Trials, tribulations and challenges are part of every person’s life. However, to counter that, Allah has provided us a very powerful tool – and that is the tool of dua or asking Allah for help and his mercy when we need it. And we need it all the time.
However, to understand trials and tribulations that we face in our daily lives, we also need to understand the topic of “Sins” and how our sins may be related to our trials and tribulations.
The better we understand the ghastly nature of our sins, and the rate at which we accumulate them, along with their undesirable impact on our daily lives and the hereafter, the more it can propel us away from committing sins in general and the more it will drive us to seek forgiveness for our sins – through making the right Duas for us and for others.
Ibn Qayyim provided one of the great descriptions of sins and the impact of sins in this life and after. Here is a very short summary of what he compiled about how our sins impact our lives. [islam-qa.com]
- Sins deprive a person of provision (rizq) in this life. In Musnad Ahmad it is narrated that Thawbaan said: “The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: ‘A man is deprived of provision because of the sins that he commits.’” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 4022, classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah).
- A sinful person experiences a sense of alienation (indifference) with his Lord, and between him and other people. One of the salaf had said that he could see the impact of disobedience to Allah (in some aspects of his daily life).
- A person who commits sins sees that things become difficult for him. In any matter that he turns to, he finds the way blocked or he finds it difficult. By the same token, for the one who fears Allah, things are made easy for him.
- ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas said: “Good deeds make the face light, give light to the heart, and bring about ample provision, physical strength and love in people’s hearts. Bad deeds make the face dark, give darkness to the heart, and bring about physical weakness, a lack of provision and hatred in people’s hearts.”
- Sin breeds sin until it dominates a person and he cannot escape from it. Sin weakens a person’s willpower. It gradually strengthens his will to commit sin and weakens his will to repent until there is no will in his heart to repent at all… so he seeks forgiveness and expresses repentance, but it is merely words on the lips, like the repentance of the liars, whose hearts are still determined to commit sin and persist in it. This is one of the most serious diseases that is likely to lead to doom. He becomes desensitized and no longer find sins abhorrent, so it becomes his habit, and he is not bothered if people see him committing the sin or talk about him.
So, we can easily see that by engaging in sins, we are not only making the prospects of our after life (integral part of Islamic faith) bleak but sins can greatly and actively contribute to the difficulties of our daily lives. Allah says in the Quran:
“Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself…” [Surah al-Nisa’ 4:79]
Whether we encounter challenges in earning a living, in our family affairs, or other matters of life, the burden of sins greatly inhibits us from seeking the ultimate blessings of Allah and to have the potential of leading a good life in this world and the hereafter.
As for making Dua and the enormous potential it holds to help us ask for forgiveness and other things, the following provides a short description.
The following are some of the prophet’s sayings about making Dua to Allah.
- Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The dua’ of any one of you will be answered so long as he does not seek to hasten it, and does not say, ‘I made dua’ but I had no answer.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5865; Muslim, 2735, from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah).
- In the hadeeth which was narrated by al-Tirmidhi from Abu Hurayrah, who said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘There is no man who prays to Allah and makes dua’ to Him, and does not receive a response. Either it will be hastened for him in this world, or it will be stored up for him in the Hereafter, so long as he does not pray for something sinful, or to cut the ties of kinship, or seek a speedy response.’ They said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what does seeking a speedy response mean?’ He said, ‘Saying, “I prayed to my Lord and He did not answer me.”’” (Al-Tirmidhi, 3859; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 852).
- Some people follow practices that are not sanctioned by the Quran or Hadith such as repeating some of Allah’s names a few times. A number of scholars have said that “The words mentioned in the question are phrases that are narrated in the Quran and Sunnah, but saying that they must be repeated [so many] number of times is an innovated matter which should not be followed. Rather we should mention them during our dua’s and address Allah by all His beautiful names, without singling out some names or stating that they should be recited a certain number of times or at certain times, making that up ourselves. We should adhere to what was narrated in sharee’ah concerning certain times, places or situations connected to a particular dua’; if no such details were narrated in sharee’ah then we should not make them up ourselves because that is encroaching upon the rights of Prophethood.
- In the hadeeth it says: “One of you may be answered so long as he is not hasty and says, ‘I said dua’ but I got no response.’” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6340; Muslim, 2735.
- In Saheeh Muslim (2736) it says: “A man’s (dua’s) may be answered so long as it does not involve sin or severing the ties of kinship or hastening.” It was said: “O Messenger of Allah, what does hastening mean?” He said: “When he says, ‘I made dua’ and I made dua’ but I did not see any response,’ so he gets discouraged and stops making dua’.”
- The dua’ should not involve sin or severing of the ties of kinship, as stated in the hadeeth quoted above: “A man’s (dua’s) may be answered so long as he does not involve sin or severing the ties of kinship …”
- According to the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah: “Make dua’ to Allah when you are certain of a response.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 245.
- The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Know that Allah does not answer a dua from a distracted heart.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3479; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 245.
- In the hadeeth it says: [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)] mentioned the man who undertakes a lengthy journey and is disheveled and covered with dust, and he stretches his hands towards heaven saying, ‘O Lord, O Lord,’ when his food is haraam, his drink is haraam, his clothes are haraam. He is nourished with haraam, so how can he be granted a response?