Prayers and Supplications
- Prayers, Supplications, and Remembrance of God
- Supplications and Remembrance of God
- Examples of God’s Messenger’s Prayers and Supplications
- Examples of God’s Messenger’s Prayers and Supplications
- In the Morning and Evening
- At Bed Time
- Upon Waking Up
- Upon Wearing Clothes
- Upon Seeing Another Muslim Wearing Some New Clothes
- Upon Leaving One’s House
- Upon Entering One’s House
- When the Wind Blows
- Upon Hearing Thunder
- During Sorrow, Grief, and Difficulties
- Upon Encountering the Enemy, and When One is Afraid of the Ruler
- When in Debt
- Comprehensive Prayers That Can Be Said at Any Time
- Invoking God’s Blessings and Peace upon God’s Messenger
Prayers, Supplications, and Remembrance of God 1
Belief requires prayer as a means of attainment and perfection, and our essence desperately needs it. God Almighty decrees: Say (O Muhammad): “My Lord would not concern Himself with you but for your prayer” (25:77), and: Pray to Me and I will answer your (prayer) (40:60).
If people say that they pray so many times but that their prayers are unanswered, despite the assurance given in the above verse, we should point out that an answered prayer does not necessarily mean its acceptance. There is an answer for every prayer. However, accepting the prayer and giving what is requested depends upon the All-Mighty’s Wisdom. Suppose a sick child asks a doctor for a certain medicine. The doctor will give what is asked for, something better, or nothing. It all depends upon how the medicine will affect the child. Similarly the All-Mighty, Who is All-Hearing and All-Seeing, answers His servant’s prayer and changes loneliness into the pleasure of His company. But His answer does not depend on the individual’s fancies; rather, according to His Wisdom, He gives what is requested, what is better, or nothing at all.
Moreover, prayer is a form of worship and worship is rewarded mainly in the Hereafter. In essence, prayer is not done for worldly purposes, because worldly purposes are causes for the prayer. For example, praying for rain is a kind of worship occasioned by the lack of rain. If rain is the prayer’s only aim, the prayer is unacceptable, for it is not sincere or intended to please God and obtain His approval.
Sunset determines the time for the evening prayer, while solar and lunar eclipses occasion two particular kinds of worship. Since such eclipses are two means of manifesting Divine Majesty, the All-Mighty calls His servants to perform a form of worship particular to these occasions. The prayer said has nothing to do with causing the eclipse to end, for this is known already through astronomical calculations. The same argument applies to drought and other calamities, for all such events occasion certain kinds of prayer. At such times, we best realize our impotence and so feel the need to take refuge in the high Presence of the Absolutely Powerful One through prayer and supplication. If a calamity is not lifted despite many prayers, we should not say that our prayer has not been accepted. Rather, we should say that the time for prayer has not yet ended. God removes the calamity because of His endless Grace and Munificence. The end of that event marks the end of that special occasion for prayer.
We must pursue God’s good pleasure through worship, affirm our poverty and weakness in our prayer, and seek refuge with Him through prayer. We must not interfere in His Lordship, but rather let God do as He wills and rely on His Wisdom. In addition, we should not accuse His Mercy.
Every creature offers its own kind of praise and worship to God. What reaches the Court of God from the universe is a kind of prayer. Some creatures, like plants and animals, pray through the tongue of their potential to achieve a full form and then display and show certain Divine Names (e.g., a plant’s seeds grow naturally into plants, and the joined semen and eggs of animals grow naturally into animals. Since they have this potential, their natural disposition to mature is, in essence, a prayer. By doing so they affirm the manifestation of such Divine Names as the All-Sustaining and All-Forming.).
Another kind of prayer is done in the tongue of natural needs. All living beings ask the Absolutely Generous One to meet their vital needs, as they cannot do so. Yet another kind of prayer is done in the tongue of complete helplessness. A living creature in straitened circumstances takes refuge in its Unseen Protector with a genuine supplication and turns to its All-Compassionate Lord. These three kinds of prayer are always acceptable, unless somehow impeded.
