Praise belongs to God
whose decree none may avert,
and whose gift none may prevent.
No fashioner's fashioning is like His fashioning,
and He is the Generous, the All-embracing.
He brought forth the varieties of unprecedented creatures
and perfected through His wisdom all He had fashioned.
Hidden not from Him are harbingers,
nor lost with Him are deposits.2
He repays every fashioner,
feathers the nest of all who are content
1. See Shi'ite Islam, pp. 210-11.
2. Cf. Quran LXXIII, 20: "And lend to God a good loan. Whatever good you shall forward to your soul's account, you shall find it with God as better, and mightier a wage."
and has mercy upon all who humble themselves.
He sends down benefits
and the all-encompassing Book
in radiant light.
He hears supplications,
raises up in degrees,
and knocks down tyrants.
For there is no god other than He,
nothing is equal to Him,
"Like Him there is naught,
and He is the Hearing, the Seeing" (XLII, 11),
the subtle, the Aware,
and "He is powerful over all things" (V, 120 etc.).
O God, I make Thee my quest
and bear witness to Thy Lordship,
acknowledging that Thou art my Lord
and to Thee is my return.1
Thou originated me by Thy blessing before I was a thing remembered.2
Thou created me from dust,
then gavest me a place in the loins (of my fathers),
secure from the uncertainty of Fate and the vagaries of
the ages and the years.
I remained a traveller from loin to womb in a time
immemorial of past days
and bygone centuries.
In Thy tenderness, bounty and goodness toward me Thou
didst not send me out into the empire of the
leaders of disbelief, those who broke Thy
covenant and cried lies to Thy messengers.3
Rather, Thou sentest me out to that guidance which had
been foreordained for me, the way which
Thou madest easy for me
1. Cf. Quran XL, 43. In another place, using a different root form for the verb "return", the Quran says in one of the verses most often heard in the Islamic world, "Surely we belong to God, and to Him we return" (II, 156).
2. Cf. Quran LXXVI, 1: "Has there come on man a while of time when he was a thing unremembered?"
3. The sin of breaking God's covenant is often described in the Quran. For example, "Such as break the covenant of God after its solemn binding ... they shall be the losers." (II, 27). And "Crying lies to the messengers" is often mentioned as a major sin of past nations, e.g., "And the people of Noah, when they cried lies to the Messengers ..." (XXV, 37).
and in which Thou nurtured me.
And before that Thou wert kind to me through Thy
and abundant blessings.
Thou originated my creation from a sperm-drop spilled1
and madest me to dwell in a threefold gloom among flesh,
blood and skin.2
Thou gavest me not to witness my creation,3
nor didst Thou entrust me with anything of my own affair.
Then thou sentest me out into the world for the guidance
that had been foredained for me, complete
Thou watched over me in the cradle
as an infant boy,
provided me with food,
and turned the hearts of the nurse-maids toward me.
Thou entrusted my upbringing to compassionate mothers,
guarded me from the calamities brought by the jinn
and kept me secure from excess and lack.
High art Thou, O Merciful! O Compassionate!
Then when I began to utter speech
Thou completed for me Thy abundant blessings.
Thou nurtured me more and more each year
until, when my nature was perfected
and my strength balanced,
Thou madest Thy argument encumbent upon me by
inspiring me with knowledge of Thee,
awing me with the marvels of Thy wisdom,
awakening me to the wonders of Thy creation which Thou
hadst multiplied in Thy Heaven and Thy earth,4
and instructing me in Thy thanks and remembrance.
1. Cf. Quran LXXV, 36-37: "What, does man reckon he shall be left to roam at will? Was he not a sperm-drop spilled? ..."
2. Reference to Quran XXXIX, 6: "He created you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, in a threefold gloom."
3. Cf. Quran XVIII, 52: "I made them not to witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor their own creation ..."
4. Cf. Quran XVI, 13: "And that which He has multiplied for you in the earth of diverse hues. Surely in that is a sign for a people who remember."
