Dunya, Du’a and Deen

Rabbi zidni ‘ilma” translated as “Oh my Lord! Increase me in my knowledge” is one of the earliest du’as I learned by heart, probably because it was the easiest to remember. I often used to recite this du’a at the time of my exams in school or debates in college. I had a firm conviction that this du’a was magical because it did wonders for me. I didn’t have the slightest idea then that the true meaning of this du’a is beyond the confinement of the knowledge of this dunya.
When you ask your Rabb (Sustainer) to enhance your knowledge, you should actually be focusing on the speech of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) in the Holy Quran. You should try and attain the knowledge of this miraculous book, beyond simply reciting it. You should understand it and apply the teachings of this complete way of life to your own as much as possible, to succeed in both Science and Religious Studies. The seerah of the Holy Prophet (saalallahu allahi wassallam) demonstrates top class Sociology, Business and Ethics lessons in this entire world. Lessons learnt from Prophets’ lives present to us the best History lessons any teacher could teach. Politics and Economics are best manifested in the lives of our own great Caliphs (Khulfa-e-Rashideen), may Allah be pleased with them all. The world’s best Psychology and Philosophy lessons can be derived from the lives of the companions of the Prophet (saalallahu allahi wassallam), SubhanAllah. However, I had no idea of this reality. I cannot blame anyone for not introducing me to the Quran timely. Our mindset is that a child should learn to recite the Quran at the age of 10 or 11 and pray from the age of 7. I was taught to do all of this. The realization that there is a lot more to learn in life than just the daily rituals of the deen came much later in life but Alhamdulillah, it did.

There are several phases that one undergoes in life. Sometimes a calamity or disastrous event in the family can shake you. Sometimes death of a near one or loss of a dear one hits you hard. At other instances it could just be the shattering of a dream, losing faith in people, financial loss in a business or deteriorating health which can cause you to re-think the way you lead your life. These are probably the times which will take you closest to your Creator. My case was no different. Each loss or trial took me closer to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). It is so selfish of us though, that we knock at His door in utmost desperation and disappointment with this world, while we barely remember Him in our cherished and happiest times. Undoubtedly, it is only when Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) wills, that one is guided to liberation. Indeed, “He guides whom He wills to the straight path” (Quran 2: 142).

I feel deeply ashamed when I think how my ignorant lifestyle full of friends, music, gossip, back biting, extravagance, competition, fashion etc. took me away from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). On the contrary, I should have been humbled by His blessings. The worldly ties of family and friends, hobbies and interests, amusement and entertainment distracted me from the reality that our deen doesn’t allow us to be attached to any of these things in the first place. The logic is clear – if Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) lives in your heart then nothing else can reside there. You cannot be broken, deceived or shaken by anyone or anything because you know that you have to keep your expectations associated with Him alone and this practice brings true happiness in your life. You learn the essence of Islam; that a true believer should have patience (sabr) for what one doesn’t have and gratitude (shukr) for what one does, because all good (khair) and bad (shar) in one’s life is Allah’s decree.

The transformation is quite evident now, not just in my lifestyle but also in my thinking, in the material I choose to watch or read in my spare time, in the friends I prefer to interact with, in my ibaadah (worship) and in my du’as (invocations) Alhamdulillah. My du’as still begin with my favourite “rabbi ziddni illma”, as I now understand the true meaning of these words, which further leads to “Allahumma faqihna fiddeen”. The increase in my knowledge that I now beg Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for is that of the deen, sincerely and truly. My du’as end at “ya muqqalib al-quloobi, thabbit qalbi, ‘alaa deenik,” – “O turner of the hearts, make my heart steadfast upon your deen”,  which I honestly pray for, from the bottom of my heart, for myself and for all others like myself, who are striving to gain more knowledge and understanding of Islam.

“Allahumma Inni Asaluka Ilman nafiyan was rizqan tayyaban was amalan mutaqqabalan.”

“O Allah, I ask you for knowledge that is of benefit, a good provision and deeds that will be accepted.” (Ibn e Majah)



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