The fourth type of prayer is the one engaged in by humanity. This type falls into two categories: active and by disposition, and verbal and with the heart. For example, acting in accordance with causes is an active prayer. We try to gain God’s approval by complying with causes, for causes alone cannot produce the result – only God can do that. Another type of active prayer is plowing the soil, for this is nothing other than knocking at the door of the treasury of God’s Compassion. Such a prayer is usually acceptable, for it is an application to the Divine Name the All-Generous.
The second type of prayer, done with the tongue and the heart, is the ordinary one. This means that we ask God from the heart for something we cannot reach. Its most important aspect and finest and sweetest fruit is that we know that God hears us, is aware of our heart’s contents, that His power extends everywhere, that He can satisfy every desire, and that He comes to our aid out of mercy for our weakness and inadequacy.
We should never abandon prayer, for it is the key to the Treasury of Compassion and the means of obtaining access to the Infinite Power. We should hold on to it and ascend to the highest rank of humanity and, as creation’s most favored and superior member, include the whole universe’s prayer in our prayer. We should say, on behalf of all beings: From You alone do we seek help (1:5), and become a beautiful pattern for all of creation.
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Supplications and Remembrance of God
All words of praise and glorification of God, extolling His Perfect Attributes of Power and Majesty, Beauty and Sublimity, whether one utters them by tongue or says them silently in one’s heart, are known as dhikr (remembrance of God). He has commanded us to remember Him always and forever: O you who believe, celebrate the praises of God, and do so often; and glorify Him morning and evening (33:41)
In a hadith qudsi (a Tradition whose meaning God inspired in the heart of the Messenger) the Messenger narrated: “God says: ‘I am to My servant as he expects of Me, I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him to Myself; if he remembers Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly better than his; if he draws nearer to Me a hand’s span, I draw nearer to him an arm’s length; if he draws nearer to Me an arm’s length, I draw nearer to him a fathom length; and if he comes to me walking, I rush to him with [great] speed’” (Bukhari, “Tevhid,” 50; Muslim, “Dhikr,” 2).
God has bestowed a special distinction upon those who remember Him. The Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said: “The devotees have surpassed all.” They asked: “Who are these exceptional people, O Messenger of God?” He replied: “Those men and women who remember God unceasingly” (Muslim). These are the people who are really alive. Abu Musa reported from the Messenger: “The likeness of the house where God is mentioned and the one where He is not is like that of a living to a dead person.” (Bukhari, Da'awat,” 66)
How Much Dhikr Is Required? God, the Exalted, ordered that He should be remembered a great deal. Describing the wise men and women who ponder His signs, the Qur’an mentions: those who remember God standing, sitting, and on their sides (3:191) and: those men and women who engage much in God’s praise. For them has God prepared forgiveness and a great reward (33:35). Mujahid, one of the earliest interpreters of the Qur’an, explained: “A person cannot be one of ‘those men and women who remember God much’ as mentioned in the above verse of the Qur’an, unless he or she remembers God at all times, standing, sitting, or lying in bed.”
The Excellence of Dhikr Assemblies. Joining the assemblies or circles of dhikr is commendable, as shown by the following hadith: Ibn ‘Umar reported: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘When you pass by a garden of Paradise, avail yourselves of it.’ The Companions asked: ‘What are the gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of God?’ The Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, replied: ‘The assemblies or circles of dhikr. There are some angels of God who go about looking for such assemblies of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them.’” (Muslim, “Dhikr,” 39)
The Excellence of Istighfar. Asking God’s forgiveness for one’s sins is also of great importance. Said Nursi says that we should take prayer in one of our hands and seeking God’s forgiveness in the other. Prayer urges and reinforces one to do good deeds, while seeking His forgiveness discourages one to commit sins. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas said: “If one asks without fail for forgiveness from God, He shows him (her) a way out to get out of every distress and difficulty, and gives him (her) sustenance through ways utterly unthought of.”
