Brief Explanation of Dua Ahad

This dua has reached us through Imam Sadiq (as). Reliable scholars and traditionalists have narrated this noble supplication in their invaluable books such as Allamah Mohammed Baqir Majlisi (ra) in Beharul Anwar volume 53 page 95 chapter 29 tradition no. 111 has narrated it from Misbaah al-Zaaer of Sayyed Ibn Taoos.

Apart from this Muhaddis Noori has mentioned this in Mustadrak al-Wasaael (volume 5 page 393 chapter 41 tradition no 6169) as well as Shaykh Abbas Qummi in Mafatihal Jinan. Tuhfah al-Awaam, which is a famous book in the sub-continent, also contains this supplication.

Benefits and Rewards of Dua Ahad

Imam Sadiq (as) said, Whosoever prays to Allah for 40 days through this promise and covenant tradition no.e will be included among the helpers of our Qaem (as). If he dies before his reappearance, then Allah, the Most High, shall enliven him from his grave and for every word (of this supplication) 1,000 good deeds shall be written for him in his scroll of deeds, erase 1,000 sins.

Phrases and Meanings of Dua Ahad

“O Allah! Lord of the Great Light, Lord of the Elevate Throne, Lord of the tumultuous seas and the Revealer of Torah (Taurait), Bible (Injeel) and the Psalms (Zaboor), Lord of the shadows and the warmth, Revealer of the Great Quran and the Lord of the proximate angels, the Prophets and the Messengers..”

Dua Ahad begins with the aforementioned phrases. Since this is a supplication, the addressee is the True Creator. ‘Allahumma’ means O Allah. Let us take a glance at traditions concerning the word ‘Allah’.

Hisham Ibn Hakam inquired from Imam Sadiq (as), what has the word ‘Allah’ been derived from? Imam (as) replied: O Hisham! The word Allah is a derivative of ‘Ilaah’ and the word Ilaah demands that there must be a ‘Ma’looh’ (servant). (Al-Kafi volume 1 page 87 chapter of al-Ma’bud tradition no. 2 narrating from Ali Ibn Ibrahim al-Qummi)

Abdullah Ibn Sinaan inquired about the meaning of ‘In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful’. Imam (as) replied, (The alphabet) ‘Baa’ stands for magnificence of Allah, ‘Seen’ refers to exaltedness of Allah while ‘Meem’ indicates towards the grandeur of Allah. Some have also narrated that ‘Meem’ refers to the kingdom of Allah. Allah is the Lord of everything, Beneficent for His entire creation but Merciful only for the believers. (Al-Kafi volume 1 page 114 tradition no. 1 chapter of ‘Meanings of The Names and their derivations’)

Imam Kazim (as) was asked about the word ‘Allah’. He (as) replied: “(The word ‘Allah’ means) He is dominant over everything, whether subtle and delicate or mighty.” (Al-Kafi volume 1 page 114 tradition no. 3 chapter of ‘Meanings of The Names and their derivations’)

A person asked Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as) about ‘In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful’. Imam (as) answered, Your saying Allah, it is the greatest name from the names of Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He. It is a name which cannot be attributed to anyone except Allah and no creature can ascribe this name for itself.

The narrator sought the exegesis for the word ‘Allah’. Imam (as) replied, Allah is that Being in whom shelter is sought at the time of every need and calamity when, apart from Him tradition no.opes from everyone else are lost and all means and resources are severed except for Him. Since every great person of this world (who considers himself great) who is respected, irrespective of the wealth he has amassed, or the more rebellious he is or even if many people approach him and address their needs through him but even then, they have many such desires which this affluent person cannot fulfill. Similarly, even that great personality might have many of his wishes which he cannot fulfill all by himself. Hence, when he realizes his helplessness and dependence tradition no.e turns towards Allah. But when Allah fulfills his desires tradition no.e reverts to his polytheism and rebellion.

Have you not heard that Allah, Might and Majestic be He, says “Say (O Prophet): Tell me if the chastisement of Allah should overtake you or the hour should come upon you, will you call (on others) besides Allah, if you are truthful? Nay tradition you call upon, so He clears away that for which you pray if He pleases and you forget what you set up (with Him)”. (Chapter 6 verses 40-41).

Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, informs His servants, ‘O the ones who are in need of My Mercy. I have indeed fastened you to Me under all circumstances. Then, in every trouble that you encounter and desire that your wish is granted and your need fulfilled, seek shelter only in Me because if I intend to bestow you with it, none except Me can prevent granting it to you and if I decide to withhold it from you, then none except Me has the power to grant it to you. Therefore, I am worthy of being implored and pleaded. Whenever you begin with any task, whether minor or major, say ‘In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful’ i.e. I seek help from Allah in this affair, Allah the One apart from whom none is worthy of being worshipped. When shelter is sought from Him tradition no.e grants it and when He is beseeched He fulfills, the Benevolent who provides us with sustenance and who is Merciful towards us in (matters of) our religion, world and hereafter. He has made religion very moderate for us and made (following it) extremely easy and light. He is Merciful towards us due to our adhering to the boundaries set by Him.” (Al-Tauheed of Shaykh Saduq (ra) page 230, chapter 31 tradition no. 5; Beharul Anwar volume 92 page 232 chapter 29 tradition no. 14)

Rabb al-Noor al-Azeem (Lord of the Great Light)

Rabb is just like other ‘Beautiful Names’ of Allah which have been coined exclusively for Him and their Architect or Creator is none other than Allah Himself. Hence, as per this meaning, this name cannot be interpreted for anything else except Allah. However, if it is only for literary similarity then its usage is permissible like it is mentioned in the Holy Quran, “Say (O Prophet), Shall I seek a Lord other than Allah while He is the Lord of all things?” (Chapter 6 verse 164)

Imam Sajjad (as) mentions in Dua on the day of Arafah (Dua no. 47) of Sahifa al-Sajjadiyyah that Rabb al-Rabbi means Lord of the Lords.

Al-Noor al-Azeem (The Great Light)

It means the great light which Allah has created. This light is the first creation of Allah which refers to the ‘light creation’ of the Messenger of Allah (sawa) like it is found in traditions, “The first thing which Allah created is the light of your Prophet, O Jabir!” (Beharul Anwar volume 15 page 24 tradition no. 43)

It is that great light from which all the remaining sacred lights were derived such as the light of existence, light of life, light of power, etc.

The attribution of light to the Lord indicates that it is a creation of Allah and not Allah Himself. In other words, neither is this light a part of Allah’s Being nor is it incarnated or derived from Allah’s Being. Rather, it is a creation of Allah and totally subservient to Him.

The discussion pertaining to the light creation of the Holy Prophet (sawa) is quite detailed but it is not within the scope of this brief exegesis. Those readers who are interested in researching this topic can refer to Beharul Anwar volume 15, first chapter or Hayat al-Quloob, second volume.

“And the Lord of the Elevated Throne”

The word ‘Lord’ has been discussed earlier. Now we shall have a brief discussion on the word ‘Kursi (Throne)’. In Arabic literature, ‘Kursi’ is something which a person takes support of or sits on. In the Holy Quran, the word ‘Kursi’ has been mentioned twice. Once in Surah al-Baqarah, verse 255: “And His throne encompasses the heavens and the earth.”

Let us now understand the meaning of ‘Throne’ in the light of traditions of Ahle Bayt (as).

Hafs Ibn Ghiyas narrates that I asked Imam Sadiq (peace be on him) about the verse, “And His throne encompasses the heavens and the earth”. Imam (peace be on him) replied, “It refers to the Knowledge of Allah.” (al-Tawheed of Shaykh Saduq page 327)

In another tradition when Fuzail Ibn Yasaar (ra) {about whom Imam (peace be on him) said that Fuzail is from us Ahle Bayt (peace be on him)}, asked Imam (peace be on him) about the word ‘Throne’, Imam (peace be on him) replied, O Fuzail, all things are within the Throne, the heavens and the earth and everything else is in the Throne. (al-Tawheed of Shaykh Saduq page 327)

In the third tradition, Zurarah (ra) who is enumerated among the special disciples of Imam Sadiq (peace be on him), asked Imam (peace be on him) whether the heavens and earth have encompassed the Throne or the Throne encompasses the heavens and the earth? Imam (peace be on him) replied, Nay! Rather the throne encompasses the heavens and the earth and the Arsh. The Throne encompasses all things. (al-Tawheed of Shaykh Saduq page 327)

In reply to the question of the Jaasaleeq, the Archbishop, Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) replied, The Throne encompasses the heavens and the earth and everything that is between them and whatever is beneath the earth. Allah is aware of all your secrets and hidden things no matter how vocal your discussions may be. The verse, “His Throne encompasses the heavens and the earth” points to this fact. (al-Kafi volume 1 page 129 tradition no. 1)

The above mentioned traditions clarify that the Throne attributed towards Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, refers to the Knowledge of Allah. When the word Throne or Arsh is used for Allah, it doesn’t imply that this Throne or Arsh is like our seats or thrones and that Allah sits on them, unlike what some people believe that Allah has a body and shall be seen on the Day of Judgment. Allah is purified from such characteristics.

