Dua by the Decibel by Imam Afroz Ali


In the name of Allah, The Source of Mercy, the Most Merciful

It was a Ramađan after a Tarawīh prayer that my mind focussed on the loudness of the congregation. We were not talking, but responding to the supplication made by the Imam. The loudness of the response of “Amīn” had a pattern… a worrying pattern.

It is always the case with such matters that some people lose the sight of the context, and get emotional. This matter is one close to all of our hearts and requires objective selflessness to understand the true nature of this topic.

Have you ever thought of why certain thoughts and particularly why certain types of supplication, Du’a, makes you emotional… moves you?
What types of du’a moves you?

I considered that and listened to the loud responses of others at Mosques. There was a pattern, indeed.

The supplications that move people often are about some form of curse upon another whom we consider an enemy of our people and possibly of Islam. They receive the most heartiest and loudest of responses of “Amīn” from numerous congregations I attend, around the world. Moreover, this very concern was also aired, to my pleasant surprise, by my teacher, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, at a post-9/11 congregation in Chicago, USA a few years ago.

Most Muslims are aware of the time when the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah, had gone to Ta’if, a town close to Makkah, to invite the people to Islam. He was humiliated by the adults, who got their children to pelt rocks onto the Messenger of Allah. He was severely bruised. The Angel Jibreel, peace be upon him, was ready to turn the mount of Tai’f upside down if that was the wish of the Beloved of Allah. The leader of human beings, Muhammad, upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah, responded differently in his supplication to Allah, despite the very fact that Allah guaranteed him as he wished, including the complete destruction of the people of Ta’if.

He did not supplicate for destruction at all. He did not curse the people who had just attacked him nearly to death.

Reflect on the supplication he made, a supplication he made at the lowest time of his mission as the Messenger  of Allah:

“O Allah, please consider my weakness, my shortage of means, and the little esteem that people have of me. Oh, most Merciful Allah, You are the Lord of the oppressed, and You are my Lord. To whom would You leave my fate? To a stranger who insults me? Or to an enemy who dominates me? Would I that You have no wrath against me, Your pleasure alone is my objective. Under the light of Your faith which illuminates all darkness and on which this world and the other depend, I take my refuge. I pray that I may not become the object of Your wrath and anger. To You alone belongs the right to blame and to chastise until Your pleasure is met. There is neither power nor strength except in You.”

There is immense wisdom in this one supplication, which truly establishes the foundation of a human’s supplication to be raised from the suffering due to others. It provides absolute guidance to what is required of a person in order to raise up as a person before as a society.

This supplication did not ask Allah to destroy the people of Tai’f.

This supplication did not ask Allah to make the children of Tai’f blind and to suffer.

This supplication did not ask Allah to remove the wealth of the people of Ta’if and to empower the Messenger with it.

This supplication did not ask Allah to remove the women of Tai’f so that they had no future generation. This supplication did not point fingers at the people of Tai’f.

This supplication did not finish with accusing and cursing the offenders.

Yet, I have heard such supplications made often between the walls of Mosques and at conferences.

The supplication was about his own state, the state of Muhammad, upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah, and his relationship with His Lord. He sought not vengeance, but purely triumph as Allah planned. He sought strength for himself, not the destruction of others. He sought the pleasure of Allah, not fulfilment of his ego. He sought nothing else but that Allah be pleased with him. And none of this ever reduced his courage and ability to stand against oppression.

This is the highest of stations of a man, a perfect man, upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah, whom we have been asked to follow that is so often misunderstood by other people, and particularly Muslims.

Surely there are a few supplications that the Beloved of Allah made, which were very particular to the removal of the disbelievers and oppressors. But if one was to use them as justification for most of our du’a today to be of a destructive kind, we have yet to understand the Message of Allah that His Messenger, upon whom be peace and blessings of Allah, so perfectly exemplified.

This worrying pattern is a sign of the state of the Ummah. This pattern needs reversal. I suggest you go to your Mosque and measure on the decibel meter and you will agree with this trend; the stronger the du’a for others’ destruction, the louder the response of “Amīn!” The stronger the du’a for the state of oneself and the need to thank Allah, the softer the response.

