Al-Bukhaari (6502) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah says: ‘Whoever takes a close friend of Mine as an enemy, I declare war on him. My slave does not draw closer to Me by anything more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave continues to draw closer to Me by doing naafil (supererogatory) deeds until I love him, and if I love him I will be his hearing with which he hears, his vision with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. If he were to ask of Me, I would surely give to him; if he were to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge. I do not hesitate about anything that I want to do as I hesitate to take the soul of a believer, for he hates death and I hate to hurt him.”
This hadith clearly and concisely highlights the way to become a close friend of Allah, may He be exalted, for the one who wants to be one of His close friends. All the believer has to do is reflect deeply upon this hadith and understand it properly, then follow that by acting upon what it says.
Explaining the content of this hadith, al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said elsewhere in his book Jaami‘ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam: His close friends who are near to Him may be divided into two categories, the first of which is those who draw near to Him by doing that which is enjoined, which includes doing obligatory duties and avoiding things which are prohibited, because all of that comes under the heading of what Allah has enjoined upon His slaves. The second category is those who draw nearer to Him, after doing obligatory duties, by doing naafil (supererogatory) deeds.
May Allah help us and you to do that which He loves and is pleased with.
‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: The Messenger of Allaah (saw) said: “Whoever prays qiyaam reciting ten verses will not be recorded as one of the heedless. Whoever prays qiyaam reciting one hundred verses will be recorded as one of the devout. Whoever prays qiyaam reciting one thousand verses will be recorded as one of those who collected a great deal of reward.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood (1264). It says in ‘Awn al-Ma’bood: What is meant here is qiyaam al-layl.
In the Sunnah it is recommended for the Muslim to recite certain verses when he goes to bed. Among the soorahs and verses which we are recommended to recite are the following:
1 – Aayat al-Kursiy (al-Baqarah 2:255)
Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (saw) appointed me to guard the zakaah of Ramadaan, then someone came and started rummaging in the foodstuff … and at the end of the hadeeth he said: “When you go to your bed, recite Aayat al-Kursiy, for there will remain with you a guardian from Allaah, and no devil will approach you, until morning comes.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “He told you the truth although he is a liar. That was a devil.” Saheeh al-Bukhaari (2311)
2 – The last two verses of Soorat al-Baqarah
It was narrated from Abu Mas’ood al-Ansaari (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever recites the last two verses of Soorat al-Baqarah at night, they will suffice him.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5009) and Muslim (2714). Ibn al-Qayyim said in al-Waabil al-Sayyib (132): They will suffice him against any evil that may harm him.
3, 4 – Soorat al-Isra’ and Soorat al-Zumar
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Prophet (saw) would not go to sleep until he had recited Bani Israa’eel (Soorat al-Isra’) and al-Zumar. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (3402)
5 – Soorat al-Kaafiroon
It was narrated that Nawfal al-Ashja’i (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me: “Recite Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafiroon then go to sleep at the end of it, for it is a disavowal of shirk.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (5055) and al-Tirmidhi (3400)
6, 7, 8 – al-Ikhlaas and al-Mi’wadhatayn [i.e., the last three soorahs of the Qur’aan]
It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that when the Prophet (saw) went to bed every night, he would hold his hands together and blow into them, and recite into them Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad, Qul a’oodhu bi rabb il-falaq and Qul a’oodhu bi rabb il-naas. Then he would wipe them over whatever he could of his body, starting with his head and face and the front of his body, and he would do that three times. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5017).
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Adhkaar (221): It is better for a person to do all that has been narrated of this matter, but if he cannot do that he should do whatever he is able to do. End quote.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Zaalimoon (wrongdoers)” [al-Baqarah 2:254]
“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allaah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allaah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allaah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower. Those who spend their wealth in the Cause of Allaah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” [al-Baqarah 2:261-262]
“O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned and from that which We have produced for you from the earth. And do not aim toward the defective therefrom, spending [from that] while you would not take it [yourself] except with closed eyes. And know that Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.” [al-Baqarah 2:267]
“Believe in Allaah and His Messenger Muhammad (saw), and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees. For those who have believed among you and spent, there will be a great reward.” [al-Hadeed 57:7]
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever gives charity equal to a date from good (halal) earnings – for Allaah does not accept anything but that which is good – Allaah will take it in His right hand and tend it for the one who gave it as any one of you tends his foal, until it becomes like a mountain. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1344; Muslim, 1014.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no day on which the people get up but two angels come down and one of them says, ‘O Allaah, give in compensation to the one who spends (in charity),’ and the other says, ‘O Allaah, destroy the one who withholds.’” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1374; Muslim, 1010.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah said: ‘Spend, O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5073; Muslim, 993.
People of Allah: People of Quran
It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Allah has His own people among mankind.’ They said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, who are they?’ He said: ‘The people of the Qur’án, the people of Allah and those who are closest to Him.”
