Day 15: When you supplicate for evil

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



And man supplicates for evil as he supplicates for good, and man is ever hasty. (Surat al-Isra, 17:11)

This verse talks about those of us who make a supplication in haste, asking for what is evil, in the same way that we ask for good. For example, in a moment of anger, a person may make du’a against himself or his wealth or his family, saying things like, “May God curse you.” At the same time, that same person makes du’a for well-being and blessings for his family. Ibn Abbas said that it is a mercy from Allah that He does not answer our du’as for evil as He does our du’as for good, because otherwise we would be destroyed.
While the tafseer talks about asking overtly for something that is evil or bad, this made me think about our desperate du’as for things that we think are good, but in actuality are bad for us. We may spend many nights praying to Allah for something, and then wonder, “Why isn’t Allah answering my du’a?” There are many reasons why our du’as may not be answered in the way that we want them to – Allah answers our prayers in His way – but one of them is that we, too, may be asking for evil, though we may not know it. You might be asking Allah to help you get a certain job, or to get married to a particular person, or to help you get something, but Allah knows that the thing you are asking for specifically contains evil for you. So in His mercy, He actually averts it from you. From your perspective, you might think Allah has not answered your du’a. You might give up on asking Him. But that would be the wrong reaction to have. He has answered you, you just don’t know it.
Thank God for His Mercy and always ask Him for His blessings. And may He protect our from our own overt and subtle ‘evil’ du’as.

Day 14: There is a Lesson

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

And indeed, for you in grazing livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from what is in their bellies – between excretion and blood – pure milk, palatable to drinkers. (Surat an-Nahl, 16:66)
There are amazing lessons in God’s creation, and this verse points us to one of them. Allah shows us how that sometimes beneficial things are hidden between things that are undesireable or cause harm. From the inside of an animal – where there is blood and things we would not think of touching or consuming in a raw state – we get something as pure as milk, that brings benefit to us. I want to reflect on two things here:
1) Allah shows us through this example that in the midst of discomfort or unwanted events, there can be benefit. But that benefit can only be brought about if one truly looks, reflects and takes the steps to extract it. Look for your ease within your hardship; your comfort in discomfort; your blessings in difficulty. God creates both things in one being.
2) There are lessons in how God has created this world. “Tafakkur” (pondering and reflecting) is considered one of the great acts of worship. It connects us to Allah and enables us to understand and use our minds, which we are commanded to do in the Qur’an. Through this, we can truly understand that Allah has created the world in a certain way and take comfort in that.


Day 13: Seeing the good

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

They said, “Are you indeed Joseph?” He said “I am Joseph, and this is my brother. Allah has certainly favored us. Indeed, he who fears Allah and is patient, then indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.” They said, “By Allah , certainly has Allah preferred you over us, and indeed, we have been sinners.” He said, “No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” (Surat Yusuf, 12:90-92)
Surat Yusuf (the Chapter Joseph) is one of those Surahs that just keeps giving. Every time we read it and reflect on it, we can extract so many lessons that are directly applicable our lives today. This is true for the whole of the Qur’an of course, but the story format of this Surah makes it much easier for the lay person to reflect on its wisdoms.
In these chosen verses, the Prophet Yusuf (as) states that Allah has given him and his brother many favors. This is how Yusuf (as) saw his whole life; despite being in hardship, separated from his family and unjustly accused and thrown into prison, he states that Allah has given them many favors. When you understand God’s wisdom, you suddenly see your life in a new light. You realize how much Allah has given you favors upon favors. Yusuf (as) realizes that had all those things not happened, he would not be where he was that day: united with his family and a minister of Egypt.
The Qur’an ensures that the lesson is not lost on us. Yusuf (as) says “Indeed, he who fears Allah and is patient, then indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.” Yusuf (as) wasn’t given all these favors because he was the son of Yacoob or because he was a prophet. It was due to his actions, and those actions are applicable to us. If you want Allah’s favors, then fear Him, be patient and do good: Allah will not cause your deeds to be lost. Yusuf’s (as) life is a testimony.
Finally, when Yusuf’s brothers realize their transgressions, they ask for forgiveness. Anyone in Yusuf’s place would understandably be angry and hurt; after all, his own brothers tried to kill him and lied about it. But Yusuf (as) instead says: “No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” Yusuf (as) is able to let go. That is not easy. But once you go through the trials of life and learn to rely on Allah as He should be relied on, that’s when you come to realize: life is too short to hold a grudge.


