for his rizq.

I am not saying that this is 100% accurate, because Allah can always send rizq in different ways, but there is a degree of truth in it. When you become employed you are saying, “This is what I am going to get.” But a tradesman, farmer, shopkeeper, etc., can always ask Allah for rizq because they know that nothing is guaranteed, though it be a little money. Hence, in trade and business there is a risk of having nothing, but then there is the scope of having more opportunities.


2. (The Holy Qur’an 33:33)