إِذَا كَانَتْ لَكَ إِلَى اللهِ سُبْحَانَهُ حَاجَةٌ فَابْدَأْ بِمَسْأَلَةِ الصَّلاَةِ عَلَى النَّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وآله ، ثُمَّ سَلْ حَاجَتَكَ، فَإِنَّ اللهَ أَكْرَمُ مِنْ أَنْ يُسْأَلَ حَاجَتَيْنِ فَيَقْضِيَ إِحْدَاهُمَا وَيَمْنَعَ الاْخْرَى۔
If you have a need from Allah, the Glorified, then begin by seeking Allah's blessing on His Messenger, may Allah bless him and his descendants, then ask your need, because Allah is too generous to accept one (seeking His blessing on His Messenger) of the two requests made to Him and deny the other.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #361)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound hadith, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises us on the proper etiquette of supplication to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). He instructs us that when we have a need or desire from Allah, we should begin by seeking His blessings upon His Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). This act of sending blessings upon the Prophet (ﷺ) is known as Salawat. It is a way of showing respect, love, and gratitude to the Prophet (ﷺ) and seeking his intercession with Allah.
The word (hajah) "حَاجَةٌ" in the hadith refers to a need, want, or desire that a person seeks from Allah. It could be anything that one desires or requires in their life, whether it is related to their worldly affairs or their spiritual well-being. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises us to begin our supplication by sending blessings upon the Prophet (ﷺ) before presenting our needs to Allah.
This instruction of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is in line with the teachings of the Quran. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) commands the believers to send blessings upon the Prophet (ﷺ) in Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 56:
Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.
By sending blessings upon the Prophet (ﷺ) before making our supplication, we are following the command of Allah and seeking His pleasure. It is a way of acknowledging the status and honor of the Prophet (ﷺ) and recognizing his intercession with Allah. This act of sending blessings upon the Prophet (ﷺ) also serves as a means of purifying our hearts and increasing our love for him.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further explains that Allah is too generous to accept one of the two requests made to Him and deny the other. This highlights the immense generosity and kindness of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). When we send blessings upon the Prophet (ﷺ) and then present our needs to Allah, we can be assured that Allah will not reject our supplication. He will either grant our request or replace it with something better for us.
This concept is beautifully illustrated in the Quran in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 186:
And when My servants ask you concerning Me, indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.
Allah assures us that He is near and responsive to the supplications of His servants. When we follow the guidance of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and begin our supplication by sending blessings upon the Prophet (ﷺ), we are demonstrating our obedience and belief in Allah, and we can be confident that our prayers will be answered.
In conclusion, this hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us the proper etiquette of supplication to Allah. By sending blessings upon the Prophet (ﷺ) before presenting our needs to Allah, we are following the guidance of the Quran and seeking the intercession of the Prophet (ﷺ). We are also acknowledging the generosity of Allah and trusting in His response to our supplications. May Allah accept our prayers and grant us the ability to always seek His blessings upon His beloved Prophet (ﷺ).
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