The Spiritual Secrets of Salat Ad-Duha
By Muhammad Sajad Ali –Abu Izzah
My personal Introduction
I first learnt about the practice more than the knowledge of salat Ad-duha and Salat Al-Ishraq and salat awwabin, salat for wudu and many other nafil-extra dhikr practices many years ago from Shaykh Nazim Haqqani’s gathering that I attended. Also I memorized Surah Inshirah-(The Expansion) simply by attending the Haqqani gatherings in my home town, many years ago and never needed to look at a Quran with that Surah. Surah Inshirah 94 chapter of Quran which starts, Alam nashrah laka sadraka-Have we not expanded your breast-(heart).
The first ayah-sign or indication of Surah Inshirah is mentions expansion of the Sadr-Heart or Breast, as the breast plate covers the heart and protects the Heart. We have 4 Hearts types or levels of the Heart; 1. Outer heart-Sadr 2. Inner heart-Qalb Inner Heart -Fu'ad, (which has an eye can see, this is a stage for Saints) 4.Lubb-Intellect-(this is the stage of the perfect saint) for more detail see link Sufi work 4 Stations of the Heart by on Al-Hakim Al-Tirmidhi
Surah Inshirah is used in the beginning of the haqqani Dhikr, as to make the heart ready or prepare it to receive heavenly lights and gifts as the Dhikr progresses, this surah is also good to read while studying and learning as it mentions opening the heart to receive knowledge ‘Have we not expanded your breast-(heart) and also ‘After every difficulty comes ease. Surely after every difficulty comes ease’.
I was interested and wanted to know more about these nafil-extra of salah-prayers that the Haqqani mureeds performed. And It was through studying and learning did I get to know more about their worth and merit.
Years later through an interesting conversation with a Qadiri-Noshahi Pir-sahib in my home town of Slough, Berkshire- UK, did the real interest really built up to search or more the quest and yearning about salah ad-duha start to happen. The Pir-sahib mentioned a Poem that is taught from heart to heart, which is in old Punjabi and many of the words are difficult to understand; it was the Manzuma-didactic Poem of Hajji Muhammad Noshah Ganj Baksh.
A note: about Manzuma-didactic Poem; didactic-(Intended to instruct or teach) poems and designed as mnemonics; - mnemonics is the process of recalling or memorizing a memory aid, it’s a formula or rhyme, used as an aid in remembering. The art of memorization is referred to as mnemonics. Mnemonics are methods for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall. This was and the technique that Muslim scholars used to learn and teach the Deen, the poems like flash card that trigger keys in one’s mind to help them remember text or subject headings, that same when one is giving a lecture today with PowerPoint slide all see are the bullet points which are the flash cards for the speak to then talk about. But Arabic didactic poems are much more powerful and comprehensive in meaning that they had key words that served as instructions and indications to follow. One famous Manzuma-(didactic poem) that I will mention is that of Sidi Ibn Ashir's 'Al-Murshid Al-Mu'in'-The Helpful Guide. Al-Murshid Al-Mu'in is a about creed, basic maliki fiqh and tasawwuf.
The Pir-sahib repeated some of the lines, and said he had difficulty understanding some of the terms used as it is very old Punjabi, and had to search out the meanings when he first learnt it. One of the lines mentions a special time in the day Duha. The thing was, I had been reading about salat ad-duha and the best time for Duha too. The Poem was the guidelines that gave indications on how to follow the path-tariqah and also about the indications on fath-openings to Waliyah-sainthood.
In ‘Sufi sage of Arabia’ by Imam Haddad from chapter 4 ‘structuring time’, it mentions that the Imam Haddad prayed 4 rakah of salat al-Ishraq and later the shaykh perform 8 rakah salat Ad-Duha. Also on Friday he would read surah Kahf and Ta-ha among others things on Friday and after zuhr reciting 1,000 laelaha-ill-lallah and doubling the number in the month of Ramadhan thus 2,000 and read into the first 5 days of Shawal so to total 70,000 laelaha-ill-lallah, the number which is said to bring salvation from the hell fire for oneself or on behalf of the decreased who it is done for.
