Seeking Allah’s Forgiveness
By Imam An-Nawawi
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-`ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.
Allāh, the Exalted, says:
"And ask forgiveness for your sin..." (Muhammad, 47:19)
"And seek the forgiveness of Allāh. Certainly, Allāh is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Al-Nisā’ ,4:106)
“So glorify the Praises of your Rabb, and ask for His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts the repentance and Who forgives" [Surah Al-Nasr, 110:1-3]
"And Allāh would not punish them while you (Muhammad) are amongst them, nor will He punish them while they seek (Allāh's) forgiveness." (Ali-`Imran 8:33)
"And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allāh's forgiveness, he will find Allāh Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Al-Nisā’ ,4:110)
"And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allāh and ask forgiveness for their sins; and none can forgive sins but Allāh - and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know." (Ali-`Imran 3:135)
"For Al-Muttaqun (the pious) there are Gardens (Jannah) with their Rabb, underneath which rivers flow. Therein (is their) eternal (home) and Azwajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives). And Allāh will be pleased with them. And Allāh is All-Seer of the (His) slaves. Those who say: 'Our Rabb! We have indeed believed, so forgive us our sins and save us from the punishment of the Fire. (They are) those who are patient, those who are true (in Faith, words, and deeds), and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allāh. Those who spend (give the Zakat and alms in the way of Allāh) and those who pray and beg Allāh's Pardon in the last hours of the night." (Ali-`Imran 3:15-17)
The Qur`anic Ayat on the subject is many and well-known.
1869. Al-Agharr Al-Muzani (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, "Sometimes I perceive a veil over my heart, and I supplicate Allāh for forgiveness a hundred times in a day."[Muslim]
Commentary: Ghain and Ghaim are two synonyms. They signify the spreading of the clouds. It refers in this Hadith to the fact that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) was reciting the Names of Allāh and remembering Him all the time. But sometimes due to being too busy in the affairs of the public or due to human needs, there was a pause in this eternal remembrance. Although such a pause was only momentary, this momentary pause was very much disliked by him; and considering it slackness on his part, he prayed for forgiveness from Allāh. In this there is an important lesson for us.
In spite of our many sins and negligence on our part, we do not turn to Allāh and seek forgiveness; while, although our Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) had all his past and future sins forgiven by Allāh, he sought forgiveness very often.
1870. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: I heard Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) saying, "I swear by Allāh that I seek Allāh's Pardon and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day."[Al-Bukhari]
1871. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allāh would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allāh; and Allāh will certainly forgive them.”[Muslim]
Commentary: This Hadith does not mean that Allāh likes disobedience. But by this way of description, the aim is to emphasize the importance of seeking forgiveness from Allāh. We know that every man commits sins. But Allāh likes those people who, after committing a sin, do not stick to it, but right away seek forgiveness for their sins from Allāh. They weep and express sorrow before Allāh. By seeking forgiveness, a relationship with Allāh is established between man and his Creator. So seeking forgiveness is a very good act.
1872. `Abdullah Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: We counted Messenger's saying a hundred times during one single sitting: ‘Rabb ighfir li wa tubb `alayya innaka antat-tawwābul-raheem’ (O Allāh, forgive me and accept my repentance, for You are the Accepter of Repentance, Most Merciful). According to another report: ‘Rabb ighfir li wa tubb `alayya Innaka antat-tawābul-ghafūr” (O Allāh, forgive me and accept my repentance, for You are the Acceptor of Repentance, Oft-Forgiving). [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidzi]
Commentary: This Hadith tells us about the etiquette of praying to Allāh. We should use the Names of Allāh befitting our prayers, i.e., the Names of Allāh signifying those Attributes of Allāh which have a special concern with the subject of our particular prayer, i.e., while seeking forgiveness, His Names concerning His Attributes of forgiveness and kindness should be used. On the other hand, while praying for worldly matters, we should mention His Qualities of charity and bestowing gifts etc.
