In hadith #599 narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas in Sunan Abu Dawood, The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If anyone continually asks pardon, Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress, and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide for him from where he did not reckon.
When in distress or difficulty or sorrow:
Source for this dua subsection: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, volume 4, no 128
1. Ibn ‘Abbas reported,“The Prophet, peace be upon him, at times of sorrow and grief used to supplicate, La ilaha illa Allah Al-’Azim, Al-’Alim, la ilaha illa Allah, Rabbul ‘arshil ‘Azim, la ilaha illa Allahu, Rabbus-Samawati wa rabbul ardi wa rabbul ‘arshi karim (There is no god but Allah, the Mighty, the Forbearing, there is no god but Allah, the Lord of the mighty throne, there is no god but Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, and the Lord of the throne of honor)’.”
Source: Bukhari and Muslim.
2. Anas said that when the Prophet, peace be upon him, was faced with a serious difficulty, he would always supplicate, “Ya Hayyu, ya Qayyumu, bi-rahmatika astaghithu (O the Living, O the Eternal, I seek help in Your grace).”
3. Abu Hurairah reported that whenever the Prophet, peace be upon him, was faced with a serious difficulty, he would raise his head to the sky and supplicate, “Subhan-Allah al-’Azim (glory be to Allah, the Mighty).” And when he implored seriously and strongly, he would say “Ya Hayyu, Ya Qayyum (O the Living, the Eternal One).”
4. Abu Bakrah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “The supplications of distress are, ‘Allahumma rahmataka arju, fala takilni ila nafsi tarfata ‘ain, wa aslah li sha’ni kullahu, la ilaha illa anta (O Allah, I hope for Your mercy, so give me not over to my self even for as little as wink of an eye, and set right all my affairs, there is no god but You).”
Source: Abu Daw’ud
5. Asma, daughter of ‘Amais, reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, asked her, “Shall I tell you words that you may say in times of pain or distress. These are, ‘Allah, Allah, Rabbi la ushriku bihi shai’an (Allah, Allah, my Lord, I associate none with Him).” Another narration says that these words should be said seven times.
Source: Abu Daw’ud
6. Sa’d ibn Waqas reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “The supplication made by the Companion of the Fish (Prophet Yunus) in the belly of the fish was, ‘La ilaha illa anta, subhanaka, inni kuntu minaz-zalimin (there is no god but You, You are far exalted and above all weaknesses, and I was indeed the wrongdoer)’. If any Muslim supplicates in these words, his supplication will be accepted.” In another report we read, “I know words that will cause Allah to remove one’s distress. These are the words (of supplication) of my brother Yunus, peace be upon him,”
7. Ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “If any servant of Allah afflicted with distress or grief makes this supplication, his supplication will be accepted: ‘O Allah, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of your maidservant. My forehead is in Your hand. Your command conceming me prevails, and Your decision concerning me is just. I call upon You by every one of the beautiful names by which You have described Yourself, or which You have revealed in Your book, or have taught anyone of Your creatures, or which You have chosen to keep in the knowledge of the unseen with You, to make the Qur’an the delight of my heart, the light of my breast, and remover of my griefs, sorrows, and afflictions‘.” A supplication in these words will be answered. Allah will remove one’s affliction and replace it with joy and happiness.
Source: Reported by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban
8. Anas reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to supplicate, “O Allah, there is no ease except what You make easy, and you alone can turn a difficulty into ease.”(Ibn As-sinni)
Source: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, #131
9. Allah’s Apostle used to say at the time of difficulty, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Majestic, the Most Forbearing. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Lord of the Tremendous Throne. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Lord of the Heavens and the Lord of the Honourable Throne.”
Source: narrated by Ibn Abbas in Sahih Bukhari, volume 9, #526.
Some Additional Reminders When in Stress:
Remember that sickness expiates evil deeds and wipes out sins.
Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “When Allah wants to be good to someone, He tries him with some hardship.”
Abu Hurairah also reports that Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, said:“For every misfortune, illness, anxiety, grief, or hurt that afflicts a Muslim -even the hurt caused by the pricking of a thorn – Allah removes some of his sins.”. Ibn Mas’ud said: “I visited the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, while he had a fever. I exclaimed: ‘O Messenger of Allah! You have a high fever! ‘ He said: ‘My fever is as much as two among you [might have]. ‘ I asked: ‘Is it because you have a double reward?’ He replied: ‘Yes, that is right. No Muslim is afflicted with any hurt, even if it is no more than the pricking of a thorn, but Allah wipes off his sins because of it and his sins fall away from him as leaves fall from a tree‘.”
