The Dawa ‘l-Waswas, (The Cure of Satanic Whispering) was composed by ShaykhAbdullahi ibn Fuduye’ (Fodio), who was the brother of Sheykhu Uthman ibn Fuduye’. Shaykh Abdullahi was the chief military commander of the armies of Sokoto and the Amir of Gwandu, the western region of the Caliphate. The text was composed when the Shaykh was actively involved in the jihad against the Habe’ authorities of Hausaland. Although the text is concise, yet it establishes the key role that prayer plays in the spiritual Path of the servant. Shaykh Abdullahi utilizes the text as a commentary upon that enthralling prophetic tradition where the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said: “The prayer is the ascension of the believer.” This means that through the correct performance of the prayer, the believer can experience the intoxicating event of the Night Journey (Israa) and Ascension (Mi`raaj) of the Best of creation, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The prayer, thus in the opinion of Shaykh Abdullahi is the essence of the Spiritual Path and is the secret of the prophetic tradition: “The prayer is the support of the religion.”
The Cure For Satanic Whispering
Shaykh Abdullahi ibn Muhammad Fodio’
The Cure for Satanic Whispering
In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful. May Allah send His blessings upon the generous Prophet.
Says the poorest slave in great need of the mercy of his Generous Lord – Abdullahi ibn Muhammad: All praises are due to Allah the Lord of the worlds and blessing and peace be upon the master of the Messengers and upon his family and all his Companions.
To continue: This is the book called
The Cure for Whispering and Heedlessness in the Prayer, Recitation of Quran and Supplication
I charge you, O brethren, with refraining all your thoughts from Satanic whispering and heedlessness, especially during the prayer – which is the locus of intimate conversation with your Lord. The cure for that, by Allah’s help, is that your hearts should be preoccupied during each expression you recite during the prayer, whether during recitation of the Quran or elsewhere – with comprehension of its meanings, reflection, fear and being cognizant of the watchful gaze of Allah and His intimate conversation with you. To this end we have divided this book into three sections.
On the Explanation of the Favors of Allah for Those Who make Strenuous Effort of Avoiding Heedlessness in the Prayer
Realize, that Allah has made the obligation of prayer the most important obligation after belief (al-imaan). It has reached us in a Prophetic tradition,
“The first thing which will be examined on the Day of Standing from the deeds of a person, will be the prayer. If he did it the way he was commanded, it will be accepted from him and the remainder of his actions will be accepted as well. If not, then it will be rejected and the remainder of his actions will be rejected.”
It must be noted that whenever Allah mentions the prayer, He always mentions the prerequisite of establishing it. This includes performing the prayers during its proper times along with all the other prerequisites of the prayer. Among the most important prerequisites of the prayer is the presence of the heart with Allah where the heart is not preoccupied with anything of the affairs of this world. Whoever takes his prayer as a mere custom, performing its outward aspects only, without the presence of the heart will not obtain the rewards and blessings of the prayer.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
“The prayer is to the deen like the head is to the body. Whoever has no head has no subsistence. Likewise, whoever has no prayer has no deen.” One of the wise once said, “Whoever prays while being heedless of his prayer is like someone who gave a dead slave girl as a gift to the king.”
Among the excellence of prayer is that it is included among the principles of Islam. These principles include those, which are obligatory only once, in a lifetime: like the pronunciation of the shahaadatayn and the performance of pilgrimage. There are also those, which are obligatory to perform once a year: like the fast of Ramadan and the giving of the obligatory alms. On the other hand, the prayer is an obligation, which must be performed five times throughout each night and day.
Among the excellence of prayer is that Allah has gathered in it every variety of worship for our benefit. Included within the prayer are the following:
- the remembrance of Allah (dhikrullahi);
- recitation of the Book of Allah;
- supplication to Allah;
- glorification of Allah;
- praising Allah;
- extolling Allah;
- magnifying Allah’s greatness;
- avoidance of speech devoid of the remembrance of Allah;
- intimacy with Allah;
- rejection of all besides Allah; and
- struggling against Satan.
In addition to these are:
- avoiding eating and drinking during the prayer, making it equivalent to fasting.
- Facing the direction of the sacred House of Allah making it equivalent to the pilgrimage.
- Making supplication for the Muslims in the prayer making it equivalent to giving alms.
All these distinctions that Allah has gathered in the prayer are in addition to the fear and humility which are essential during every bowing, prostration, standing, sitting and intimate conversation with Allah.
Among the excellence of prayer is that the one who prays obtains a share of the spiritual states of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, which he received during his heavenly ascent from Mecca to Jerusalem and from there to the Highest Abode. Consequently, the purification and preparation for standing before Allah is a share of the expansion of the breast of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, by purifying him when He desired for him to make the ascension. The walking to the places of worship is like the night journey of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace from Macca to the Holy Sanctuary in Jerusalem. The two rak`ats in greeting the places of worship is like the two rak`ats which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace prayed at the Holy Sanctuary with all the Prophets and Messengers. The expelling from the heart and the consciousness all worldly preoccupation during the prayer and adhering to intimate conversation with the Lord is like the transmigration of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace from the terrestrial world to the world of the unseen kingdoms. What the person praying sees during his prayer of illumination and divine secrets is a share of what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace witnessed from the divine wonders of the celestial worlds. The attachment of the heart with his Lord during prayer is a share from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace not becoming captivated by what he witnessed from the divine wonders of the celestial worlds.