Thou madest encumbent upon me Thy obedience and
madest me to understand what Thy messengers had
and madest easy for me the acceptance of Thy good
Thou wast gracious to me in all of this, through Thy
succour and kindness.
Then, since Thou created me from the best soil,1
Thou wert not satisfied, my God, that I should have one
blessing without another.
Thou provided me with varieties of sustenance
and kinds of garments
and Thy tremendous, most tremendous, graciousness
and Thy eternal goodness toward me.
And finally, when Thou hadst completed for me every
and turned away from me all misfortunes,
Thou wert not prevented by my ignorance and audacity
from guiding me toward that which would bring me nigh
or from giving me success in that which would bring me
close to Thee.
For if I prayed to Thee Thou answered,
if I asked of Thee Thou gavest,
if I obeyed Thee Thou showed Thy gratitude,
and if I thanked Thee Thou gavest me more.2
All of that was to perfect Thy blessings upon me and
Thy goodness toward me.
So glory be to Thee; Glory be to Thee,
who are Producer and Reproducer,3 Laudable,
Holy are Thy Names and tremendous Thy bounties.
So which of Thy blessings, my God, can I enumerate by counting
1. Reference to the Imam's descent from the Prophet. Cf. the first selection from 'Ali above (p.29).
2. Cf. Quran XIV, 7: "And when your Lord proclaimed: If you give thanks, I will give you more ...".
3. Cf. Quran XXX, 11: "God produces creation, then He reproduces it, then unto Him you will be returned." Also XXIX, 19; XXX, 27.
For which of Thy gifts am I able to give thanks?
Since they, O Lord, are more than reckoners can count1
or those who entrust to memory can attain by knowledge.
But the affliction and hardship, O God, that Thou turned
and averted from me
is more than the health and happiness that came to me.
And I witness, my God, by the truth of my faith,
the knotted resolutions of my certainty,
my pure and unadulterated profession of Unity,
the hidden inwardness of my consciousness,
the places to which the streams of light of my eyes
the lines on my forehead's surface,
the openings for my breath's channels,
the parts of my nose's soft point,
the paths of my ears' canals,
what my lips close upon and compress,
the movements of my tongue in speaking,
the joint at the back of my mouth and jaw,
the sockets of my molar teeth,
the place where I swallow my food and drink,
that which bears my brain,
the hollow passages of my neck's fibers,
that which is contained in my breast's cavity,
the carriers of my aorta,
the places where my heart's curtain2 is attached,
the small pieces of flesh around my liver,
that which the ribs of my sides encompass,
the sockets of my joints,
the contraction of my members,
the tips of my fingers,
1. Cf. Quran XIV, 34 and XVI, 18: "And if you count God's blessing, you will never number it."
2. The "curtain of the heart" (hijab al-qalb) is the pericardium.
3. The windpipe is not mentioned in some editions of Mafatih al-jinan.
and all of my members,
what was knitted upon them in the days when I was
a suckling baby,
what the earth has taken away from me,
my being still,
and the movements of my bowing and prostrating,
that had I taken pains and had I striven
for the duration of the epochs and ages
were my life to be extended through them
to deliver thanks for one of Thy blessings,
I would not have been able to do so,
except by Thy grace, which alone makes encumbent
upon me never-ending and ever renewed
gratitude to Thee,
and fresh and ever present praise.
Indeed, and were I and the reckoners among Thy
creatures ever so eager
to calculate the extent of Thy bestowal of blessings,
we would fail to encompass it through numbers
or to calculate its boundaries.
Never How could it ever be done!
For Thou announcest in Thy eloquent Book
and truthful Tiding,
"And if you count God's blessing, you will never
number it" (XIV, 34).
Thy Book, O God, Thy Message, has spoken the
And Thy prophets and messengers delivered Thy
revelation that Thou hadst sent down upon
and the religion that Thou hadst promulgated for them
and through them.