Day 12: When times are good, when times are bad

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


And if We give man a taste of mercy from Us and then We withdraw it from him, indeed, he is despairing and ungrateful. But if We give him a taste of favor after hardship has touched him, he will surely say, “Bad times have left me.” Indeed, he is exultant and boastful – Except for those who are patient and do righteous deeds; those will have forgiveness and great reward. (Qur’an, 11:9-11)

How do you react when you are in ease and when you are in hardship? The nature of this world is full of ups and downs. We are seldom grateful for the good that we have, but when it is taken away, we despair. And when good returns, that should remind us to be grateful; but for some of us, that causes us to be arrogant.
These verses remind us to be grateful to Allah when we have good, and to be patient when things are difficult. All are from Allah; gratitude brings you closer to Allah when times are good and helps to preserve your blessings. Patience and continuing to do good brings us closer to Allah when times are hard, and His forgiveness as well as Paradise. That is the secret to the Prophet’s (pbuh) statement:

“How amazing is the affair of the believer. There is good for him in everything and that is for no one but the believer. If good times come his way, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him, and if hardship comes his way, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.” [Muslim]

May Allah make of the grateful and of the patient.

Day 11: Signs that lead

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Indeed, in the alternation of the night and the day and [in] what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth are signs for a people who fear Allah (Surat Yunus, 10:6)
This verse talks about things that Allah has created as “ayaat” – signs. Signs necessarily lead us to something. The Qur’an is also made up of “ayaat”, which is commonly translated as ‘verses’ – but they too are signs. Allah tells us to look our in the world, to look at nature, and to reflect on the signs. If you reflect deeply, they will lead you somewhere. Similarly, the ‘signs’ – ayaat – in the Qur’an will also lead somewhere – to Him.
When you are feeling lost and alone, follow the signs. Go out into nature and simply reflect. Open up the book of Allah and think. And see where you are led.

Day 10: Take Responsibility

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

And [remember] when Satan made their deeds pleasing to them and said, “No one can overcome you today from among the people, and indeed, I am your protector.” But when the two armies sighted each other, he turned on his heels and said, “Indeed, I am disassociated from you. Indeed, I see what you do not see; indeed I fear Allah . And Allah is severe in penalty.” (Surat al-Anfal, 8:48)
Satan is a master at making you seem invincible; but Satan is a trickster. He makes our misdeeds pleasing to us. But this verse tells us that when the going gets tough, Satan will disassociate from us. We have no one to blame but ourselves.
Responsibility is a big theme in the Qur’an. We are told that we will come to our Lord on the Day of Judgment alone. We are reminded that no soul shall carry the burden of another.
Taking responsibility enables us to do three things; firstly, by taking ownership over our own actions and states, change is ultimately in our hands. Secondly, it gets us out of a victim mentality. Instead of thinking, “It’s not my fault, it’s x y z”, we force ourselves to move forward. We know that Allah will not ask us more than we can bear, so we need to deal with the issues. Finally, it can also save our human relationships. Many relationships are damaged by the blame game. When we take responsibility, we can honestly ask ourselves, “how did I contribute?” We cannot change other people unless they want to change, but we can change ourselves. And taking responsibility is one step in the right direction.
Don’t blame Satan, bad friends, or anything else. They will all disassociate with you on the Day of Judgment. Take responsibility for your actions, and you will save both your dunya and Hereafter.

Day 9: Seek help with Allah and be Patient

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Said Moses to his people, “Seek help through Allah and be patient. Indeed, the earth belongs to Allah . He causes to inherit it whom He wills of His servants. And the [best] outcome is for the righteous.” (Surat al-A’raf, 7:128)
The context of this verse is important; the Children of Israel were being oppressed. Moses (as) gave them the solution: Seeking help through Allah and patiently persevering.
Seeking help through Allah entails turning to Him, praying to Him, and supplicating to Him. It is to seek Allah in all the affairs, through the good and the bad.
‘Patience’ does not mean to do nothing. Patience means to patiently persevere. It means not to give in or give up. Patience is to act ethically, within the teachings of our religion; and to refrain from being rash. And you need to seek help through Allah in order to be patient; otherwise it becomes impossible.
Moses (as) then reminds them that the earth belongs to Allah; not to Pharaoh or whomever appears to be in control. It is Allah who causes to inherit the earth whom He wills. In essence, Moses (as) is reminding them and us to look beyond the material.
Finally, Moses (as) reminds us that the best outcome is for the righteous. Stay righteous, even when you are the oppressed. Do not take on the characteristics of your oppressor in order to win. The outcome is, after all, in the Hands of Allah.