(Sunan Ibn e Majah, Book of Sunnah, Hadith no 214, Classified as Sahih By Allama Albani)
Seeking Knowledge: A Duty
It was narrated that Anas bin Mâlik said: The Messenger of Allah said “Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim”. ”
(Sunan Ibn e Majah, Book of Sunnah, Hadith no 224, Classified as Sahih By Allama Albani)
Muhammad bin Jubair bin Mut’im narrated that his father said: “The Messenger of Allah stood up at Khaif in Mina and said: ‘May Allah cause his face to shine, the man who hears what I say and conveys it (to others).
(Sunan Ibn e Majah, Book of Sunnah, Hadith no 231, Classified as Sahih By Allama Albani)
Importance of Right Intention (Niyyah) in seeking Knowledge
It was narrated from Thu ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever seeks knowledge in order to argue with the foolish, or to show off before the scholars, or to attract people’s attention, will be in Hell.
(Sunan Ibn e Majah, Book of Sunnah, Hadith no 253, Classified as Hasan By Allama Albani)
Importance of Wisdom
He grants wisdom to whom He pleases, and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good and none but men of understanding mind.
(Surah Al Baqarah 2:269)
Knowledgeable People are given High Ranks
Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees; and Allah is Aware of what you do.
(Surah Al Mujadilah 58:11)
Istighfar is what removes our sins from us and helps us attain the goal of Paradise. But what other benefits does istighfar bring? Allah always gives more than we ask. We ask for forgiveness, and these are the eight things that Allah gives us!
1) Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. [Quran 71:10] We sin by the day and by the night, and Allah forgives by the day and the night. Allah’s forgiveness is vast. The Prophet(saw) said, Allah extends His hand by the day so the sinner of the night can repent and He extends His hand by the night so the sinner of the day can repent. [Narrated by Muslim].
He(saw) also said, The companion (Angel) on the left lifts his pen for six hours for the Muslim slave that errs or sins. If this slave repents and seeks Allah’s forgiveness for that error or sin, the Angel doesn’t record it. And if the slave doesn’t ask Allah for forgiveness, the Angel records it once. [Muslim] So whenever we sin, let’s rush to His forgiveness.
2) He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. [Quran, 71:11]
Rain is a sign of Allah’s mercy as has been mentioned in the Quran and in the Sunnah. It is a time when Allah answers dua. Forgiveness is one of the causes for Allah to send rain down. It is symbolic as well for Allah to increase us in our provision and mercy.
3) And give you increase in wealth and children. [Quran, 71:12]
Isn’t wealth one of the big things that we are running after today? Allah is promising us that wealth comes with istighfar, as does children. Wealth and children come from Allah and it is in turning to Him that we will get them, not in turning away from Him.
4) . . . and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers. [Quran, 71:12]
Allah will not only give us what we want, He will give us more. Gardens and rivers are luxuries that very few of us can afford in life. And yet for istighfar, Allah promises us that. He promises us that we will be given gardens and rivers. It could be in this world and in the hereafter or only in the hereafter (as gardens and rivers are the most common description of paradise.) Isn’t this a cause worth struggling for? The paradise of Allah awaits those who make constant istighfar.
5) . . . ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength [added] to your strength. [Quran 11:52]
Again this verse mentions the sending of rain from the sky. But also adds that Allah will add strength. For those of us who want strength added to our lives- whether mental, psychological, physical or otherwise, this is the deed we need to do! We are struggling with doing a good deed- make istighfar, Allah will provide strength. We are struggling with a sin, make istighfar, Allah will give strength. We are struggling with heartbreak, let us make istighfar, He will provide strength to get over it.
6) Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favour his favour [Quran, 11:3]
What else in life do we want other than to know that we have earned His favour? Every blessing is a curse if His favour is not upon us, and everything can be endured if His favour is the answer. And yet, He asks for so little. All He asks is that we seek His forgiveness.
7) And Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness [Quran, 8:33]
One of the scariest things in human life is disaster— when something horrible happens out of the blue and without us expecting it. There are very few things that terrify people more than something like that. Islamically, they can be both tests and punishments. As Muslims, we don’t want to be punished by Allah. We don’t want to experience any of it. And istighfar is the promise from Allah that it’s not going to happen. He has our back as long as we seek His forgiveness.
8) My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after me. Indeed, You are the Bestower. [Quran 38:35]
This was the dua of Sulaiman, alayhi salam. The beauty of the dua is that he starts it by seeking forgiveness from Allah. And He makes a request. That request was granted and will stand until the day of judgement. The Prophet Sulaiman was given a kingdom that no one will ever be given after him. And he started his dua while making istighfar to Allah. Scholars say that one of the ways of having our duas answered is by making istighfar first and then seeking from Allah.
One of the narrators of a Hadith was asked about the manner in which forgiveness is to be sought, to which he answered: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to say: ‘Astaghfirullah! Astaghfirullah! (I beseech Allah for forgiveness, I beseech Allah for forgiveness)’.” [Sahih Muslim].