And I witness, my God, by my effort,
and the extent of my obedience and my capacity,
and I say as a believer possessing certainty,
"Praise belongs to God,
who has not taken to Him a son"
that He might have an heir,
"and who has not any associate in His dominion"
who might oppose Him in what He creates,
"nor any protector out of humbleness" (XVII, 111)
who would aid Him in what He fashions.
So glory be to Him,
glory be to Him!
"Why, were there gods in earth and heaven other than
they would surely go to ruin" (XXI, 22) and be rent.1
Glory be to God, the Unique, the One,
"the Everlasting Refuge" who "has not begotten, nor
has He been begotten,
and equal to Him there is none" (CXII, 2-4).
Praise belongs to God,
praise equal to the praise of the angels stationed near to Him
and the prophets sent by Him.
And God bless His elect, Muhammad,
the Seal of the Prophets,
and his virtuous, pure and sincere household, and give
Then he began to supplicate. He occupied himself with prayer as tears ran from his blessed eyes. Then he said:O God, cause me to fear Thee as if I were seeing Thee,2
give me felicity through piety toward Thee,
make me not wretched by disobedience toward Thee,
choose the best for me by Thy decree (qada')
and bless me by Thy determination (qadar),
that I may love not the hastening of what Thou hast
1. Cf. Quran XIX, 88-91: "And they say, 'The All-merciful has taken unto Himself a son.' You have indeed advanced something hideous!. The heavens are wellnigh rent of it and the earth split asunder, and the mountains wellnigh fall down crashing for that they have attributed to the All-merciful a son ...".
2. In the famous hadith concerning ihsan or "spiritual virtue" it is said that "Spiritual virtue is that you should worship God as if you were seeing him, and if you see Him not, He nonetheless sees thee."
nor the delaying of what Thou hast hastened.
O God, appoint for me sufficiency in my soul,
certainty in my heart,
sincerity in my action,
light in my eyes,
and insight in my religion.
Give me enjoyment of my bodily members,
make my hearing and my seeing my two inheritors,
help me against him who wrongs me,
show me in him my revenge and my desires,
and console thereby my eyes.
O God, remove my affliction,
veil my defects,
forgive my offence,
drive away my Satan,1
dissolve my debt,
and give me, my God, the highest degree
in the world to come and in this world.
O God, to Thee belongs the praise,
just as Thou created me and made me to hear and to
and to Thee belongs the praise,
just as Thou created me and made me a creature
as a mercy to me,
while Thou hadst no need of my creation.
My Lord, since Thou created me
and then made straight my nature;
my Lord, since Thou caused me to grow
and made good my shape;2
my Lord, since Thou didst good to me
and gavest me well-being in my soul;
my Lord, since Thou preserved me
and gavest me success;
my Lord, since Thou blessed me
and then guided me;
my Lord, since Thou chosest me
and gavest me of every good;
my Lord, since Thou gavest me to eat
1. Cf. Quran XLIII, 36: "Whoso blinds himself to the Remembrance of the All-merciful, to him We assign a Satan for comrade."
2. Cf. Quran LXIV, 3: "He shaped you and made good your shapes". See also XL, 64.
my Lord, since Thou enriched me
and contented me;2
my Lord, since Thou aided me
and exalted me;
my Lord, since Thou dothed me with Thy pure covering
and smoothed the way for me by Thy sufficient
Bless Muhammad and the household of Muhammad,
aid me against the misfortunes of time and the
calamities of nights and days,
deliver me from the terrors of this world and the
torments of the world to come
and spare me from the evil of that which the evildoers
do in the earth.
O God, as for what I fear, spare me from it,
and as for what I seek to avoid, guard me against it.
in my soul and my religion watch over me,
in my travelling protect me,
in my family and my property appoint for me a
in what Thou hast provided for me bless me,
in my soul humble me,
in the eyes of men magnify me,
from the evil of jinn and men preserve me,
for my sins disgrace me not,
for my inward secrets shame me not,
for my action try me not,
of Thy blessings deprive me not
and to other than Thee entrust me not.
My God, to whom wouldst Thou entrust me?
