Sayyid Ibn Ta’us in his Iqbal al-A’mal records the popular du’a of Rajab1 – generally recited after each prayer as follows:
يَا مَنْ أَرْجُوهُ لِكُلِّ خَيْرٍ وَ آمَنُ سَخَطَهُ من [عِنْدَ] كُلِّ شَرٍّ يَا مَنْ يُعْطِي الْكَثِيرَ بِالْقَلِيلِ يَا مَنْ يُعْطِي مَنْ سَأَلَهُ يَا مَنْ يُعْطِي مَنْ لَمْ يَسْأَلْهُ وَ مَنْ لَمْ يَعْرِفْهُ تُحَنُّناً مِنْهُ وَ رَحْمَةً أَعْطِنِي بِمَسْأَلَتِي إِيَّاكَ جَمِيعَ [الخيرات] خَيْرِ الدُّنْيَا وَ جَمِيعَ خَيْرِ الْآخِرَةِ وَ اصْرِفْ عَنِّي بِمَسْأَلَتِي إِيَّاكَ جَمِيعَ شَرِّ الدُّنْيَا وَ [جميع] شَرِّ الْآخِرَةِ فَإِنَّهُ غَيْرُ مَنْقُوصٍ مَا أَعْطَيْتَ وَ زِدْنِي مِنْ فَضْلِكَ يَا كَرِيمُ
قَالَ ثُمَّ مَدَّ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع يَدَهُ الْيُسْرَى فَقَبَضَ عَلَى لِحْيَتِهِ وَ دَعَا بِهَذَا الدُّعَاءِ وَ هُوَ يَلُوذُ بسباحته [بِسَبَّابَتِهِ] الْيُمْنَى ثُمَّ قَالَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ يَا ذَا الْجَلَالِ وَ الْإِكْرَامِ يَا ذَا النَّعْمَاءِ وَ الْجُودِ يَا ذَا الْمَنِّ وَ الطَّوْلِ حَرِّمْ [شبابي و] شَيْبَتِي عَلَى النَّار
This du’a consists of two components. The first component itself includes four calls with the vocative participle, and then a supplication. The four calls are:
يَا مَنْ أَرْجُوهُ لِكُلِّ خَيْرٍ وَ آمَنُ سَخَطَهُ من [عِنْدَ] كُلِّ شَرٍّ
يَا مَنْ يُعْطِي الْكَثِيرَ بِالْقَلِيلِ
يَا مَنْ يُعْطِي مَنْ سَأَلَهُ
يَا مَنْ يُعْطِي مَنْ لَمْ يَسْأَلْهُ وَ مَنْ لَمْ يَعْرِفْهُ تُحَنُّناً مِنْهُ وَ رَحْمَةً
O He Whom alone I hope for all good things; and I am safe from His displeasure at every instance of evil
O one who gives abundance in return to very little
O one who always bestows on whosoever asks Him
O one who bestows on one who does not ask Him, nor does he know Him, out of kindness and mercy
The supplication after it is:
أَعْطِنِي بِمَسْأَلَتِي إِيَّاكَ جَمِيعَ خَيْرِ الدُّنْيَا وَ جَمِيعَ خَيْرِ الْآخِرَةِ وَ اصْرِفْ عَنِّي بِمَسْأَلَتِي إِيَّاكَ جَمِيعَ شَرِّ الدُّنْيَا وَ شَرِّ الْآخِرَةِ فَإِنَّهُ غَيْرُ مَنْقُوصٍ مَا أَعْطَيْتَ وَ زِدْنِي مِنْ فَضْلِكَ يَا كَرِيمُ
Give me, for my request is only to You alone, All the good of this world and all the good of the Hereafter. Keep away from me, for my request is only to You alone, All the evil of this world and the evil of the Hereafter. For indeed it is not diminishing what is given by You. Increase (for) me from Your bounty, O The Generous.
