(82) Supplications
I do not intend to discuss here the virtues of supplication and the manners and conditions for them to be answered, for none of this is directly related to our main discussion here, which is the art of dealing with others.
What I wish to address here is how you can skilfully win people over via your supplications.
The first step is to supplicate to Allah that he guides you to the best of manners and character. The Prophet Peace be upon himused to say in his supplications, “O Allah, to you belongs all praise! There is no one worthy of worship but you. Glory be to you with your praise. I have wronged myself and acknowledged my sins, so please forgive my sins, for none forgives the sins except You.
Guide me to the best of manners, for none guides one to them except You. Avert bad manners from me, for none averts bad manners except You. We are at Your service and all good is in Your Hand.” (Abu ‘Awana with this wording, Sahih)
To return to the topic, how can you win over people by your supplications?
People generally tend to like others supplicating for them.
They delight when you greet them upon meeting them and then supplicate for them. So when you say, “How are you doing?
What’s the latest?” You should also say, “May Allah keep you safe.
May He bless you. May He keep your heart firm.”
Try not to use overused supplications, like, “May Allah grant you success, may He protect you.” Because although these are also good supplications, the people are all too used it them.
When you meet anyone with children, you should pray for them saying, “May Allah make them the source of your delight. May He keep you all together. May Allah make them all obedient”, and so on.
I say this from experience, for I have done this many times and noticed how quickly it captures people’s hearts. A couple of years ago, on one of the nights of Ramadan, I was called for a live show on a Satellite Television channel. The show was about worshiping during the month of Ramadan. It was held in Makkah in a hotel room overlooking the Haram. We were discussing Ramadan as the viewers were watching the people performing ‘Umrah live through the window behind us. It was a majestic scene, so much so that even the presenter was moved and wept during the show.
The atmosphere was spiritually invigorating and nothing spoiled it for us except the cameraman. He was holding the camera in one hand and a cigarette in the other, as if he did not want to miss inhaling smoke on a single night of Ramadan! This bothered me greatly since the smoke was choking me. However, I had no option except to have patience as the show was live. A whole hour passed by and the show finally ended without any trouble.
The cameraman came to me holding a cigarette and thanked and praised me. I shook his hand and said, “I would also like to thank you for participating in recording a religious programme.
However, I do have something to say to you, I hope you would accept it.”
“Please, do!” he said.
I said, “The smoke and cigare...”
“Please do not advise me. By Allah, it will be of no use!” he said, interrupting me.
I said, “Ok, then at least hear me out. You know that cigarettes are Haram and Allah says...”
“Dear Shaykh, please do not waste your time. I have been smoking for more than forty years! The tar is in my blood and veins. There is no use in advising me!” he said, interrupting me once again.
I said, “No use at all?”
He became slightly embarrassed and said, “Please pray for me.”
I held his hand and said, “Come with me.”
‘To where?’ he asked.
“Come with me and let’s look at the Ka’bah” I said.
I stood at the window overlooking the Haram and noticed that every part of the Haram was packed with people bowing, prostrating, performing ‘Umrah and crying. It was a very moving sight.
I asked, “Do you see these people?”
“Yes”, he said.
I said, “They have come from all over the world: white, black, Arabs, non-Arabs, rich and poor. All of them are praying to Allah that he accepts their efforts and forgives their sins. Do you not wish that Allah grants you what He grants them?’
“I do, indeed”, he said.
I said, “Raise your hands and I will pray for you. Just say Amen to my supplications.”
I raised my hands and supplicated, “O Allah, forgive him!” He said, “Amen.”
I said, “O Allah, raise his rank and unite him with his beloved ones in Paradise. O Allah...”
I continued to supplicate for him until his heart softened and he cried as he kept repeating “Amen... Amen...”
When I decided to conclude the supplication, I said, “O Allah, if he stops smoking, then accept this supplication. If he doesn’t stop smoking, then don’t.”
Upon hearing this, the man exploded in tears, covered his face with his hands, and left the room.
After many months had passed, I was invited by the same satellite television channel for another live show. When I entered the building, I saw a chubby man who came up to me and greeted me very warmly. He kissed my forehead and then kissed my hand.
I said to him, “How kind of you! I really do appreciate the love and respect you have shown to me, but forgive me as I do not remember you.”
He said, “Do you remember the cameraman you advised a couple of years ago to quit smoking?”
I said, “Yes.”
He said, “I am he! By Allah, dear Shaykh, I have not placed a cigarette in my mouth ever since!”
