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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Most Comprehensive Prayer for All Times


The Holy Qur'an is replete with prayers / duas for the believers to recite to plead for forgiveness of one's sins and ask blessings for self, family and even the entire ummah. However, the last verse of the first chapter Surah Al Baqarah is is said to be the most comprehensive prayer for the believers to recite whenever they find time for forgiveness and quashing of their sins and asking for a sinless life for the rest of their lives.

it is said, related to Ibn Abbas,  that the Messenger of Allah was given three things during his miraculous journey to the Heavens (Mairaj - The details have already been given in one of our earlier posts - The Miraculous Journey of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to Jerusalem (Israa) and Heavens (Mairaj)) from Allah through Angel Jibraeel (Gabriel) when on the sixth floor of the Heavens: [1]
  • The five prayers, 
  • The last two verses of Surat Al-Baqarah (285-286), and 
  • Forgiveness for whoever did not associate anything or anyone with Allah from his Ummah.
The translation of the verse 285:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"


The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers.” And they say: “We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.”
Verse 285 outlines what one is required to believe in and what should be the distinguishing characteristics of one's conduct. They consist of the following: belief in Allah, in His angels, in His Books, in all His Messengers (instead of some rather than others), and in the fact that ultimately one will have to stand before Allah's judgment. These are the five fundamental articles of faith in Islam. Having accepted them, the only proper attitude for a Muslim is to cheerfully accept and follow whatever directives he receives from Allah. Instead of exulting in his moral excellence he should be humble and should constantly seek Allah's forgiveness and mercy.

Here is the last verse of Surah Al Baqarah, verse 286:


Translation:
On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) “Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith.”
As can be seen from the above verse, the believer is seen pleading Allah for sins he had committed and then looking for the His countless bounties to be forgiven and not taken to task when he appears before his Lord on the Day of Judgement. And while praying one seeks His mercy for not burdening one with load (of responsibilities) one cannot lift. In fact Allah does not ask a soul what is beyond its ability. This demonstrates Allah’s extreme generosity and compassion towards those who believe in Him and have strong unwavering faith.

Man's answerability to Allah is limited by the extent of his ability. If a man does not have the ability to do a certain thing, Allah will not take him to task for not having performed it. In the same way, if it is really beyond a man's ability to abstain from something, Allah will not blame him for having failed to abstain from it. It should be noted here that man will not be the final judge as to whether he had the ability to do something or not. Such judgment will be made by Allah alone.

Every man will be rewarded for the services he has rendered, none will be rewarded for services rendered by others. The same applies to punishment. It is the one who is guilty who will be punished. It is possible, however, that if a man has initiated either good or bad practices, they will continue to affect people's lives. The resulting good and bad deeds of people will be reckoned either to their credit or against them, since they are clearly related to their efforts and actions. It is impossible, however, that a map should be either rewarded for an act of goodness or punished for an act of evil in which he has had no share - neither by intent nor practical action. The requital of acts is not transferable.

The prayer made here is that Allah should not subject them to the severe tests and the terrible persecutions and hardships undergone by their predecessors. It is God's law that those who commit themselves to follow Truth and righteousness are subjected to severe tests and tribulations, and it is a believer's duty to meet them with patience and fortitude. At the same time, the believer should always pray that God may make it easy for him to follow the path of Truth and righteousness.

Believers pray to Allah not to place upon them a burden beyond their capacity of endurance, and to subject them only to those tests from which they may emerge triumphant. May it not happen that the hardships are too much for them to bear, and that their feet falter and are turned away from the path of righteousness,

In order to appreciate fully the spirit of this prayer, one should remember that these verses were revealed on the occasion of the ascension of the Prophet, a year before his migration to Madina. At that time the struggle between Islam and unbelief had reached its climax. Not only in Makka, but throughout the Arabian peninsula, there was no place where the lives of those who wished to follow the religion of God had not been made extremely difficult. In these circumstances the Muslims were told in what manner they ought to pray to their Lord. It is obvious that if the bestower himself tells one how to present one's request, the granting of the request becomes virtually assured. Hence, this prayer greatly strengthened the hearts of the Muslims. Moreover, this prayer implicitly taught the Muslims not to allow their feelings to flow along undesirable channels. They should instead mould them into a prayer to their Lord. 


Think of the heart-rending cruelties to which the Muslims were subjected merely because of their devotion to Truth, and then turn to the contents of this prayer, where there is no trace of bitterness against the enemies. Consider the physical afflictions and material losses which the Muslims suffered, then note how this prayer does not contain the slightest hint of worldly ambition. Compare the wretchedness and misery of these devotees of Truth with the pure, exalted feelings with which this prayer is overflowing. This comparison will enable us to appreciate the nature of the spiritual and moral training provided to men of faith.

Though a Muslim should endeavour to remember these two verses by heart, it is the verse 286 which is a comprehensive prayer for all times to pray.  It is in fact a supplication to Allah and be read with total belief and In sha Allah, by reciting these verses regularly, our prayer will also be accepted.

Photo | Photo Surah Baqarah | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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