Question: All of the Prophets sought refuge in God’s might and power in the face of misfortunes that befell them and pointed out that only God grants success. So, what is the role of reciting prayers of “hasbiya” (God’s sufficiency) for devoted souls who face lots of difficulties and troubles?
Answer: Human beings, who are essentially weak and needy, can overcome any kind of difficulty only by seeking refuge in God, Who is the All-Powerful and the All-Wealthy. It is essential for them to seek refuge in God against the troubles they face by saying, “God is sufficient for us, how excellent a Guardian He is!” (Al Imran 3:173). Above all, those who utter this phrase with sincerity have entrusted their affairs to Him and believe with conviction that only He is their Guardian and that He will never forsake them when they seek refuge in Him.
Confidence in God
When some people turned away from the Prophet and his way, God Almighty revealed the verse which means, “Still, if they turn away from you (O Messenger), say: “God is sufficient for me; there is no deity but He. In Him have I put my trust, and He is the Lord of the Supreme Throne” (at-Tawbah 9:129).
Bediüzzaman wrote the following commentary on this verse:
If the people of misguidance turn away, diverge from your way, and do not heed the Qur’an, do not worry. Say, “God Almighty is sufficient for me. In Him I put my trust. He will raise up others in your place who will follow me. His Throne of rule encompasses everything. Neither the rebellious can escape its bounds, nor are those who ask for help left unaided.”1
There is a prayer of the Messenger of God that is to be recited in the morning and in the evening. It is as follows: “O God! It is Your Mercy that I hope for, so leave me not alone for the blinking of an eye and set right all my affairs! O Living, Self-Subsistent Lord!”2
Expounding on this, we can say: “O God, please, let not distractions corrupt my deeds while I strive on Your way. Do not leave me to my carnal self and the devil even for a moment; for if they take over, they might lead me straight to the pits of Hell. Since the carnal self can never be trusted, I will be a loser if it holds the reins. If You are my Guardian, however, then I can find guidance and walk on the true path. For neither the carnal self nor the devil can manipulate anything if there is strength and support from You.”
God’s Absolute Dominion
When their people turned away from them, Prophet Abraham and those who believed in his message relied on God as well. They said: “O Our Lord! It is in You that We have put our trust, and it is to You that we turn in utmost sincerity and devotion, and to You is the homecoming. O Our Lord! Do not make us a prey to those who disbelieve. And forgive us, our Lord. You are the All-Glorious with irresistible might, the All-Wise” (al-Mumtahanah 60:4–5).
Their words present an upright stance against the disbelievers and virtually challenged all their threats. At the same time, they proclaimed that anything worshipped other than God bears no true value and deserves no praise. Their words indicate their personal realization of the Divine Power’s absolute dominion over all things, as well as the illumination of belief.
Here, I would like to draw attention to another point. When one reads about the behavior and words of our Prophet along with previous Prophets from a comparative perspective, it is apparent that the laudable virtues God granted him are repetitions of the prayers of the previous Prophets. For example, Moses prayed and asked God to grant him serenity in his heart saying, “My Lord, expand my breast” (Ta-Ha 20:25).
Indeed the Qur’an mentions this asking, “Have not We expanded your breast?” (al-Inshirah 94:1). This is one of the blessings granted to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him and all the Prophets. As we mentioned above, Prophet Abraham and his followers were in a position where they realized only God could change their situation. Similarly, another verse describes the situation of the Companions of the Prophet in the following way:
Those (believers) to whom some people said: “Look, those people have gathered against you, therefore be fearful of them.” But it increased them only in faith, and they responded: “God is sufficient for us; how excellent a Guardian He is” (Al Imran 3:173).
As the above verse demonstrates, even in situations where people normally feel fear and distress over the unknown, the Companions of the Prophet had complete faith and trust in God. They faced the enemy unafraid because they were filled with spiritual alertness.
Complete Confidence in God
When Bediüzzaman was completely isolated during his exile, the world seemed exceedingly gloomy. It was during this gloomy period that he was inspired by the verse, “God is sufficient for us; how excellent Guardian He is” (Al Imran 3:173). Suddenly, a new understanding of this verse occurred to him. From that point on, he began reciting the verse five hundred times a day and, consequently, various mysteries revealed themselves in his soul. Indeed, the spiritual power he obtained through the lessons he garnered from this single verse gave him a powerful faith that sufficed him not only against his persecutors in the exiled land, but also against the entire world. A person whose heart attains such a level of ease will neither be seized by worry and grief nor imprisoned or pressured to change his course.
