Dua – Allahumma Arrifni Nafsak

One of the celebrated, recommended supplications to be recited on Fridays is the dua – Dua Dar Ghaybat (supplication in the period of occultation). In this supplication, a person beseeches Allah for true recognition so that he is not deviated in religion.

   اَللّٰهُمَّ عَرِّفْنِىْ نَفْسَك َ –   فَاِنَّكَ اِنْ لَّمْ تُعَرِّ فْنِىْ نَفْسَكَ لَمْ اَعْرِفْ رَسُوْلَكَ

 اَللّٰهُمَّ عَرِّفْنِىْ رَسُوْلَكَ  –  فَاِنَّكَ اِنْ لَمْ تُعَرِّ فْنِىْ رَسُوْلَكَ لَمْ اَعْرِفْ حُجَّتَكَ

 اَللّٰهُمَّ عَرِّفْنِىْ حُجَّتَكَ  –  فَاِنَّكَ اِنْ لَّمْ تُعَرِّ فْنِىْ حُجَّتَكَ ضَلَلْتُ عَنْ دِيْنِىْ

O Allah introduce Yourself to me – For, if you do not introduce Yourself to me, I will not recognize Your Prophet (sawa).

O Allah make me recognize Your Prophet (sawa) ,- because if I do not recognize Your Prophet (sawa), I will not recognize Your Proof (Imam (as)).

O Allah make me recognize Your Proof (Imam) – For, if  you do not make me recognize Your Proof , I will deviate from my religion

A Brief explanation of Allahumma Arrifni Nafsak

In the occultation of Imam Mahdi (as) there will be intolerable mischief (as we are witnessing); different views will be prevalent and Islamic teachings will be interpreted in a different way. At each step will lurk the danger of deviation and at every turn the danger of a slip. In such circumstances, being firm on the true religion will not be an easy task.

Traditions say that during this period, “a person will be a believer in the morning but by evening he will turn into a hypocrite or a disbeliever” or “at night he will be a believer and by dawn he will become a hypocrite of a disbeliever”.

In the words of Imam Ali (as), to be hit by the sword would be easier than earning one lawful dirham. (Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 229)

Which means to earn lawfully will be more difficult than to be hit by the sword. Now when earning one lawful dirham will be so difficult then imagine how difficult will it be to stay firm on the right path throughout one’s whole life?

Perhaps keeping this difficulty in view Imam Sajjad (as) said, “Truly those people who in the occultation (of Imam Mahdi) acknowledge his Imamate, await his reappearance, are better then the people of all times because Allah has given them such an understanding that occultation for them is as good as meeting him. At the time of occultation these people are like those who did jehad under the command of the Holy Prophet (sawa). In the sense they are sincere and they are our true Shiahs, they invite to the way of Allah secretly and openly.” (Muntakhabul Asar page 227)

As per the traditions, being firm on religion is like holding a fire ball in the palm and equal to walking on a thorny path. Today what is termed as ‘Religion’ is not in consonance to the traditions of Imams (as).

The Infallible Imams were aware of such situations and as such had informed their companions about the happenings in the last era. Imam Sadiq (as) informed his companion Abdullah Ibne Sinan, “After this, a time will come when you will not be able to see the Imam of the time. In that period no one will be saved except the one who recites “Dua Ghareeq”. The narrator inquired as to what is Dua Ghareeq. Imam (as) replied, “Ya Allaho! Ya Rahmano! Ya Raheem! Ya Muqallebal Quloob! Sabbit Qalbee Ala Deenek!” (“O Allah! O Beneficent! O Merciful! O the One Who transforms the hearts! Make my heart steadfast upon your religion!”).

The narrator repeated the dua in this way, “Ya Allaho! Ya Rahmano! Ya Raheem! Ya Muqallebal Quloob Wal Absaar Sabbit Qalbee Ala Deenek!” The narrator added “Moqallebal Quloob. Wal Absaar” Imam (as) told him, “Indeed, Allah is Moqallebal Quloob Wal Absaar”, but you say only “Ya Muqallebal Quloob Sabbit Qalbee Ala Deenek!” (Kamaluddin volume 2 pages 351- 352)

A few things become clear from this tradition:

Imam (as) is well-informed about the future events He is concerned about the deliverance of his friends This deliverance is not possible without the help and taufeeq of Allah They don’t tolerate any kind of addition or deletion in religious matters, even if that addition or deletion is proper in its place. (Those people should especially take care, who by using phrases like ‘I feel that, ‘I think that’; ‘According to me, it should be like this’, interpret religious sciences)

