The servant asks Allah for their each and every matter, for the treasures of all matters belong to Allah:
“And there is nothing except that We possess its treasures (or stores).” (Surah al-Hijr:21)
However, without a doubt, certain matters have more right to be asked for than others. Of the matters that we should ask for continually and without fail are:
Every day, over twenty times, the Muslim cries out to Allah:
“You Alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.” (Surah Al-Faitihah:5)
So it is of primary importance that we ask Allah for help in worshipping Him, for Allah alone is the only One that can guide:
“So whoever Allah guides is the (only) one that is truly guided, and whoever he leads astray will never find a protector, or a guide.” (Surah al-Khaf:17)
No matter how pious a person becomes, or how rightly guided they are, they are bound to occasionally fall into error, for we are after all only humna. The righteous person is quick to turn to Allah in this circumstance and asks His forgiveness, frequently and sincerely. All praises be to Allah who tells us:
“And I am indeed Ever-Forgiving to the one that repents, and believes, and does good deeds, and then is rightly guided.” (Surah Ta Ha:82)
The ultimate goal of every believer should be to earn the pleasure of Allah, and through it, Paradise. If this really is our goal, we should ask for it in every du’a that we make, day and night, morning and evening. If we find that we are not frequently asking for Paradise, we should ask ourselves how important it is for us.
Ponder over the wisdom of the Companion of the Prophet, Rabi’ah ibn Ka’b al’Aslami, may Allah be pleased with him. Once he was asked the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him:
“Ask (whatever you want).
He replied: “I wish to be with you in Paradise.”
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Anything else besides this?”
So, he said: “No, this is what I want”. Then the Prophet, peace be upon him, responded:
“Then help me with your (request) by numerous prostrations.” (Recorded in Muslim)
Protection from Afflictions
One of the comprehensive matters that the Prophet, peace be upon him, asked us to ask protection from is afflictions, or ‘afiyah. This comprehensive term includes good health, and protection from affliction in this world and the Hereafter.
Once, the Prophet’s, peace be upon him, uncle ‘Abbas, asked him to teach him a comprehensive du’a that he should ask of Allah. So the Prophet, peace be upon him, responded:
“Ask Allah for ‘afiyah”
He pondered over this a few days, but felt there was something more he should ask for as well. So he returned to the Prophet, peace be upon him, with the same request, after which he said:
“O ‘Abbas! O Uncle of the Prophet of Allah! Ask Allah for ‘afiyah in this life and the Next.” (Recorded in al-Tirmidhi)
And Abu Bakr narrated that he heard the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying while on the pulpit giving the Friday sermon,
“Ask Allah for forgiveness and ‘afiyah, for no one has been given, after certainty (imaan), anything better than ‘afiyah.” (Recorded in al-Tirmidhi)
Perseverence in One’s Faith
A person always strives to protect the valuables that they have, but the greatest of blessings that a Muslim can be given is the blessing of imaan. Therefore we should always ask Allah to protect this great treasure. Umm Salamah once asked the Prophet, peace be upon him:
“O Messenger of Allah! Why is it that most of your du’a is (the phrase), ‘O He who turns the hearts! make my heart firm upon your religion?”
So the Messenger, peace be upon him, responded:
“O Umm Salamah! There is not a single person of the Children of Adam except that his heart is between two of the Fingers from the Fingers of Allah. So whoever Allah wishes, He establishes and makes form (the heart of His obedience) and whosoever he wishes, He leads astray.” (Recorded in al-Tirmidhi)
There are of course many other matters that are important to ask for, such as continual attainment of Allah’s Mercy and Blessings, and patience with His Decree etc, but the main point here is to realise that we should prioritise our goals, and place the needs and requirements of the religion over those of this world. Although we seek the best of both worlds from Allah, one of them is temporary and is a means by which to achieve happiness in the eternal one, and when we realise this, we should ask Allah accordingly.