To a relative? He would cut me off.
Or to a stranger? He would look at me with displeasure.
Or to those who act toward me with arrogance?
But Thou art my Lord and the sovereign over my affair.
I would complain to Thee of my exile and the
remoteness of my abode,
and that he whom Thou hast made sovereign over me
My God, so cause not Thy wrath to alight upon me.
1. Cf. Quran XXVI, 79: "... who created me, and Himself guides me, and Himself gives me to eat and drink...".
2. Cf. Quran LIII, 48: "And that He it is Who enriches and contents."
If Thou becomest not wrathful with me
I will have no care,1 glory be to Thee
But Thy protection is more embracing.
So I ask Thee, O Lord, by the Light of Thy Face by which the
earth and the heavens are illuminated,
shadows are removed,
and the affairs of the ancients and the later folk are
not to cause me to die when Thy wrath is upon me,2
nor to send down upon me Thy anger.
The pleasure is Thine
The pleasure is Thine,
to be satisfied with me before that.
There is no god but Thou, Lord of the Holy Land,3
the Sacred Monument,4
and the Ancient House,5
upon which Thou caused blessing to descend
and which Thou madest a sanctuary for mankind.6
O He who pardons the greatest sins by His clemency!
O He who lavishes blessings by His bounty!
O He who gives abundance by His generosity!
O Sustenance to me in my adversity!
O Companion to me in my solitude!
O Aid to me in my affliction!
O Benefactor to me in my blessing!
O my God
and God of my fathers,
Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob!7
Lord of Gabriel, Michael and Israfil!8
1. Some editions add here the phrase "other than Thee".
2. Cf. Quran IX, 55: "So let not their possessions or their children. please thee; God only desires thereby to chastise them in this present life, and that their souls should depart while they are unbelievers."
3. I.e., Mecca and the land surrounding it.
4. The "Sacred Monument", known as Muzdalifah, is the place where the pilgrims spend the night after the day at Arafat. Cf. Quran II, 198: "When you press on from Arafat, remember God by the Sacred Monument."
5. I.e., the Ka'bah, called the "Ancient House" in reference to the tradition that it was constructed by Abraham. See Quran XXII, 29 and 33; also XIV, 35-7
6. Cf. Quran II, 125: "And when We made the House a resort for mankind and a sanctuary...".
7. A further reference to the Prophet's blood descent from the Abrahamic line of prophets.
8. Israfil is the angel who according to Islamic tradition blows the trumpet at the time of the Resurrection.
Lord of Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets,
and his household, the chosen ones!
Revealer of the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms and
and Sender down of Kaf Ha' Ya' Ayn Sad, Ta' Ha',
Ya' Sin, and the Wise Quran!2
Thou art my cave (of refuge) when the roads for all their
amplitude constrict me
and the land for all its breadth is strait for me.
If not for Thy mercy, I would have been among the
and Thou annullest my slip.
If not for Thy covering me,3 I would have been
among the disgraced,
and Thou confirmest me with help against my enemies.4
And if not for Thy helping me, I would have been
among those overcome.5
O He who appropriated loftiness and exaltation to Himself,
so His friends (awliya') are mighty through His might!
O He before whom kings place the yoke of abasement
around their necks,
for they fear His overwhelming power!
"He knows the treachery of the eyes and what the
breasts conceal" (XL,19)
and the unseen brought by time and fate.
O He about whom none knows how He is but He!
O He about whom none knows what He is but He!
O He whom none knows but He!
O He who squeezed the earth onto the water and held
1. The Criterion (al-furqan), is one of the names of the Quran, mentioned several times in its text, such as III, 4 and XXV, I.
2. Kaf Ha' Ya Ayn Sad are Arabic letters which appear at the beginning of the chapter of Maryam, Quran XIX. Ta' Ha' and Ya' Sin are also letters appearing at the beginning of Quranic chapters, XX and XXXVI respectively, from which the chapters take their names. "The Wise Quran" is a tide which appears in Quran XXXVI, 2.