Rabbanā dzalamnā anfusanā wain lam taghfir Lana lanaku nanna minal khāsireen (Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.) [Al-‘Araf, 7:23] Rabbanā innanā amanna faghfir lana zunūbana waqina `adzâbannār (Those who say, "Our Lord, indeed we have believed, so forgive us our sins and protect us from the punishment of the Fire,") [Al-`Imran 3: 16]
Allāhuma-inna-nas-aluka-salāmatan-fiddeen, Wa-`āfiyatan-filjasad, Waziyādatan-fil-`ilm, Wabarakatañ-firrizq, Wa-taw-batañ qab-lal-maūt, Warahmatan-`indalmaūt, Wa-maghfiratan ba’dalmaūt (O Allāh!, Our Lord, we implore Thou to bestow us security in the religion, good health, and the increase of knowledge, the blessing of sustenance, and repentance before death, and mercy at death, and forgiveness after death.) Allāhumma-hawwin-`alayna fīsakaratilmaūt, Wannaja-timi-nannār, Wal-af-wa indalhisāb (Oh Allāh!, burdens us not with the agony of sakaratulmaut, and frees us from the fire, and forgiveness when on the day reckoning.) [Hakim]
Rabbana hablana min azwajina wa zurriyyatina qurrata ā’yunn, waj`ālna lilmuttaqī naimama (Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.) [Al-Furqān, 25:74]; Rabbij `alni muqimassalāti wamin zurriyati, Rabbana wataqabbal du`ā’; Rabbanagh firli waliwallidaiya walilmu’mini nayau ma yaqu mulhisâb (My Lord, make me an establisher of solāh, and from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication. Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents, and (all) the believers on the Day when the reckoning will be established.)" [Ibrahim, 14:40-41]
`Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) also reported, who said: The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used also to recite frequently in his Ruku’ and Sujud: “Subhānakallāhumma Rabbanā, Wabihamdika, Allāhummaghfirli (Glory is to You, O Allāh! Our Lord, And all the Praise be to You. O Allāh! Forgive me.” Implementing (the order of) the Qur’an: "Fasabbih bihamdi rabbika wastaghfirhu innahu kana tawwaba (Then glorify with the Praises of your Lord, and seek His Forgiveness, for He is Oft-Returning.)" (Nasr, 110:3). [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Another narration: `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) said: After the revelation of (the Surah Al-Nasr): "When the Help of Allah comes (to you, O Muhammad against your enemies) and the Conquest (of Makkah); and you see that the people enter Allah's religion (Islam) in crowds. So glorify the Praises of your Rabb, and ask for His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts the repentance and Who forgives" [Surah Al-Nasr, 110:1-3]; Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to recite in [his Ruku’ and Sujud of] every solah:"Subhanaka Rabbana wa bihamdika, Allahum-maghfir li (How perfection is Thou, our Rabb, and all the praise is for You, forgive me, O Allah!)".[Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Commentary: Allāh`s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) elucidated the Ayah: "Fasabbih bihamdi rabbika wastaghfirhu innahu kana tawwaba (Then glorify with the Praises of your Lord, and seek His Forgiveness, for He is Oft-Returning.)" (Nasr, 110:3). was a commanded by Allah. Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) acted upon it by implementing the words: ' Subhānakallāhumma Rabbana wa bihamdika, Allahum-maghfirli' as tasbih in Ruku' and Sujud. It indicates that one must express his gratitude to Allah whenever he receives a blessing from Him and ask for His forgiveness.
1873. Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allāh), Allāh will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.”[Abu Dawud].
1874. Ibn Mas`ud (radiyallāhu‘anhu) said: Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, "He who says: 'Astaghfir ullah-alladzi la ilaha illa Huwal-Haiyul-Qayyumu, wa atubu ilaih (I seek the forgiveness of Allāh, which there is no true god except Allāh, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsisting, and I turn to Him in repentance),' his sins will be forgiven even if he should have run away from the battlefield (while he was engaged in fighting for the Cause of Allāh)."[Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi and Al-Hakim (on conditions of Al-Bukhari and Muslim for accepting Hadith)].
Hilal bin Yāsir bin Zaid (radiyallāhu`anhu), the freed slave of the Prophet reported that his grandfather told him that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “He who says: ‘Astaghfirullāh al `adzeem, alladzi lā ilāha illā, huwal-Hayyul-Qayyum, wa atūbu ilaīh (I seek the forgiveness of Allāh, the Most Supreme, which there is no true god except Allāh, He, the Ever Living One The Self-Existing One, and I turn to Him in repentance), (three times); His sins will be forgiven even if he should have run away from the battlefield (while he was engaged in fighting for the Cause of Allāh)’.”[Abu Dawud: Hasan, At-Tirmidzi: Hasan Gharib and Al-Hakim].
