Ramadan, the Believer's Fortress
by Sh. Jamal Said
I pray that Allah blesses each of you with the best of the blessed month of Ramadan. It is a month of remembrance and reflection, a time for renewed faith and spiritual elevation. We are fortunate to witness the coming of the month, and I pray that our worship and charitable deeds are accepted and multiplied.
There are not enough words to cover all the blessings associated with this month. So in this article I would like to remind you, as I remind myself, of the wisdom of increasing our supplication (prayer or du'a) in Ramadan, that is, calling upon Allah for guidance, help, protection for ourselves and for others, healing, and all that we need to be successful in this life and the next. I would like to focus on a few supplications that the Prophet recommended that we make often. They are especially appropriate for our times.
No one goes through life without experiencing worry and fear. Sometimes these feelings are severe and appear to be overwhelming. But never should a believer despair of God's mercy, for He promises that with difficulty there is ease. The following prayers or supplications of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are fortresses for the soul. We take recourse to them to keep the difficulties and trials of life from driving us to despair or a weakened faith (iman). When these prayers are said with full heart, sincerity, and confidence that God will answer them, they become very powerful words in our lives.
Among the greatest of supplications is one that is very well known for the removal of worry and the lifting of grief and anxiety. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that whoever says the following supplication, God will remove for him his worry and grief and replace them with relief: "O God, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of Your maidservant. My forelock is in Your Hand. Your decree for me is done, and Your judgment upon me is ever just. I ask You by every one of Your names, which You have named Yourself or have taught to anyone among Your creation or revealed in Your Book or have kept concealed with Yourself in the realm of the unseen, to make the Quran the springtime of my heart, the light within my chest, the departure of my sadness, and the vanishing of my worries."
To live and die with sound belief in God as One, without peer or partner, is the greatest blessing a person can achieve. And to affirm this in one's life is a source of relief from worry. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that one should repeat often the following words (here translated), especially when one is stricken with difficulty and grief, "O God! O God is my Lord! I do not associate anything with Him." What "associate" implies here is associating beings with God as part of His Lordship and power, which is idolatry.
Whenever confronted by worry or difficulty, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would say, "There is no God but Allah, the Great, the Gentle. There is no God but Allah, Lord of the magnificent Throne. There is no God but Allah, Lord of the heavens and Lord of the earth. There is no God but Allah, the All-Generous, Lord of the Throne."
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "O God, Your mercy I beseech. Do not leave me for a moment in my soul's charge. And set aright for me all of my affairs. There is no God but You."
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that whoever says the following supplication will find relief for his debts: "O God, I seek refuge in You from worry and grief. And I seek refuge in You from infirmity and laziness. And I seek refuge in You from miserliness and cowardice, and I seek refuge in You from the dominance of debt and the tyranny of men."
Praying that God blesses His Messenger and that He sends peace upon him invites relief from worries and concerns. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would often say to his Companions, "O people, remember God. Remember God. The [Day of Judgment] has come with its convulsions, followed by others. Death will arrive and all that comes with it. Death will arrive and all that comes with it." One of the Companions asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), "I have increased my prayers [that Allah] bless you. How much of my [remembrance] should be such prayers for you?" The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to him, "As much as you wish. If you make it much, it will be good for you." The Companion then asked, "What if I make it two-thirds of my remembrance?" The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to him, "As much as you wish. If you make it more, it will be good for you." The Companion said, "What if I make all of my remembrance as prayers for you?" The Prophet then said, "In this case, your worries will be removed and your sins forgiven." The Prophet Muhammad, we must remember, was aware of his role as God's final Messenger. His counsel to this Companion was not about ego, but a profound understanding of what it means to love God's beloved, to pray for the one whom God has chosen as His last apostle, and to be generous with one whom God has generously endowed with great wisdom and insight.
There are countless beautiful supplications to make during this month and all the months of our lives. Let us revive these and keep them throughout the year. May Allah accept our good deeds and forgive us and grant us mercy.