By Imaam Musa Oladapo Raji
I seek refuge in Allah from the devil, the accursed and I start in the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. I testify that there is no any deity worthy of worship. He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no waliy (guiding friend) to lead him (to the right path). I also testify that Prophet Muhammed is His messenger, May His benediction be upon his (Muhammed’s) soul, members of his household, his companions and those who follow his ways till the day of reckoning.
Mankind, right from the first man on the surface of the earth i.e. Adam (AS) finds himself on this planet by divine design of Allah, The Omniscient and Omnipotent, not by his desire. Though, Allah provided him with all that he might need in his daily activities, but with occasional challenges of life. He gave him sense of reasoning to enable him tackle or analyze problems that might come his way, but it was not done without reservation to Allah’s perfection. Allah states categorically that He creates man in toils; “We have created man in toils” Qur’an 90:4. Surely, this assertion requires both physical and mental energy. However, Allah in His wisdom raised some men as His messengers throughout the stages of time. They were given divine guidance, which was documented. These were handed over to successive generations. The zeal of these books is the Holy Qur’an, which was revealed to the Prophet (SAW). This holy book contains a lot of supplications as used by the messengers of Allah to solve one problem or the other during their mission on earth. From the wisdom of Allah, He has made us to know that being a chosen servant of Allah is not enough reason not to be tested / confronted with problems in life. He, however, made them to turn to Him in prayer which in most cases, their requests were granted. So, their followers would be further convinced of their (messengers’) claims as well as the efficacy of such supplications.
In view of the above therefore, I intend to discuss a few of these prayers as used by some of the messengers in the face of one problem or the other. It is pertinent to state here that I shall not discuss the problems, each of the messengers faced comprehensively, believing that my esteemed readers are well groomed in the knowledge of Islam.
A renown scholar, Shaykh Muhammed Shaarawiy made an attempt to draw the attention of Muslims to some of these with astonishment when he says “I wonder why a believer who is in a state of distress would forget that Dhun-Nun (Jonah) when the calamities had befallen him. But cried through the darkness (saying); “La ilahailla Anta Subuhaanaka Innikuntu Mina Zzalimiin, (none has the right to be worshipped but you O Allah). Glorified (and Exalted) be you (above all the evil) they associate with you! Truly, I have been of the wrong doers. Surah Anbiyaau, Qur’an 21:87. What follows this is the answer to that prayer. Allah says: “So we answered his call, and delivered him from distress.”
Even though, his involvement in such a situation was as a result of his disobedience to Allah but he realized that, he swiftly turned to Allah. He (Allah) overlooks his shortcoming and answered his prayer.
Shaykh also expressed his exclamation on somebody who knows that some people are plotting against him and why should he forget Allah’s words “Wa’ufawwidu Amri Illallahi Innallaha Basiiru Bil’ibaadi” i.e. and my affair I leave it to Allah, verily Allah is the All-seer of (His) slaves” Qur’an 40:44. Looking at the immediate verse after this is the answer from Allah to the prayer. It says; “So Allah saved him from the evils that they plotted against him”.
Shaykh also shows his dismay on someone who is bedridden or any other distress befalls him, how should he forget prophet (Job) when cried to his Lord: “Verily, distress has seized me, and you are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy” Qur’an 21:84.
Another one is the prayer of Zakariyyah (AS) when he cried to his Lord “O My Lord! Leave me no single (Childless), though you are the Best of the inheritor”, Qur’an 21:49. The next verse is the answer to the prayer. When Allah says; “So We answered his call, and We bestowed upon him Yahya (John), and cured his wife (to bear a child) for him.” Qur’an 21:49.
The last one I want to mention is the test of fear which Allah Himself uses to determine the level of one’s faith. This happened to believers during the time of the prophet, but they remained resolute about their mission. Allah says; “Those (i.e. believers) unto whom the people (hypocrite) said; “Verily, the people (pagans) have gathered against you (a great army) therefore, fear them”. But it only increased them in faith, and they said; “Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us). i.e. “Hasbunaalahu Wani’imal Wakilu”. This statement of determination was reported to have been uttered by prophet Ibrahim (AS) when he was thrown into the fire.
A poet said; “Your recuperation is the Qur’an, hold unto it, Take whatever you want from it for your sickness”.
Because of their resilience and purposeful stand, Allah granted them victory over their enemies. The next verse says; “So they returned with Grace and Bounty from Allah. No harm touched them; and they followed the good pleasure of Allah And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty”, Qur’an 3:174.
With all the above-listed indicators that provide solution to various problems of life, be it mundane as prayed by Zakariyya (AS) or spiritual as explained above, one tends to be wondering why majority of modern-day Muslims are running from one pole to another looking for solutions to their problems. The answer to this is not far-fetched: First, Allah’s word has not changed. Second, faith of the contemporary Muslim is questionable. They only profess to be Muslims in tongue but down in their heart they still believe in other things as their providers / protectors.
Readers would recall a case of companion who complained of stomach ache to the prophet. The prophet recited Surat Fatihah as a cure, when he (Prophet) asked him about his condition thereafter the man said there was a relief in sight. The Prophet then said: Allah said the truth but your stomach told a lie. The secret of the acceptance of their prayers were explained in the concluding part of verse 90 of Chapter 21 of the Qur’an. Four different things were mentioned as requisite for answering prayers: good deeds, hope, fear and humility. Allah says; “Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on us with hope and fear and used to humble themselves before Us”, Qur’an 21:90.
Efficacy of prayer is not in doubt at any point in time. It is only we that fail to do the needful. We can’t be wallowing in sins and still expect grace of Allah. The prophet once described prayers as sword; at another time as a tool of changing one’s destiny.
Human beings therefore, must strictly observe the conditions stated above among other things if we want our requests to be granted by our Creator. As Muslims, we have more than enough prayers in the Qur’an as used by various Prophets of Allah to solve their problems. All Muslims have equal right to call Allah for any need, but our closeness to Him determines how fast our request would be granted.
The above is also in fulfillment of His promise to His servant, when He says; “And your Lord said, Invoke Me (believed in My Oneness) and ask Me for anything I will respond to you” Qur’an 40:60.
The Prophet also mentioned other prayers as used by different prophets / messengers during their challenges of life as recorded by the hadith collectors. All these were done purposely for our benefit. Let us change our attitudes towards our Creator so that all problems ravaging the world can come to an end. And the close of our requests will be Al-hamduLilahi, Rabb-il-Alamin.