Friday, December 10, 2010

Notes on Istighfar

I am recording my note on what I have heard after Subuh (early morning) prayer on one of those weekend morning when I was blessed to be at the congregation. I have made some search on the subject to cover up my inadequacies at the congregation, i.e. lack of good hearing, not writing fast enough, not remembering enough fact or perhaps lack of focus.

Note: Non-Muslim readers are much-welcomed to read but may find the content is a tad too "Islamic". For your easy reading the words/paragraphs in italics are from Abdullah Yusof Ali's interpretation of Al-Quranic verses.

The teacher(ustaz) talked about the similarity between Moses and Abraham.. both hastening to the Lord.. trying to please.. as I could not find Verses of The Book concerning Abraham.. I put down Abdullah Yusoff Ali’s ... translation of relevant part of Chapter 20 (surah Taha)

(When Moses was up on the Mount, Allah said:) “What made thee hasten in advance of thy people, O Moses?” 020.083

He replied: “Behold, they are close on my footsteps: I hastened to thee, O my Lord, to please thee.” 020.084

He then talked about Istighfar and divided the subject into 5 parts:-

1. Basic Concept of Istighfar

Human being is not free from committing offences, hence the need for Istighfar which mean to ask Allah’s forgiveness.

From Synopsis on Istighfar by Professor Abdul Jaleel in The Review of Religions, December 1993 ..

Istighfar means to cover up, protect or suppress. The primary connotation of Istighfar is to supplicate for the suppression of human tendency to fall into error so as to be safeguarded against error or sin. Its secondary connotation is to supplicate for suppression of consequences of error. Thus Istighfar might connote suppression of a person's tendency towards falling into sin or error, or his protection against the consequences of such errors or sin, or of the errors and sins of others.

On account of lack of knowledge of Arabic, the true significance of Istighfar has been lost to many. This word is derived from Ghafr, the other infinitive forms being Maghfirat, Ghufran etc. As given in all Arabic dictionaries, the word ghafr means - to cover or to protect. Therefore the primary meaning of Istighfar mean, seeking protection or a prayer of protection and support. All other meanings usually given to this word are derived or secondary.

Synopsis on Istighfar concludes

Istighfar is the closest form of communion with God, the highest flight of the spirit of man towards the Divine Being. The man who resorts to Istighfar humiliates himself before God, admitting the weakness of his nature and dreads the Power and Glory of the Creator. His whole delight, his very paradise, is in this fact that he should fly to that rock of strength, without whose shelter he cannot live. His own self is annihilated and God is all in all to him. The man who constantly recurs to Istighfar, feels his own dependency and turns to God for help and aid and thus gives evidence that he has overcame the weakness of flesh and resisted the evil tendency because the strength of God is with him and His Light descending upon him, has suppressed every infirmity of nature which could have led to sin.

The teacher said.. it should be stressed that there is nothing in Paradise that is forbidden so when Adam was asked not to approach one tree..

“O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and enjoy (its good things) as ye wish: but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression.” 007.019

it is should be considered as a form of Discipline. On committing the offence,

Adam’s supplication is ...They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls: If thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost.” 007.023

There is a story on Moses..
And he entered the city at a time when its people were not watching: and he found there two men fighting,- one of his own religion, and the other, of his foes. Now the man of his own religion appealed to him against his foe, and Moses struck him with his fist and made an end of him. He said: “This is a work of Evil (Satan): for he is an enemy that manifestly misleads!” 028.015

Moses’ supplication... He prayed: “O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul! Do Thou then forgive me!” So (Allah) forgave him: for He is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. 028.016

Jones’ supplication... And remember Zun-nun (Yunus), when he departed in wrath: He imagined that We had no power over him! But he cried through the depths of darkness, “There is no god but thou: glory to thee: I was indeed wrong! 021.087

The teacher mentioned about 3 big sins:-

i. Shirk is when you associate Allah SWT with something else

ii. Rebellion against (disobedience to) own parents

iii. Running away from the battlefield

Then he talked about five types/groups of people worthy of mention:-

i. Assobirin –those who are patience- InnaLLaha ma’assobirin

ii. Assodiqin – those who are truthful

iii. Almustaghfirin– those who ask for forgiveness during sahur time (before Fajr)

iv. Alqonitin- those who are diligent (consistent?)

v. Almunfiqin – those who donate part of what Allah has given to them

Then he talked about a du'a known as the Sayyid al-Istighfar and is the most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah.

اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّى لاَ إِلهَ إِلاَ أَنْتَ ، خَلَقْتَنِى وَ أنَا عَبْدُكَ وَ أنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ ما اسْتَطَعْتُ ، أعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِ مَا صَنَعْت ، أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَىَّ وَ أبُوءُ بِذَنْبى فَاغْفِرْ لِى فإِنَّهُ لاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ - Allahumma anta Rabbi la ilaha illa anta, Anta Khalaqtani wa ana abduka, wa ana 'ala ahdika wa wa'dika mastata'tu, A'udhu bika min Sharri ma sana'tu, abu'u Laka bini'matika 'alaiya, wa Abu Laka bidhanbi faghfirli innahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa anta

(O Allah! You are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You.)

He did reminded everyone that in Arabic the phrase 70 times signifies many times.,, and the Prophet Muhammad saw is said to istighfar more than 70 times everyday..

2. Who need to Istighfar

The teacher said it is “us” that need to istighfar as sins are just like the dust on the roads...very difficult to avoid.

The real significance of Istighfar - seeking protection of God from evil. Hence the necessity of Istighfar by every person is obvious without any consideration of actual commission of sin by him. In short, existence of sin is not a pre-requisite for Istighfar. There is a craving in the very nature of man to attain perfection. To satisfy this craving, he is guided to say Istighfar and this makes up the deficiency of human nature by imploring strength from God. (Synopsis on Istighfar)

He then quoted a story of two friends of Prophet.. Anas went to see Othman A’ffan after seeing a beautiful lady. The latter in his khasyaf told the former “in your eyes I can see sign of small fornification (zina)".

3. To whom we need to Istighfar

The teacher said that we need to istighfar to Allah.

Since we are discussing this subject from the Islamic point of view, the obvious answer to the first question is - to none other than the One God, Allah. The common form of this prayer is Astaghfirullah i.e., I seek the protection of Allah or I pray to Allah for His Protection and this makes it conclusive that the Istighfar is addressed to the One God alone - Synopsis on Istighfar.

4. From what do we Istighfar?

The teacher said that we istighfar from our sin and our negligence and reminded that the Prophet ask us to generalised our du’a so as to include more people – the dead and also those who are alive.

The answer to this question is the most important point to be settled and is the main subject of this discussion. Is the protection sought simply from the punishment of evil which a man has wrought or is it sought primarily from the evil itself and only secondarily from its consequences if the evil has been done? For the correct answer, one has to go to the fundamental question of relation between God and His creatures. God of Islam is not only the Creator but Supporter as well. Whatever has been made by Divine hand is also supported by it. If, therefore, man needs the creating hand of God to come into existence, it is equally true that he needs His supporting hand to be saved from corruption. The Divine attribute of creation required that man should be created in the image of God and the requirement of Divine attribute of support was that, what had been created in Divine image should not be given up to corruption and everlasting destruction. It is to denote these two Divine attributes, the adjectives Al-Hayyi, Al-Qayyum are used in the Holy Quran regarding Allah, which means, the One Who brings into existence and supports that which He has created. -Synopsis on Istighfar .

5. Why do we need to Istighfar?

The real significance of Istighfar - seeking protection of God from evil. Hence the necessity of Istighfar by every person is obvious without any consideration of actual commission of sin by him. In short, existence of sin is not a pre-requisite for Istighfar. There is a craving in the very nature of man to attain perfection. To satisfy this craving, he is guided to say Istighfar and this makes up the deficiency of human nature by imploring strength from God. -Synopsis on Istighfar

The teacher told the congregation that Istighfar is necessary to request Allah’s blessings and mercy. He talked on the issue of Allah’s blessings and mercy or the lack of it and relate it to

i. Flash Flood and other calamities.

ii. Rate of rampant crimes.

iii. Collapse of buildings (in Terangganu?)

iv. Accident on our roads and highway.

The teacher lamented that it is rather difficult for students who are on PTPN’s money to get Allah’s blessings and mercy as there are element of usuy practice by that body..

He mentioned about a big surau in Lembah Pantai built by probably illegal squatters and although the squatters are no longer there.. perhaps due to Allah’s blessings and mercy.. the surau has been frequented by a lot of people However, he sadly said that the surau has to go... harbouring people who are anti-establishment?!

