بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

وَلَا تُفۡسِدُوۡا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ بَعۡدَ اِصۡلَاحِهَا وَادۡعُوۡهُ خَوۡفًا وَّطَمَعًا‌ ؕ اِنَّ رَحۡمَتَ اللّٰهِ قَرِيۡبٌ مِّنَ الۡمُحۡسِنِيۡنَ

And do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order. And supplicate to Him in fear and hope. Surely, the mercy of Allah is close to the good in deeds.

In the second verse (56), it was said: وَلَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَاحِهَا (And do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order). Two antonyms have appeared here: صَلَاح (salah) and: فَسَاد (fasad). ‘Salah’ means the state of being good, correct, right, proper or set in order as in the translation. Then, Fasad refers to the state of evil, corruption, mis¬chief, disorder. Imam Raghib al-Isfahan has said in his Mufradat al-Qur’an that Fasad refers to something going beyond the limits of mod¬eration, whether this crossing over is insignificant or enormous, and the measure of an increase or decrease in every Fasad depends on this crossing of the limits of moderation. The farther the limits are crossed, Fasad will increase. Fasad means to make things bad and Islah means to correct, reform or put into order. Therefore, the verse: وَلَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَاحِهَا means: ` do not make things bad on the earth after that Allah has made it good and proper.’ (For the detailed Tafseer of this part of the Aayat kindly refer to Maariful Quraan, we have included the Tafseer concerning Du’a’ below)

Therefore, included in the sense of the verse: لَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَاحِهَا (And do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order) are crimes and sins which cause disorder in the world physically and outwardly – and also included there are sin, disobedience, and heedlessness towards Allah Ta` ala. Immediately afte,r in this verse, it was said: وَادْعُوهُ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا (And supplicate to Him in fear and hope). It means that it should be done in a way that, on the one hand, one has the fear of the Du` a.’ remaining unanswered, while on the other hand, one has full hope tied to His mercy. These very twin attitudes of fear and hope are the two wings of the human soul on its journey with truth and fortitude. On these it flies high and through these it reaches superior ranks destined for it.

The balance between hope and fear

Then, as the text obviously shows, the degree of fear and hope should be equal. Some `Ulama have said that it is appropriate to keep fear dominate during life with health, so that there be no shortcoming in being obedient. And when comes the time to die, it is better to let hope dominate, because the strength to do what should have been done is not there anymore and there is nothing left to do except hope for the mercy of Allah Ta’ ala. (Al-Bahr Al-Muhit)

Another interpretation of hope and fear

And some researchers among scholars have said that the purpose is to hold on to the straight path of religion and be constant in obedience to Allah Ta` ala. Then, the temperaments and tastes of human beings differ. Some achieve this station of fortitude and constancy in obedience by keeping fear as the dominant factor. Others achieve these by keeping love and hope as dominating factors. So, whoever finds help’ to achieve this purpose through either of these two options, should try to achieve it through that option.

The physical etiquette of Du’a’

To summarize the comments made about Du` a’, it can be said that the first verse tells us about two rules of etiquette relating to Du’a’: (1) That it be with humility and submission, and (2) that it be secret and low-voiced. These two qualities belong to the outward human physique – because “tadarru”‘ suggests that one should, while making Du` a’, assume the looks and manners of someone weak, helpless and needy and should never allow it to be proud, arrogant or seemingly need-free. Then, that it be secret also relates to one’s speech through the mouth and tongue.

The spiritual etiquette of Du’a’

As for the spiritual etiquette of Du’a’ as given in this verse, there are two rules to be followed. These relate to the human heart. They require that the person making the Du`a’ should feel the danger in his heart that his Du’a’ may, perhaps, remain unanswered while, at the same time, he should also hope that his Du’a’ may be answered – because becoming careless about one’s errors and sins is contrary to ‘Iman (faith) and losing hope in the infinite mercy of Allah Ta` ala is Kufr (disbelief). Both are impermissible extremes. The hope that a prayer will be answered can be entertained only when one keeps in between the two states of fear and hope.

An incentive for hope

Then, at the end of the verse, it was said: إِنَّ رَ‌حْمَتَ اللَّـهِ قَرِ‌يبٌ مِّنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (Surely, the mercy of Allah is close to the good in deeds). The hint given here is that, though there should be the two states of fear and hope present while making a Du` a’, but, out of the two states, the option of hope is the weightier option – because the prayer is being made to the Lord of all the worlds the extent of Whose mercy cannot be conceived, and in whose generosity and favour there is no shortage or reluctance. He can answer the Du`a’ of the worst of offenders, even the Du’a’ of the Satan himself. Of course, should there be a danger of Du` a’ remaining unanswered, that could only be possible on account of one’s own misdeeds or due to the hanging curse of sins – because being good in deeds is necessary to become close to the mercy of Allah Ta` ala.

Ahaadeeth on Dua

Therefore, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has said that some people travel long distances, look like faqirs and raise their hands for Du` a’ before Allah Ta` ala, but حَرَام haram is their food and حَرَام haram is their drink and حَرَام haram is their dress. So, how can a Du` a’ made by such a person be answered? (Muslim, Tirmidhi from Sayyidna Abi Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu)

According to another Hadith, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: The prayer of a servant of Allah keeps finding acceptance until such time that he does not pray for some sin or for the severance of some relationship – and that he does not make haste. The noble Companion asked about the meaning of ` making haste.’ He said: It means that one may think – here I am making a Du` a’ for all this time and it has not been answered yet – until he becomes disappointed and stops making Du` a’. (Muslim, Tirmidhi)

According to yet another Hadith, the Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: Whenever you make Du` a’ before Allah Ta` ala, do it in a state when you have no doubt about its being answered.

It means that one should keep his or her sight on the most extensive mercy of Allah Ta’ ala and let the heart believe that the prayer be¬ing made shall be answered. This is not contrary to the danger one may feel that his or her sins may become an impediment in the acceptance of one’s Du` a’. صلی اللہ تعَالیٰ علی نَبِیِّنَا وسلم

[Maariful Quran 7:56]