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Seeking Refuge in Allāh from the Challenges of Life Using the Encompassing Speech of the Prophet (ﷺ)

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim

An explanation on the eight things the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) would seek refuge from, and how he (ﷺ) would do so.

In an authentic ḥadīth: the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to say:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحَزَن، وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَل، وَالْجُبْنِ وَالْبُخْل، وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْن، وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَال

“O Allāh! I seek refuge in You from stress and sadness, inability and laziness, cowardice and selfishness, the rigours and severity of being in debt, and being subjugated to the command and whims of men.”1

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim comments:

He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) sought refuge from eight things, every two of them are associated with one another.

Stress and sadness accompany one another as that which is hated by the heart has either occurred in the past—in which case it is termed sadness—or one fears for the occurrence of that which is hated in the future—which is termed stress.

Then, inability and laziness are associated with one another as well. As a servant not engaging in that which is representative of his own perfection is borne either out of a deficiency in his capabilities—which is addressed with ‘inability’,or because of a lack of desire—which here is termed ‘laziness’.

Then, cowardice and selfishness are, likewise, associated with one another. As the benefit proffered by any man is either physical or financial. The coward proffers no physical benefit while the selfish proffers no financial benefit.

Just as the rigours of being in debt and the subjugation of men are associated with one another. For, indeed, compelling subjugation over mankind is of two types: One is associated with truth and justice which is addressed with the ‘rigours of being in debt’. The other variety of subjugation is in the name of falsehood which is addressed by ‘the subjugation of men’.

Allāh has negated both sadness and stress from the people of Paradise such that they neither feel sadness over past events nor are they stressed over future occurrences. For a truly tranquil and peaceful existence shall never be attained except in the absence of these two things.

[1] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 6369 and Muslim: 2706.

Source: Rawḍah al-Muḥibbīn: 61-62
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: February 29, 2024
Edited: March 1, 2024


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