Dua Dar Ghaybat

Janab Zurarah narrates from Imam Sadiq (as) that once while discussing about Imam Mahdi (as), Imam Sadiq (as) said “There will be an occultation for Imam Mahdi (as) before his reappearance!” Zurarah asked “Why?” Imam replied “Because of fear” (Imam then pointed towards his stomach). Continuing Imam (as) said, “He is the one who is eagerly awaited (by die people). Then people will doubt in his birth. Some will say that his father [i.e. Imam Askari (as)] left this world leaving no children, while some will say that Imam Mahdi (as) died in his mother’s womb itself. A few others will say that he had expired two years before the death of his father. He is the same one, whom the people are anxiously awaiting. Allah wishes to examine his Shiahs. Doubts and misconceptions of the deviated people will start in those times. O Zurarah! if you reach that time, then recite this dua ‘Allahuma Arrifni Nafsak’,

O my lord! You introduce Yourself to me, because if You don’t do so, I will not recognize Your Apostle. O my lord! You introduce Your Messenger to me. Because if You don’t do so, I will be unable to recognize Your Proof. Because if You don’t do so I will (most certainly) be deviated from the religion.”

This tradition is reported in al-Kafi volume 1 pages 337-341. It is also noted by his esteemed student Mohammed Ibne Ibrahim Nomani (ra) in his book al-Ghaybah on page 86. Besides these, the distinguished Shiah scholar Shaykh Mohammed bin Ali bin Husayn, better know as Shaykh Saduq (ra), has also collected traditions similar in context, but have a slight variation in their wordings, in his book Kamaluddin volume 2 page 242.

All this gives us an idea about the authenticity of the dua. Thus and so this dua should be recited invariably, either in the qunut of the namaz, or after the namaz.

Sayyed Ibne Taoos (ra), in his book Jamaal-e-Usboo narrates recommended actions to be performed on Friday Here he relates from the first representative of ImamMahdi (as), “if due to a genuine problem, you cannot recite the various supplications on Friday, don’t neglect this dua (i.e. Dua Dar Ghaybat). Because this dua is full of greatness and superiority. It is the grace and mercy of Allah, that He has bestowed on us such a great dua. The dua is as follows…(Jamaal-e-Usboo page 318)

This dua also appears on page 588 of Mafatihul Jinan under the title ‘Dua Dar Ghaibat-e-Imam-e-Zamana (as)’. The beginning sentences are exactly the same and in place of “Your Prophet” we have “Your Messenger”. This shows that during the period of occultation we must not forget to recite this dua, especially on Friday – the day of Imam Mahdi(as). Observing the significance of this dua we present herewith a brief exegesis of this dua.

Marefat (Recognition)

In the dua the supplicant prays to Allah to bestow him with:

  • His recognition
  • The recognition of His Messenger
  • The recognition of His proof

He also acknowledges that if the proof is not recognised it would cause deviate him from his religion. Finally, if one recognises the proof he will also recognise the Messenger of Allah and Allah. And he will remain steadfast in religion, otherwise he will be led astray.

This shows the significance of the Marefat of Allah’s proof (Hujjat).

Divine Recognition

Divine recognition is the most valuable possession in a believer’s life. Imam Husayn (as) says in Dua Arafah – “O Allah! One who did not recognize You, achieved nothing! And one who recognized You achieved everything.”

A similar tradition says: “One who has recognized, Allah and revers Him refrains his tongue front-useless words and protects his belly from prohibited foods.” (Arbaeen of Shaykh Bahai, Ptj. 10)

The more one rises in recognition, the more his heart will be imbued with His greatness and respect. Seeing the magnanimity and the loftiness of Allah he begins to implore through the Divine names of O the Most Powerful! O Punisher!… and he trembles with fear. Seeing the beneficence he says, O Merciful! O our Supporter!… and the heart starts brimming with Divine Love.

It is a known fact that the love of Allah imbues perfectness in man. Whatever perfections exist in the world they are due to just some rays of Allah’s splendor. Imam Zainul Abedeen (as) says in ‘Munajaat Mohibbeen’ (the invocative poem of the devotees). “Bestow me O Lord with Your love, and the love of those who love You. And make me perform those actions which brings me near to You” (Mafatihul Jinan)

Imam Husayn (as) supplicates to the Almighty in Dua Arafah – “(O Allah) You  have enlightened the hearts of Your awliya by Your recognition. They recognized You (fully) and confessed Your Oneness.”

“(O Allah) You have removed the love of others from the hearts of your devotees. They have no love for anyone other than You.”

This proves that love of Allah is also a Divine gift. He bestows to whomsoever He wishes. Rather than depend solely on our study and research we should implore Him to endow us with His recognition. Otherwise whatever knowledge we obtain through our own study will not be a guaranteed one. Because even an iota of deviation could lead us miles away from the Right Path (Siraatul Mustaqeem) in the end.

As the supplicant reciting the Dua is a believer in the Oneness of Allah he implores Him through this dua to increase his recognition and to keep him steadfast in this recognition till death. Just as he prays in the daily prayers, “Keep us on the Right Path.”

