Prophetic Prayers No 1: Fear, Obedience and Certainty

In this series, Hamza Ahmed offers reflections on some of the prayers of our beloved Prophet ﷺ .

O God! Give us such fear of You that will come between us and disobedience to You;

• Fear (khashiya) – a type of fear that is a result of knowledge, not an irrational fear, so we are asking for knowledge as well as fear: “Among His servants, only the knowledgeable fear God” [Quran, 35:28]

• “Give us” – apportion or distribute (qism) – khashya is a gift from God, because knowledge is a gift from God.

“When God wants good for someone, He gives him understanding of religion. God is the Giver, and I am the distributer (Qasim)” [Bukhari]

and certainty, that will make the calamities of this world easy for us to bear

Museeba (calamity) – literally means an arrow hitting its target •It hurts, but who fired the arrow?

• Calamities are easier to bear if we have certainty in God’s Existence, Wisdom, and Mercy •The Prophets endured the greatest calamities, but they also had the most certainty

Give us fear…and obedience…and certainty

• The Prophet linked these concepts together

• Obedience to God comes mostly from having fear (khashya)

• Certainty comes from being fully obedient to God [Imam al-Haddad, Book of Assistance] : “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our Way” [Quran 29:69]

O God! let us enjoy our hearing, our sight and our power as long as You keep us alive and make them continuous until the end of our lives,

• Hearing and sight are the means through which we learn about God and thus develop khashya

• Power (quwwa) is the means through which we perform acts of obedience, which lead to certainty

and restrict our revenge to those who oppress us, and support us against those who are hostile to us,

• Constantly seeking revenge was the defining characteristic of the pre-Islamic Arabs, it leads to a never ending cycle of violence

• That is why it is not in the Muhammadan nature to seek revenge, but where it is sought, it is sought from God

• God is ‘the Avenger’ (Muntaqim) – His vengeance is always just and purifying – it doesn’t lead to escalation

and do not let our calamities be religious calamities,

• Calamities are inevitable •“We will surely test you with fear, and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and fruits; but give good news to the patient” [Quran; al-Baqarah]

• It is better to have calamities that affect our worldly affairs, because all worldly affairs are temporary: “My community is blessed, for its calamities are given to it in this world”

• Worldly calamities should strengthen the soul and increase longing for Heaven

and do not let this world be our principal concern, or the ultimate limit of our knowledge,

• Principle concern (hamm) – literally means ‘worry’ or ‘anxiety’. To be worried and anxious about temporary worldly affairs is a sign of lack of certainty in God

• If we do not have knowledge, we will not have khashya, and we will not have certainty

and do not let those who show no mercy to us rule over us.

• Reminds us that worldly power is in God’s hands

• A just ruler is incredibly rare in this world, the Prophet upon him be peace foretold that just rule would only last in his community for thirty years

• Shows us that it is important ask for good leaders

Summary of Reflections

• Knowledge of God is important in developing fear of Him and obedience to Him

• Our obedience to God is a gift that He gives us

• Calamities are inevitable, but certainty in God is the best way to deal with them, and certainty is developed through knowledge and obedience

• Those who have certainty do not seek to escalate violence and seek revenge for themselves, they know that everything is in God’s Hands

• Those who have certainty would rather have their calamities befall them in this world rather than the Hereafter

• Certainty removes anxiety and fear

• God controls those who rule over us, so He is the one to turn to

Listen to the class here: