Du'a in Salah - 1/2

'A'udhu bi-Llahi min al-Shaytan al-rajim. We seek the protection of God from Shaytan who has been expelled from God's Kingdom of special grace and mercy, because of Shaytan's arrogance and because of Shaytan's defiance. Bismillahi, Al-Rahmani, Al-Rahim. We turn to God and we ask for His help because we believe He is all Perfect and because we believe He is all Merciful, and we believe that His Mercy is endless.

'Wa as-salat, wa as-salamu a'la Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina Muhammad wa aalihi at-taahireen' [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad]. And we send our salutations and greetings on the Holy Prophet of Islam and on His Holy Progeny, who are the perfect role models sent for our guidance. Elders, brothers and sisters in Islam, as-salamu alaykum wa rahmatu Allah.

One of the issues I would like to remind ourselves pertaining to Salah is the issue of Du'a during Salah. You notice the spirit of Salah is communication with the Lord. But we have not been given the freedom to decide how to talk to the Lord. That decision has been made by God in such a way that the Holy Prophet, realizing the Greatness, and the Majesty, and the Beauty, and the Perfection of His Lord, responded to Him in a particular way. The Salah is the expression of the slavehood, the 'ubudiya, of the Holy Prophet. And because the Holy Prophet is the most perfect human being, if we are to follow his example, gradually we will also rise in perfection. So, the issue of Qiyam, and then after Qiyam, the recitation, and the recitation gradually has an effect on our hearts, on the Prophet's heart and then he experienced the 'adhamah of the Lord, and he spontaneously went to Ruku and he expressed Allah is 'Adheem, and then he stands up, and then he experiences the Majesty of the Lord, and he falls down in Sajdah. We are to follow that example.

So the postures, standing in Ruku' and Sajdah, and the pronouncements, the qira'ah of the Surah and of the Ruku' and the Sajdah, they are all fixed, we can not change that. And it is fixed because the Holy Prophet did it in the most perfect way possible for any human being. And if we are to achieve that perfection, we follow that example. But, there are two or three things in Salah where we have been given flexibility and freedom. One of them is Du'a, second is Qur'an, and the third is Dhikr. In the Salah we are allowed to add any extra Dhikr.

So I am standing and between Fatiha and the Surah I wish to recite, la hawla wa la quwwata illa bi-Llahi Al-'Aliyyu al'-Adheem, it is a Dhikr of Allah, it is allowed. I am in the state of Ruku and I want to recite Ayat ul-Kursi, an ayah of the Qur'an, recitation of the Qur'an any part of the Salah is permissible. And the third thing which is permissible where it is flexible is Du'a. Can we have the next slide please? Sorry, can I have the next slide please?

The ma'sala I wanted to quote from the Tawziu al-Masa'il of Agha states that [no, the slide before that. Yes, thanks.] This is the Ma'sala number 1144. But Agha says that there is no harm to recite the Qur'an during Salah and there is no harm to recite Du'a during Salah, except for those four verses in the Qur'an which are the wajib Sajdah verses. Surah 'alif laam meem Sajdah', chapter 32, Surah 'Ha meem Sajdah', chapter 41, Surah Najm, chapter 53 and Surah Alaq, chapter 96. [Next slide please]

In order to enable us to engage in a Du'a which is meaningful, it is interesting to know that we are allowed to do it in a language other than Arabic also. Personally when I was in the University I happened to be reciting Salah behind one Iranian senior student, in the student association, and for me it was a surprise he entered the last Sajdah of the Salah, and then after the wajib Dhikr he started reciting Du'a in Farsi. And I was a bit shocked. 'Khudaya, Khudaya, la inqilaabe Mahdi, Az nehzate Khomeini, mohafezat befarma'. Oh Lord, in the coming of the awaited Imam, let this revolution continue. I was shocked, I kept quiet I did not recite with him.

When I finished Salah, I said excuse me but what did you do in Salah? He just opened the Tawziu al-Masa'il of Imam Khomeini, I have designated that as 'IK', and he says it is allowed to do it in a language other than Arabic. Other than him almost all the other maraj'i say it is better not to do it. So Marhum Agha Khoei, I have designated 'IK', Marhum Ayatullah Ghulpayghani, designated as 'IG', then Ayatullah Sistani, they all say it is better not to do it. It is Ihtiyaat Mustahhab not to [recite]. You are allowed to do it, but better not do it in a language other than Arabic. Only two Maraj'i, Ayatullah Fadhel Lankarani, Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi, they say Ihtiyat Wajib. Do not do it. Nobody gives a fatwa, nobody gives a fatwa, that you cannot do it. Even if you are making Taqlid of these Mujtahids who say Ihtiyat Wajib do not do it, the others allow it.

Conclusion: you are allowed to do it. The point I am trying to make is this: in Salah it is very important to be able to communicate in a meaningful way, one. Two, if we can learn the meanings of what we are saying, beautiful, nothing better than that. If we can not, we are allowed to speak in Gujurati, in English, in Swahili, in Urdu, whichever language we want. Speak out to the Lord. That is the crux of the 'Ibadah.

