Know that the Qunūt (supplication in the salāt with the hands raised) is one of the recommended supererogations, which is not becoming to neglect, but to perform it is of precaution, such that some companions say that it is obligatory. Some narratives also confirm that, although from the juristic point of view it is not obligatory, as is common among the great scholars. It is performed as is particularly common among the Imāmīs [imāmiyyah] (may Allah be pleased with them), i.e., by raising the hands near to the face, with the palms open towards the sky and reciting common or uncommon invocations. It is allowed to recite them in any language, Arabic or non-Arabic, though the Arabic is better and is according to precaution.
The jurisprudents say that the best du'ā' (invocation) in this respect is du'ā' al-faraj,1 though its preference has not been proved to the writer by an authentic juristic evidence. Yet, the contents of the du'ā' confirm its preference, because it includes tahlīl, tasbīh and tamhīd, which are the spirit of tawhīd as has been explained.
It also includes the great Names of Allah, such as: Allah, al-Halīm, al-Karīm, al-'Aliyy, al-Azīm, and ar-Rabb, besides the dhikr (the wordings to be recited) in the rukū' and the sujūd, and the Names of Essence, Attributes and Acts, as well as the stages of the manifestations of Allah, Almighty and Most High, and sending salām to the Messengers though to neglect this is of the acts of precaution, but upon a stronger opinion it is allowed. It also includes sending blessings upon the Prophet and his offspring ('a). It seems that this noble du'ā', short as it is, covers all the salāt's duties of remembrance.
Its merit can also be confirmed through the sayings of the jurisprudents (may Allah be pleased with them) or through “Tolerating the Proofs of the Traditions”23 although the writer has a second thought on that or by means of discovering a creditable evidence which has not occurred to us regarded by the latecomers to be the basis of unanimity [ijmā'].
Among the noble du'ā''s of great merit, which includes the polite manners of supplication to Allah, and also numerates the full divine gifts, and completely suits the state of qunūt, which is a state of supplication and devotion to Allah, and some great men (may Allah have mercy upon them) almost continually practiced it, is the du'ā' called ”yā man azhar al-jamīl” (O, the One Who manifested the Beautiful), which is of the treasures of the 'Arsh and Allah's gift to His Messenger. Each one of its paragraphs has so much merits and rewards, as is stated in at-Tawhīd by Shaykh as-Sadūq (may Allah have mercy upon him).4
The best manner of servitude is that, in the state of qunūt which is a state of supplication and devotion to Allah in the salāt, all of which is showing servitude and praising, and in this state the Holy Essence of Allah, the Exalted and Most High, specially opens the door of supplication and invocation to the servant and honors him so the sālik servant must also observe the discipline of the Holy State of Lordship, and take care that his du'ā' should include glorifying and purifying Allah, the Exalted, and His remembrance.
He should ask Allah, in this noble state, to give him those things that are of the kind of divine knowledge [ma'ārif], and to open for him the door of supplication, intimacy, privacy, and devotion to Him. He should avoid demanding this world, mean animal matters and selfish desires, so that he may not feel ashamed in the presence of the pure ones, and not debase himself in the gathering of the pious ones.
O dear, qunūt is giving up other than Allah, and completely turning towards the Lord's Might, and extending the empty hand of demand to the Absolute Self-Sufficient. During such a state of devotion, to talk of the stomach, private parts and mundane matters is but a shortcoming and a loss.
Darling, now that you are far away from your homeland, blocked from neighboring the free people and captured in this dark house full of troubles and perils, do not spin around yourself, like a silkworm.
O dear, Allah, the Beneficent, has fermented your disposition with the light of knowledge and the fire of love, and supported you with the lights like the prophets, and the lovers like the walīs [awliyā'], so, do not extinguish this fire with the dust and ashes of this low world, and do not tarnish and darken that light with a world which is a place of exile.
Probably if you pay attention to the original home, and demand from Allah to be devoted to Him, and expose before Him your deprivation and dislike of separation, in a painful tone out of your heart, displaying the conditions of your helplessness, weakness and distress, an invisible assistance will reach you and an inside hand of help will be extended to you, and your shortcomings will be done away with, as it is His habit to be charitable, and it is His custom to be benefactor.
If you recite parts of the Sha'bāniyyah supplication by the Imām of the Pious and the Commander of the Believers and his infallible offspring, who are the Imāms of the people of knowledge and truths, in your qunūt, especially the part in which he says: “O Allah, grant me 'to be completely devoted to You',”5 etc., but in a state of necessity [idtirār], devotion and imploration, not with a dead heart, like the writer's, it will be quite becoming of the condition.
In short, the state of the qunūt, according to the writer's opinion, is like the state of the sujūd. The former is turning towards the humility of servitude and the remembrance of the state of the Lord's Might, and the latter is turning towards the Lord's Might and the remembrance of inability and the humility of servitude. This is in proportion to the state of the middle class.
But according to the state of the perfect ones, since the sujūd is the state of the servant's annihilation, and neglecting the other [ghayr] and otherness, the qunūt is the state of the exclusive devotion to Allah, and giving up depending on the other, which is the spirit of the state of “trust in Allah” [tawakkul]. In short, as qiyām is the state of the Unity of Acts, which is confirmed in the second rak'at, he displays in the qunūt its result, and extends his begging bowl before Allah, and completely parts with, and runs away from, all creatures.
- 1. The du'ā' that begins with: ”Lā ilāha illallāh al-Halīm al-Karīm” (There is no god but Allah, the Clement, the Generous). Wasā'il ash-Shī'ah, vol. 4, p. 906. “The Book of the Salāt,” sec. on “The Qunūt,” ch. 7, hadīth 4; Mustadrak al-Wasā'il, “The Book of the Salāt,” sec. on “The Qunūt,” ch. 6, hadīth 4 and 9.
- 2. There are many narratives, to the limit of prolixity [istifādah], to the effect that if somebody gets the information—by hearing or reading—that to perform a certain act results in getting a reward, and he performs that act, he will receive the promised reward, even if his information turned to be incorrect. Such narratives are known as “the narratives of the attainer” and their contents are called “Tolerating the Proofs of the Traditions.” Refer to Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 2, p. 256, “The Book of Knowledge,” ch. 30; Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 3, p. 139, “The Book of Faith and Disbelief,” ch. on “The One Who Attained a Reward from Allah for an Act.”
- 4. At-Tawhīd, ch. on “The Names of Allah, the Exalted,” ch. 29, hadīth 14.
- 5. “Munājāt-i Sha'bāniyyah,” Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 91, p. 99.