Recognition of Allah’s Messenger (sawa)

One of the cardinal principles of Islam is the belief in the Prophets and Messengers of Allah. It is incumbent to confess the two articles of belief.

A Muslim has to believe in all the Divine Prophets. He has to accept the Prophets whose names are mentioned and also those whose names have not been recorded. He should thus accept that, “I believe in all the Prophets sent by Allah. The authentic traditions have mentioned their number as one hundred and twenty four thousand. The first of these is the father of mankind, Hazrat Adam (as) and the last, is our Prophet, Hazrat Mohammed Mustafa (sawa), the mercy for the universe and the best of the creation.

The meaning of belief in the Holy Prophet (sawa) is to believe in his Prophethood and also to believe in whatever he has said and in whichever way he has said. To reject anything said by the Holy Prophet (sawa) renders one a disbeliever.

By studying the life of the Holy Prophet (sawa) we realize that he is the best creature of the Almighty. His personality is second only to that of the Almighty Himself. He is the one for whom the Almighty created the rest of the Universe. If he had not been created; Allah would not have created anything. Inspite of his high position and great­ness he was known to be of a humble disposition. He had nothing but humility and worship in his character. Inspite of spending each second of life in the worship of Allah he states, “Almighty has not be worshipped like He deserves to be.” The more we learn about the Holy Prophet (sawa) the more we can reform our character.

Ponder over this matter. How is it possible to recognize the Hujjat, the Imam without recognizing   the   Holy Prophet   (sawa). One who has perfect recognition of the Holy Prophet (sawa) can also recognize the Hujjat (Proof) of Allah. In the same way, one who is ignorant of the Hujjat – Proof of Allah, must also be deficient in recognizing the Prophet (sawa).

Recognition of Allah’s Proof (as)

The last sentence of the supplication is related to the recognition of Holy Imams, especially to the Imam of the Time, Imam Mahdi (as).

Hujjat or Proof is that final argument after which no excuse remains. When we say the ‘Proof is Complete’ it implies that there is no chance of denial. If even after this someone refuses to believe it, it is obstinacy.

The Prophet, the Imam and the miracles are known as Divine Proofs because after these the deniers have no excuses left with themselves. They have no arguments to justify their denial. The matter is unquestionably clear.

Today the Proof of Allah upon the earth is the holy personality of Imam Mahdi (as).

If one does not recognize the Divine Proof he has gone astray. Because steadfastness in religion is impossible without the guidance of Divine Proof. The Almighty Allah has appointed His Proof and explained His religion. He has designated them to be the interpreters of the Divine Revelation and the Quran. Any action, any good deed performed without their guidance is certain to be a manifest deviation.

In a tradition from Imam Baqir (as) or Imam Sadiq (as) it is said, “A person cannot be a believer till he recognizes Allah, has the Marefat of the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Holy Imams (as), recognizes the Imam of his time, refers to them in all his affairs; and submits to their command.” (Wasaelush Shiah Chapter on The Necessity of Referring to the Infallibles for all the Practical Laws tradition no. 5 volume 2 page 64)

In another tradition, Imam Baqir (as) says, If a person spends the nights in worship and the days in fasting, spends all his property in the way of Allah in charity (sadaqa) and performs Hajj all his life (i.e. every year), but does not have recognition of the guardianship of Allah’s guardian (Waliullah), all his deeds would be performed without the guidance of the Divine guide. Hence he does not deserve any reward from Allah. He is not even considered a believer,” (Wasaelush Shiah volume 27 page 64 tradition no. 11)

There is yet another tradition from Imam Baqir (as) wherein he says, “Anything that has not been propounded by our household is invalid.” (Wasaleush Shiah)

The following tradition has also been recorded from Imam Baqir (as), that he remarked, “There is no authentic knowledge in the east or the west that has not been expounded by our household.” (Wasaelush Shiah)

The matter has become absolutely clear in the light of the above traditions. How important is the knowing of Imam Mahdi (as). However great a deed might be but if it is not performed in the guidance of the Imam (as) it is worthless before Allah.

During this period of Ghaybat, acting under the guidance of Hujjat means referring to the jurists and the mujtahid whom Hazrat (as) has designated to be his ‘Proof upon the people’.

Hence the last of the Dua also becomes clear: “If I do not know your Proof I will deviate in my religion.”

Let us conclude our discussion with a tradition from Imam Jafar  Sadiq (as), “The people have been ordered to recognize us. They must refer to us in the affairs. They must obey us completely.” Then Imam (as) continued, “If they fast and pray and confess that ‘There is no God except Allah’. But if they think that they should not refer to us, they are like polytheists.” (Wasaelush Shiah)

O Allah! May all of us be graced with complete recognition of the Holy Prophet (sawa) and our Imams (as). O Allah keep us steadfast in our religion till our death. Aameen!

Read more: Duas, Namaz and Ziyarats | Resources on Imam Mahdi (as)

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