Imam An-Nawawi (rahimahullah) also recorded in his Al-Adhkar from Anas bin Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever says, on Friday morning before the Solāh Fajar: ‘Astaghfir ullāh al `adzeem, alladzi lā ilāha illā huwal-Hayyul-Qayyum, wa atūbu ilaīh (I seek the forgiveness of Allāh the Most Supreme, which there is no true god except Allāh, He, The Ever Living One The Self-Existing One, and I turn to Him in repentance)’, three times, Allāh forgives his sins even if they were as abundant as the foam on the sea.”
Commentary: When we say that this narration fulfills the conditions of Al-Bukhari and Muslim; it means that its narrators are the narrators of Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Secondly, in this selection those conditions have also been kept in view, which are the landmark of Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Thawban bin Bjadad (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: Whenever the Allāh`s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) concluded his prayer; he would beg forgiveness from Allāh thrice and then would recite: "Allāhumma Antas-Salāmu, wa minkas-salām, tabārakta ya Dzal-Jalali wal-Ikrām (O Allāh, You are the Grantor of security, and security comes from You. You are Blessing, O You Who have majesty and nobility)!'' This is related by “the group,” except for al-Bukhari. Muslim has the addition, “Waleed said, ‘I asked al-Awza`ie, ‘How did he seek Allāh`s forgiveness?’ He said, `By saying, ‘Astaghfir ullāh!’, ‘Astaghfir ullāh!’, ‘Astaghfir ullāh!’.” [This is related by Muslim]
1875. Shaddad bin Aus (radiyallāhu‘anhu) said: Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, "The best supplication for seeking forgiveness (Sayyid-ul-Istighfar) is to say: ‘Allāhumma Anta Rabbi, la ilaha illa Anta, khalaqtani wa ana `abduka, wa ana `ala `ahdika wa wa’dika mastata’tu, a `udzu bika min sharri ma sana’tu, abu `u laka bini’matika `alayya, wa abu ‘u bidzanbi faghfir li, fa innahu la yaghfirudz-dzunuba illa Anta. (O Allāh! You are my Rabb. There is no true god except You. You have created me, and I am Your slave, and I hold to Your Covenant as far as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge the favours that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon).' He who supplicates in these terms during the day with firm belief in it and dies on the same day (before the evening), he will be one of the dwellers of Jannah; and if anyone supplicates in these terms during the night with firm belief in it and dies before the morning, he will be one of the dwellers of Jannah."[Al-Bukhari]
`Abdullah bin `Amr (radiyallāhu‘anhu) narrated that Abu Bakar As-Siddiq (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: I requested the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) to teach me a supplication which I could recite in my Solāt. Thereupon he said, “Recite: ‘Allāhumma inni dzalamtu nafsi zulman kathira, Wa la yaghfirudz-dzunuba illa Anta, Faghfir li maghfiratan min `indika, warhamni, Innaka Antal-Ghafūr-ur-Raheem(O Allāh! I have considerably wronged myself. There is none to forgive the sins but You. So grant me pardon and have mercy on me. You are the Most Forgiving, the Most Compassionate).”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu’anhu) narrated: The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to say ‘between the two Sujud’:“Rabbighfirli, Warhamni, [Wajburni], Warfa’ni, Warzuqni, Wahdini, Wa`afini [Wa’fu`anni](O my Lord! Forgive me, and Have Mercy on me, [and Strengthen me, and Raise my rank] and Grants me sustenance, and Guide me, and Grant me healthiness, [and Pardon me.])” Three times. [Recorded by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidzi, Ibn Majah and Hākim, who declared it sahih and agreed by Dhahabi]
1876. Thawban ibn Bajdad (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported: Whenever Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) finished his Solat (prayer), he would beg forgiveness three times [by saying, 'Astaghfirullah' (3 times)] and then he would say: "Allāhumma Antas-Salāmu, wa minkas-Salamu, tabarakta ya Dhal-Jalali wal-Ikram. (O Allāh! You are the Bestower of security and security comes from You; Blessed are You. O Possessor of glory and honour)." Imām Al-Awza'ie (one of the subnarrators) of this Hadith was asked: "How forgiveness should be sought?" He replied: "I say: Astaghfirullah!, Astaghfirullah!, Astaghfirullah! (I seek forgiveness O Allāh!. I seek forgiveness O Allāh!. I seek forgiveness O Allāh!)."[Muslim] In another narration : “Allāhumma antas-Salām wa minkas-Salām [wa ilai kaya`udus-Salām, Fahaiyina-Rabbana-bis-Salam Wa ad-khilnal-Jannata Dārus-Salām] tabārakta [Rabbana wa ta`a laita,] Ya dzal-Jalali wal-Ikram” (O Allāh, You are the One Who is free from all defects and deficiencies,[ from Thou come well-being, to Thou shalt return the well-being; Thus bless us with peace and Jannah, the Abode of Peace,] shower us your blessing O Allāh,[ Our Lord, the Most High]; O Allāh, our Lord Possessor of majesty and honour.)