Each of the four calls in the beginning of the du’a refers to one of four factors that result in the descent of Allah’s Mercy. These four factors are:
1) Being hopeful, 2) Working and putting in effort, 3) Venerating and requesting, and 4) Being needy and poverty stricken
Factors Resulting in the Descent of Allah’s Mercy
Allah’s Mercy encompasses all of creation, at all times and all places. However, there is another category of His Mercy specifically ordained for humans and is different than the Mercy which encompasses all of creation. One of the preliminaries for the bestowal of this Mercy is the Salat, because it prepares the human for receiving Allah’s Mercy and Divine Grace. Another source of this mercy is God-consciousness and refraining from sins, as affirmed in the Quran:
[7:96] And if only the people of the cities had believed and feared Allah, We would have opened upon them blessings from the heaven and the earth; but they denied [the messengers], so We seized them for what they were earning.
Other factors that become the reason for the descent of this Mercy are stressful situations or when one is in need of necessities – for which we recite:
[27:62] Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Little do you remember.
From amongst these factors is being heart-broken, since Allah is with the broken hearts and can be found there, or the mosques, or during the Ruku’ and Sujud and when prolonging them, as long as they are performed sincerely for Allah.
From these factors is the plains of ‘Arafat on the day of ‘Arafat, particularly at the time of ‘Asr when the sun is setting, because Allah’s Mercy is the greatest on this desert plain from anywhere else around the world. Another time is the ‘Asr of ‘Ashura as a number of traditions indicate.
Another factor is at the time of dawn while asking forgiveness, since Allah’s Mercy is distributed upon those seeking repentance during dawn. Another time is when a group of believers are together in a gathering and the meeting is a friendly gathering far away from any sins, because “Allah’s hands are with the congregation.” Yet another place where Allah’s Mercy is plentiful is during congregational prayers and when giving charity.
In any case, the factors that lead to the descent of Allah’s Mercy specific to humans are many and they can choose to benefit from this or remain deprived of it by choice.
These different factors can be divided into four general categories, which are the four alluded to in the supplication.
- The first call: O He Whom alone I hope for all good things; and I am safe from His displeasure at every instance of evil – this is the hope one has towards Allah and the sense of tranquility.
- The second call: O one who gives abundance in return to very little – meaning, a little effort results in a lot of benefit. This is the notion of work and putting in effort.
- The third call: O one who always bestows on whosoever asks Him – this is the factor of veneration and seeking.
- The fourth call: O one who bestows on one who does not ask Him, nor does he know Him, out of kindness and mercy – this is the factor of neediness, when Allah bestows His mercy on His servants in order to fulfill their neediness.
The first factor is hope. The limits of this factor are linked to the extent of hope and expectations of a servant from Allah’s Mercy. Likewise, it is linked to the tranquility one has in their hopes being fulfilled and having a positive view towards Allah Himself.
In this stage, a person is closest to Allah – the more hopeful he or she becomes on Allah, the closer they become to Him, and subsequently the greater the chances for their supplications to be heard and fulfilled.
As it states in a Hadith Qudsi states: I am as My servant expects Me to be. Thus, do not think anything of Me except good.
It has been reported from Imam Sadiq (a) that: When you pray to Allah, turn to Him with your heart, and think as if your need were at the door.2
In another tradition it is said: When you pray to Allah, turn to Him with your heart, and then be confident of the response.3
A supplication which is done with hope and assurance in Allah from all aspects is responded to and accepted. This is what the phrase “as if your need were at the door” means in the aforementioned tradition. Assurance towards Allah is linked to the degree of understanding one has towards Allah Himself. Just like one’s fear of Allah is rooted in the same factor, and hence how much one fear’s Him depends on how much they recognize Him. This is affirmed in the verse:
[35:28] …Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge…
This writeup was extracted from the work of Shaykh Muhammad Mahdi Asifi (d. 2015).
Sayyid Ali studied in the seminary of Qom from 2012 to 2021, while also concurrently obtaining a M.A in Islamic Studies from the Islamic College of London in 2018. In the seminary he engaged in the study of legal theory, jurisprudence and philosophy, eventually attending the advanced kharij of Usul and Fiqh in 2018. He is currently completing his Masters of Education at the University of Toronto and is the head of a private faith-based school in Toronto, as well as an instructor at the Mizan Institute and Mufid Seminary.