In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, and upon his pure household, and may God curse all their enemies
Ubaidullah ibn Wali al-Sa’fi quotes Imam Sadiq (greetings be upon him) as saying, “There are three things which shield one from any harm: praying in times of difficulty, asking God for forgiveness when committing a sin and thanking Him when benefitting from His blessings.” [Amali al-Tusi, Chapter 7, page 204]
“There are three things which shield one from any harm”
Imam Sadiq (greetings be upon him) said that if we have these three qualities, then we will not have any worries about various worldly and otherworldly incidents. This does not mean that no incident will occur, rather it means that you will have immunity against the possible detriments of such incidents. If you observe these things, that is what you will gain.
“Praying in times of difficulty”
First of all, when a bitter incident – the Arabic word “kurbah” means a difficulty, a bitter incident – occurs to you, you should seek shelter with God and pray to Him. You should pray and supplicate. There is an ayah in the Quran which says, “When the suffering reached them from us, why then did they not learn humility?” [6: 43]. When an incident occurs, we must seek shelter before God and pray. Praying is not in contrast to adopting all the necessary measures that a wise and intelligent person must adopt. However, praying is necessary as well.
When things became difficult, the Holy Prophet would raise his hands in the middle of wars and he would weep and ask God to help him. If we people decide to supplicate to Allah the Exalted amid a difficult incident, we feel ashamed of the people around us who are watching! It seems as though we found praying and supplication a sign of acknowledging our weakness in the face of that incident. For example, if arrogance hatches a plot, we think that we should clench our fists and chant epic slogans and the like, but that saying “God, help me” should not be uttered in any way. This is how we think, but in the middle of wars while the enemy had attacked him from all sides and big events were about to happen, the Holy Prophet would supplicate, weep and pray to Allah the Exalted.
Of course, he would fight and adopt wise measures as well. He would deploy his forces in the best way possible. It was the same during the Sacred Defense Era as well. In that arena too, in the face of big difficulties and hardships, our youth would seek the favor of God and they would seek intercession with the infallible Imams (greetings be upon them). And Allah the Exalted would show them an opening. Therefore, the first quality is praying in times of difficulties and hardships.
“Asking God for forgiveness when committing a sin”
The second one is repenting when you commit a sin. Our days and nights are afflicted with the small and big sins that we commit. We are aware of some and unaware of the others. It has become a routine for us! When we become aware of the sins that we commit, we should repent to God at once and repentance is not confined to saying, “I repent to God and turn to Him.” We should really ask for His forgiveness. Repentance means apologizing to God. It means saying from the bottom of our hearts, “God, I apologize to You.” This is repentance.
This helps eliminate the obstacles preventing our prayers from being transferred and then answered. It helps eliminate the obstacles preventing supplication. This is the characteristic of repentance: “Oh God, forgive me for the sins that rip off the veil of modesty and shame, that send down Your punishment unto me, that transform the nature of blessings and that lockdown prayers” [from Dua Kumayl]. So, repentance is the second task that help us feel calm about the possible detriments of incidents.
“And thanking Him when benefitting from His blessings”
The third one is thanking Allah the Exalted for every blessing that He bestows on us: “If you are grateful, I will add more favors unto you” [The Holy Quran, 14: 7]. Being grateful helps increase the blessings. There is a narration which says that whenever you remember a blessing – not only the blessing that you have at that moment but also previous blessings – you should fall prostrate and say, “All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.” [In the narration it says that] if you are riding a horse and you cannot fall prostrate – sometimes, you are in the street or an alley and you cannot do so – you can put your head on the front part of the saddle and say, “All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.” If you are in an alley and you cannot fall prostrate when you remember divine blessings, you should say, “All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.” This means expressing one’s gratefulness in all circumstances.
These are the three things that help us have no worries about the various incidents that might occur to us in our surrounding environment.