Commentary: This Du`a was a Sunnah of Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), and it is highly recommended to recite it after Solat.
1877. `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) reported, who said: Prior to his demise, Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) used to supplicate frequently: “Subhan Allāhi wa bihamdihi; Astaghfirullaha wa atubu ilaih (Glory be to Allah and praise be to Him; I seek forgiveness of Allah and turn to Him in repentance).” I said to him: "O Messenger of Allah, I hear you recite frequently: ' Subhan Allāhi wa bihamdihi; Astaghfirullaha wa atubu ilaih’ " Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) replied: "My Rabb has informed me that I would soon see a sign regarding my people, whenever I see it, I repeat this statement more often (of His Glorification and Praise and beg pardon of Him and turn to Him). Now I have witnessed the sign. The revelation of Surat An-Nasr and the victory is the conquest of Makkah.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
According to the narration in Muslim, `Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) reported, Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) frequently recited these words just before he passed away: "Subhanaka Rabbana wa bihamdika Astaghfiruka wa atubu ilaik. (How perfection is Thou, our Rabb, and all praise is for You, O Allah forgive me.)" I ('Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) asked him: "O Messenger of Allah! What are these new words which I hear from you repeatedly?" He replied, "A sign has been appointed for me relating to my people that I should repeat these words at the sight of that sign". Then he recited Surat An-Nasr, 110.
Commentary: In general, asking of forgiveness all the time is necessary and commendable. But during the old age and the last days of one's life it is particularly very essential. In this way, the Sunnah of Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would also be followed.
1878. Anas bin Malik (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: I heard Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) saying, "Allāh, the Exalted, has said: 'O son of Adam! I shall go on forgiving you so long as you pray to Me and aspire for My forgiveness whatever may be your sins. O son of Adam! I do not care even if your sins should pile up to the sky and should you beg pardon of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam! If you come to Me with an earthful of sins and meet Me, not associating anything with Me in worship, I will certainly grant you as much pardon as will fill the earth."'[At-Tirmidzi]
Commentary: In this narration, there is good news for the sinners who do not stick to sins but rather repent and ask forgiveness from Allāh. However numerous their sins may be, Allāh will forgive all their sins. But there is a condition which they should fulfill, namely that they do not persist in what wrong they have done (3:135), as with persistence and repeatedly committing the sin, the act of seeking forgiveness becomes a futile act.
`Abdullah Ibn `Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that when the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) in distressed, he would say: “Lā ilāha illallāhul-`adzeemul-haleem (There is no god except Allāh, The All-Mighty, and The Forbearing ;) Lā ilāha illallāhu rabbul-`arshil-`adzeem (There is no god except Allāh, The Lord of the Mighty Throne); Lā ilāha illallāhu rabbus-samawāti wal-ardhi, Rabbul-`arshil-kareem (There is no god except Allāh, Lord of the heavens, and Lord of the earth Lord of the Noble Throne)” [This is narrated by Al-Bukhari, Muslim]
Muslim Ibn Al-Harith reported that his father said, “The Allāh`s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said to me: ‘When you performed Solah Fajar, before you talk to anyone say, ‘Allāhumma ajirni minannar (O Allāh, I seek your protection from the Hell-fire)” seven times. If you should die on that day, Allāh will record for you protection from the Hell-fire. When you performed the Solāh Maghrib, say before you speak to anyone, “Allāhumma inni as`aluka al-jannah, Allāhumma ajirni minannar (O Allāh, I ask Paradise of You. O Allāh, I seek Your protection from the Hell-fire)” seven times. If you die during that night, Allāh will record for you protection from the Hell-fire.” [Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud]
Abu Hamzah Anas bin Mālik (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever asks Allāh for Paradise, “Allāhumma inni as alukal-Jannah”, (O Allāh, I ask You for Paradise) - three times, Paradise will say, ‘O Allāh, admit him to Paradise. ’Whoever seeks protection from the Fire, “Allāhumma ajirni minan-nār” (O Allāh, protect me from the Fire) three times, Hell will say, ‘O Allāh, protect him from the Fire.’” [Narrated by At-Tirmidzi, 2572; Ibn Mājah, 4340. This is a sahih hadith].
Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, “When anyone of you has done his Tashahhud during Solat, he should seek refuge in Allāh against four things and say: ‘Allāhumma inni a`udzu bika min ‘adzābi jahannam, wa min `adzābil-qabr, wa min fitnatil-mahya wal-mamāt, wa min sharri fitnatil-masihid-dajjal. [Another narration adds: Allāhumma inni a ‘udzu bika min al-ma’tham wal-maghram] (O Allāh! I seek refuge in You from the torment of Hell, from the torment of the grave, from the trials of life and death, and from the mischief of Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal (Antichrist). [O Allāh! I seek refuge with You from sin and heavy debt’].” [This is recorded by Al-Bukhari, 833 and Muslim]
`Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) narrated the wife of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to say during his solah: “Allāhumma inni a `udzu bika [`adzābi Jahannam, wa] min `adzābil-qabri, wa a`udzu bika min fitnat il-masihhid-dajjāl, wa a `udzu bika min fitnat il-mahya wa fitnat il-mamāt. Allāhumma inni a `udzu bika min [al-kasali wal harami] wal-ma’ tham wal-maghram (O Allāh, I seek refuge with You from the punishment [of the Hell and] grave and I seek refuge with You from the turmoil of the Dajjaal and I seek refuge with You from the trials of life and the trials of death. Allāh! Truly I seek refuge with You from [laziness, senility,] sin and burden)”. Someone said to him (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam): “How often you seek refuge from heavy debt!” He (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “When a man gets into debt, he speak and tells lies, and he makes a promise and breaks it.” [Al-Bukhari, 833 and Muslim]
"Trials of life'' means ordeals which one has to face in life and which can harm his Faith and body. “The trials of death” means the troubles which one has to face before death. "Masih'' means Mumsuh-ul-`Ain, one who is squint. Ad-Dajjal (deceiver, impostor) refers to that man with a squint who will appear before the Day of Judgement. Thus, he is called Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal. He will make claim of godhood and in order to test the Faith of people, Allāh will get some supernatural works done from him. The pious ones would, however, recognize him and will save themselves from his trap. This will be a great trial indeed and one must seek refuge with Allāh from it.
In one narration Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) heard a companion say in his Tashahhud: “Allāhuma inni asaluka bi anna lakal-hamd, Lāillā hailla anta [wahdakalasyareekalak], [al-Mannan], [Ya] badi`assamawatiwal ardhi, Ya Dzul Jalali wal ikram, Ya Haiyu Ya Qaiyum [inni asaluka] [al Jannata wa a`udzubika minanNar] (O Allāh! Indeed, I ask of You, by the fact that to You belongs all Praise; there is no (true) god except You, [You alone, You have no partners;] The Bestower of Favours; [O] the Originator of the Heavens and the Earth; O One that is Full of Majesty and Honour; O Ever Living One, O Eternal One; [indeed I ask of You] [the Garden, and I seek refuge with You from the Fire])” [So Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said to his Companions, Do you know with what he has supplicated? They said, "Allāh and His Messenger know best." He said, “By Him in Whose Hand is my soul,] he has supplicated Allāh with His Mighty (in one narration: Mightiest) name. [This is tawassul (a seeking of approach) to Allāh through His most beautiful names and attributes], with which if He is supplicated, He answers, and with which if He is asked, He gives” [Abu Dawud, Nasā`ie, Ahmad, Bukhāri in al-Adab al-Mufrad, Tabarāni; Ibn Mandah in Tawhid (44/2, 67/1, 70/1-2): sahih isnāds.]
