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Exegesis of Dua al-Ahad

Sources of Dua al-Ahad

Reliable scholars and traditionalists have narrated this noble supplication in their invaluable books such as Allamah Shaikh Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (a.r.) in Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 53, p. 95, chapter 29, tradition 111 has narrated it from Misbaah al-Zaaer of Syed Ibn Tawoos. Apart from this Muhaddis Noori has mentioned this in Mustadrak al-Wasaael (vol. 5, p. 393, Chapter 41, tradition 6169) as well as Shaikh Abbas Qummi in Mafaatih al-Jenaan. Tuhfah al-Awaam, which is a famous book in the sub-continent, also contains this supplication.

Allamah Majlisi (a.r.) writes that “This has been narrated from the manuscript of Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Ali al-Jubaee who has narrated it from Shaikh Ali Ibn al-Sukoon (may Allah sanctify their souls) that our teacher and master al-Syed, the noble, the scholar, the learned jurist, Jalaal al-Deen Abul Qasim Abdul Hameed Ibn Fakhkhaar Ibn Ma’add Ibn Fakhkhaar al-Alawi al-Husaini al-Moosavi al-Haaeri (may Allah prolong his life) while reciting it in front of him when he was comparing it to a copy which he received from his father (may Allah have mercy on him) in 676 A.H. who said that my father (may Allah be satisfied with him) informed me that the great scholar Taaj al-Deen Abu Muhammad al-Hasan Ibn Ali Ibn al-Husain Ibn al-Darabi (may Allah grant him long life) communicated to me that he heard these words in Rabi al-Awwal month of 596 A.H. and thereafter narrators sequentially recited this in front of their teachers that the learned jurist and scholar Shaikh Qiwaam al-Deen Abu Abdillah Muhammad Ibn Abdillah al-Bahraani al-Shaybaani (may Allah have mercy on him) in the year 573 A.H. from Shaikh Abu Zakariyyaa Yahya Ibn Kaseer from the most majestic Syed Muhammad Ibn Ali al-Qurashi from Ahmad Ibn Saeed from Shaikh Ali Ibn al-Hakam from al-Rabi’ Ibn Muhammad al-Musalli from Abu Abdillah Ibn Sulaymaan who has narrated this supplication from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) in these words.”

[Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 91, p. 41, Beirut Edition]

Benefits and Rewards of Dua al-Ahad

Dua al-Ahad is narrated from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.), who advised:

“Whosoever prays to Allah for 40 days through this promise and covenant, he will be included among the helpers of our Qaem (a.s.). If he dies before his reappearance, then Allah, the Most High, shall enliven him from his grave and for every word (of this supplication) 1000 good deeds shall be written for him in his scroll of deeds, erase 1000 sins and this supplication is as follows Allahumma Rabba…”

Phrases and Meanings of Dua al-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 al-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 (a.s.): What has the word ‘Allah’ been derived from? Imam (a.s.) 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-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 87, Chapter of Al-Ma’bud, H. 2 narrating from Ali Ibn Ibrahim al-Qummi]

The above tradition is a clear affirmation for the fact that the word ‘Allah’ is derived and not a non-derivative. It is not a proper noun as perceived by some. Its root is ‘w-l-h’ or ‘a-l-h’. Secondly, the word ‘Allah’ is definite and not indefinite. ‘Alif’ and ‘Laam’ are used to make a noun definite.

Let us try and illuminate ourselves with traditions of the infallible ones (a.s.) concerning this Divine Name.

Abdullah Ibn Sinaan inquired about the meaning of ‘In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful’. Imam (a.s.) responded:

(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-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 114, H. 1, chapter of ‘Meanings of The Names and their derivations’]

Imam Moosa Ibn Jafar (a.s.) was asked about the word ‘Allah’. He (a.s.) replied:

“(The word ‘Allah’ means) He is dominant over everything, whether subtle and delicate or mighty.”

[Al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 114, H. 3, chapter of ‘Meanings of The Names and their derivations’]

A person asked Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) about ‘In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful’. Imam (a.s.) 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 (a.s.) replied:

“Allah is that Being in whom shelter is sought at the time of every need and calamity when, apart from Him, hopes 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, he turns towards Allah. But when Allah fulfills his desires, he 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, Him you call upon, so He clears away that for which you pray if He pleases and you forget what you set up (with Him). [Surah An’aam (6): 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, He 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 Shaikh Saduq (a.r.), p. 230, chap. 31, H. 5; Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 92, p. 232, chap. 29, H. 14]

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

The interjection ‘Yaa’ has been entirely dropped here. The word Rabb is derived from Rabba, Yarubbo (like Madda, Yamuddo). Just as Farra, Yafirro is derived on the scale of Yazribo of the verb ‘z-r-b’. According to Arabic grammar, the word Rabb is an adjective similar to a verb on the scale of ‘Rabeeb’ like ‘Khasheen’ or on the scale of ‘Rubaib’ like ‘Husain’. Grammatically, such words are also called as ‘Muzaaf’ (added/subjoined) i.e. a verb which has two repetitive alphabets in its root.

Surprisingly, some litterateurs have considered ‘Rabb’ from the root of ‘Tarbiyah’ (training). This is clearly erroneous since the root of Tarbiyah is ‘r-b-w’. Apart from this, Murabbi means nurturer whereas Rabb means ‘owner’, ‘leader’, ‘master’, etc. There are no synonyms in the Arabic language inspired to Prophet Ismaeel (a.s.). Especially, there can never be synonyms in Divine Names, where every name has a specific meaning and interpretation which indicates towards a definite external reality.

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?”

[Surah An’aam (6): Verse 164]

Imam Zain al-Abideen (a.s.) 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 (s.a.w.a.) like it is found in traditions,

“The first thing which Allah created is the light of your Prophet, O Jaabir!”

[Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 15, p. 24, H. 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 (s.a.w.a.) 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 Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 15, first chapter or Hayaat al-Quloob, second volume.

(To be continued Insha Allah in the next issue)

September 1, 2020