Praying against others?
Maulana Abu Rajab Muhammad Asif ‘Attari Madani
(Islamic scholar, Rukn-e-Majlis Al-Madinah-tul-Ilmiyyah Islamic Research Centre, Karachi)
Sayyiduna Ma’roof Karkhi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه was once walking along the banks of the Tigris with a few companions when they came across a group of people drinking alcohol and dancing. His companions cried, ‘Pray that Allah Almighty destroys them.’ He raised his hands and implored, ‘My Lord, as they are happy and enjoying their life in this world, grant them happiness in the Hereafter.’ Surprised, they asked, ‘What is the secret behind this supplication; we do not understand.’ He responded, ‘The One I prayed to knows the secret.’ Soon, the partying people threw away their drinks, came to Sayyiduna Ma’roof Karkhi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, repented, and became his disciples. Turning to his companions, he remarked, ‘Can you see how our goal was achieved without any pain or destruction being inflicted on anyone,’ (Tazkirah Awliya, vol. 1, p. 242, selected).
Making Du’a and supplicating to Allah Almighty is a divine gift through which believers can fulfil their needs without much effort. Allah Almighty has assured us that He will accept our supplications:
ادْعُوْنِیْۤ اَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْؕ-
Supplicate to Me, I will accept (it)
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 24, Surah Al-Mu’min, Verse 60)
Two types of supplication
We either pray to Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ for ourselves and others, seeking something, or we pray against others, hoping something terrible will befall them and this latter type is called cursing. Both types are mentioned in the Holy Quran:
وَ یَدْعُ الْاِنْسَانُ بِالشَّرِّ دُعَآءَهٗ بِالْخَیْرِؕ-وَ كَانَ الْاِنْسَانُ عَجُوْلًا(۱۱)
And (sometimes) man prays for evil just as he seeks goodness, and man is very hasty.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 15, Surah Bani Israa’eel, Verse 11)
Anger can drive a person to curse themselves, their family, their offspring, or their wealth. If Allah Almighty were to accept this supplication, the person or his family and wealth would be destroyed, but as divine grace would have it, He does not accept it. (Khaza’in-ul-Irfan, p. 527)
Supplicating against ourselves
The Final Prophet of Allah Almighty صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم prohibited people from supplicating against themselves and others: ‘Do not curse yourself, do not curse your children, and do not curse your property, lest it is the time of acceptance in which Allah Almighty accepts the supplication that is made to Him,’ (Muslim, p. 1226, Hadith 3009).
Supplicating against others
Sayyiduna Sa’eed Bin Jubayr رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه owned a cockerel which would crow at night, alerting him to wake up and pray Salah. One night, his missed the Salah because the cockerel did not crow. Saddened by the situation, he supplicated, ‘May Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ take away its voice.’ Since then, the bird was never heard crowing again. His mother admonished him, ‘Dear son, do not supplicate against anyone again,’ (Hilya-tul-Awliya, vol. 4, p. 303).
Why supplicate against others?
Islam teaches us that Muslims are one body; when one part is in pain, the whole body feels it. Yet, believers do supplicate against fellow believers. A cursory look into this problem reveals that it is anger, jealousy, malice, and enmity which push people to cursing one another, forgetting the spiritual bond that they share as Muslims.
Supplicating against a non-believer
If you strongly believe or are almost certain about a non-believer not embracing Iman and about his existence causing harm to Islam, then it is right to supplicate against such a person (pray for his death). (Fadaail-e-Du’a, p. 187)
Supplicating against a Muslim
There are several possible cases for this:
1. If a Sunni Muslim is not a tyrant, you should not supplicate against him. Instead, pray for his or her guidance. Otherwise, you may pray against him if he is causing harm to Muslims. (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 23, p. 182)
2. One should not make the following supplication against a Muslim: ‘May the wrath of Allah Almighty be upon him.’ The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has prohibited this. (Fadaail-e-Du’a, p. 203)
3. When there is no hope of a tyrant repenting or ceasing his evil, then praying against a person like this is valid. (Fadaail-e-Du’a, p. 187)
4. The one who supplicates against an oppressor has taken his revenge. Hence, the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated: ‘مَنْ دَعَا عَلٰی مَنْ ظَلَمَه، فَقَدْاِنْتَصَرَ’ ‘The one who supplicates against his oppressor, he has taken his revenge.’ (Tirmizi, vol. 5, p. 324, Hadith 3563)
5. Tyrannised and oppressed people should supplicate against their oppressor in proportion to the harm he has inflicted. If the victims choose to exercise patience instead, this is better for them.
Stopped from supplicating against a thief
Sayyiduna Rabi’ Bin Khaysam رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه was offering Salah when someone stole his expensive horse. Unworried by the incident, he continued with his Salah. Some people came to console him, but he replied ‘I saw him untie the rope of my horse.’ They said, ‘Why did you not chase him off?’ He answered, ‘I was busy with something dearer to me than the horse.’ The people began supplicating against the thief, but he stopped them: ‘Do not supplicate against him but rather speak positively because I am letting him keep the horse as a gift from me,’ (Ihya-ul-‘Uloom, vol. 4, p. 349).
6. If one is supplicating against an oppressor then s/he should not include the oppressor’s family unless they are responsible or involved in the oppression.
Seek refuge from the supplication of the oppressed
We should pray to Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ that He does not make us tyrants. And we should be wary of supplications made by oppressed people, as the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said, ‘Seek refuge from the supplication of the oppressed because he seeks his right from Allah Almighty, and Allah Almighty does not deny anyone their rights,’ (Kanz-ul-Ummal, vol. 2, p. 200, Hadith 7594).
He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم also said, ‘The supplication of an oppressed person is accepted, even if he is an open sinner,’ (Attargheeb Wattarheeb, vol. 3, p. 130, Hadith 18).
The stomach of an oppressor ruptured
Sayyiduna ‘Abdul Muttalib Bin Raabi’ah Bin Haaris رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه said: During the Age of Ignorance, a man from Bani Kinanah would oppress his uncle’s son. He would plead with him for the sake of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and his relation to him, but he would continue to oppress him. The boy entered the Haram and supplicated, ‘Allah Almighty! I beseech you as a helpless man. Inflict an incurable disease upon my uncle’s son.’ When the boy returned, his uncle’s son was inflicted with a disease of the stomach; it expanded like a water-skin and exploded. (Durr-e-Mansoor, vol. 1, p. 302)
May Allah Almighty give us the ability to receive and give virtuous supplications!
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم