Prayer of Forgiveness by Hasan al-Basri

April 22, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

O Allah, I seek your forgiveness for every sin for which I presented my repentance before You; and regarding which I stood before You swearing an oath in Your name and called Your friends from among Your servants to be my witnesses – that I would never return to disobeying You.

But when Satan with his cunning tempted me to return to it; and Your forsaking me [due to Your anger over my impiety] caused me to [despairingly] waver toward it; and my lower self invited me to disobey You once more; I hid myself in shame from Your servants, but openly and daringly committed sins before You, though I knew full well that no covering nor any closed door could conceal me from You and no veil could hide me from Your sight.

I still defied You by disobediently doing what You had prohibited to me; but [despite my iniquity], You did not remove Your covering from me, but rather treated me equal to Your pious servants, as though I had always been an obedient servant and swift to fulfill Your every command and fearful of Your warnings.

I remained obscure in front of Your servants, and none besides You knew my secret. You did not single me out from Your servants with a mark of disgrace, but instead showered upon me blessings like theirs; and with this You distinguished me over them as though I were, in Your sight, of a status like theirs. All this was owing only of Your forbearance and abundant blessings – generous grace from You to me. For You then, O my Lord, belongs all praise.

I ask from You, O Allah, just as You have covered my evil deeds in this world, that You do not humiliate me with them on the Day of Judgment. Forgive my sins, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”

- One of the most eloquent of the seventy prayers in the book Prayers for Forgiveness by Hasan al-Basri

Ya Haqq!


Pronunciation

August 23, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is related that Habib Ajmi, a Sufi acquaintance of Hasan al-Basri, mispronounced a word during prayer, which caused Hasan al-Basri to move away from him and pray separately.

But in a dream that night, God told Hasan al-Basri, “Your prayer would have earned you Divine approval, and that single prayer would have equaled all the prayers you have said in your life, if you had remained in prayer with Habib Ajmi. You were disapproving of his pronunciation but ignored the purity of his heart. A contrite heart is more valuable than exact pronunciation.”

Hasan al-Basri then asked Habib Ajmi how the latter had achieved his high spiritual rank, and Habib Ajmi replied, “Brightening the heart through prayer is better than darkening paper with writing.”

- Adapted from the forthcoming book, The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony, by Stephen Schwartz.

Ya Haqq!


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