Prayer for Seeking Refuge from Sins of the Self

Prophet Muhammad (saws) often said that the greatest jihad is the jihad an-nafs, the struggle with the self.  None of us, from the very poorest to the richest and most famous, can escape the trial and torment of struggling with ourselves, trying to stay on the middle, moderate path, attempting to avoid slipping into extremes of too much or too little.

A supplication (prayer) I often read is one by Imam Ali bin Hussain, otherwise known as Imam Zain al-Abideen (‘the best of worshippers’) and Imam as-Sajjad, or the ‘prostrating imam’.  Although this particular supplication is not lengthy, each word is so eloquently put that I could not say it better myself, nor could I come even remotely close to doing so, mashAllah.  Each word is so powerful and meaningful, and each phrase speaks exactly to situations I constantly find myself fighting against.

Supplication for Seeking Refuge

O God,
I seek refuge in Thee from the agitation of craving,
the violence of wrath,
the domination of envy,
the frailty of patience, the lack of contentment,
surliness of character,
urgency of passion,
the disposition to vehemence,

following caprice,
opposing guidance,
the sleep of heedlessness,
undertaking the toilsome,
preferring falsehood over truth,
persisting in sin,
making little of disobedience,
making much of obedience,

vying with the wealthy,
disparaging the poor,
guarding badly over those in our hands,
failing to thank those who have done good to us,

aiding a wrongdoer,
abandoning someone troubled,
wanting what is not rightfully ours,
and speaking about knowledge without knowing.

We seek refuge in Thee from harboring dishonesty toward anyone, being pleased with our works, and stretching out our expectations.

We seek refuge in Thee from
ill-mindedness,
looking down on the small,
Satan’s gaining mastery over us,
time’s afflicting us,
and the sovereign’s oppressing us.

We seek refuge in Thee from acting with prodigality and not having sufficiency.

We seek refuge in Thee from the gloating of enemies, indigent need for equals, living in hardship, and dying without readiness.

We seek refuge in Thee from
the most dreadful remorse,
the greatest affliction,
the most wretched wretchedness,
the evil end to the journey,
the deprivation of reward,
and the advent of punishment.

O God,
bless Muhammad and his Household and through Thy mercy, give to me refuge from all of that, and to all the faithful, both men and women!

O Most Merciful of the merciful!

Other supplications of Imam Ali bin Hussain can be found here:

http://www.duas.org/sajjadiya/sajjadiya.htm

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How to Treat Adversaries

SubhanAllah, God has left no stone unturned and no subject untouched within the vast knowledge and wisdom of Islam.

I have often heard about Imam Zain al Abideen’s (as) treatise on rights and have put it on my list of things to look up when I got a chance.  His treatise on rights were written around 700 AD, long before any Western treatise on human rights (for instance, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written in 1948).  Well, I finally got around to looking it up to see what exactly he had to say.  And of course, I was not disappointed.  Although the imam (who was the son of Imam Hussain, who was the son of Imam Ali – as) covers every single thing that has rights (which makes it pretty lengthy), I wanted to share one in particular.

The Right of an Adversary:

“The right of the adversary (khasm) who has a claim against you is that, if what he claims against you is true, you give witness to it against yourself. You do not wrong him and you give him his full due. If what he claims against you is false, you act with kindness toward him and you show nothing in his affair other than kindness; you do not displease your Lord in his affair. And there is no strength save in God.”

So in other words, if someone accuses you of something and it is true, then you have to be honest and admit that it is true.  You do not try to do anything bad to him or attempt to cover the truth, but simply give him what is fairly owed.

In contrast, if someone accuses you of something and it is false, you should nevertheless be kind to him (not angry or spiteful), and don’t allow yourself to commit any sins because of this person.

Now of course, our adversaries are not only those who bring a complaint about us – sometimes we have complaints about others, and how we should treat them is mentioned as well.

The right of the adversary against whom you have a claim is that, if your claim against him is true, you maintain polite moderation in speaking to him and you do not deny his right. If your claim is false, you fear God, repent to Him, and abandon your claim.

In other words, if your accusation is true, then you should be polite (not arrogant or boastful) when dealing with them, and make sure that you are fair.  However, if you are wrong, you should retract your position out of respect and love for God.  Reputation,  face, honor, pride, dignity – none are important in the light of pleasing God and avoiding sin.

Whether we like it or not, the reality of life dictates that we will certainly find ourselves at odds with others.  An adversary isn’t only someone we barely know, as those we find ourselves in conflict with range from a rude clerk at the store, to a co-worker, a boss, a friend, or even a family member (i.e. a parent!).  Knowing how to deal with such individuals appropriately will ensure that you will be able to walk away with the knowledge that you did what was right, and even if the affair was not resolved peacefully (i.e. the other person is still unhappy), you know that you did your best before God.

Imam Zayn al-Abideen’s (as) Treatise on Rights can be found here: http://www.iec-md.org/IECE/religious/treatise_on_rights.html