Prisons become like a school of Joseph for Bediüzzaman, and he continued his mission there. When his release from prison was possible, he would opt to stay in prison for the sake of not leaving their fruitful services halfway and being beneficial to the inmates there. This is the meaning of ease, serenity, and inner peace in its truest sense. On the other hand, a person with a depressed heart and spirit experiences such stress, anxiety, and anguish that no possessions in the world can provide a cure for it. Those who are not awakened to the truth in their souls can never be saved from the spiritual darkness even if they manufacture thousands of yachts and luxurious cars every day. True serenity and happiness is in the God-granted peacefulness of the heart. Those who attain such a state can stand up against troubles of great magnitude, turn the fires into colored flames and sparks in their hearts, and let those around them enjoy the spectacular display of fireworks.
As a matter of fact, the moment when the impact of the troubles and sufferings we go through strikes the horizons of our imagination and batters the conception and reasoning processes in our mind, inspirations like those granted to Bediüzzaman may enter our heart as well. Particularly, those who eagerly seek perfect faith and sincerity and strive to keep up a sound relationship with God Almighty may be honored with the experience of such manifestations. However, most of us overlook such manifestations since we do not listen to our inner voice or may perceive such inspirations as ordinary things that occur to everyone. Spiritual figures, however, view inspirations on a different wavelength of manifestations coming to them not as casual and ordinary, but rather as something with meaning and wisdom in them. Indeed, they take such occurrences as important signs and warnings. So Bediüzzaman appreciated the precious truth that occurred to his heart and concentrated on it; he recited this Qur’anic verse five hundred times every day in hopes of gaining wisdom and inspiration.
Given that he repeated the verse five hundred times, one can assume that there must be a mysterious wisdom in repetition in terms of feeling the truth of a matter profoundly. In that case, ordinary people should seek refuge in the Divine Power against the evil of their enemies, target high horizons and say five hundred or even perhaps a thousand times a day this supplication of the Prophet, “God is sufficient for me; there is no deity but He. In Him have I put my trust, and He is the Lord of the Supreme Throne.”
As individuals, we can use the following method for realizing this lofty aim: When a group of people share a certain long prayer amongst themselves by reading smaller parts of it, they can complete it in an easier way, whereas each participant benefits from the total blessings that correspond to the collective deed. So this prayer can be recited in the same way. For example, if ten friends agree to recite it a hundred times per person, the collective deed—God willing—will gain each one of them the reward as if they recited it a thousand times individually.
Saying “God Is Sufficient for Us” in the Face of Achievements
A believer is supposed to seek refuge in God not only against trouble and misfortune, but also in times of success and achievement. In this respect, the profundity of the issue in question may differ from person to person, for some say “God is sufficient for us; how excellent Guardian He is,” against misfortunes only. By turning to God this way, they witness all their problems being solved with the help of Divine Providence. This is the refuge those in distress need. As for others, they make it their habitual prayer and seek refuge in God’s Power with their supplications to Him day and night. Those whose spiritual faculties are open to the horizons of Divine mysteries sense the Power of God Almighty over everything, down to the most trivial matters of their personal lives. Even when performing simple tasks such as threading a needle or taking a morsel of food to one’s mouth, these enlightened people seek refuge in the Divine Power. In fact, they hold the belief that God creates their actions when they choose to do anything, since they do not have any power to create their own actions save making a choice in favor of an thing or another; thus, they say, He is always “the One who creates” our acts. This belief reflects pure faith in the Oneness of God.
Indeed, when we follow the tradition of the Prophet and repeat the prayer “God is sufficient for me; there is no deity but He. In Him have I put my trust, and He is the Lord of the Supreme Throne” seven times in the morning, we proclaim our acknowledgement that He is the ultimate Guardian to eliminate the problems we face during the day. Then, when the evening comes, we entrust our night to the Lord of Infinite Mercy by repeating the same words. May God enable us to weave every moment of our lives with the radiant rays of the tradition of the Prophet!
1. Nursi, Bediüzzaman Said, The Gleams, New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2008, p. 66
2. Al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, 1/545
This text is the translation of “Allah Bize Yeter”