If life gets too hard for you to stand — then kneel. Kneel down to Allah, prostate your forehead to the ground. The closest a servant is to Allah is when they are in sajdah:
Allah’s Messenger, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said, “The closest that a servant is to his Lord is when he is in sajdah-prostration.” (Muslim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim, rahimahullah, described our sujood-prostration as the secret of prayer, the greatest pillar. He said all the other actions we had done before it was just preludes.
But in this sujood-prostration, when we were kids, we learned Duas that fortunately or unfortunately, stuck with us for a very long time. I say unfortunately because many of those Duas became mindless and mechanical; we just say them without knowing what they mean and without putting our heart into it.
Today, I’d like to take an adventure into the history books to read about what the second Khaleefah, Omar ibn AlKhattab, may Allah be with him, used to make Dua for. And may we find in those Duas profound lessons for all of us.
O ALLAH, I AM TOUGH; MAKE ME SOFT
When Omar (radi Allahu anhu) became Khalifah, he often prayed: “O Allah, I am tough; make me soft. I am weak; make me strong. I am miserly; make me generous.”
Lesson: Know thyself. Know what you’re dealing with. Know your weaknesses and offset them with Dua and ask Allah for help.
Humility. He didn’t say he is the greatest. He knew he had shortcomings, but he dealt with it. He teamed up with people who offset his weaknesses.
Don’t make excuses. The fact that he felt he wasn’t perfect didn’t stop him from making Dua and moving forward to take responsibility.
BLESS ME TO DIE IN MADINA
One of Omar’s dua, radi Allah ‘anhu’, was that Allah grants him shahadah (a status with Allah normally associated to Muslims killed in battle) and, at the same time, that he die in the city of Madinah.
“O Allah, grant me shahadah in Your path, and allow my death to be in the city of Your Messenger.”
The problem was that there were no battles happening in Madinah — combatants were not fighting in Madinah. The preceding was the argument Omar’s son Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with them both, used to bring up to his father: how can you have both? Nonetheless, even though it seemingly didn’t compute, Omar still always made this Dua.
Indeed, he was killed in Fajr prayer leading the Muslims in the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah. Allah accepted his Dua!
In his leadership, we see the importance of focus. How? See, Omar wanted to join the Muslim fighters out on the battlefields, but Omar didn’t leave his administration post in Madinah. He knew that’s where the Ummah most needed him. He poured his energy into his administration position and did it with excellence.