Supplicating at the Most Opportune Times and Locations. These are, for instance, the day of ‘Arafat, Ramadan, Friday, the last part of the night, dawn, after the prescribed prayers, while prostration, while it is raining, between the adhan and the iqama, when armies meet each other, times of strain and great need, and when one’s heart is soft and tender.
Praying for a Fellow Muslim in His or Her Absence. Safwan ibn ‘Abdullah reported: “I visited Abu Darda’s house in Syria. I did not find him there, but Umm Darda (his wife) was home. She asked: ‘Do you intend to perform Hajj this year?’ I replied: ‘Yes.’ She said: ‘Please supplicate to God for us, for God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, used to say: A Muslim’s supplication for his or her fellow Muslim in his (her) absence is accepted. When he (she) asks for blessings for his (her) brother (sister), the commissioned angel says: Amen, may it be for you too!’”
Beginning a Supplication. It is highly recommended that one should begin the prayer and supplication with praises of God, seeking His forgiveness for sins, calling God’s blessings and peace upon His Messenger, as well as on his Family and Companions, and reciting some of His Names.
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Examples of God’s Messenger’s Prayers and Supplications
God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, always prayed to God before any action. The books of Tradition (hadith) record no case in which he did not pray. As mentioned earlier, prayer is a mystery of servanthood to God, and the Messenger is the foremost in servanthood. This is made clear with every repetition of the declaration of faith: “I bear witness there is no deity but God; I also bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.” Note that he is called servant before Messenger. Whatever he intended to do, he referred it to God through prayer.
God created us and our actions. Although we should take the necessary precautions and follow precedents to accomplish things in this world, where cause and effect have a special place, we should never forget that everything ultimately depends upon God for its existence. Therefore, we must combine action and prayer. This is also required by our belief in God’s Unity.
The Messenger’s knowledge of God can never be equaled. As a result, he was the foremost in love of, and paradoxically, in fear of Him. He was perfectly conscious that everything depends upon God for its existence and subsistence. Whatever God wills, happens: When He wills a thing, His command is to say to it “Be,” and it is (36:82). Things exist and the universe operates according to the laws established by God and the fulfillment of prerequisites. Fully aware of this, the Messenger did what he had to do and then, combining action with prayer, left the result to God with absolute confidence.
His supplications have been transmitted to us. When we read them, we see that they have deep meaning and accord exactly with the surrounding circumstances. They reflect profound belief, deep sincerity, absolute submission, and complete confidence. Some examples are given below:
In the Morning and Evening
- He used to recite Surat al-Ikhlas, Surat al-Falaq, and Surat al-Nas three times every morning and night before going to bed.
- We have reached evening and the whole creation, which is God’s property, also has reached evening. All praise is due to God. There is no deity but God, the One Who has no partner with Him. His is the Sovereignty, and all Praise is due to Him. He has power over all things. O God, I ask You for the good of this night, and seek refuge in You from the evil of this night and the evil that follows it. O God, I seek refuge in You from sloth and from the evil of vanity. O God, I seek refuge in You from the torment of HellFire and from the torment of the grave.
- God, with Your help we have reached evening, and with Your help we will reach morning. With Your help we live and by Your command we die. To You is our return.
- God, You are my Lord. There is no deity but You. You have created me, and I am Your servant. I try my best to keep my covenant with You and to live in the hope of Your promise. I seek refuge in You from the evil I have done. I acknowledge Your favors upon me and acknowledge my sins. So forgive me, for none forgives sins but You.
- God, Creator of the heavens and Earth, Who knows the unseen and the seen, Lord and Possessor of everything. I testify that there is no deity but You. I seek refuge in You from the evil within myself, from the evil of Satan, and from his inciting one to attribute partners to God.
- In the Name of God, by Whose Name nothing in Earth or in the heaven can do any harm, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.
- I am pleased with God as Lord, with Islam as religion, and with Muhammad as Prophet.
- God, I have reached morning and call You to bear witness, and the bearers of Your Throne, Your angels, and all Your creatures to bear witness, that You are God, other than Whom there is no deity, and that Muhammad is Your servant and Messenger.