The word ‘elevated’ is a characteristic of the Throne. As per Arabic literature, “Rafee’ (elevated)” is a nominal predicate which means an elevated thing. It refers to the Knowledge of Allah. Nobody has the means to scale its heights except those whom Allah has selected. In other words, Allah has granted such heights to the knowledge that He has created which none can ascend except for that personality who proclaimed from the pulpit: “Ask me before you lose me!”

Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) said in the Sermon of Shiqshiqiyyah, my relation to the Caliphate was akin to the axle to the grinding mill. A flood of knowledge was flowing through me and no flying bird had the ability to reach me (no intellect could comprehend the profundity of my knowledge or the reality of my existence).

Woe upon the love of this world and the love of fame due to which people deprived Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) of the apparent Caliphate and left the entire Muslim nation in the darkness of misguidance and ignorance.

“And the Lord of the swollen ocean”

The word ‘Bahr’ means an ocean or a sea, its plural is ‘Abhur’ or ‘Buhoor’ or ‘Behaar’.

‘Bahrun Masjoor’ refers to that heavenly ocean which is below the Divine Empyrean. Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) says, (It is) an ocean in the heavens beneath the Divine Empyrean. (Beharul Anwar volume 55 page 107 tradition no. 54)

Zaid Ibn Wahab narrates that Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) prayed as follows: And the Lord of the swollen ocean… that which encompasses the worlds… (Beharul Anwar volume 97 page 37 tradition no. 36)

“And the One who sent down the Torah and the Bible and the Psalms”

The word ‘Munzil’ is the nominal subject of Baab If’aal which means the One who sends down. Allah the Most High, sent down Divine Books for the guidance of people. He sent down 104 divine books. Of which four are very famous, Torah, Bible, Psalms and the Holy Quran. In this supplication, the Holy Quran is mentioned in the next line, probably due to its importance and its position.

“And the Lord of Shade and Heat”

Both words are related to sun, illumination or light. A place where, the presence of sun, illumination or any light have no direct impact or shelter is sought due to its blazing heat is known as ‘Zill’ or shade.

‘Haroor’ (heat) indicates towards an exaggeration which means something which contains a lot of warmth or is very hot.

Both terms have been used in a verse of the Holy Quran, Surah al-Fatir verses 19-21: “And the blind and the seeing are not the same. And neither darkness nor light. And neither shade nor heat.”

Here Allah, the High asks a question, ‘Are shade and heat similar to each other?’ In Arabic grammar this is called rhetorical question which means a question which has a very clear and evident answer in itself. Here the answer is ‘No’ and it is a very evident and logical conclusion that these two are not the same but contrary to each other.

This will be further explained as follows: “And neither shade nor heat”

Ibn Abbas says that shade refers to the shade of Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) in Paradise and heat refers to the Fire of Hell for Abu Jahl (may Allah curse him).

What is interesting is that this narration is present in the Books of Ahle Sunnah and it is narrated from Ibn Abbas.

In this regard, it would not be inappropriate to mention the name of one of the chapters of Beharul Anwar. Allamah Majlisi (ra) in his august book from volumes 23 to 27 has discussed the topic of general outlook on Imamate. The 37th chapter of the 24th volume is as follows:

Surely the Imams (peace be on him) are (as per Quran) “Sweet Water”, “the Abandoned Well”, “the Strong Fortress”, “Sky”, “Rains”, “Shade”, “Fruits” and all things which are beneficial for mankind due to their knowledge and their blessings.

“And (the One who) sent down the Great Quran and the Lord of the Proximate Angels and the Prophets and the Messengers”

The mention of the Holy Quran separately as compared to other Divine Books points to its greatness.

Just like Allah the Almighty has chosen a few of His creation for Himself like the House of Allah (Baytullah) i.e. all mosques are the houses of Allah especially the Holy Kabah, the Soul of Allah (Ruhullah) is the title of Prophet Isa (peace be on him), the Self of Allah (Nafsullah) is Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him), etc. Similarly, among the angels, Allah has chosen four angels and has called them the proximate angels. Who are these proximate angels?

Imam Kazim (peace be on him) narrates on the authority of Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his family) that he said: Surely Allah, blessed and high be He tradition chosen four from everything and from among the angels tradition no.e has chosen Jibraeel (peace be on him), Mikaeel (peace be on him), Israfeel (peace be on him) and the angel of Death.” (Al-Khisaal by Shaykh Saduq (ra), volume 1 page 225 tradition no. 58; Beharul Anwar volume 6 page 144 tradition no. 14)

Before we move on to the next statement of this supplication, we would like to remind the readers of the following:

There are some discussions and traditions regarding the creation of proximate angels which are beyond the scope of human intellect. But it doesn’t mean that we reject these discussions just because we are unable to comprehend them. One who makes such a claim is actually claiming that he is aware of the lineages, positions and matters of all creations of Allah the High whereas such a claim is not possible for anyone except those whom Allah the Omniscient has granted knowledge. There is a famous saying in Arabic literature which means that “Not knowing something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.” Now let us look at a tradition which relates to the creation of the proximate angels.

Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his family) says: When I ascended to the heavens during Me’raaj, we reached a river where Jibraeel (peace be on him) said to me – O Mohammed! Cross this river by the blessings of Allah. Surely Allah has illuminated your eyes and has assisted you in what is before you. For surely, this river is such that no proximate angel can ever cross it neither any appointed Prophet. It is such that I dive into this river daily and when I come out of it and shake my wings to dry them – Allah creates a proximate angel from each drop which falls from my wings. (al-Amali of Shaykh Saduq (ra) page 354, Majlis no. 58)

The last two words of this statement “Prophets and Messengers” – Anbiyaa (Prophets) is the plural of Nabi and Mursaleen (Messengers) is plural of Mursal. Nabi is that divine emissary who has been given news. Nabi is either been derived from the Arabic word ‘na-ba-a’ which means news and refers to that person who has received Divine News or it is derived from the Arabic word ‘na-ba-wa’ which means excellence or loftiness.

As per traditions there were 313 Messengers (Rasool) and 124000 Prophets (Nabi). Among the Prophets there are five great (‘Ulul Azm’) Prophets and they are: Prophets Nuh (peace be on him), Ibrahim (peace be on him), Musa (peace be on him), Isa (peace be on him) and Holy Prophet Mohammed al-Mustafa (peace be on him and his family).

A question arises here that Prophet Adam (peace be on him) was the first Messenger and the father of all mankind then why is he not included among the ‘Ulul Azm’ or the Greatest Prophets?

The reply to this is found in the teachings of Ahle Bayt (as): Jabir narrates that I asked Imam Baqir (as) regarding the verse, “Certainly We took the covenant from Adam in the beginning but he forgot and We did not find certitude (Azm) in him.” (Chapter 20 verse 115)

Imam (peace be on him) replied: (Allah implies) that We took the covenant from him regarding Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his family) and the Imams (peace be on him) after him (peace be on him and his family) but he overlooked and forgot it because he was not certain that such a thing would occur. It is not possible for everyone to understand the position of Holy Prophet (sawa) and his progeny (peace be on him), such a thing requires a special bestowal from the side of Allah and the bestowals of Allah too are not similar for everyone. Just as there are differences in the positions of the Messengers (peace be on them), similarly there are differences in the grades of the bestowals from Allah as well.”

In the light of other traditions, this certitude was regarding the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) and due to this lack of conviction he was deprived of this great position of ‘Ulul Azm’ Prophethood. We should beseech Allah the Almighty that we do not get separated from the path of Ahle Bayt (peace be on them) even for a moment or else we will be completely destroyed. May Allah hasten the reappearance of our Imam and include us among his companions and helpers. Aameen! O Lord of the worlds!

O Allah, I beseech You in Your Noble Name, in the Light of Your Luminous Face and Your Eternal Kingdom. O Ever-living! O Self-Subsistent! I beseech You in the name of Your Name with which the heavens and the earth have lit up and in Your Name with which the past and the coming generations have become upright! O He Who has been always alive before the existence of all living things! O He Who shall be alive after the extinction of all living things! O He Who has been always alive even when there was nothing else alive! O He Who revives the dead ones and causes the living ones to die! O Ever-living! There is no god save You.

In the aforementioned verses of this supplication, we beseech Allah, Glorified be He, through His Name, Luminous Face tradition Kingdom and His Specific Names. We shall mention some important terms here:

The literal meaning of the word ‘Wajh’ is face i.e. something which helps draw our attention towards a particular thing. ‘Wajh’ and ‘Jaah’ also mean value and position. This word has also been used at numerous places in the Holy Quran. We can refer to ‘Wajhullah’ (Allah’s Face), ‘Wajho Rabbik’ (Face of your Lord), ‘Wajho Rabbehim’ (Face of their Lord), etc.

What does the term “Allah’s Face” imply?

Firstly, it is important to clarify that Allah and His Face are completely different. Imam Baqir (as) specifies: Surely Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, is far greater than being described through a face. (al-Tawheed by Shaykh Saduq page 149 chapter 12 tradition no. 1)

Allah is holier than and free from everything which is found in human beings. Then what does ‘Face’ in this statement refer to? Let us see what ‘Face’ means in the light of traditions of Ahle Bayt (as).

Face (Wajh) refers to Religion

In the above tradition, at the outset, Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) has sanctified Allah from the apparent connotation of the word ‘Face’. He then explains: “Rather it means that everything shall be destroyed except His religion and ‘Face’ (Wajh) is that through which He can be reached.”

Face (Wajh) means the path of truth

Haris Ibn Mughairah al-Nasri, an extremely reliable companion of Imam Sadiq (as) and a traditionalist (Muhaddith), narrates that I inquired from Imam Sadiq (as) about the verse: “Everything shall be destroyed except His Face” (Chapter 28 verse 88)

In his reply, the Imam (as) said, Everything shall be destroyed except the one who took the path of truth. (al-Tawheed by Shaykh Saduq page 149 chapter 12 tradition no. 2)

What is the path of truth? Obedience to and following the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) is the true face of God. Imam Sadiq (as) has explained the aforementioned verse as follows: “Whoever comes to Allah with whatever he was ordered concerning the obedience of Mohammed and the Imams after him (as), then (surely) he is the face which shall not be destroyed and then he recited ‘and whoever obeys the Messenger then indeed he has obeyed Allah’” (Chapter 4 verse 80)

Face (Wajh) refers to Ahle Bayt (as)

Imam Baqir (as) elucidated: “We are the Face of Allah. We keep frequenting the earth among you all. Whoever has recognized us has done so (his reward is fixed) but whoever is ignorant of us then indeed certainty (death) is in front of him.”

(al-Tawheed by Shaykh Saduq chapter 12 page 150 tradition no. 6)

If we summarise these three interpretations then we can conclude that Ahle Bayt (as) are the Face of Allah while the religion of Allah as also the path of truth also refers only to them.

Khaisama narrates that I inquired from Imam Sadiq (as) about this verse “Everything shall be destroyed except His Face.” Imam (as) replied, His religion. The Messenger of Allah and Ameerul Momineen (as) are the religion of Allah and His Face. (al-Tawheed by Shaykh Saduq chapter 12 page 151 tradition no. 7)

Imploring by the means of His Noble Face in this statement of Dua Ahad refers to the sacred personalities of Mohammed (sawa) and Aale Mohammed (as). They are the luminous face of Allah and it is through their mediation that prayers are accepted.

Another term is “Mulkek al-Qadeer” (or Qadeem as per some narrations) which means “the everlasting or all-powerful kingdom”. Allah has complete dominance over His entire kingdom. He grants it to and takes it away from whomsoever He wishes. “Say: O Allah, Master of the Kingdom! You grant the kingdom to whomsoever You please and take away the kingdom from whomsoever You please, and You exalt whom You please and abase whom You please, in Your Hand is the good; surely You have power over all things.” (Chapter 3 verse 26)

Although Allah bestowed human beings with power and freewill but He still has more authority over them as compared to themselves. He can withdraw from them whenever He wishes. No one should assume these things to be his own, rather they are all bestowed. Servitude also demands that we consider ourselves totally helpless in front of Him.

Allah is the Ever-living Being but it should be borne in mind that that His life cannot be compared to our lives. Rather He is the creator and owner of our lives. We have been cautioned against drawing any mental, intellectual and perceptive image about Him. His Names are equally transcendental and praiseworthy just as His Essence. In other words, when we discuss about Allah’s life then we are only permitted to say that “there is no death for Him”. “(He is) Living (such that) there is no (concept of) death for Him.” (al-Tawheed of Shaykh Saduq pages 138-140, 146)

There is nothing like death for Him, unlike other living beings for whom there is life and death. Rather He is the creator of their life and death.

O Self-Subsistent means that He controls the entire universe and brings about peaks and troughs in their lives. All of us are completely under His control and power. He is the Authority, Master, Protector, Reformer and Controller over the entire creation and there are no exceptions to this. None can escape His Kingdom and Dominion. Everyone is humble and meek before Him.

After this, we beseech Allah through that Name which is the cause of the illumination of heavens and the earth. The word ‘Ism’ in Arabic means name or sign. It is derived from the root ‘wow-seen-meem (wa-sa-ma)’ which means sign. Hence, whenever we recite Bismillah (in the Name of Allah) it actually translates as ‘I indicate for myself that I am a creation of Allah and He is my creator’.

Imam Reza (as) said, Bismillah (In the Name of Allah) means that I specify for myself with one of the signs (Simat) of Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, and that is servitude. The narrator asked: What is the meaning of Simat? Imam (as) replied: “Sign.” (Ma’aani al-Akhbaar page 3 tradition no. 1)

(to be continued Inshallah…)

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