Book Review: The Prayer of the Oppressed

Prayers

Title: The Prayer of the Oppressed
Publisher: Sandala Productions Inc. 2010
Original Author of the Dua: Imam Muhammad b. Nasir al-Dari
Translation and Introduction: Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

This book is split up into a fairly long introduction, a reflection on divine love, a few pages on the Imam that wrote the dua, Shaykh Hamza’s license to transmit the Dua, the actual Dua, along with its transliteration. The book also comes with a CD as well, which has the Dua on it. The cover photograph was taken by Mikhail Evstafiev in 1995, showing a Chechen man praying during the battle of Grozny.

The introduction goes into a very fascinating study of tyrany, oppression and tyrants. I found myself not increasing in dislike for tyrants, but sadness over their state. The fact they are oppressing, and committing unspeakable crimes upon their people is a complete reflection of how dark their heart has gotten, and it its deeply disturbing to realize a human with so much potential and fall into such oblivious ignorance and darkness which brings forth this evilness. To boot, the tyrants are completely unaware of their state, despite its depravity. Shaykh Hamza also discusses Dua in general, and its power that it has when it comes from people who are oppressed.

In discussing the author he mentions some of his background, the Imam was from Morocco. The Dua was used extensively in Morocco in the mid-20th century while it was under French occupation, and the French went so far as to ban its recitation in the mosques in Morocco, fearing its power. Eventually the French withdrew from Morocco.

One of key things I found interesting was Shaykh Hamza originally did not have sanad to transmit the Dua, and desired it before deciding to publish it and even had thoughts of leaving it unpublished if he did not find or receive a chain of transmission. It turned out that he mentioned this to his teacher Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, who informed him that he had the chain from his father. Some time passed before he actually got the sanad from Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, and after that Shaykh Hamza felt it was time to release the Dua in a published work. I was impressed by Shaykh Hamza’s scrupulousness of trying to get a chain of transmission before publishing the book. I also feel the timing of this book could not have been better, considering what has been occurring in the world at the moment and in the last two years. Shaykh does a great job in the introduction, set up and overall completeness of the book. May Allah preserve him and all of our scholars. Amen.

The Dua can be found online from many sources, it is a call not for the enemies to be destroyed but simply that their plots and the harm they cause to be halted, and its essence is mercy. There are two different vocal renditions of it in the links below. The one on sandala is the same one on the accompanying CD, and the the latter is how it is recited at Seekershub in Toronto fairly regularly.

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