Message of Islam to Humankind



Dr. Ahmad Shafaat (1983-84)



In life we often encounter situations when we direly need help of one sort or another. Many of us may right now be in such situations. For example, there may be some who have just arrived in the country and badly need a place under the sun - a job, an accommodation, a family and some friends. There may be others who are settled here for some time, but may have now become victims of the present economic circumstances and desperately need new opportunities. Some may have no economic difficulties but under social pressures from this society may be facing hard times.

Then there are situations that have nothing to do with social and economic circumstances. They arise suddenly and make us badly need help. For example, we are driving and our car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Or, we are traveling by air and at one of the airports on the way we loose our luggage, passport and money.

More than ever, in such situations a Muslim turns to God and asks Him to send some help. In our supplication we may use any suitable words to express our need, but the following Qur'anic prayer is strongly recommended and has been often found effective by many pious and saintly Muslims:

"O my Lord and Sustainer! I am truly in need of whatever good You may send down to me." (28:24) (Rabb-e inni lima anzalta ilayya min khayrin faqir)

This prayer was said by the prophet Moses, may peace be upon him, when he arrived in Madyan - a part of Sinai then inhabited by Arab tribes of the Amorite group. Chased by the oppressive police of the Pharaoh, the prophet Moses had traveled a long distance through the desert and had just arrived in an oasis. He found there a group of men watering their flocks while there stood two women holding their flocks back. The prophet Moses asked them, why they were not watering their flocks, to which they replied that they must wait until the men took back their flocks, for their father was a very old man and they themselves could not go among the shepherds. The prophet Moses went forward and watered the women's flocks for them. Afterwards he sat under the shade of a tree and reflected on his situation. He was sitting in a new country, tired and alone, without a family to console him, without friends to talk to and without a source of income to support himself. As he became vividly aware of his situation, he turned to his Lord and prayed in the words quoted above. the prayer was graciously accepted. The same day, one of the women whom he had helped by watering their flocks, returned to the oasis. On behalf of her father she invited the prophet Moses to visit her family. This invitation turned out to be a great opportunity for the prophet Moses whereby he was able gradually to acquire a job, a home, a family and, above all, an environment for further spiritual development.



Most of us fall sick at one time or another in our lifetime. Some of the illnesses that afflict us only cause minor discomfort but others bring considerable pain and suffering. Some are temporary while others are chronic. For all kinds of serious illnesses, the following Qur'anic prayer is recommended:

"O my Lord, Distress has seized me, but You are the most merciful of those who have mercy." (21:83)

This is the prayer of Hadhrat Ayyub (or Job), an ancient prophet of North Arabian origin. Ayyub was a happy, prosperous man when a number of calamities began to afflict him. His property was taken away by his enemies and his servants were put to the sword. His children died in an accident and he himself fell victim to a disease that covered him with loathsome sores from head to foot. At times his affliction temporarily made him loose his peace of mind and he even cursed the day he was born but deep down in this soul he always held on to the hope and faith in God and kept praying in the spirit of the words quoted above from the Holy Qur'an. As a result, the Merciful God

"listened to him and removed from him all the distress from which he suffered and gave him new offspring, doubling their number, as an act of grace and as a reminder unto all the servants (of God)." (21:84)

Ayyub wrote a long poem depicting the story of his life which was later translated into Hebrew and included in the Old Testament(1), possibly after having undergone many changes.



It is important to recite the prayer of Hadhrat Ayyub in the right mood and state of mind. In times of illness or other distress most people pass through moods of anger and frustration when they may be inclined to curse and yell. Even Prophet Ayyub passed through such moods. But in case of believers such moods are of a very transient nature and are no part of their basic character which is built on steadfast faith and forbearing patience. But whatever the state of faith, most people also pass through moods when they feel mellowed and wiling to bow before Someone and beg for His help and be recipient to it. It is in this type of mood that the recommended prayer should be recited in the original Arabic language. The prayer should be recited three times or until its meaning, mood and rhythm sinks into the heart. If recited according to this instruction, the effect of the prayer will Inshah Allah prove to be miraculous.


(1)Because of the fact that the Book of Job is found in the Old Testament, we may be inclined to think that Job or Ayyub was a Jew. But as Phillip K. Hitti points out in History of the Arabs (London, 1937, 99. 42-43) "Job, the author of the finest piece of poetry in the ancient Semitic world, was an Arab, not a Jew, as the form of his name (Iyyob) and the scene of his book, North Arabia , indicate. However, it's the spiritual lessons that can be drawn from him that are of the utmost importance.


First published in Al-Ummah, Montreal, Canada in 1983-84. Copyright Dr. Ahmad Shafaat. The article may be reproduced for Da'wah purpose with proper references.

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