Next slide please. One of the recommended Du'as, for example in Qunoot, is this famous Du'a which is in Surah Baqarah, chapter two, ayah number 201: "Rabbana aatina fi 'd-dunya hasanah, wa fi 'l-akhirati hasanah, wa qina adhaba an-Naar" (2:201). I would just like to remind ourselves how comprehensive and wide and vast in meaning is this simple Du'a. But before I do that, let me just give you the context. The Ayat is 201. The preceding Ayat, Ayat number 200 says: "Wa min an-nasi man yaqulu Rabbana aatina fi 'd-dunya" (2:200), amongst people are those who say that oh Lord give us in this world. We will struggle, we will strive and You give us, meaning material things, but whether this what You give us is hasanah, number one, and whether we want something in the Akhira, two, that is missing give us, we want acquisition. 'Wa minhum man yaqulu', in contrast are those who say we will strive, we will struggle and you give us, but do not give us anything and everything we want the "hasanah fi 'd-dunya". That means, I will strive and struggle in a halal way and I will keep myself within the limits of moderation, and I want anything and everything that will help me towards the Akhira, that is the hasanah, anything and everything that will help me to achieve prosperity here, but in a way that it does not affect my prosperity in the Akhira.

And therefore in the riwaya, next slide please. Next slide, please. In the riwaya, narrator from the sixth Imam and from the Holy Prophet, we have examples. What is this hasanah that we should be asking for in the Dunya? The sixth Imam says, for example, 'as sa'atu fi 'r-rizqi wa al-ma'ash'. I want wealth in the Dunya. There is nothing wrong in having wealth, provided it is acquired in the right way and provided it is used in the right way. There is no problem. And number two, the hasanah I want in this Dunya is to have a good personality, a good character, a pleasant, cheerful, helpful character.

Husn ul-khulq, fid Dunya. And fi 'l-Akhira I want Jannah and ridhwan. In the Du'a we recite after maghrib: 'Allahumma inni as'aluka fi 'l-moojibaati rahmatik, wa a'dhaaema maghfiratik, wa an-najata min an-naar, wa min kulli baliyah, wa al-fauza bi 'l-Jannah'. I want to enter Jannah. 'Wa ar-ridhwan fi 'd-dari as-salam', and I want that higher station where not only do I have the physical pleasures in the Jannah, I want that spiritual pleasure to be close to You, the Perfect One. Both things I am asking there. Next slide, please.

Another riwayah from the Holy Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alih [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad], he is reported to have said that: 'man 'utiya qalban shakiran wa lisanan dhakira', if you are given a heart which is content and grateful, and if you get a tongue which is always mindful and conscious of its Lord, constantly in Dhikr, 'wa zawjatan mu'minatan, salihan tu'eenuhu fi amri ad-dunya wa al-akhirah faqad 'utiya fi 'd-dunya hasanah wa fi 'l-akhirati hasanah wa wuqiya min a'dhaabi an-naar', a person who has been granted these three, a heart which is content a tongue which is mindful of its Lord and conscious, and a partner who is helpful and cooperative. Together as a team, they move towards Akhirah. He has been given the hasanah in the Dunya.

He has been given therefore the hasanah in the Akhirah. But we should not confine ourselves only to these examples. These are examples of what hasanah is in the Dunya. The general principle is, oh Allah, I am struggling and I am striving. But you bless my efforts and my struggles. Give me everything that is good for me in the Dunya. Be it a good partner, be it good parents, be it good children, be it good friends, be it good business partners, be it people I meet who can somehow help me, can open up my eyes or increase my knowledge and wisdom. Anything and everything that is good, oh Allah grant me.

So in the morning, in Salat as-Subh, for example we make that prayer, and then we issue forth in our daily activities. We have asked God for all the best in the Dunya, and the same in the Akhira. That means I am consciously, deliberately planning to do everything that is good, so that I achieve that supreme goodness in Akhira, the minimum of which is the physical pleasures in Jannah, the maximum of which is Ridhwan, and the pleasure of the Lord. But none of this is possible until and unless, 'wa qina a'dhaab an-naar'. I need to be protected from the fire of Hell.

I know no protection will be granted until and unless I work for it. I am making a determination. I will not do anything to earn the fire of hell, to deserve the fire of hell. But You protect me. Why? You created me, one. You are sustaining me two. For every moment of my life I am receiving nothing but gifts from You. If even for a moment I use the gift of the eyes, or the ears, or the mind or the heart, anything for other that which You gave me. I have disobeyed you. I said I do not (God forbid) I do not care what You tell me. I will do what I want.

How dare you stand up before the Lord and do something like that? I will try not to sin. But if I have sinned. I definitely deserve to go to the Hellfire, unless You protect me. Wa qina a'dhaba an-naar, I have sinned. I'm asking for forgiveness. I deserve to be punished. Protect me. I have sinned in the past, I ask for forgiveness now. I don't know in the future whether I will fall back into sin. Protect me from the fire of hell. Wa qina a'dhaba an-naar.

Conclusion: there is this Riwaya, I did not get the chance to check the reference, I assume it is from the first Holy Imam, but it is from Ma'soom. It says you may get everything in the Dunya the best of the Na'mah. But if in the end in Akhira, you end up in Jahannam, then all this Na'ma is useless.

Conversely, you may get all the Bala' in the Dunya, but if in the end in Akhira you go to Jannah, this Bala' is nothing. Hasanah in the Dunya and najat from the fire of hell, these are the two supreme aspirations that every Mu'min should have. And this is what we constantly should remind ourselves in our Salah.

Let us pray to Allah to give us a Tawfiq to be able to engage in a meaningful prayer, and in a Du'a where He has given us the freedom to decide what to say, and how to say, and in what language. But one of the best Du'as are those Du'as which the Qur'an has narrated for us and which the Imams have told us. Let us also have the Tawfiq to be able to pray earnestly to God. Wa as-salamu 'alaykum, wa rahmatu Allah.

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