By Afeefa Syeed
I begin with the name of God. The Spirit who lives through many Teachers through the ages. The God whose everlasting compassion and never ending mercy are the saving grace of all humanity. God who is the source of Peace and Perfection. God who is the Protector. God who is Just.
As Moses pleaded to you, I ask You, my Lord, to expand me my heart, straighten my spine so I may have courage, ease my task for me, and loosen the knot from my tongue so they may understand what I say.
Our world has been thrown into a state of grieving and loss. At this moment, Dear God, help us to remember and reflect on your words:
There will be times in your lives when We will test you with loss of lives and of property. There will be a time We will test you with affluence – avoid arrogance and practice justice and equality.
Oh Lord, Oh God! To every life taken away through such senseless acts, grant your everlasting Mercy. We know those who have lost their lives unjustly should not be lost to us in vain. We are comforted in the thought that innocent children whose lives were ended mercilessly are safe now in your embrace.
In this time of such sorrowful aching, help us to remember that our children are a trust from you. We are their guardians and You will be the judge of how we guide and protect them. Help us to keep their minds and hearts free from anguish and pain. Protect them from the gaping hole of sadness that has engulfed so much of our world, but guide us to teach them how to be better than us.
We know, Oh Lord that these acts of terror, of abhorrence are a result of the corruption of mind and heart. Your words, Oh Lord are: Do not seek to work corruption on Earth. God does not like the corrupters. (Quran 28:77)
Oh God, help us to raise a generation of humanity that is free from mental corruption, removed from emotional corruption, and far from spiritual corruption. Make this generation and those to come realize that their purpose is to serve you through serving humanity.
Your Prophet Muhammad said: Let there be no harm and no reciprocating of harm.
Help us to teach our children that a true believer’s success is how close he is to God, how relevant and beneficial she is to mankind. The more pain we inflict on fellow human beings the more distance we put between us and God.
As parents in this world, Lord, help us to sense and know that our children are born in a state of purity and innocence. They are gifts from You.
Remind us, oh Lord, of the story when a man came to your prophet and asked,
“Do you kiss your children? I have ten, and have never kissed them.” The Prophet replied with a sorrowful tone and a clenched jaw, “That shows you have no mercy or tenderness at all. Those who do not show mercy to others will not have God’s mercy on them.”
Our Prophet drew great joy and happiness even in times of despair and loss at the sight of children. His supplication should be our supplication:I commend you, oh children of this world, to the protection of God’s perfect words from every evil.
Guide us, Oh Lord as parents to ask you for children who will be righteous and pray for our souls after we join you.
Help us to raise children who are gentle and polite, not timid, afraid, or cowed down. Help us to raise children who are helpful and considerate not arrogant and loutish.
Help us teach our children to know Your prophet’s words:
The strong person is not the one who is best at wrestling; but the one who controls himself in anger.
Help us as parents to be tolerant, kind, understanding, truthful, reverent so our children will be tolerant, kind, understanding, truthful, reverent. Help us, Oh Lord, to utter often the advice of your prophet:
Son, if you are able, keep your heart from morning till night and from night till morning free from malice towards anyone.
Oh Lord, those of us who carry your trust now in our wombs pray to you. Help us to dedicate our offspring to building a greater nation. Let us take the example of Hanna, mother of Mary, who beseeched her Lord to protect and guide her child who was not yet born. Make us conscientious and steadfast parents, not accidental or incidental ones.
Oh Lord, as children of this world, help us to grow as citizens who work for the betterment of our brothers and sisters – no matter how small the action.
As children of this world, guide us to be leaders who will not be blinded to the injustices of this world.
As children of this world, grant us the wisdom to know what our world must do to seek your Pleasure.
As children of this world, take away any obsessions with the materialist culture. Only by striving for the greater good will we truly be a greater peoples.
Our world is great. Our world is vast. Our world is beautiful. Guide us, Oh Lord, to know that unity is not a luxury or a choice. Help us to learn that our children must grow in a land that embraces all who seek righteousness, decency, and steadfastness. Freedom is our most precious heritage- help us be passionate in its preservation and practice.
Our children are the future, Lord. Do not let us forsake our future by harming the trust you have bestowed on us. We are ready as children and as parents of this world, as humans all, to pass this test together. We will not merely unite, we will march with purpose as one towards your Grace.
Oh Lord! Guard our children with your never slumbering eyes. Hold them fast with your embrace of mercy. Shower on them wherever they go with love from your bottomless well of compassion.
Jesus, Your Prophet, made the supplication that we use today:
Lord! I invoke You not to make my foe feel pleased at my own expense, nor a friend to think ill of me, and do not cause me to undergo a catastrophe related to my creed, and do not make the life of this world the biggest of my concerns, and do not place me at the mercy of one who will have no mercy on me, Oh ever living, Oh self-sustaining Lord!
Finally, we remember your words to us
Oh ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer. For God is with those who patiently persevere. (Quran 2:153)
Afeefa Syeed is a cultural anthropologist, potter and writer living in the Washington DC area.