- God, whatever favor has come to me has come from You alone, Who has no partner. To You all praise is due and all thanksgiving.
- God, I ask You for security in this world and in the Hereafter. O God, I ask You for forgiveness and security in my religion and my worldly affairs, in my family and my property. O God, cover my faults and keep me safe from the things I fear. O God, guard me from the front and the behind, from the right and the left, and from above. I seek in Your greatness the protection from unexpected harm from beneath.
- God, grant me sound health. O God, grant me sound hearing. O God, grant me sound eyesight. There is no deity but You.
- God, I have risen with Your help, blessings, security, and protection, so complete Your blessings upon me, Your security for me, and your protection in this world and in the Hereafter.
- God suffices me. There is no deity but He. In Him is my trust, and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne. (seven times)
- God, You are my Lord. There is no deity but You. I put my trust in You. You are the Lord of the Mighty Throne. Whatever God wills happens, and whatever He does not will does not happen. There is neither power nor strength save with You, the Exalted, the Mighty. I know that God has power over all things, and God comprehends all things in knowledge. O God, I seek refuge with You from the evil of myself and from the evil of all creatures under Your control. Surely the straight way is my Sustainer’s way.
At Bed Time
- God, by Your Name I live and die. Praise be to God, Who gave us life after death. To Him is the return. O God, save me from Your punishment on the day when You will raise Your creatures.
- God, Lord of the heavens, Earth, and the Mighty Throne, our Lord and the Lord of everything, Who causes the seed to grow and the datestone to split and sprout, Who sent down the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. I seek refuge in You from the evil of all evilmongers under Your Control. You are the First and there is nothing before You, and You are the Last and there is nothing after You. You are the Outward and there is nothing beyond You, and You are the Inward and there is nothing more inward than You. Relieve us of our debt and poverty.
- Every night when he went to bed, the Messenger would hold out his hands together imploringly and blow over them after reciting Surat al-Ikhlas, Surat al-Falaq, and Surat al-Nas. Then he would rub his hands three times over whichever parts of his body he was able to rub, starting with his head, face, and front of his body.
- In Your name, O Lord, I lay myself down to sleep, and by Your permission I raise myself up. So if You take away my soul during sleep, forgive it. If You keep it alive after sleep, protect it just as You protect Your pious servants.
- (in bed:) Allahu akbar (God is the Greatest) 34 times, Subhana’llah (Glory be to God) 33 times, al-hamdu li’llah (All praise be to God) 33 times.
- God, hoping for Your Mercy and fearing Your wrath, I submit myself to You, refer my affairs to You, and take refuge in You. There is no refuge or source of safety from Your wrath except You. I believe in the Book You sent down, and the Prophet whom you raised.
Upon Waking Up
- Thanks be to God, Who returned my soul, made my body sound, and permitted me to remember Him.
- There is no deity but You. Glory be to You. O God, I seek Your forgiveness for my sins and ask for Your mercy. O God, increase me in knowledge and let not my heart swerve after You have guided me on the right path. Grant me mercy from You, for You are the Grantor of bounties without measure.
- There is no deity but God. He is One and has no partner. To Him belongs all praise and all authority, and He has power over all things. Praise be to God, glory be to God, there is no deity but God. God is the Greatest. There is neither power nor strength save with God.
Upon Wearing Clothes
- All thanks and praise be to God, Who has clothed me and given me sustenance, whereas I have no power, nor strength.
- All praise and thanks be to God, Who has clothed me to cover my nakedness and made it a means of adornment for me.
Upon Seeing Another Muslim Wearing Some New Clothes
- May you live so long that you will wear out many garments.
- May you live so long that you wear out this garment, and may God replace it with a better one.
Upon Leaving One’s House
- In the Name of God. I put my trust in God. There is neither power nor strength save with God.
- In the name of God. I believe in God and seek His protection. There is neither power nor strength save with God.
- God, I seek Your refuge against going astray or leading others astray, slipping or causing others to slip, doing wrong or being wronged by others, and behaving arrogantly or being treated arrogantly by others.
