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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day of Reckoning


The essence of five daily prayers / salah " صلاة "  is asking for forgiveness and praying for one's own self, parents, and all believers. One of the most powerful supplication / invocation " دعاء  " included in our daily prayers is attributed to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) that appears in 41st verse of Surah 14. Ibrahim:

رَبَّنَا اغۡفِرۡ لِىۡ وَلـِوَالِدَىَّ وَلِلۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ يَوۡمَ يَقُوۡمُ الۡحِسَابُ
Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day when the reckoning will take place."

Before explaining the verse, it must be noted that when Prophet Abraham  prays for himself, his parents, and his progeny, he addresses God Almighty as my Lord. But here in this case he addresses Him as our Lord because beside his self and parents, he is also praying for all believers. Thus, he teaches us how to address God.

This supplication starts with Prophet Abraham praying for forgiveness of his sins. But why would he do that? After all he was a chosen prophet of Allah and naturally there could have been no reason to doubt that he would have ever sinned. There are several reasons why he would ask for Allah (swt)'s Forgiveness even though he (as) did not commit sins. 
One is because he (as) is setting an example for us. For all those who would follow him. He (as) knew that he would be taken as a role model. He knew that people would emulate him. And he knew how weak people were. He knew how much they would sin, and so how much they would need the Forgiveness of their Master. This is one reason why he himself asks for Forgiveness. So that we would emulate him in this. So that could be saved from our sins by this.
Yet another reason is that even though he did not sin, he realized that he can never worship Allah (swt) as He (swt) deserves. So Glorious and Tremendous is He. So much has He given us. That never can we repay Him, never can we praise and glorify Him as He deserves. We can never thank Him enough. And for this we all need to seek His Pardon. Even the very prophets and messengers. Only they were more cognizant of this fact that we are.
Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) included his disbeliever father in his prayer because he had made promise that he would pray to his Lord for his forgiveness (Surah Maryam, Ayat 48: I shall withdraw from you and all that you call upon beside Allah. I shall only call upon my Lord. I trust the prayer to my Lord will not go unanswered.). But afterwards, when he realized that he should not pray for his  father's forgiveness because he was an enemy of Allah, he absolved himself of that promise. 
And Abraham's prayer for the forgiveness of his father was only because of a promise which he had made to him. Then, when it became clear to him that he was an enemy of Allah, he dissociated himself from him. Surely Abraham was most tender-hearted, God-fearing, forbearing (Surah At-Tauba, Ayat 114).
We have been commanded by Allah to be nice and respectful to our parents and must always be thankful to them after Allah for their sacrifices in rearing and bringing us up to stand on our feet. It is also said commanded in the Quran that one should never disrespect one's parents and should never utter even an "uff" to displease them.
And here in this ayah we see that not only should we be the best to our parents in this world, but we should also wish for them the best in the next. We ask Allah (swt) to grant them that one thing which we are all in need of. Forgiveness. And we should know that were He to grant them His Forgiveness then it is the Garden for them. Because why would the Divine torment or punish a soul that He has pardoned. If He were to wipe clean your slate of evil deeds then why would He ever put you in the Fire? This then is what we should hope for, both for ourselves and for our parents. Even if our parents have been cruel to us. Even if they have in some way neglected us. Still we should ask Allah (swt) to forgive them. We have to strive to remove any hatred from our hearts towards them. And we should know that even in this striving we can journey to Him. Because our pardoning of their shortcomings is beloved to Him. Our being humble to them is beloved to Him. So love your parents for His sake. Be the best you can be to them for His sake. Ask Him again and again to forgive them and to accept them.
It is for this very reason this short supplication is included in our daily prayers so that inadvertently we pray for the forgiveness of our parents beside for self and all believers. And if we pray for the forgiveness of our parents, this in fact is a training for our children too. 
If we bring our children up in the right way then we can hope that they would do the same for us as well. We can hope that they would look after us in this world and they would pray for us in the next. Insha Allah we would get the best of both worlds. For who is a better companion to have in this world then your own children? Whom you loved and cherished so much. Who is better to provide for you and help you in old age? And when you pass away, when you leave this world and journey to the next, then whose prayer has more weight than that of a righteous child? The hadith clearly show us that the best thing of this world that will help us in the next world are the prayers of a righteous child. Their sincere prayers for us will be a light for us in the grave and beyond.
And after praying for self and for the parents, next come the all the believers. Allah (swt) tells us to ask for His Forgiveness for all the believers. Now look at this. After our parents it is the believers. The Muslim Ummah. Not our spouses, not our own children, not our siblings or our cousins. Allah (swt) is saying that our parents should be the closest to us, the most beloved, and after them it should be all the believers. The believers should be the next in our hearts after our own selves and our parents. Because do we not ask Allah (swt)'s Forgiveness only for those who are beloved to us? We know His Forgiveness means His Nearness and His Garden. It means salvation from torment both in this life and in the next. Is there anything better than this? Why then would we ever ask for this for anyone except those who are most beloved to us?
The lesson for us in this is that the mutual love and brotherhood that needs to exist amongst our Ummah is far more than most of us today realize. So much should we love each other, so much should we care for each other, such is what our Master expects from us. He wants us to strive to inculcate within ourselves a love for our fellow believers. Not because of their skin color, or their ethnicity, or their wealth, or their education, or their profession in life. None of these matter at all in His Estimation. Rather only because they are believers only because they believe in Allah (swt) as the One and Only Deity, Lord, and Master. They do not deny Him like the atheists and the secularists do, nor do they ascribe to Him what is not fitting for Him like the followers of the false religions do. And they believe in that blessed man, Muhammad (saw) as the Final Prophet and Messenger of this Divine Being. For this fact alone they deserve our love. What is the value of this belief in your heart? How much do you cherish it? Similarly should you cherish those other souls who share this belief with you. If you do not make the effort to, then know that He is most displeased
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Invocations / Dua " دُعا " from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs / verses (ayat) of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Qur'ān officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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