Do you make du’a for your own strength and growth for the pleasure of Allah … or for the destruction of others as a proof of your supposed strength?

Do you make du’a for being able to please Allah … or for incursion of pain upon others?

Do you make du’a to be wherever Allah seeks you to be … or do you seek to be where only “your people” suffer or where your emtion takes you?

Do you say Amīn louder for others’ destruction and suffering … or for the salvation of all?

Do you say Amīn louder for others’ misfortune … or for the protection of people with goodness and wellbeing? Do you say Amīn louder when your ideology destroys and destructs others … or when beauty and peace is striven for?

Which du’a would measure high on the decibel upon your utterance of “Amīn!”?

© 2005, Afroz Ali


5 Responses
  1. Hoda Khalifa says:

    What an excellent read. Masha’Allah. Barakallah Feek for sharing this blog post.
    These have been my exact sentiments for a period of time now. I have used the exact prophetic story of Taif to help people understand the prophetic way to deal with those who seem to be enemies to our deen. It’s sad to see the fiery hatred that has become so rampant amongst our Muslim brethren. Islam means peace, we say, but we breathe do much anger. Subhanallah.
    May Allah keep us all guided and on the straight path. Jazakum Allahu Khairan for all the great work you are all doing for our ummah.

  2. Zureen Tawheed says:

    Beautifully written imaam! You have highlighted one of the most common social struggles present today- societial ignorance and being a follower of the mislead ones; instead of being leaders following the path of excellence set by our beloved Rasul (PBUH))!

  3. Harasha says:

    Salam ‘alaikum dear Imam

    I am grateful for this honest observation your have written about. & To add to this, I hope you don’t mind my sharing a little bit about my personal experiences as a ‘recommitted Muslimah’.

    I have recently begun attending more spiritual events such as talks, seminars & mosque-related ones, alhamdulillah. For me, it was a natural, progressive step to take after spending months in private listening, reading & letting my heart feel the beauty of Islam, especially the life, the journey, the character & wisdom of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).

    Strangely, when I began attending such spiritual events (which incidentally are always well-attended), I observed mainly grim, unsmiling faces, no eye-contact, a tinge of personal pride & a hastiness in action that I feel was not what our Prophet (p.b.u.h.) stood for.

    “They are clearly religious, but why are they not smiling & at peace?”, I thought to myself.

    These days, when one thinks of a Muslim’s prominent characteristics, perhaps the top 3 that comes to mind are: Devoted, Self-Righteous & Angry.

    & Yet, we can change this. But the change must begin within our individual selves. One small way I’ve begun to do this is to smile to everyone where ever I go. It has been a heart-warming experience.

    Forgive me if my candid sharing caused any offense. I write from my heart & with the knowledge that I am the worst example of a Muslim.

    May Allah s.w.t. plant in our hearts Love & Compassion for the people we know, the people we don’t, the Muslims, the non-Muslims, the good, the bad. May we each reflect on our own flaws & seek guidance & make the effort to clean our Hearts. And may we continuously study, reflect on & emulate the beautiful example of our Prophet (p.b.u.h.). Ameen, ameen, ameen!

    • Afroz Ali says:

      Wa Alaikum Assalaam,

      Thank you for sharing your moving and inspiring story. These personal narratives are very important to give real life to the “technical” observations of mere ones like me.

      Ameen to your du’a.

  4. Mehnaz says:

    The first thing that came out of my mouth after reading this is Subhan allah – also felt good we still have people left with the right perspective.
    Myself coming from India ,where muslims are constantly co -exist and share life with many non muslims,this blog is an eye opener ,the beautiful of example given of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him )is the finest piece of analogy i have ever read .
    Unfortunately in India ,our brethren are not only uneducated in high number ,they also lack the basic right concept and context of Islamic know how . It’s a sad state of mind ,and for those who are educated there is a trend of treating religion as a ancestral property ,where the only focus is being proud of our possession ,rest is a vacuum.
    I often used to think in my many conversations within my family ,why despite the best guidance we as a community lack any prosperity,and i think perhaps we lack the right foundation , the day we understand the text both in spirit and word and follows Sunnah the way it should be followed ,will automatically lay down a map for well being and prosperity .
    Hope and Pray to Allah (SWT) to give us all the same sense of wisdom.

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