Whenever I recall my memories, I always think about this incident.
Three years ago during a Hajj season, I went to a Hajj group to deliver a lecture after the ‘Asr prayer. After the lecture, people came to greet me and ask me various questions. I wanted to finish with them quickly so that I could go to deliver another lecture with another group. Meanwhile, I noticed that there was a young man who was hesitantly moving towards me. Perhaps he felt uncomfortable in the crowd. I turned to him and stretched out my hand towards him to shake his hand. I then asked him while he was still in the middle of the crowd, “Do you have a question?”
He said, “Yes.”
I pulled him to myself until he came close.
“What’s your question?” I asked.
He said in hurry, “I went to do the ritual stoning along with my grandmother and sister. There were lots of crowds...” He asked the question and I answered.
Meanwhile, I noticed the smell of cigarettes on him, so I smiled and asked, “Do you smoke?”
“Yes”, he said.
I said, “I ask Allah to forgive you, accept your Hajj, and help you quit smoking straight way.”
The young man remained silent, and it was quite clear that he was affected what I had said.
After eight months, I went to deliver a lecture in a city. I entered the mosque to notice an honourable young man waiting for me at the door. I was amazed because as soon as he had seen me, he came and greeted me very warmly, even though I didn’t remember him. I exchanged greetings with him anyway.
He said, “Do you recognise me?”
I said, “I thank you very much for your kindness, love and respect, but I am afraid that I don’t recognise you.”
He said, “Do you remember the young man you met during Hajj who was a smoker? You advised him to quit smoking…”
I said, “O yes, I do!”
He said, “I am that person! I would like to give you the good news that I have not placed a cigarette in my mouth since. I have quit smoking and have also rectified myself in other ways to a great extent.”
I warmly shook his hand and became convinced that supplicating a person in front of him, as he listens, is perhaps more effective than advising him directly.
Similarly, if you were to see for example a young man being dutiful to his parents, you should say, “May Allah reward you. May He grant you success. May He make your children as dutiful.”
There is no doubt that this prayer would be an encouragement for him to continue.
The Prophet Peace be upon himwas very novel in using such prayers to guide and win over people in order to bring them closer to the religion.
At-Tufayl bin ‘Amr was one of the leaders of the tribe Daws.
One day he came to Makkah for a need. When he entered the city, the noble men of the Quraysh noticed his presence. They approached him and said, “Who are you?”
He said, “At-Tufayl bin ‘Amr, the leader of Daws.”
Quraysh feared that at-Tufayl might meet the Prophet Peace be upon himand accept Islam. They said, “There is a man here in Makkah who claims that he is a prophet. Beware! Do not sit with him or listen to what he has to say, for he is a magician. If you were to listen to him, you would lose your mind.”
At-Tufayl said, “They continued to warn me about him until I was determined neither to listen to anything from him nor to speak to him. In fact, I stuffed cotton in my ears in the fear that I would end up overhearing some of his speech as I passed by him.”
At-Tufayl said, “I went to the Mosque to find the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon himstanding in prayer next to the Ka’bah. I stood closer to him and Allah was insistent on making me hear some of his speech. I really liked what I heard and said to myself, “May my mother lose me! By Allah, I am an intelligent person. I am well able to distinguish between the good and bad. What is then preventing me from listening to what this man has to say? If he says something good, I will accept it. If he says something bad, I will reject it.
I stayed until he finished his prayer. When he rose to leave for his house, I followed him until he entered his house and I entered with him.
I said, ‘O Muhammad, your people have told me such and such.
By Allah, they continued to warn me about you until I stuffed my ears with cotton so that I would not get to hear your words. I then managed to hear some of the good you have to say anyway, so please, present to me more of what you have to say.’”
The Prophet Peace be upon him became overjoyed, presented Islam to at-Tufayl and recited some Qur’anic verses. At-Tufayl contemplated on his life and realised that with every passing day, he was becoming further away from Allah by worshipping stones, stones which neither responded to his prayers nor his calls. This much had become clear to him. At-Tufayl then began to think about the aftermath of his acceptance of Islam: How could he leave his religion and that of his forefathers? What would the people say?
What about the life he used to live? The wealth he gathered?
His family? His son? His neighbours? His friends? There would be chaos!
At-Tufayl remained silent as he thought about it, weighing up between his worldly life and the Hereafter. He decided at once to let go of the worldly life and remain steadfast on the religion, regardless of who would be pleased or displeased, for who cares about the people of this world if the One in the heavens is pleased? Why should he care about his provision when it was in the Hands of the One above the heavens? His health was in the Hands of the One above the heavens. His honour and status were in the Hands of the One above the heavens. In fact, even his life and death were in the Hands of the One above the heavens!
