بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِیم

In the name of Allah source of general Mercy to all humanity source of Grace to the believers

In this series of articles, we will reflect on the dua Imam Zaman (ATFS). This supplication(Dua) is a pledge to Imam of Age(ATFS). We will open and analyze each line of the dua. 

اللّٰهُمَّ ارْزُقْنا تَوْفِيقَ الطّاعَةِ

O Lord provide us both material and spiritual Rizq (sustenance) and especially firmness in obedience to your commands of whoever You have authorized to be obeyed i.e. your Messenger and the Infallible Imams, qualified mujtahids, parents etc.

The first line of supplication talks about the sustenance (Rizq) both material and spiritual and having firmness in obedience. Now let’s look into word sustenance, here we are requesting Allah(swt) to give us sustenance both material and spiritual.

As a human being we all are in need of sustenance whether in form of food, clothing or shelter. In Islamic life style we have to make sure that these needs are fulfilled in a lawful or halal way. The material sustenance should be earning in honesty way without any lies and cheating. It has been scientifically proven that when person lie or cheat, it takes a surprising amount of brainpower to pull it off. Using up that brainpower can be costly. The brain drain it causes just might prevent you from performing some task or skill that’s important to you. And, of course, lying can have unwanted social impacts, too. If you’re an honest person, people will trust you more. And trust is important. “By being honest with people, you build up social capital,” according to Timothy Levine He’s a psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Social capital is goodwill among people in a group or community. When you tell the truth, your brain doesn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary. You think of what you want to say, and you say it. Lying takes much more work.

The brain’s prefrontal cortex, behind the forehead (shown right, in darker green) isn’t fully mature until we are in our 20s. That’s a problem for adolescents. This part of the brain helps us understand risk. It’s also in charge of a lot of our higher-level thinking, such as planning and self-control. You might not be aware of it, but you just gave your brain a ton of extra work when you lie. It would have been far easier just to have told the truth.

A lot of that brain work is done in a region called the prefrontal cortex. It’s the part in charge of working memory, explains Jennifer Vendemia. She’s a neuroscientist at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia. Working memory keeps something in mind just for a little while — such as remembering instructions for how to play a game or some other specific task. It’s a bit like your computer’s clipboard. It stores things for only a short while as you’re using them. It doesn’t put them in long-term storage. Besides working memory, the prefrontal cortex also takes care of tasks such as planning, problem-solving and self-control.

Scientists describe these as “executive function” tasks. Executive function comes into play when you use self-control to keep from blurting out the truth or some fact that would expose your lie. It helps you recall all the details of a lie to make sure that it sounds believable and you don’t slip up. Executive function lets you think a step or two ahead to make sure the lie you’re telling will likely hold up to questioning.

Calling on your executive function this way also uses up a lot of brainpower. One 2015 study done by researchers in Belgium found that the brain is slower and more likely to make mistakes when it shifts between lying and truth-telling. Vendemia’s research has also shown that someone’s mental workload will be heavier and their reaction time longer when lying.

Spending so much brainpower trying to keep a story straight means there’s less available for other things — like solving math problems. Lying is especially hard for young people, says Vendemia. The prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until around age 25. So younger people have fewer resources there to begin with. When the prefrontal cortex is busy with tasks related to lying, she notes, it now has a harder time doing other tasks that require planning, self-control or working memory. Those things might include planning a study schedule or using self-control to keep from drinking too much soda.

Most people know lying is generally bad and can have serious consequences. Science is now revealing ways in which dishonesty also can impact the brain and your ability to build the trust on which strong relationships depend.

Liars are the most toxic people who fabricate the truth in whichever manner suits them. In Islam, lying has been declared as the evilest act which breaches the trust and angers Allah SWT. The believers are the ones that follow the path of righteousness and truthfulness but stepping on the road towards lying is disobeying Allah SWT and denying His signs.

Allah says in Surah Al-Nahl Verse 105

They only invent falsehood who do not believe in the verses of Allah, and it is those who are the liars.

As you can see Islam discourage act of lie, cheat and also it has been scientifically proven how bad it is to lie or cheart. The lie stops human form having a normal life and enjoy Allah’s blessing in lawful way. When we ask for halal sustenance (Rizq) it is for our own betterments. You have peace of mind and you can do your other task with more mental energy. 

Fasting keeps us away from sins and elevates our Imaan. It prohibits us from committing heinous sins that deviate us from the right path. Those who indulge in lying, dishonesty, Backbiting and other sins, their fasts do not hold any importance in the eyes of Allah SWT. As fasting is not only forbidding oneself from drinking and eating, but it is to protect your nafs from getting lost in the darkness of sins.

In the first line of supplication we are also asking Allah to provide us firmness in obeying His commands. obedience demonstrates our faith and trust in Allah(SWT). Obedience is the key to our success, it is the sure and promised way for unlocking blessing for our lives.

The holy Quran verse Surah Nur 24:55 points towards obeying Allah(SWT)    

Allah has promised those of you who believe and do good that He will certainly make them successors in the land, as He did with those before them; and will surely establish for them their faith which He has chosen for them; and will indeed change their fear into security—˹provided that˺ they worship Me, associating nothing with Me. But whoever disbelieves after this ˹promise˺, it is they who will be the disobedient.

Obedience to Allah brings healing, closeness and love. According to scientific research made on our brain. The brain produce serotonin which is mood stabilizing hormone that can help you sleep better, feel less anxious and be happier. These hormone is activated by the following actions:

  • Meditation or Praying
  • Go for walk
  • Cardio activities
  • Get sun exposure

When one prays or listen to what Allah has told us to do, it creates a feeling of security because you know that this obeying of Allah commands at the end will cause success in your life.

Imam Ali (AS) says: “Obey one who is above you (in authority) and the one below you will obey you”

What is the purpose of obeying the Lord?

I believe the main purpose of obedience in Lord is for your own personal growth. We as a human being has five areas or faculty to look upon. Which I have shown in the diagram below:

In each section above there is Do’s and Don’ts from Allah(SWT). We need to understand the concept of obedience. As I said before the purpose of obedience is self-development or self-growth. We need to grow or develop in all those 5 faculties I mentioned in the above diagram. These faculties are:

  1. Spiritual Life
  2. Financial Life
  3. Education/ Self-development side of Life
  4. Relationship side of Life
  5. Health side of Life

We need to examine our desire that makes us more incline towards them rather than obeying Allah(SWT)?

Sometimes it could be:

  • Negative thoughts not feeling good about ourselves.
  • Bad Habits.
  • Not enough motivated
  • Not being able to see the by-product or result of doing certain actions..

The word desire could have a negative outcomes or positive outcomes. For example, a desire to praying has a positive outcome. The praying or meditation in research have shown to spread happiness signals out across the brain, touching at least 14 different receptors. The serotonin that produce is a happiness hormone, it causes long term contentment and too less of this hormone leads to depression.

Here we need to focus on the question what Allah(SWT) wants from us, is it for our own self benefit or Allah(SWT) will benefit from it? We need to first use our knowledge of our body, physiology and mental process to see how we can have aligned our desire in the best way to reach our optimal level both spiritually and physically which ultimately will help us to grasp our full potential and productivity.

I will finish this discussion with the following saying of Imam Ali(AS):

“He whose heart submit to Allah(SWT) his body never tires of Allah(SWT) obedience”


Rabab Bano saeed