3. Al-Sattar, "He who covers (faults and sins)", is one of the names of God.
4. Cf. Quran III, 13: "God confirms with His help whom He will."
5. Cf. Quran III, 160: "If God helps you, none can overcome you."
back the air with the sky!
O He to whom belong the noblest Names!1
O He who possesses kindness which will never be cut off!
O He who assigned the cavalcade to Joseph in the barren
brought him out of the well
and made him a king after slavery!
O He who returned him to Jacob after "his eyes were
whitened with sorrow that he was
suppressing" (XII, 84)2
O He who removed affliction and tribulation from Job3
and restrained Abraham's hands from the sacrifice of
his son after he had reached old age and
his life had passed by!4
O He who answered the prayer of Zachariah
and bestowed upon him John,
not leaving him childless and alone!5
O He who brought Jonah out from the stomach of the
O He who parted the sea for the Children of Israel,
then saved them
and drowned Pharoah and his hosts!7
O He who sends winds heralding His mercy!8
O He who does not hurry (to act) against those of His
creatures who disobey Him!9
O He who rescued the sorcerers after (their) long denial!
They had early benefitted from His blessing,
eating His provision
and worshipping other than Him;
they had opposed, denied and cried lies to His
1. Akram al-asma'. God's "fairest names" (al-asma' al-husna) are referred to several times in the Quran, such as VII, I80 and XX, 8.
2. For the story of Joseph in the Quran see chapter XII.
3. Cf. Quran XXI, 83-84 and XXXVIII, 42-45.
4. Cf. Quran XXXVII, 102-105 and XIV, 39.
5. See Quran XXI, 89-90.
6. The story of Jonah and the "fish" is referred to in Quran LXVIII, 48-50.
7. Cf. Quran XXVI, 63-66 etc.
8. Cf. Quran XXV, 48: "And He it is Who sends the winds, glad tidings heralding His mercy, and We send down purifying water from the sky." See also VII, 57 and XXX, 46.
9. Cf. Quran XVIII, 59: "Thy Lord is the Forgiver, Full of Mercy. If He took them to task (now) for what they earn, He would hasten on the doom for them; but theirs is an appointed term from which they will find no escape."
O Beginner, O Creator with no compeer!
O Everlasting who has no end!
O Living when nothing was alive!
O Quickener of the dead!2
O "He Who is aware of the deserts of every soul" (XIII,33)!
O He toward whom my gratitude was little,
yet He deprived me not!
My transgression was great,
yet He disgraced me not!
He saw me committing acts of disobedience,
yet he made me not notorious!
O He who watched over me in childhood!
O He who provided for me in my adulthood!
O He whose favors toward me cannot be reckoned and
whose blessings cannot be repaid!
O He who has confronted me with the good and the fair,
and I have confronted Him with evil and disobedience
O He who led me to faith before I had come to know
gratitude for His gracious bestowal!
O He upon whom I called when I was sick
and He healed me,
and He clothed me,
and He satisfied me,
and He gave me to drink,
and He exalted me,3
and He gave me knowledge,
1. Reference to the story of Moses and the sorcerers, related several times in the Quran, especially VII, 111-126; XX, 62-73 and XXVI, 36-51.
2. A divine Name used in Quran XXX, 50 and XLI, 39.
3. Cf. Quran III, 26: "Thou exaltest whom Thou wilt, and Thou abasest whom Thou wilt."
and He increased my number,
and He returned me,
and He enriched me,
when in need of help
and He helped me,
and when rich
and He took not from me.
I refrained from (calling upon Thee in) all of that
and Thou caused me to begin (to call).
Thine are the praise and the gratitude!
O He who overlooked my slip,
relieved my distress,
heard my prayer,
covered my defects,
forgave my sins,
caused me to reach my desire,
and helped me against my enemy!
If I were to count Thy blessings, favors and generous
acts of kindness
I would not be able to reckon them.1
1. Again reference to Quran XIV, 34 and XVI, 18.