Note: about the salat al-Ishraq-the Sunrise prayer, its 4 rakah, which is read in 2 rakah each, the time for Ishraq is 15-20mins after sunrise. Hadith ‘Whosoever offers his morning (fajr) prayer in congregation, then remains seated making the dhikr of Allah until the sun rises, and thereafter offers two rakats, they will receive the reward of performing a Hajj and Umrah’. Some say that Salat al-Ishraq and Salat al-Duha are the same pray. But they are not, they are two separate prayers. The recommended time for offering Ishraq prayer is 15 mins immediately after sunrise,
whilst Duha prayer (which is also called Chasht prayer in Urdu) is offered later on before Zawwal- the Zenith. There is also the of Wird Al-Ishraq by al-Ghawth al’Azim Shaykh Abdal-Qadiri Jilani and should be recited after praying salat-al-ishraq some of its line are:
The Light of Allah has shone forth and the Word of Allah has become manifest and the Commandment of Allah has been established, and the Law of Allah has come into force, and I have put all my trust in Allah...............
I have found shelter in Allah's hidden grace, and in the grace of Allah's work, and in the beauty of Allah's protection, and in the splendor of Allah's remembrance, and in the strength of Allah's authority. I have entered Allah's safekeeping and I have sought refuge with Allah's Messenger (salla 'llahu 'alai-hi wa sallam).
I have washed my hands of my personal power and strength, and have turned for help to the power of Allah and His strength. O Allah, shield me and protect me in my religion and my worldly business, my family and my property, my children, my companions and my friends, with that shield of Yours with which You have shielded Your Essence, so that no eye can see You and no hand can reach You..............
From Imam Haddad and about praying the extras-nafil and Salat Ad-duha
From Imam Haddad; …persevere with Witr and Duha prayers… be extremely careful to always keep alive the periods between the dawn–fajr and sunrise-(salat al-Ishraq is 15mins after is sunrise), and between the afternoon prayer-‘Asr and Maghirb-sunset for these are noble times where those servants who turn to Allah receive the flow of assistance-(Madaad or madaat). The time following the dawn prayer-Fajr when kept alive, has a powerful and specific effect in attracting material provision-Riqz, whereas, the time following the afternoon prayer-‘Asr if kept alive, has the powerful effect in attracting provision-Rizq for the heart-Rizq (also means knowledge). Taken from Imam Haddad’s book ‘Two treatises mutual Reminding and Good Manners’ in section from Good Manners Chapter 8’.
Also from the ‘Book of Assistance’ Give life to the time between the night prayers-(Maghrib and Isha; after maghrib praying minimum 6 rakah of Awwabin which is equal of 12 years of worship maximum is 20 rakah and after ‘isha praying 4 or more and then sleeping and rising up the last third of the night and praying Tahajjud ending with Witr), 4 rakah after Isha payer are equal to layla tul Qadr. Keep rising in prayer in at night, it draws you closer to your Lord, atones sins, forbids you from evil and protects the body from sickness. Rising after some sleep at night and praying will defect the devil and resistance for the ego and has wondrous secrets this is Tahajjud. Allah has gathered every goodness into the night and no Wali-Sainthood was ever determined-(granted) to a saint except at night.
Allah descent to the lowest Heaven at the last third of every night, asking is there any one that wants there duas answered, is there anyone that wants forgiveness, is there anyone that I can give? This holy noble time is a intimate time to be alone with Allah, when one gives life or Nur-light to the night, Allah will give life or Nur-light to their heart.
The counsel of Imam Nawawi
Also from ‘The counsel of Imam Nawawi’ by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf; footnotes..there is a large portion about the path to Allah that appears in the great Imam Nawawi’s al-Maqaasid; Adhering to the 8 raka’ats of the midmorning prayer-(salahad-Duha) and the 6 raka’ats-Awwbin after the sunset prayer-Maghrib and before the night prayer; Performing the night prayers (tahajjud) after awaking from one’s sleep; fulfilling the witr prayer; fasting on Mondays and Thursdays and on the three days of the full moon – i.e. the 13th,14th, and 15th of the lunar month – and also the days of the year in which fasting is recommended; Reciting the Quran with the heart’s presence coupled with reflection upon its meanings; Frequently asking forgiveness of Allah (istighfar); maintaining prayers and blessings upon the Prophet, peace be upon him; and, finally, adhering to the meritorious invocations of the morning and the evening that have come to us from the Sunna (adhkaar as-sabaah wa al-masa’).