Reflections on the Supplication of Kumayl 3

Reflections on the Supplication of Kumayl 3

A General Look at Other Concepts in Du'a Kumayl

In part of this du'a, we read:

اللهم مولاي كم من قبيح سترته وكم من فادح من البلاء أقلته وكم من عثار وقيته وكم من مكروه دفعته وكم من ثناء جميل لست أهلاً له نشرته

"O Allah! My Lord! How many of my loathsome acts hast Thou screened (from public gaze). How many of my grievous afflictions (distresses) hast Thou reduced in severity. And how many of my stumbling hast Thou protected, how many of my detestable acts has Thou averted, and how many of my undeserving praises hast Thou spread abroad!" (1)

Here Imam 'Ali (a) refers to some of the blessings of God towards His sinful servant. It is God who has covered their sins from other people and has removed so many calamities from them, their family, and their friends and so on. It is He (swt) Who, through His favor, gave His servant such dignity and reputation among people even though it was never deserved and if people knew everything about them they would cease to praise them anymore.
Then Imam 'Ali (a) continues:

اللهم عظم بلائي وأفرط بي سوء حالي وقصرت بي أعمالي وقعدت بي أغلالي وحبسني عن نفعي بعد آمالي وخدعتني الدنيا بغرورها ونفسي بجنايتها ومطالي

"O Allah! My trials and sufferings have increased and my evilness has worsened, my good deeds have diminished and my yokes (of misdeeds) have become firm And farfetched hopes prevent me from profiting (from good deeds) and the world has deceived me with its allurements and my own self has been affected by treachery and procrastination."(2)

In this part, Imam 'Ali (a) describes the critical situation of such a servant. The problem is that their bad condition has reached a peak. Their actions are too few and not good enough. There are many kinds of obstacles stopping them. Having farfetched hopes, dreams and ambitions has disabled them since they compare whatever they wants to do with their dreams and then find it of no value and consequently do nothing.

Therefore, one should have realistic wishes in order to be able to start struggling. Besides these things, both the world and their own soul have betrayed them. I Instead of encouraging them to do good things and helping them along this path, their very own soul has deceived them. This is their terrible situation and meanwhile God has done so many favours to them and yet they have not been a thankful servant of Him (swt).

Interestingly, although in such a bad condition, we still ask God to complete His favour towards us! If a person solves 90% of someone else's problems, only solving the remaining 10% would make them a perfect benefactor. If someone invites us to their house and provides us with every kind of facility, food and so on and only forgets to bring us water, then we would not call them a perfect host. If we open a school for poor students and throughout the school year we offer them everything needed and only close the school for a week, claiming that they have received 95% of their education, then that would have a negative effect on them. Regarding this, an Arabic maxim says

الأكرام والإتمام

"The [perfect] benefaction is the complete one." Here we address God in the same manner:

فأسألك بعزتك أن لا يحجب عنك دعائي سوء عملي وفعالي ولا تفضحني بخفي ما اطلعت عليه من سري ولا تعاجلني بالعقوبة على ما عملته في خلواتي من سوء فعلي وإساءتي ودوام تفريطي وجهالتي وكثرة شهواتي وغفلتي، وكن اللهم بعزتك لي في كل الأحوال رؤوفا وعليّ في جميع الأمور عطوفا

"Therefore, my Lord! I implore Thee by Thy greatness not to let my sins and my misdeeds shut out access to my prayers from reaching Thy realm and not to disgrace me by exposing those (hidden ones) of which Thou hast knowledge nor to hasten my retribution for those vices and misdeeds committed by me in secret which were due to evil mindedness, ignorance, excessive lustfulness and my negligence. O Allah! I beg Thee by Thy greatness to be compassionate to me in all circumstances and well disposed towards me in all matters."(3)

Here, we acknowledge that Allah (swt) has done 95% of the task and 5% remains. However, that 5% plays a very important role in our salvation.

In another part we read:

أن تهب لي في هذه الليلة وفي هذه الساعة كل جرم أجرمته وكل ذنب أذنبته وكل قبيح أسررته وكل جهل عملته كتمته أو أعلنته أخفيته أو أظهرته وكل سيئة أمرت بإثباتها الكرام الكاتبين الذين وكلتهم بحفظ ما يكون مني وجعلتهم شهوداً عليّ مع جوارحي وكنت أنت الرقيب عليّ من ورائهم والشاهد لما خفي عنهم وبرحمتك أخفيته وبفضلك سترته وأن توفر حظي من كل خير أنزلته أو إحسان فضلته أو بر نشرته أو رزق بسطته أو خطأ تستره يا رب يا رب يا رب

"….to bestow upon me this night and this very hour, forgiveness for all the transgressions that I have been guilty of,. and for every evil action that Thou hast ordered the two noble scribes to confirm whom Thou hast appointed to record all my actions and to be witnesses over me along with the limbs of my body, while Thou observeth over me besides them and wast witness to those acts concealed from them. Which Thou in Thy mercy hast kept secret and through Thy kindness unexposed and I pray to Thee to make my share plentiful in all the good that Thou dost bestow; in all the favours that Thou dost grant; and in all the virtues that Thou dost allow to be known everywhere; and in all the sustenance and livelihood that Thou dost expand and in respect of all the sins that Thou dost forgive and the wrongs that Thou dost cover up. O Lord! O Lord! O Lord!"(4)

Based on this phrase:

a) When we do any action there are certain witnesses to it who will give testimony on the Day of Judgment. Among them are one's own organs (like tongue, hands, ears, eyes and so on ) and the angels.

b) Above all, God is the main witness over all things.

c) According to the phrase "and was witness to those acts concealed from them", there are some sins about which God does not allow even the angels, who have been appointed to a certain person as the recorders of their actions, be aware. Rather, due to His mercy, He (swt) conceals them. There is a narration from the Holy Prophet (s) to the effect that once he (s) asked God for he himself to be in charge of his nation's actions on the Day of Judgment so that no one else would be informed of their actions. Receiving a negative answer from the Divine, the Noble Prophet (s) asked for the reason. God replied that "It is because I do want even you to realize what they have done. Thus, I Myself will judge about them on that day."

d) The last part of the above-mentioned phrase in which Imam 'Ali (a) asks God to have a share in every kind of goodness, favour and virtue granted by God, shows his truly great true ambition. This teaches us that we should always have great intentions and never limit them. Therefore, if someone is only able to help 10 people, it is nevertheless recommended that they intend that they wants to help all people. While on a practical level it is true that they cannot help more than 10 people, however having such a great intention will result in them receiving the reward of helping all people.

Sources

  1. The Qur'an
  2. Sayyid ibn Tawus. 'Iqbal al-'A'mal. Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 1390 A.H.
  3. Saduq, Muhammad ibn 'Ali. Al-Khisal. Qom: Mu'assasah al-Nashr al- Islami, 1403 A.H.

The Author:

Mohammad Ali Shomali
International Institute for Islamic Studies, Qom, Iran
Spiritual Quest, vol. 2, no. 1, Winter and Spring 2012, Issue 3, pg. 69-81.

NOTES:

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1. Sayyid ibn Tawus, 'Iqbal al-'A'mal, (Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 1390 A.H.) 706.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid. 709.