Upon Entering One’s House
- One enters one’s house saying: “In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate,” “Peace be upon you,” and then: “O God. I seek of You the best of entrance and the best of departure. In the Name of God we enter and in the Name of God we go out, and we put our trust in God, our Lord.”
When the Wind Blows
- God, I ask You for its good, and the good that is in it, and the good with which it is sent. I seek Your refuge against its evil, and the evil with which it is sent.
Upon Hearing Thunder
- God, do not destroy us with Your wrath or let us perish with Your punishment. Give us good health before it comes to pass.
During Sorrow, Grief, and Difficulties
- There is no deity but God, the Mighty, the Forbearing. There is no deity but God, the Lord of the Mighty Throne. There is no deity but God, the Lord of the heavens and Earth, and the Lord of the Throne of Honor.
- The Ever-Living, O the Eternal, I seek Your help by Your Grace.
- God, I hope for Your Mercy, so do not entrust me to myself even for a twinkle of eye. Set right all my affairs. There is no deity but You.
- There is no deity but You. All glory be to You. I have indeed been one of the wrongdoers.
- God, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of your maidservant. My rein is in Your hand. Your command concerning me prevails, and Your decision concerning me is just. I call upon You by every one of the All-Beautiful Names by which You have described Yourself, or which You have revealed in Your Book, or have taught anyone of Your creatures, or which You have chosen to keep in the knowledge of the unseen with You, to make the Qur’an the delight of my heart, the light of my breast, and the remover of my griefs, sorrows, and afflictions.
Upon Encountering the Enemy, and When One is Afraid of the Ruler
- Master of the Day of Judgment. I worship You alone and seek only Your help.
- There is no deity but God, the Forbearing, the Gracious. Glory be to God, my Lord. Glory be to God, the Lord of the seven heavens and of the Mighty Throne. There is no deity but You. Strong is your protection, and great is Your praise.
- God suffices us for everything, and an excellent Guardian is He.
When in Debt
- God, make Your lawful bounties sufficient for me so as to save me from what is unlawful. From Your grace, grant me sufficient abundance to free me from the need of all except You.
- God, I seek refuge in You from all worry and grief. I seek refuge in You from incapacity and slackness. I seek refuge in You from cowardice and miserliness. I seek refuge in You from being overcome by debt and being subjected to people.
Comprehensive Prayers That Can Be Said at Any Time
- God, put between me and errors a distance as great as that which you have put between East and West.
- O God, cleanse me of my errors, just as a white garment is cleansed of dirt.
- God, I ask You for all good, including what is at hand and what is deferred, what I already know and what I do not know. I take refuge in You from every evil, including what is at hand and what is deferred, what I already know and what I do not know.
- God, nothing hinders what You grant, nor is anything granted that You hinder. A wealthy person cannot do us good, as wealth belongs to You.
- God, I have not told anything, taken an oath, made a vow, or done anything that You did not previously will. Whatever You willed is, and whatever You did not will is not. There is neither power nor strength saveith You. You are indeed All-Powerful over everything.
- God, I ask You for contentment after misfortune, a peaceful life after death, the pleasure of observing Your Face, and a desire to meet You. I take refuge in You from wronging others and from being wronged, from showing animosity and being subject to animosity, and from erring or committing unforgivable sins. If You leave me to myself, you leave me in weakness, need, sinfulness, and error. I depend only upon Your Mercy, so forgive all my sins, for only You can do so. Accept my repentance, for You are the Oft-Relenting, All-Compassionate.
- God, You deserve most to be mentioned, and none but You deserve to be worshipped. You are more helpful than anyone whose help may be sought, more affectionate than any ruler, more generous than anyone who may be asked for something, and more generous than anyone who gives. You are the Sovereign without partners, the Unique One without like. Everything is perishable except You.
- You are obeyed only by Your permission, and disobeyed only within Your knowledge. When somebody obeys You, You reward them; when someone disobeys You, You forgive them. You witness everything, being nearer to it than any other witness; and protect everything, being nearer to it than any other protector. You ordained the acts of all people and determined their time of death. You know what is in every mind, and all secrets are manifest to You.