The standing of the person who prays, his sitting, bowing and prostration are all apart of the share of what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace saw of the worshipping of the Angels during his ascent through the celestial worlds. Some of the Angels were in a perpetual state of standing being unable to bow down. Some were in a perpetual state bowing in ruk`u being unable to rise from it. Some were in a perpetual state of prostration being unable to sit. Some were in a perpetual state of sitting being unable to stand. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, then hoped that his umma would possess the same states by which to worship Allah. As a result Allah ta`ala gathered together these different states into one single act of worship – which is the Muslim prayer.
At the point when the person praying makes the initial takbir up until the point of the middle sitting is a share of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, being taken up from the unseen kingdoms to the kingdom of Might and Majesty. The sitting of the person praying and making the tashahhud is a share of the return of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace from the presence of Allah back to mankind.
Whoever has realized what we have mentioned should stop with it in all humility and glorification of Allah. It is incumbent upon him to esteem the prayer with the greatest of esteem. He should recite Quran in his prayer in a measured fashion. He should bow down with tranquility. He should rise up from it with calmness. He should go down with humility and prostrate with fear. He should sit with humbleness and make the tashahhud with courtesy. Finally, he should say the salaam having a good opinion of Allah that He has accepted his worship.
On the Methodology of Being Present With Allah During the Prayer
It is incumbent for the one performing his purification that his heart remains attentive that he is preparing to enter the presence of the King to whom all worldly kings yield and surrender. At this time he should make intention to purify his heart from every unnecessary thing. When he then hears the call to prayer, he should leave off every preoccupation and head directly for the place of worship. When he stands for the prayer he should remove every worldly occupation from his heart. He should then face the qibla with the intention of following the commands of Allah by turning completely towards His worship. He should then make the takbir intending to perform the specific prayer. This intention should be made while raising one’s hands and while bringing them down. When he does this he should intend to cast off all worldly affairs.
He should then praise Allah by his saying, “All praises are due to Allah”, with all the praises of all created beings which praise Him. He then says, “The Lord of the worlds”, the Lord of the their existence, their number and their modes of being. He is the One responsible for the completion and sustaining of all things. He then says, “The Universally Compassionate, the Individually Merciful”, with all the varieties of His worldly blessings and the blessings He provides in the Hereafter. The person praying should be cognizant of all the favors that he should be grateful. He then says, “The King of the Day of Requital”, meaning the day of reward. He should be conscious in his heart of the terrors and conditions of the Day of Reckoning.
He then confirms Allah and acknowledges his complete slave-ness to Him by his word, “It is You”, alone, “that we worship”. He says this negating all partners to Allah. Then he acknowledges his own impotence and inability to worship Allah without His divine assistance, making sincere supplication to Him by his words, “and it is from You we seek help”. That is we seek Your help in being upright in our prayers and elsewhere with truthfulness and sincerity.
He then seeks the desired assistance from Allah to be eternal until the final meeting with Him by his words, “Guide us to the straight path”. This means establish us firmly upon the path of belief (imaan), surrender (islaam) and spiritual excellence (ihsaan). For this path is “The path of those whom You have blessed”, from among the Prophets, the champions of Truth, the martyrs and the righteous. They are those who are, “Not of those who have incurred anger”, among the Jews and their like. “Nor those who are astray”, from among the Christians and their like. When he says this, the recording Angels say, “Ameen”, which means ‘Answer his prayer O Lord.’ It for this reason he should say “Ameen” in conjunction with the Angels’ ‘ameen’ in order for his prayers to be answered as it has been related in the prophetic traditions. This is in the case if he were not the imam of the prayer. However, if he was the imam, then the sunna is that those who follow him act as his representative in saying “Ameen”.
He should recite the extra chapter of the Quran. He should make his heart aware that his Lord is conversing with him with what is in the chapter from commands, prohibitions, promises, threats, good news and warnings. He should make an oath with his Lord in the beginning that he would follow His commands, avoid His prohibitions, be thankful for His good news, seek forgiveness from His warnings and be attentive to His parables. For he should be fearful of what Allah did with those who were destroyed and seek refuge with Him from their condition. He should also hope for the bounty of those whom Allah was bountiful towards from among those who achieved success.
When he moves into the bowing he should increase in submissiveness and humility being cognizant in his heart that his Lord has given him permission to enter His majestic presence. He makes the takbir as he moves down being aware that Allah is greater than every esteemed thing. When he is in bowing he glorifies his Allah by his saying, “Glory be to my Lord the Mighty and with His praises”, or the like.
He then rises from the bowing being cognizant in his heart that Allah accepts the praises of those who extol Him by his saying, “Allah listens to those who praise Him”. He then follows that with his words, “O Allah! our Lord to You is the praise”.
