A Prayer: When My Heart Becomes Constricted



“The one who is drawn near is the one who knows Him.”

These are the words of Shaykh Abu Madyan al-Ghawth of al-Andalus, a great teacher and guide of his time. His literary contributions of poetry and prose were many, including this beautiful du’a (prayer), which he wrote almost 1000 years ago.

What touches my heart most of his prayer – so full of humility, hope and encouragement – is the intimacy with which he speaks to his Lord: his feeling of nearness to Him and his absolute certainty that He would never fail him. May Allah guide us all to such closeness and familiarity with Him.

إِذَا ضَاقَ صَدْرِيْ شَكَوْتُ إِلَى اللهْ
وَ نَرْجِعْ لِصَبْرِيْ وَ نَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهْ
وَ إِنْ حَارَ أَمْرِيْ فِيْمَا قَدَّرَ اللهْ
شَكَوْتُ بِدَائِيْ أَنْ يَرْحَمْ بُكَائِيْ وَ حَاشَا وَ كَلاَّ تُخَيِّبْ رَجَائِيْ

When my heart (sadr) becomes constricted,
I complain to Allah.
Then I return to patience,
Seeking His forgiveness.
When my affair becomes heated,
Concerning what Allah has decreed,
I complain about my suffering, hoping that He will be merciful towards my cry.
Indeed, You will not disappoint my hope.

إِذَا يُقْبِلُ اللَّيْلْ نَفْتَكِرْ عُيُوْبِيْ
جَرَى دَمْعِيْ كَالسَّيْلْ يُمَرِّغْ شُيُوْبِيْ
وَ أُنَادِيْ بِالْوَيْلْ آهٍ يَا ذُنُوْبِيْ
مَرَّ الْعُمْرُ وَ وَلَّى وَ أَنَا فِيْ عَمَائِيْ وَ حَاشَا وَ كَلاَّ تُخَيِّبْ رَجَائِيْ

When the night approaches,
I contemplate my shortcomings.
My tears flow like a torrent,
Dampening my beard.
I call out, wailing,
Oh what a pity, my sins!
My time has passed, yet I am still blind.
Indeed, You will not disappoint my hope.

أَنَا يَا حَبِيْبِيْ فِيْ فِعْلِيْ مُقَصِّرْ
قَهَرْنِيْ طَبِيْبِيْ وَ فِيَّ مَا يُنْكَرْ
وَ لكِنْ حَبِيْبِيْ عَلَيَّ سَيَسْتُرْ
عَلَى كُلِّ زَلَّةْ رَخَيْتُ رِدَائِيْ وَ حَاشَا وَ كَلاَّ تُخَيِّبْ رَجَائِيْ

Here I am, oh my Beloved,
With my deficient actions.
My tabib (physician) has treated me sternly,
Concerning that which he dislikes.
In spite of this, my Beloved,
Will conceal,
All my mistakes and loosen my attire (of sins).
Indeed, You will not disappoint my hope.

حَيَاتِيْ مَا نَطْمَعْ وَ مَوْتِيْ مَا نَخْتَارْ
مَا نَدْرِيْ مَا نَصْنَعْ بَاشْ نَنَالْ ذِيْكَ الدَّارْ
وَ لكِنِّيْ نَطْمَعْ فِيْ عَالَمِ الأَسْرَارْ
مَنْ لِلْخَيْرِ أَهْلاً جَعَلْتُ حِمَائِيْ وَ حَاشَا وَ كَلاَّ تُخَيِّبْ رَجَائِيْ

My life, I didn’t wish for,
My death, I didn’t choose.
I don’t know what I have done,
So, how can I hope to attain Your abode?
What I really want,
Is the realm of secrets,
Of those who do goodness, I make them my protection, my shield.
Indeed, You will not disappoint my hope.

حَبِيْبِيْ مُحَمَّدْ يَا خَيْرَ الْبَرِيَّهْ
مَوْرِدَ الْعَبِيْدِ شَرَابًا زَكِيًّا
مِنَ الْحَوْضِ نَوْرِدْ نُدَاوِيْ مَا بِيَا
مِنَ الشَّهْدِ أَحْلاَ وَ فِيْهَا شِفَائِيْ وَ حَاشَا وَ كَلاَّ تُخَيِّبْ رَجَائِيْ

My beloved Muhammad,
Oh, best of creation,
The well-spring of His slaves,
A pure drink.
I hope that I can arrive at al-Haud (fountainhead of the Prophet),
To cure what ails me,
Al-Haud, which is sweeter than honey and contains my cure,
Indeed, You will not disappoint my hope.

يَا حَنَّاشُ اِجْهَدْ وَ زِدْ فِي امْتِدَاحِكْ
بِالْهَادِي الْمُمَجَّدْ يَطِيْبُ إِنْشَادُكْ
كَيْ تَرْبَحْ وَ تَسْعَدْ لَيْلَكْ مَعْ صَبَاحِكْ
آهٍ يَا مَنْ تَجَلَّى اِقْبَلْ دُعَائِيْ وَ حَاشَا وَ كَلاَّ تُخَيِّبْ رَجَائِيْ

Oh my friend, struggle earnestly,
And increase your praises.
With the help of al-Hadi al-Mumajjad (The Praiseworthy Guide – The Prophet),
Your singing of praises will become better,
So that you will increase with joy,
Your night and day.
Oh! Manifested One, accept my du’a (prayer).
Indeed, You will not disappoint my hope.


Living Islam, alone with our Lord in prayer, we pour out our hearts in humility and hope. Is there a special prayer that has inspired you and given you strength? Please share it in the spirit of inspiring another…

Thank you.

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