Hence, if the inhabitants of the heavens were pleased with him, then what he lost of this world should not have worried him. If Allah loved him then it did not matter who was angry with him.
Therefore, let whoever wished to mock or censure him do so!
Yes, at-Tufayl accepted Islam there and then and bore witness to Allah’s oneness. He then demonstrated his lofty ambitions and said to the Prophet Peace be upon him, “O Prophet of Allah, I am obeyed among my people. I will return to them and call them to Islam.”
At-Tufayl then left Makkah and hurried back to his people, riding over mountains and through valleys until he finally reached his people. When he entered the city, his father approached him.
His father was an old man very close to his death and still worshipping idols. At-Tufayl wanted to call him to Islam with firm resolution.
Al-Tufayl said to him, “Listen to me, dear father. I have nothing to do with you and you have nothing to do with me!”
His father was stunned and said, “Why so, dear son?”
He replied, “I have accepted Islam and decided to follow Muhammad Peace be upon him.”
The father replied, “Dear son, your religion is my religion!”
He said, “In that case, go and take a bath and purify yourself.
Then come to me and I will teach you what I have been taught.”
His father then went away, took a bath, purified himself, and then returned to at-Tufayl and accepted Islam.
At-Tufayl then went to his house where his wife welcomed him in.
He said to her, “Listen to me! I have nothing to do with you and you have nothing to do with me!”
She said, “Why so?”
He replied, “Islam has separated the two of us. I have decided to follow the religion of Muhammad Peace be upon him.”
She said, “In that case, your religion is my religion.”
He said, ‘Then go and purify yourself and return to me.”
She turned around to do as she was told, but then thought about the idol she worshipped. What if the idol was to harm her children if she forsook it? She returned to him and said, “Don’t you fear for the children from Dhu ash-Sharah?”
Dhu ash-Sharah was the idol they would worship. They used to believe that this idol would harm whoever forsakes the worship of it, or his children.
He said, “Go and do what I said, for I guarantee that Dhu ash-Shara won’t be able to harm them.”
She went away, took a bath, returned and accepted Islam.
At-Tufayl then began to visit all the houses, calling people to Islam.
He would go to their gatherings and speak to them on the pathways, but they refused to forsake the worshipping of idols.
At-Tufayl became angry and left for Makkah to inform the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him. He said, “O Messenger of Allah, Daws have disobeyed and refused to accept Islam. O Messenger of Allah,
supplicate to Allah against them!”
The Prophet’s facial complexion changed and he raised his hands to supplicate. At-Tufayl saw this and thought to himself that Daws would now be destroyed, yet, the Prophet of mercy said instead, “O Allah, guide Daws! O Allah, guide Daws!” He then turned to at-Tufayl and said, “Go back to your people and call them to Islam with gentleness.”
He returned to them and continued to call them to Islam until they finally accepted.
How beautiful it is to knock on heaven’s doors, not only for at-Tufayl and his people but many others besides them.
The Muslims at the beginning of the Islamic call were very few, perhaps, not more than thirty-eight men. One day, Abu Bakr suggested that the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon himproclaim his message openly to the people and declare openly his Islam.
The Prophet Peace be upon himreplied, “O Abu Bakr, we are few in number.”
Abu Bakr was very eager, so he persisted until they decided to do as he had suggested. They went out with the Prophet Peace be upon him leading them and headed for the Grand Mosque. There they dispersed, every one of them addressing his own people.
Abu Bakr stood up and began to address his people, call them to Islam, and attack their idols. The pagans rose against the Muslims and began to beat them all over the mosque. As the pagans were many in number, the Muslims dispersed. Meanwhile, a group of pagans ganged up against Abu Bakr and beat him until he fell to the ground.
Thereupon, the evil ‘Utbah bin Rabi’ah came closer to Abu Bakr and began to strike him with his sandals and rub them against his face. He then stood on top of Abu Bakr’s stomach while blood was pouring from his face. The flesh on his face became apparent and his mouth had became indistinguishable from his nose.
Meanwhile, men from Abu Taym, who were the tribe of Abu Bakr, arrived on the scene and pushed people away from Abu Bakr. They then carried him on a sheet of cloth and took him home. They thought he had passed away. Banu Taym then returned to the mosque and began to shout, “By Allah, If Abu Bakr dies, we will surely kill ‘Utbah bin Rabi’ah!”
They then returned to Abu Bakr who was unconscious, not knowing whether he was dead or alive. Abu Quhafah, Abu Bakr’s father, stood next to Abu Bakr along with his family, trying to speak to him, but he wouldn’t respond. His mother was also standing next to him weeping. After a long while, he opened up his eyes, and the first thing he said was,“What happened to the Messenger of Allah?”
May Allah have mercy on Abu Bakr! He was full of love for the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him, such that he feared for him more than he feared for his own life. All those around him, including his father, mother and his people, who were all pagans, became angry and began to curse the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him. They then left and told the mother of Abu Bakr to give him something to eat or drink.
His mother began to console him as he kept repeating, “What happened to the Messenger of Allah?”
She said, “By Allah, I don’t know what happened to your friend.”
He said, “Please, go to Umm Jameel bint al-Khattab and ask her about him.”
Umm Jameel was a Muslim who would conceal her Islam. His mother visited Umm Jameel and asked, “Abu Bakr is asking about Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah. Do you have any news?”
She said, “I neither know Abu Bakr nor Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah, but do you want me to go with you to your son?”
‘Yes”, she replied.
She went with her until they approached Abu Bakr. She found him lying on his bed with his face disfigured and his body fatigued. When Umm Jameel saw him, she screamed, “Did the people do this to you only to defend the people of wickedness and disbelief? I really hope Allah exacts revenge from them!”
Abu Bakr then turned to her with his drained eyes, fatigued body, disfigured face, and a heart full of love for this religion, and said, “What happened to the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him?”
Umm Abu Bakr was standing next to her and Umm Jameel feared that she might be exposed for her Islam and thereafter abused.
She said, “O Abu Bakr, your mother is here and listening.”
He said, “Don’t worry about her.”
She said, “OK, the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon himis safe and sound.”
He said, “Where is he?”
She said, “In the house of Abu al-Arqam.”
His mother then said, “Now you know about your friend, so get up and eat or drink something.”
Abu Bakr replied, “I vow to Allah that I will not taste any food or drink until I see the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon himwith my own eyes.”
They waited until the people had calmed down, then left with Abu Bakr as he dragged his feet along the ground, to the house of Abu al-Arqam. Abu Bakr entered with a wounded and bloody face and his clothes torn apart. When the Prophet Peace be upon himsaw him in this state, he leapt up to him to kiss him, as did the rest of the Muslims.
The Prophet Peace be upon himfelt extreme pity for him, such that it was very apparent on his face. Abu Bakr decided to downplay his injuries and said, “May my mother and father be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah. I am fine, apart from the blows I received on my face from that wicked man.”
Abu Bakr was a hero who had great concern for the Islamic call. He would utilise whatever opportunities were available to him, no matter what state he was in and despite being wounded and thirsty. He thus said, “O Messenger of Allah! This is my mother who is kind to her parents. You are, indeed, blessed. Please pray to Allah for her that He saves her from Hell.”
The Messenger of Allah Peace be upon himprayed to Allah for her guidance and then asked her to embrace Islam. She responded by becoming a Muslim on the spot. Supplications were, therefore, one of the ways in which the Muslims would deal with each other.
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, had become a Muslim but his mother remained a disbeliever. He would invite her to accept Islam but she would refuse. One day, he asked her to embrace Islam but she insulted the Prophet Peace be upon himin response.
Abu Hurayrah felt terrible thereafter and went to the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon himweeping. He said, “O Messenger of Allah, I always ask my mother to embrace Islam and she refuses.
Today I asked her to embrace Islam and in return she said a few words about you that I despised hearing. Please, supplicate to Allah that He guides the mother of Abu Hurayrah to Islam.”
The Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him supplicated for her. When Abu Hurayrah returned to his mother and approached the door, he found it closed. As he tried to open the door, his mother opened it for him and said, “I bear witness that there is no One worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger.”
Abu Hurayrah returned to the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon himas he wept for joy and said, “Good news, O Messenger of Allah! Allah has responded to your supplication and guided the mother of Abu Hurayrah to Islam!”
Abu Hurayrah then said, “O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah to make my mother and I beloved to His believing servants, and make them beloved to us.”
The Prophet Peace be upon himsaid, “O Allah, make him and his mother beloved to your believing servants, and make them beloved to the two.”
Abu Hurayrah said, “From then on, there was no believing man or woman except that he loved me and I loved him.” (Muslim)

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