supplication

How Imam Al-Shafi Spent his Nights

Al-Rabī’ b. Sulaymān reports:

Al-Shāfi’ī used to divide the night into three parts: he would write (knowledge) for the first third, pray during the second third and sleep during the last third.

It is reported from Ḥusayn Al-Karābīsī that he said:

I spent the night with Al-Shāfi’ī. He would pray for about a third of the night. I hardly ever saw him recite more than fifty verses (in the prayer), one hundred at most. Whenever he came to a verse about mercy, he would ask Allāh for His Mercy, for himself and for the believers; and whenever he came to a verse about punishment, he would seek Allāh’s refuge from it, and ask salvation for himself and for all the believers. So it is as if both hope and fear were brought together for him.

Al-Bayhaqī, Ma’rifatu Al-Sunan articles 362, 365.

Supplicating after a Complete Reading of the Quran [Khatm Al-Quran]

Thābit Al-Bunānī, Qatādah and Ibn ‘Aṭīyah all report:

When Anas b. Mālik – Allāh be pleased with him – used to finish a complete reading of the Qur`ān he would gather his wife and children and supplicate for them.

Al-Firyābī, Faā`il Al-Qur`ān article 83; Al-Dārimī, Al-Sunan hadith 3477 et al. Shaykh Al-Albānī graded one of its chains of transmission ṣaḥīḥ. See Marwīyāt Du’ā Khatm Al-Qurān article 12.

Supplication or the Sword? [oppressive rulers]

It is reported that Al-Ḥasan Al-Baṣrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

If people called on Allāh when put to trial because of their rulers, Allāh would relieve their suffering; but instead they resorted to the sword, so they were left to it. And not one day of good did they bring.

Then he recited (Quran 7: 137):
And the good word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, for the patience and perseverance they had, and We destroyed the works of Pharaoh and his people and what they had erected.

Ibn Abī Ḥātim, Al-Tafsīr no. 8897.

Dead Hearts and Empty Supplications

It is reported that Ibrāhīm b. Adham (d162H) – Allāh have mercy on him – once passed through the market of Baṣrah. People gathered around him and asked:

O Abū Isḥāq, Allāh the Exalted says in his Book. ‘Call on me, I will answer your prayers’, but we have been calling on Him for a long time and He does not answer our prayers. [Ibrāhīm] replied, “O people of Baṣrah, your hearts have died in respect to ten things: First, you know Allāh but you do not give Him His rights; second, you have read Allāh’s Book but you do not act by it; third, you claim to love Allāh’s Messenger – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him – yet you abandon his Sunnah; fourth, you claim to be enemies to Shayṭān but you conform to [his ways]; fifth, you say you love Paradise yet you do not work for it; sixth, you say you fear The Fire yet you put yourselves closer to it [by sinning]; seventh, you say death is true but you do not prepare for it; eighth, you busy yourselves with the faults of others and disregard your own; ninth, you consume the favors of your Lord but are not grateful for them; and tenth, you bury your dead but take no lesson from them.”

Abū Nu’aym, Ḥilyah Al-Awliyā’ 8: 15, 16.

Wasted knowledge and rhyming prayers

Ibn ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with him – said, “Address the people once a week, and if you must do so more often, then twice; and if you have to do even more, then three times; and do not make people tired or bored with the Quran. Let me not find you coming to the people to exhort them and tell them stories while they are speaking amongst themselves, thus interrupting their conversation and tiring them. Instead, listen, and when they tell you, address them when they desire to listen to your speech. And beware of making your supplications rhyme, stay away from this, for I found Allāh’s Messenger – peace and praise of Allāh be upon him – and his Companions doing nothing but [staying away from this].”

Al-Bukhārī, Al-Ṣaḥīḥ ‘What is hated about making supplications rhyme.’

Notes

In this narration, the illustrious Companion ʿAbdullāh b. ‘Abbās gives some guidelines about being wise and aware of people’s condition when teaching them and calling them to Allāh. He advised that a person should not address the people and give talks to them too often, lest they become bored or fed up of hearing the Quran. This consideration is taken from the Sunnah of the Prophet – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him – as related by Ibn Mas’ūd.

This tradition also expresses the dislike of trying to disseminate knowledge in a way that might be detrimental to its purpose. We are discouraged from spreading knowledge to those who do not desire it or those who are not enthusiastic to receive it and interrupting people while they are speaking. We are encouraged to teach knowledge to those who express their desire for it, because all this means it is more likely that the recipient will benefit from this knowledge.

The narration also warns against the practice of trying to make du’ā (supplication) rhyme. This is because occupying oneself with putting together rhyming prayers conflicts with the state of being humble and imploring Allāh, which is how a person should be when supplicating. There is no contradiction between this disliked behavior and the fact that some of the Prophetic supplications and statements rhyme, because the Prophet never used to have to try and make them rhyme, but was effortlessly eloquent and at the same time fully humbled in front of Allāh.

Adapted from Ibn Ḥajr, Fatḥ Al-Bārī.