Calling upon Allahﷻ and expressing our vulnerability is a transcendent journey that brings us closer to Him – and there’s no better solitary worship than a servant’s humble submission through their supplication. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Du’a is the essence of worship.”
No one is invulnerable in this world. Everyone is reliant on Allahﷻ and nothing reminds us more of Him when our vulnerability surfaces in a state of fragility. In moments of difficulty and opacity, we search for a gleam of light and a sense of spiritual comfort to overcome our suppressed emotions – opening up our secrets only to the one we can trust, Allahﷻ.
Only Allahﷻ knows our secrets. Prophet Ibrahim AS was one who shared many intimate secrets with Allahﷻ – rightfully so, as he is Khalil Allah. But Allahﷻ gives us a glimpse into his truly vulnerable moments that no one knew about, hidden from sight until it was revealed to the Prophet (ﷺ) in the Qur’an.
Unlocking Ibrahim’s Secrets
Ibrahim AS is the epitome of a revered representative of the Deen. He went above and beyond; leaving everything to be on the path of Allahﷻ, following Allah’s commands without hesitation – and in his dedication, he kept his sorrows in secrecy.
The minute he left his wife and infant son in the barren land, even if it weighed heavy on his heart, he could not find comforting words to say to her, but instead, he confided in Allahﷻ. He supplicated:
رَّبَّنَآ إِنِّيٓ أَسۡكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيۡرِ ذِي زَرۡعٍ عِندَ بَيۡتِكَ ٱلۡمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَٱجۡعَلۡ أَفۡـِٔدَةٗ مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِ تَهۡوِيٓ إِلَيۡهِمۡ وَٱرۡزُقۡهُم مِّنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَشۡكُرُونَ
Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people inclined toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful. (14:37)
Discreetly, Ibrahim AS found solace in seclusion within his worship and exemplified the best manner of calling upon Allahﷻ. Not a single soul saw him in his predicament, but Allahﷻ answered his helpless plea by honoring his family – and now, millions tread his path.
Ibrahim AS consistently showed his vulnerability and sincerity to Allahﷻ – whether in the face of calamity or contentment. He had inherent honesty, and displayed utmost humility – never being boastful but instead watchful of his blessings.
While he had conviction in his prayers, his innermost secrets exposed another concern, that Allah would reject his du’as. This is a sign of a pious person – one who lives in constant fear that their righteous deeds would be rejected, as conveyed by the Prophet (ﷺ).
Sincerity and Sacrifice
Once, Aisha RA asked the Prophet (ﷺ) about this verse in Surah al-Mu’minun which she was unable to comprehend.
وَٱلَّذِينَ يُؤۡتُونَ مَآ ءَاتَواْ وَّقُلُوبُهُمۡ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمۡ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمۡ رَٰجِعُونَ
And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord (23:60)
أَهُوَ الرَّجُلُ الَّذِي يَزْنِي وَيَسْرِقُ وَيَشْرَبُ الْخَمْرَ
“Are they the ones who commit adultery, steals and drinks alcohol?”
He (ﷺ) responded:
لاَ يَا بِنْتَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ - أَوْ يَا بِنْتَ الصِّدِّيقِ - وَلَكِنَّهُ الرَّجُلُ يَصُومُ وَيَتَصَدَّقُ وَيُصَلِّي وَهُوَ يَخَافُ أَنْ لاَ يُتَقَبَّلَ مِنْهُ
“No, O daughter of Siddiq – rather it is a man who fasts and gives charity and prays, but he fears that those will not be accepted from him.”
The message in this verse demonstrates the characteristics of a true believer; those who strive to do everything sincerely for the sake of Allahﷻ. Sincerity is the core of our religion, and our hearts must be deeply connected to Allahﷻ at all times.
It is highly emphasized to gain closeness to Allahﷻ by increasing in sincere deeds that only He knows about – be it sacrificing sleep for tahajjud, or going the extra mile beyond charity. These are the best-kept secrets.
Many of our pious predecessors worked hard to please Allahﷻ, but worked even harder to keep it a secret – like Zayn al-Abidin Ali ibn Husayn, who secretly fed the poor. No one was aware of Zayn’s secret deed until he passed away and they gave him a ghusl. The visible wounds on his back as a result of carrying sacks of food, become an indicator of his sincere sacrifice.
Mu’adh ibn Jabal reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said,
مَ اسْتَعِينُوا عَلَى إِنْجَاحِ الْحَوَائِجِ بِالْكِتْمَانِ فَإِنَّ كُلَّ ذِي نِعْمَةٍ مَحْسُودٌ
“Seek help in the fulfillment of your needs by being discreet, for everyone who is given a blessing will be envied.” (al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr)
Sincerity and sacrifice leads to the acceptance of our du’as, but it is not the only yardstick for our du’as to be accepted. Allahﷻ fulfills our needs through our pure dedication and true repentance to Him. Our living and dying must be for Allahﷻ alone – because we want to be bound in perpetuity with Him.
قُلۡ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحۡيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ
Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. (6:162)
Ibrahim AS was the embodiment of a sincere and devoted servant who strived hard in the straight path and sacrificed everything for his Master, and so, Allahﷻ ennobled him. When we confide in Allahﷻ, hold on to and honor Him through our servitude, He will honor us in this life and the next. We recognize this because Allah ﷻ revealed Ibrahim’s secrets to us.