`Ali Ibn Abu Talib (radhiyallāhu`anhu) reported: When the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) was in Solat, Rasulullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to supplicate towards the end of prayer after Tashahhud and before the concluding salutations (Taslim): "Allāhum-maghfir li ma qaddamtu wa ma akh-khartu, wa ma asrartu, wa ma a`lantu, wa ma asraftu, wa ma Anta a`lamu bihi minni. Antal-Muqqadimu, wa Antal-Mu akh-khiru. Lā ilāha illa Anta (O Allāh! Forgive my former and latter sins, which I have done secretly and those which I have done openly, and that I have wronged others, and those defaults of mine about which You have better knowledge than I have. You alone can send whomever You will to Jannah, and You Alone can send whomever You will to Hell-fire. None has the right to be worshipped but You.''[Muslim].
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said to his companions: "Shall I not tell you some words which, if distress or grief befalls any of you and he offers this supplication, it will bring him joy? It is the duā’ of Dzul-Nun (i.e. Yunus or Jonah): “Lā ilā hailla anta Subhānaka inni kuntu minadz dzālimeen” (There is no god but You, Glory to You; verily I was one of the wrongdoers.)”[At-Tirmidzi]
‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported: The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to supplicate: “Allāhumma inni as `alukal-huda, wat-tuqa, wal-`afafa, wal-ghina, wal`afiyah [(Glory is to You, O Allāh! Our Lord,] (I beseech You for Guidance, Piety, Chastity , Contentment and Grant me healthiness).” [Muslim]
Shahr bin Haushab reported: I asked Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu`anha), “O Mother of the Believers! Which supplication did Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) make frequently when he was in your house?” She said: “Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) supplicated frequently: ‘Ya Muqallibal-qulub, Thabbit qalbi `ala Deenika (O Controller of the hearts makes my heart steadfast in Your religion).” [At-Tirmidzi] In another narration ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-’As (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) supplicated: “Allāhumma musarrifal-qulubi, Sarrif qulubana `ala Ta’atika (O Allah! Controller of the hearts! Directs our hearts to Your obedience).” [Muslim]
Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari (rahimahullah) recorded that Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu`anha), reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) used to supplicate: ‘Ya Muqallibal-qulubi, thabbit qalbi `ala deenik (O Controller of the hearts makes my heart steadfast in Your religion and to Your obedience).” Rasulullah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) then recited: Rabbana la tuzia’qulubana ba’ daiz hadaitana wahab Lana min laduñ karahmah; Iñnaka an tal Wahhāb. (Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after Thou have guided us, and grant us mercy from Thou. Truly, Thou are the Bestower.) (Al-’Imran, 3:8) [This is recorded by Muslim and At-Tirmidzi]
Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to say in his sujud: Allāhum-maghfir li dzanbi kullahu: diqqahu wa jillahu, wa `awwalahu wa akhirahu, wa ala niyatahu wa sirrahu (O Allāh! Forgive all my sins, the small and the great, first and the last, the open and the secret).''[This is recorded by Muslim].
Commentary: Although the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) was innocent and free of sins, he used to pray for the forgiveness of his shortcomings out of his gratitude to Allāh's Might and Majesty. Thus, this Hadith has a great lesson for us. In spite of being innocent, he was always fearful of the Wrath of Allāh, while we, despite being embodiments of sins, are fearless of Allāh.
Another narration is: My hand fell over his feet while he was in sajdah with his feet erect. He was supplicating: "Allāhumma inni a `udzu biridaka min sakhatik, wa bi-mu`afatika min `uqubatika, wa a `udzu bika minka, la uhsi thana`an `alaika, Anta kama athnaita `ala Nafsika (O Allāh! I seek protection against Your Wrath in Your Pleasure. I seek protection in Your Pardon against Your chastisement; I am not capable of enumerating praise of You. You are as You have lauded Yourself).'' [This is recorded by Muslim].
