رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
Rabbanaa aatinaa fid-dunyaa hasanatan wa fil-aakhirati hasanatan wa qinaa ‘adhaaban-naar (2:201)
Our Lord, give unto us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.
This is a very well-known du’aa. If a Muslim knows any du’aas in Arabic, it is very probable that this is one of them. However, its message and significance escape many.
It is a unique feature of Islam that it strikes a perfect balance everywhere, including between this world and the Hereafter. This world is important as is the Hereafter; we will reap there what we sow here. We pray for both, and mention them in their natural chronological order. But what we are seeking – and here is the crucial difference – are not the goods of this world, but the good. Here and in the Hereafter. Hasanah denotes every conceivable form of good health, livelihood, fulfillment of genuine needs (not wants), and morals, virtuous deeds, beneficial knowledge, honour and prestige, strength of faith, and sincerity in worship. Actually, everything in this world is good that will lead, directly or indirectly, to the good in the Hereafter. A Muslim informed by this du’aa will neither focus entirely on this world, seeking exclusively the comforts here, nor will he declare that he has nothing to do with it.
Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallem) once visited a man who had been debilitated by sickness and asked him whether he had been making any supplication. He had. It was, “O Allah, whatever punishment you are going to give me in the Hereafter, give it to me here.” Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallem) asked him why he had not made this du’aa instead. He did and was cured.
The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallem) used to make this du’aa very often (Sahih al-Bukhari). He used to recite this du’aa between the Rukn-e Yamani and the Black Stone while making tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka’bah) (Sunan Abi Dawud). Whenever he shook hands with a person he did not leave his hand without making this du’aa (Ibn as-Sunni). Imam Nawawi recommends this du’aa at the time of great difficulties or when facing major issues. It is also recommended after praying Salatu-ul-Hajah (a special salat at the time of need).
(Source: Khalid Baig’s commentary to du’aa #1 in the Accepted Whispers)
May Allah Ta’aala accept this du’aa from the Ummah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallem) too. Ameen.