He then goes down into prostration being cognizant in the heart that his Lord has increased in nearness to him. While in prostration he should ask his Lord for whatever he wills. However, it is incumbent upon him before asking for his needs, to first seek the nearness and pleasure of Allah in the inner core of his heart. He should also seek forgiveness by saying, “Glory be to You, my Lord, and verily I have been greatly unjust to myself”. Or he says, “I have done evil, therefore forgive me”. He should perform the remainder of the rak`at in the same manner as we have mentioned.
When he sits for the tashahhud he should be cognizant in his heart that he is sitting before the very presence of Allah and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He then extols Allah first by saying, “Greetings are for Allah”, meaning by that glorification. He then says, “purification is for Allah”, meaning all outward attributes of perfection and all excellent words and actions. This further explained by his words, “Excellent prayers are for Allah”. This is because the prayer comprises words and actions. He thus associates all greetings, pure words and deeds in the prayer to Allah alone out of honor and esteem for Him.
He then extols the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, by his words, “Peace be upon you”, meaning that the highest esteem of Allah be upon you. “O Prophet and the mercy of Allah and His blessings”. He then seeks forgiveness and protection for all the Muslims by his words, “Peace be upon us and upon the righteous slaves of Allah”. He then bears witness to the unity and oneness of Allah and to the messenger-ship of the Messenger, being cognizant in his heart of the profound meaning of his words when he says, “I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah, the One without partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger”.
He should perform every additional act of prayer in the same manner in which we have mentioned. When he desires to leave the presence of intimate conversation with his Lord and to return to the presence of mankind, he gives them the good news of safety and pardon by his words, “Peace be upon you”. This is because the One who gives you peace has in effect given you safety from what you fear from him.
He should then pay close attention to the deep meanings of the remembrance and supplication that have been established at the end of the prayers. When he has recited these and has avoided heedlessness and absent-mindedness to the best of his ability; he should do his best in struggling against the nafs and his shaytaan, even if only for forty days. Then his heart will become accustomed to that and all satanic whispering will depart from him by means of the bounty of Allah and His divine assistance. That is if he is truthful and sincere. Allah ta`ala says, “Those who struggle in Our way, We will guide him down Our paths. Truly Allah is with the people of excellence”
Those who are among the common Muslims and is non-Arabic, not knowing the meanings of what he recites in the prayer, should make strenuous effort after purification in reflecting on the meanings of each expression he recites. He should strive to banish from himself all heedlessness and become accustomed to that until he has done his best. Along with that he should make effort in questioning the scholars about the meanings of what he recites in the prayer. He should do this little by little until he eventually grasps and understands what Allah has decreed for him to know. This is because seeking knowledge of what we have mentioned and making strenuous effort in acting according to it – is obligatory upon every Muslim. May Allah give us success at arriving at the truth.
On the Correct Courtesy of Recitation of the Quran and An Explanation of The Merits of Reciting the Quran
It is incumbent upon the one reciting the Quran that he be in a state of purity and as far as possible the place where he recites should be clean. This should be out of esteem for the speech of Allah. His mouth and his tongue should be clean. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said,
“Clean your mouths, for verily they are the regions of the assembly of the Angels and the paths of the Quran.”
Allah ta`ala says,
“Mankind does not make any expression from words except that there is Raqeeb and `Ateed recording it.”
One of the protected friends of Allah once said, “There comes out of from the mouth of the one reciting of the Quran a light like the rays of a lamp spreading out to his right and left. For this reason when the one reciting commences his recitation an Angel places his mouth upon the mouth of the one reciting as a repository for the light of the Quran, so that the light of the Quran does not dissipate in the air. Among the correct courtesies of reciting the Quran is to recite in a measured fashion, trying to comprehend its meanings. He should also be among those who listen, pay close attention and are fearful of Allah. It has been said, “How many there are who recite the Book of Allah being unmindful of Allah, forever making other people mindful of Allah.” We seek refuge with Allah from that.
There are many correct courtesies in reciting the Quran. However, what we have mentioned is sufficient for he whom Allah has illumined his inner vision. That which we have mentioned in this book and its like is beneficial knowledge. For, if you find in your heart resolution and enthusiasm for this knowledge, then make strenuous effort in obtaining it. For it is a proof of the success of Allah for you. However, if you find that your enthusiasm and resolve for this knowledge has abated and you are content to remain in a state of heedlessness and under the whispering of Satan, then it is a proof of your loss.
We ask Allah the Mighty by His the rank of His generous Prophet, upon him be the best blessings and most perfect peace, that He make our resolution and enthusiasm connected to the affairs of our deen. And that He makes us to behave in accordance with the customs of His righteous protected friends. We ask that He cuts us off from all connections besides Him and that He make the goal of all our desires be His generous face by the rank of His generous Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
The compiler of this book says to the weak among Muslims, who have become effeminate – Allah has facilitated us to complete this book on Friday, the thirteenth of Allah’s month, Muharram in the year mubashiru or musharibu (مُبَشِرُ or مُشَرِبُ ) from the Prophet’s emigration, upon him be the best blessings and most perfect peace. And the last of our supplication is; “All praises are due to Allah the Lord of the worlds.”