Abu Musa Al-Asha’ari (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said to me, “Shall I not guide you to a treasure from the treasures of Jannah?'' I said: "Yes, O Messenger of Allāh!'' Thereupon he (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, (Recite) ‘Lā hawla wa lā quwwata illa billāh [il `ali yil adzeem] (There would be neither change of any situation nor power except by will of Allāh, [the most High and Supreme]).''[This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: In this Hadith the invocation "La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah'' has been regarded a treasure of Jannah or one of the most precious stores of Jannah. The reason for its high eminence seems to be that through it, one makes a confession of his utter weakness and helplessness and attributes all power and authority to Allāh, and this is very much liked by Allāh. This statement is an outright admission that man has no power and if he can prevent himself from any mischief or do any good deed, it is only by the Will of Allāh and His Permission.
1879. `Abdullah Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu‘anhu) said: Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said, "O women folk! You should give charity and be diligent in seeking Allāh's forgiveness because I have seen (i.e., on the Night of the Ascension to the highest heavens) that dwellers of the Hell are women." A woman amongst them said: "Why is it that the majority of the dwellers of Hell are women?" Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. In spite of your lacking in wisdom and failing in religion, you are depriving the wisest of men of their intelligence." Upon this the woman asked: "What is the deficiency in our wisdom and in our religion?" Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied, "Your lack of wisdom can be well judged from the fact that the evidence of two women is equal to that one man. You do not offer Solat (prayer) for some days and you do not fast (the whole of) Ramadhān sometimes, it is a deficiency in religion."[Muslim]
1. In this narration, certain weaknesses of the female sex have been pointed out, which are natural and pertain to the woman's biology, psychology and embryology.
According to biologists, during and before menstruation, a female's thought process is affected. Similarly, her pulse and blood pressure are also altered. Females are also more prone to hysteria. For these reasons, the Qur'an has declared that when you have to appoint or choose witnesses among women, you should choose two in place of one man. Modern researches have proved this rule to be correct on the basis of biology, psychology and embryology.
Again we know that physically speaking, the female has been named as the weaker sex. For these reasons, females have been excused from earning their livelihood. For earning livelihood, one may have to go out and work hard. Women have been exempted from this duty because of their biological differences and other considerations of Shari'ah. Present-day women who are ignorant of Islam and modern researches are not prepared to accept these scientifically and religiously proved facts. The West claims equality between the sexes. But this equality has not been established so far. Today all the important posts are occupied by males and all the international policies are framed by them alone. Even matters pertaining to women are decided by them. They have mostly relegated them to the posts of workers, secretaries and stenographers for their sexual satisfaction and enjoyment. After a struggle for hundred years, their condition today proves that they are the weaker sex.
So, it is both beneficial and more respectful for her to limit herself to the sphere of action suggested for her by Islam. If she oversteps her sphere, she will certainly lose her female dignity and prestige, as has happened in the West. Her state and condition there is an eye opener for all.
2. Women should request forgiveness from Allāh very often and be generous in charity. They should not show ungratefulness to their husbands and should avoid backbiting and cursing others so that they may save themselves from Hell.
`Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: One of the supplications of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) was:"Allahumma inni as`aluka mujibati rahmateek, wa `aza'ima maghfirateek, was-salamata min kulli ithmin, wal-ghanimata min kulli birr, wal-fawza bil-jannati, wannajata minan-nar (O Allah! I beg You for that which incites Your Mercy and the means of Your forgiveness, safety from every sin, the benefit from every good deed, success in attaining Jannah and deliverance from Fire)."[Al-Hakim].
Anas Ibn Mālik (radiyallāhu`anhu) who said: “The supplication most often recited by Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam): Rabbana-ātina-fid-dunya hasanah, wa fil-ākhirati-hasanah, wa-qina-`ādzabānnār (O Lord! Bestow upon us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the punishment of the Fire).’ (Al-Baqārah 2:201) ” [This is recorded by Al-Bukhāri, Muslim, and At-Tarmidzi].
Imam At-Tarmidzi (rahimullāh) said: “Hasanah is very comprehensive and includes in all kinds of good and benefits of this world and of the Hereafter. Good health, wealth and satisfaction of the dunya and good status in Jannah, forgiveness from sins and Allāh’s bounties and favours in both worlds are included in this duā’” [At-Tarmidzi]
And Allāh Almighty knows best.
[Excerpted with some addition from “The Book of Forgiveness Chapter 371, Riyad-Us-Saliheen”, Compiled, By Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi via the Guided Ways]