- The lawful is what You have made lawful; the forbidden is what You have forbidden. Religion is what You have laid down; the command is what You have decreed. The creation is Your creation; the servants are Your servants. You are God, the All-Clement, All-Compassionate. I ask You, for the sake of the light of Your Face, by which the Heavens and Earth were illuminated, for the sake of every right belonging to You and for the sake of those who ask of You, to forgive me just in this morning and just in this evening, and to protect me, by Your Power, from Hellfire.
- God, I seek refuge in You from all knowledge that gives no benefit, from a heart that does not fear You, from an unsatisfied soul, and from a prayer that cannot be answered.
- God, I ask You for steadfastness in my affairs, resolution in guidance, gratitude for Your bounties and acceptable service to You, and a truthful tongue and a sound heart. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what You know. I ask You for the good of what You know, and Your forgiveness for what You already know. Surely You are the Knower of the Unseen.
- God, I ask You to enable me to do good, refrain from vice, and love the poor. Forgive me and have mercy upon me. When You will people’s deviation, dissension, and disorder in public life, make me die before taking part in that disorder. I ask You for Your love and for the love of those whom You love, and for the love of the acts that will bring me closer to Your love.
- God, I ask You for the good in the beginning and in the end, in its most comprehensive form with its beginning and result, its manifest and secret kinds, and for the highest rank in Paradise.
- God, help me remember and mention You, thank You, and worship You most properly.
- God, I ask You for guidance, fear of You, chastity, and independence of others.
- God, bring all of our affairs to a good conclusion. Protect us from disgrace and ignominy in the world, and from being tormented in the Hereafter.
- God, we ask You for all of the good for which Your Prophet Muhammad asked You, and seek refuge in You from every evil from which Your Prophet Muhammad sought refuge in You.
Invoking God’s Blessings and Peace upon God’s Messenger, His Family, and Companions
God says: “God and His angels send blessings to the Prophet. O you who believe, send blessings to him, and salute him with all respect. (33:56)” God’s sending blessings to the Prophet, peace be upon him, means that He praises him in front of the angels and has mercy upon him, and the blessings of angels mean their supplications invoking blessings upon the Prophet.
The Messenger himself said: “If anyone invokes blessings upon me once, God will bestow blessings upon him 10 times over” (Nasa’i, “Sahw,” 55); and “Whoever desires to be given (his or her reward) in full measure, should send salutations to us – the members of my family – and should say: ‘O God, shower blessings upon Muhammad the Prophet, his wives, the mothers of the believers, his descendants, and the members of his family, as you showered blessings upon the family of Ibrahim. You are the Praiseworthy and Glorious.” (Bukhari, “Da'awat,” 33)
Invoking God’s Blessings and Peace upon the Messenger Whenever His Name Is Mentioned
Some Muslim scholars hold that it is obligatory upon a Muslim to invoke God’s blessings and peace upon the Messenger whenever his name is mentioned. They base their argument upon the hadith: “May the nose of the person in whose presence I am mentioned be covered with dirt if he (she) does not invoke blessings upon me. Let the nose of that person be smeared with dust who finds Ramadan but lets it come to an end without securing pardon for himself (or herself). May the nose of the person be smeared with dust whose aged parents, either one or both of them are still living, and who fails (i.e., by serving them) to enter Paradise.”
Other scholars opine that this hadith means that urging and therefore invoking God’s blessings and peace upon the Messenger, peace be upon him, only once during a gathering is obligatory. After that it is no longer necessary, although it is preferred and better to do so. In addition, it is preferred to invoke God’s peace upon other Prophets and angels separately.
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1.This section is taken (edited and summarized) from Said Nursi, The Words 1, "The 23rd Word"; Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqh al-Sunna (trans.), Ist., 1:445-480; and M. Fethullah Gülen, Prophet Muhammad: Aspects of His Life, (trans.), The Fountain, 2000, 2:117-122.