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Fortified, yet vulnerable

In his day-to-day life, mankind is naturally bound to be tried and sometimes threatened by situations of uncertainty, fear, poverty, disease, disaster, envy, misfortune, flood, famine, inferno, accident, or evil of any kind. Allah (SWT) states in Qur’an 2:155 “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere”. Man’s greatest challenge is however not with these circumstances but from his worst enemy, Satan. Fortunately, Allah (SWT) in His infinite mercy has provided believers with all the necessary spiritual tools needed to protect and shield them from all forms of unpleasant and unwanted circumstances including those that may appear superficial.

These spiritual instruments are contained in the text of the Holy Qur’an and hadith of the Prophet (SAW). The instruments, in other words, simply comprise of the various forms of supplications and prayers provided for the regular use of believers. Some of the supplications are also meant to serve as ‘prophylaxis’ before certain situations set in. Allah (SWT) affirms in Qur’an 17:82, “We send down (stage by stage) in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe…” The Prophet (SAW) said, “A believer’s sword is (his) supplications”. Sadly, many believers, especially in modern times, seem to be ignoring these instruments of fortification; thereby exposing themselves to evils of the jinn and mischiefs of mankind.

We need to learn and commit to memory all the prophetic supplications we routinely require in our daily activities. After all, we are not complaining of having to memorize all the information ‘imposed’ on us by the modern world of information and communication technology. Today, we are compelled to know the password for several of our personal electronic-enabled devices including Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card, laptop or tablet, mobile phone, and several other Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).

No topic engaged the lips and occupied the minds of Nigerians in the last few weeks as much as the discourse on the country’s security challenges did. Due to incessant cases of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and the resurgence of insurgency in parts of the country, Nigerians have continued to live in perpetual fear. Various people, depending on individual background, have searched for reasons to explain the heightened state of insecurity that is more or less becoming an intractable phenomenon. Some Muslim scholars say our present predicament as a nation is traceable to our notoriety in our individual and collective disobedience to Allah’s injunctions. While sociologists link it to injustice and class inequality, political analysts opine that bad governance is responsible. The Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, recently associated the spate of insecurity in the country to the shrinking of societal value system, which he said has eroded. Allah (SWT) knows best the root cause of our quandaries.

However, apportioning or shifting of blames, engaging in media war, deploying huge security funds to organize retreats, seminars, workshops, conferences and meetings may take us longer to overcome our current security challenges. Taking appropriate advantage of the spiritual instruments in our hands is a promising antidote. The fact that state governors have started organizing public prayers and fasting is an indication that those given the mandate of providing security to the lives and property of Nigerians are beginning to appreciate the relevance and worth of supplications in containing the critical evils bedevilling us as a nation. This, thus, raises the hope of seeing a glittering light at the end of the tunnel.

Every routine of the Prophet (SAW) in his daily life, whether in words or deeds, was accompanied with relevant supplications. With such supplications, he sought Allah’s refuge from everything harmful, visible and invincible; from among mankind, jinn, animals, plants and inanimate things. Our carelessness with supplications coupled with our collective inability to appreciate the value of prayers both account, to some extent, for our present security circumstances in which we have continued to remain vulnerable to attacks by kidnappers, bandits and armed robbers. This is in the midst of all the Qur’anic prayers and prophetic supplications at our disposal.

We need to be constantly mindful of these supplications and prayers by employing them to seek refuge from Allah (SWT) against every form of evil, satanic as well as human. Allah (SWT) tells us in Qur’an 12:5 that “… Satan is to man an avowed enemy”. Besides Satan, man’s enemies are also found among his kith and kin. Allah (SWT) asserts in Qur’an 64:14 “O ye who believe! Truly, among your wives and children are (some that are) enemies to yourselves; so beware of them! …” Human vices include envy, sheer hatred, wickedness, mischief, malice and animosity. The story of Prophet Yusuf (AS) as told in the Qur’an suffices as an instance. The existence of these evils among mankind is what classifies some men and women as enemies to others. Other creatures also live with man on the earth planet; some of them, wild. For these and other reasons, believers have a compelling need for supplications in their life.

The entire life of the Prophet (SAW) was covered with prayers. Through his authenticated traditions narrated or reported by his rightly guided caliphs and companions, we learnt about the special supplications that should be offered when we go into and out of the toilet; at the time we go to bed at night and rise from sleep in the morning; each time we ride on any means of transportation; when we fall sick; anytime anger comes over us; when calamity befalls us; at the point of entering and coming out of a mosque; each time we want to start reciting the holy Qur’an; whenever we are entering our houses/rooms even if they are empty; when frightened; when confronted with difficult situations; when aggrieved; when bereaved; when our life is endangered; when fulfilling marital desires; at the beginning and end of every activity; as well as when entering into Muslim burial grounds.

These forms of supplications are important. For example, we are exposed to different forms of attack when we are asleep. We are not also sure, when asleep, of whether we would come back to this life or proceed to the next. These make supplications important before we go to bed. Let us, therefore, remember to frequently rehearse all the supplications taught by prophetic traditions according to circumstances and needs. May Allah (SWT) guide us to sincerely and steadfastly give prayers and supplications the attention they deserve for us to remain fortified from all the security risks that are currently threatening us, amin.

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