Explanation of the Duʿāʾ for Grief and Sorrow

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  Abū ʿUways ʿAbdullāh Aḥmad  ͑Alī

Our noble brother, Abū ʿUways (may Allāh have mercy upon him), gives a beautiful explanation of the duʿāʾ for grief and distress, drawing upon a number of beneficial points which serve as a breath of fresh air to the troubled soul.

This lecture is based upon a book written in three parts by Shaykh ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-ʿAbbād, alongside an introduction by Shaykh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Bāz (raḥimahullāh), in which he discusses and explains the meanings of various invocations alongside the evidence, intent and purpose behind them from which we can benefit from.
The duʿāʾ we will be discussing today is the supplication for worry, sadness and grief. The Shaykh starts out by saying: Verily the servant in this life in which we are living in can be tested and hit with matters of sadness of various types. There comes upon the servant's heart all types of sad experiences and feelings which hurt the person such as sadness, grief, melancholy; things which hurt the individual and brings upon the heart tightness in the chest and worry. If this pain that we are talking about, or sorrow and grief, is connected to that which has occurred in the past, which you are unable to do anything about, then in al-ʿArabīc it is known as ḥuzn, grief, a sadness or pain as a result of something which has occurred in the past, and none can do anything about it.
If, however, the sadness or grief and distress is connected with the future, in that he is grieving over or worried about something which has not taken place yet, or may soon occur, then this is called hammun, and if it is connected to a present circumstance of the individual then it is called gham.
Nothing can remove these matters of sadness, grief, worry, melancholy or depression except to return to Allāh with a true return, and a complete breaking down before Allāh, and a total submission to Him, and humbling oneself before Him and submitting one's affair to him in totality, and a complete belief in the just decree of Allāh. Alongside this, the actualisation and firm belief in the Highest Loftiest Names and Attributes of Allāh and believing in His Book, and to be concerned with reciting and reflecting upon His Book, and acting upon what is in it. With this, and not with anything else, these matters of sadness, grief and worry are removed. This is the manner of removing regret and with this alone will the chest open and serenity, peace and harmony will be brought and happiness will be actualised. 
It is recorded with Imam Aḥmad, Saḥīḥ ibn Hibbān and other than them on the authority of ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd (raḍi Allāhu ͑anhū) that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ͑ alayhī wa-sallam) said, 
 ‘No servant has ever said when met with sorrow, grief or worry, saying:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي عَبْدُكَ ابْنُ عَبْدِكَ ابْنُ أَمَتِكَ نَاصِيَتِي بِيَدِكَ، مَاض ٍ فِيَّ حُكْمُكَ، عَدْل ٌ فِيَّ قَضَاؤُكَ أَسْأَلُكَ بِكُلِّ اِسْمٍ هُوَ لَكَ سَمَّيْتَ بِه ِِ نَفْسَكَ أَوْ أَنْزَلْتَه ُُ فِي كِتَابِكَ، أَوْ عَلَّمْتَهُ~ُ أَحَدا ً مِنْ خَلْقِكَ أَوِ اسْتَأْثَرْتَ بِه ِِ فِي عِلْمِ الغَيْبِ عِنْدَكَ أَنْ تَجْعَلَ القُرْآنَ رَبِيْعَ قَلْبِي، وَنوْرَ صَدْرِي وَجَلَاءَ حُزْنِي وَذَهَابَ هَمِّي

O Allāh, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your hand (i.e. You have total mastery over), Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qurʾān the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety.’

Except that Allāh will remove his sadness grief and worry, and he will replace it with happiness.’ They (the Companions) said, ‘O Messenger of Allāh! It befits us that we learn these words.’ He said ‘Yes, it befits the one who hears them to learn them.’1
These are great words, and it befits the Muslims to learn them, and he should be concerned with saying these words whenever he is hit or troubled by sadness worry or grief, and to know that with regard to these words, then the only time they will be beneficial for him is if he understands what these words mean. He actualises the intent or purpose behind the duʿāʾ and acts upon the evidence and proof it shows. As opposed to just reciting and saying adaʿū that are related and legislated forms of remembrances without understanding their meanings and the purpose behind them, then this has very little effect and no benefit. 
If we reflect upon this particular duʿāʾ we find that it is inclusive of four great principles, there is no way for the servant to acquire happiness and remove sadness, regret and worry unless he comes with these words and actualises them.
So these are four great principles taken from this blessed duʿāʾ, and it is upon us to reflect upon it and run and strive to actualise it in order to achieve this generous promise and great blessing, and it is the last statement of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) in this Ḥadīth, that if we make this duʿāʾ and supplicate with it, actualise it with reflection, no one says it except that Allāh will remove his sadness and grief, and replace it with pleasure, happiness, joy and contentment and a way out, and in one narration it is mentioned as happiness, and in another a way out, and from Allāh alone we seek help with tawfīq.

This is as they say, a drop of rain from a monsoon. One raindrop out of that whole storm, this is what this is, a drop of water in the ocean. The Salaf actualised this and implemented this, so why can’t we actualise this? It tastes good, feels good, does something to the heart and mind, and the Salaf had true understanding of the fiqh of adhiyah and adkhār, when they said 'Allāhu Akbar’ they meant it! When they said ‘Lā Hawla wa-Lā Quwwata illá Billāh' it gave them strength! Within the vast majority of Ibn Qayyim’s works, you find him indicating that Allāh's Names are such that it is not mentioned except that you will witness blessing in it, and he who is poor becomes rich. We have to ensure that the adkhār are authentic and said with meaning; we act upon it, and now comes understanding it so that it has an effect on you, so it is not something merely stated upon the tongue without meaning, and this is for many of us the pitiful state we find ourselves in when we make remembrance or duʿāʾ to Allāh, so this is one of the areas that we have a vast shortcoming in and we need to address it. We ask Allāh for understanding of His noble and blessed religion and tawfīq to act upon it with sincerity.

1 This is recorded in the Musnad of Imām Aḥmad and authenticated as Ṣaḥiḥ by Shaykh al-Albānī in his Aḥādith al-Ṣaḥīḥah No.199 and there is an explanation in al-Fawāʾid of Imām Ibn Qayyim (raḥimahullāh).

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Tags: Tawḥīd, Duʿāʾ, Abū ʿUways , Grief