He then quoted the famous story of Hassan Al-Banna who when asked (by different people at different times):-

i. how to overcome dry season.. his answer – do Istighfar

ii. long marriage but still without children.. his answer – do Istighfar

iii. Food Crops that are not doing well at all.. his answer – do Istighfar

Hassan Al-Banna was later confronted by his disciples on the issue and his answer was

That was recommended in Surah Nuh–Chapter 71

“Saying, ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord; for He is Oft-Forgiving; 071.010

“‘He will send rain to you in abundance; 071.011

“‘Give you increase in wealth and sons; and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers (of flowing water). 071.012

i. As an illustration, the teacher recounted a story of a couple who has been married for 7 years but was yet to get children..

ii. they istighfar with the intention of getting a children.. they get daughters in year 8 and 9

iii. then they istighfar with the intension of getting a son.. they get a son in year 10.

iv. then they istighfar with the intension of getting providence(rezeki).. they have good providence ever since.

He then quoted a story on Aishah who asked the prophet (I think) what should she do if she see a ‘night of Power (lailatulQadr)'. She was advised to read the du'a

اللهمَّ انَّكَ عَفُوٌ تُحبُّ العفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنَّا (3) يا كريم

Allahumma innaka `afuwun tuhibbu-l’`afwa f`afwa `anna

“O Allah, truly You are all-Pardoning, You love to pardon so pardon us” (3 times). On the third time say “O Most Generous” (Ya Karim)

To illustrate Allah’s blessings and mercy , the teacher talked about the famous Ayat seribu Dinar (1000 Dinar verse) as pictured below:-

......And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out,

And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion. 065.003

The teacher closed his admonition(tazkirah) by recounting another story on Imam Ahmad ibnu Hambal, the founder of Hambali Sects, (Do be reminded that at this point of time, the internet, facebook , newspapers and television are not available and Imam Ahmad’s follower might not have recognised the Imam)

Imam Ahmad was travelling through a town, he stopped at a mosque for his night prayer and asked the caretaker of the mosque whether he can sleep at the mosque.. The mosque’s caretaker courteously rejected the Imam Ahmad’s request. The conversation was overheard by a bread seller who told Imam Ahmad that the Imam can sleep in a room at his house. During the early morning, the bread seller knead flour to make his bread.. He istighfar every time he knead the flour.

Imam Ahmad asked the bread seller “Why do you istighfar every time you knead the flour?”.

The man replied “I am very confident of Istighfar and I have made a supplication to Allah for a wish which is yet to be accomplished/fulfilled”.

The Imam asked “What is your wish?”.

The man said “Oh, I wish that I can meet Imam Ahmad Ibnu Hambal”.

May you find this entry useful.. have a very good day.


Grandpa said...

Salam Wan, this is a well-written and informative piece. I hope those concerned are reading this too!

Semoga Allah mengampunkan segala dosa dan memberkati segala amalan kita. Amin.

dannalli said...

Surely it's useful Bro Wan. Thank You. Oh Ya .. it's Abdullah Yusuf Ali. You must be thinking of that in swinger corner kick specialist from your Petronas days of that name.

ninotaziz said...

Dear Ayoh Wang,

Thank you so much for this in more ways than you know. A reminder I needed for me and my daughters. Sometimes, life just pass you by.

Advice like this make you pause and think about the important things in life.

yohteh said...

Ayoh Wang... we are small...

Wan Sharif said...

Wa'alaikumussalam GrandPa,
Amin ya Rabbal'alamin semuga doa Grandpa selalu di maqbulkan Azza Wajalla..

Wan Sharif said...

Thank you Dan for you kind correction... Abdullah Ali happens to be my state-mate and also my taman-mate in Taman Bukit Teratai (until he moved off few years ago.
Semuga Dan selalu di lindung Allah dari segala marabahaya.

Wan Sharif said...

Dearest Ninot,
You always have ways with words.. and your words always moved me in more ways than many knows..
May Allah guide us and our loved one in the right path...

Wan Sharif said...

You sure got the gist of Istigfar.
Synopsis on Istighfar by Professor Abdul Jaleel clearly state that...
The man who resorts to Istighfar humiliates himself before God, admitting the weakness of his nature and dreads the Power and Glory of the Creator.
May Allah always bless us and our loved one with His Maghfirah and Rahmah... Amin ya Rabbal'alamin

Al-Manar said...


