supplication

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.

At the deathbed of Umm Habibah

It is reported that ‘Ā`ishah – said, “Umm Ḥabībah called for me on her deathbed and said, ‘There used to occur between us the kinds of things that happen between co-wives (al-ḍarā`ir), so may Allāh forgive me and you those things.’ I said, ‘May Allāh forgive you all those things and release you from [all liability] for that.’ She replied, ‘You have made me happy, may Allāh make you happy.’ And she sent for Umm Salamah and said the same things to her.”

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` Vol. 2 p223.

Supplicating for an Unbeliever

‘Uqbah b. ‘Āmir Al-Juhanī – Allāh be pleased with him – once passed by a man who looked like a Muslim, so he greeted him with salām, and he replied, “And upon you [be peace] and the mercy of Allāh and His blessings.” A boy informed him, “He is a Christian!” So ‘Uqbah got up and followed the man, caught up with him and said, “The mercy of Allāh and His blessings are upon the believers; however, may Allāh give you a long life, and make plentiful your wealth and offspring.”

Al-Bukhārī, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad. Shaykh Al-Albānī grades its chain of narration ḥasan in Saḥīḥ Al-Adab Al-Mufrad p444, and notes, “In this narration this illustrious Companion indicates that it is permissible to supplicate for someone to have a long life, even if he is an unbeliever, and so [this can be done for] a Muslim a fortiori…However, the supplicant should make sure that the unbeliever is not an enemy of the Muslims. It is also taken from this [narration] that such an unbeliever can be commiserated with what has been mentioned therein [i.e. the believers are the ones who will receive the mercy of Allāh and His blessings].”

Ask Allah a Lasting Faith

Mu’āwiyah b. Qurrah reports that Abū Al-Dardā` used to say, “We ask Allāh for a lasting faith (īmān), true certainty and beneficial knowledge.” Mu’āwiyah b. Qurrah then said, “So this indicates that there is a type of faith that does not last, and a type of certainty that is not true, and a type of knowledge that is not beneficial.”

Ibn Battah, Al-Ibānah Al-Kubrā Vol. 2 p498.

Note

The supplication mentioned above is as follows in Arabic:

Supplication reported from Abu Al-Darda about asking Allah for lasting faith, ture certainty and beneficial knowledge.