Abu Hurairah (r) said: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, remarked: ‘The example of a believer is like a fresh tender plant; from whichever direction the wind blows, it bends the plant. But when the wind dies down, it straightens up again. (Similarly a believer is tested by afflictions to strengthen his faith and heart, and he remains patient and firm). And an evil person is like a pine tree which remains hard and stiff until Allah breaks it whenever He wills.”
Source: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, volume 4, #1
When under stress or at any other time of hardship, do not wish for death in your dua.
It is makruh or “disliked” to wish for one’s death, or pray to Allah for it, due to poverty, distress, illness, or the like. The six canonical compilers of hadith narrate on the authority of Anas that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:“Let no one among you wish for death due to any hardship that may befall him. But if one has no other choice, but to do so, one should say: “O Allah! Grant me life as long as life is good for me, and cause me to die when death is better for me.”
The wisdom in the prohibition against wishing for death becomes obvious from a hadith narrated by Umm al-Fadl: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, went to see Al-’Abbas. He found him wishing for death. Thereupon the Prophet said: ‘O Abbas! O Uncle of Allah’s Messenger! Do not wish for death. If you do good and live long, your good deeds will multiply. Then that is better for you. If you are not good and your death is delayed, you may seek Allah’s forgiveness. That is better for you. So do not wish for death’.”(Narrated by Ahmad and Al-Hakim, who says it is sound according to Muslim’s criteria)
It is permissible, however, to wish for death, and there is no harm in doing so, when one fears persecution that puts one’s faith at risk, as is indicated by the following supplication of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him:Allahumma inni as’aluka fi’lal khairat wa tarkal munkarat wa hubbal masakin wa an taghfarali wa tarhamani wa idha aradata fitnatan fi qaumi fatawafani ghaira maftunin wa as’aluka hubbaka wa hubba man yuhibbuka wa hubba ‘amalin yuqaribu ila hubbika “O Allah! I ask You for the means to do good, to avoid evil, and to love the poor, and I beseech You to forgive me and have mercy on me. When You subject my people to a trial, cause me to die without being affected by it. O Allah! I ask Your love, the love of those who love You, and the love of all such actions that bring one closer to Your Love.”(Narrated by Tirmidhi who said it is a good and sound hadith)
‘Umar (r) used to pray in these words: Allahumma kabirat sinni wa da’ufat quwwati wa anshrat ra’i-atifaqbidni ilaika ghaira mudayi’ wa la mufaratti “O Allah! I have grown old, I have become weak, and my flock has spread far and wide. Therefore, O Allah, take me to You before I fall short of doing my duties or transgress my limits.” This is reported by Malik.
Source: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, volume 4, #13a
If you are experiencing stress because of illness, you may complain of your illness, but do so Islamically without anger or impatience.
It is permitted for a patient to complain of his pain and illness to a physician or a friend, provided he does not do so to express his or her anger or impatience. It was mentioned earlier that the Prophet (s) said: “My fever is as severe as that of any two of you.”. Once ‘Aisha (ra) complained to the Messenger of Allah (s) about her headache, lamenting: “O my head.” He retorted: “Nay, rather (I should say) O my head!” Likewise it is reported that ‘Abdullah ibn Al-Zubair asked his ailing mother, Asma bint Abi Bakr, “How are you feeling now?” She replied: “I am in pain.”
A patient should thank and praise Allah, before talking about his distress and complaint.
Ibn Mas’ud said: “If one thanks Allah before complaining about his pain or disease, then it is not considered impatience. Indeed, to refer one’s complaint to Allah, is quite lawful.” Jacob (the prophet), said: “I complain of my distraction and anguish only to Allah.” The Prophet Muhammad, (s) himself prayed: “O Allah! to You I complain of my weakness.”
Source: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, volume 4, #2
Do not use the word “if” when faced with something difficult or unpleasant.
Abu Hurairah (r) related that the Prophet (s) said,“When one of you is afflicted with any misfortune he should say, ‘Ina li llahi wa inna ‘ilayhi Raji’un (We are for Allah, and to Him is our return),’ even if it be merely losing one’s shoe straps, for this is also a misfortune.” (Ibn As-Sinni)
Abu Hurairah (r) reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, but cherish what gives you benefit in the Hereafter and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say, ‘If I had not done that, such and such thing would not have happened,’ but say, ‘Allah has ordained it so, and whatever He pleases He does,’ because ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ open the door for Satan.” (Muslim)
Source: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, #132.
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