You truly have the patience to search for materials. I would be lucky to manage half done. Happy New Year and istighfarlah kita semua.

Ida BorneoLove said...

Oh dear! thanx so much for the reminder. kadang tu lupa.

Lee said...

Hello Wan Shariif, I read thru. Very interesting.
Here too on and off we get to read something similar in our papers.
You have a nice weekend, Lee.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Ayoh Wang,
Here we are doing istighfar that one day we'll get to meet Ayoh Wang. Under the Moringa tree? You should be friends with Dad. His phone is full of religious stuffs. purrrr.....meow!

rohaizahabas said...

Thanks for sharing Ayah Wang,
Lagi saya baca, terasa banyak kurang nya saya..
Terima kasih banyak2

Wan Sharif said...

Salam Abang Hassan,
You are being humble to say " I would be lucky to manage half done". I did not do much actually.. went to admonition session, take note, google for a good /similar topic.. cut and paste or type here and there.. Voila..
As you can feel.. I was in some hurry to put up the last entry.. meant to be my first Friday Tazkirah for my e mail group.. there is a lot more needed to be done.. but then again a partially presentable entry is still better than left unwritten..
Salam maal hijrah to Abang Hassan, Kakak and your loved one.. berhati hati bila ketepi pantai..

Wan Sharif said...

Salam Ida,
Saya catatkan nie pun untuk diri saya yang dah makin lupa dan untuk bacaan sesiapa yang ingin membaca.. ye lah dalam kesibukan kita melunaskan sebahagian dari keperluan hidup.. ada masa kita lupa keperluan yang lain..

Wan Sharif said...

Dear Brother Lee..
I put up a reminder .. I am hoping those who are too keen to learn others way of life do not go on reading and be irritated.. glad to know you are more "open" than most.. and especially glad to know you also have similar articles in your papers from time to times..
Ha merry Keris Mas to you and your loved one.. (Hope you don't mind the wrong spelling.. Keris Mas is one of our Malaysian Author whom I have some regards..)
Have a good week ahead anyway..

Wan Sharif said...

Dear CiS,
You do not know how much I appreciate your comment.. To istighfar that one day you'll get to meet Ayoh Wang - Under the Moringa tree?..
That would mean one of a few possible thing.. my venture with my friend will be so successful.. that I will INSYAALLAH invite you and your whole family and other blogger friends.. to join us at one of our many farms staying at our (cattlemen's club house etc) place enjoying our farms produce with the moringa tea if not our chilled drinks from our hydroponics.
Oh sometime we do not know.. a few kind words will make a whole lot of difference..
Salam penuh hormat dari Ayah Wang to you, you siblings, your mama and your Dad ..

Wan Sharif said...

Dear Zah @ Kak Ezza,
I was excited about the things I heard at tazkirah.. I do not want it to dissapear in "lipatan ingatan saya(my memory)". I jot it down.. turn it to a blog entry.. so that I can remind myself.. my two children, those I loved and my sohabah(blogger friends included) can read it anytime if they like to..
If you feel " banyak kurangnya saya" ..please be sure that the one who put up the entry also felt the same..
May we be included as AlMustaghfirin.. Amin Ya rabbala'lamin

Tropical Rancher Sdn. Bhd said...

Prayer of St. Jude

"I fear, Love, worship, adore and glorify Thee"

Yes it is a Christian prayer, but how well said and with the right Islamic intention and belief in One God. How Perfect!

This is the Christian prayer of the Oppressed and the Peace Keepers: The Warrior-Soldier, The Policeman, The Judge the Executioner...

As such it is the prayer of all who believe in One God, the Reckoning and the day of Judgment, The Reward and the Punishment and the life to come...

I Fear, Love, Worship, Adore and Glorify Thee; The One, The Reality, My Lord My God, My Lord My God, My Lord My God... God is Great ... God is Great... God is Great... Well pleased am I with Allah as my Lord, Islam as my Religion and Mohammad as my Prophet... save me....

Wan Sharif said...

Dear TRSB,
I guess it is alright to use any prayer as long as it is in line with our believe in One God, the Reckoning and the day of Judgment, The Reward and the Punishment and the life to come...
St Jude prayer or d'ua is a beautiful submission to One God..
Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thought on the subject.

Aishah said...

Thank you Wan Sharif. This is very useful. May Allah rewards you with his blessings.

Wan Sharif said...

Again.. I am glad you like this post..