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Last Updated: 2012/04/14
Summary of question
Do any supplications exist for seeking forgiveness from people whose right we may have trampled?
If we can’t or don’t wish to ask people for forgiveness (for something we’ve done or said), are there any supplications (Dua) designed for this purpose? If such a supplication exists, please mention it.
Concise answer

The rights of the people are divided into two categories. The first of those relate to the rights that God has over the people; if one goes against such rights, then the path of rectifying this wrong involves making up for what has been neglected (in cases that are to be made up for) and seeking forgiveness from God. The second category involves the rights of the people; if one wrongs people individually, then the path to correcting such an action involves seeking their forgiveness and satisfaction. If such a thing is not possible due to the person not being accessible or if doing such an action will create even greater problems, there do exist some actions such as seeking forgiveness for them or the recitation of certain specific supplications for those individuals.

Detailed Answer

The rights which people are responsible for are categorized into two main sections; the first of these are the rights of God, while the second involve the rights of the people. The path towards making up for the first category of rights is in performing the actions which were missed or otherwise compensating for them and also seeking forgiveness from God (to whom these set of rights belong). Making up for the second category of rights (since they are the rights which belong to the people) involves receiving the forgiveness and satisfaction of the involved party. In case the person is out of reach or a greater injury or harm will arise from this action (in making them aware of what has taken place), there are some religious guidelines which can be followed. These involve the following:

1- Seeking forgiveness on behalf of that individual: A tradition from the Holy Prophet (s) states: 'If an individual has backbitten someone, and then goes on to seek forgiveness for that same individual, God will forgive them.'[1]

2- A supplication that is recited before the obligatory prayers:  Imam ʿAlī (ʿa) stated the following to his companions: If an individual recites the following supplication after the Iqamah (the Iqamah which comes after the Adhan) of an obligatory prayer and before the Takbiratul Ihram (the saying of Allahu Akbar which initiates the prayer): '"یا مُحْسِنُ قَدْ أَتَاکَ الْمُسِی‏ءُ وَ قَدْ أَمَرْتَ الْمُحْسِنَ أَنْ یتَجَاوَزَ عَنِ الْمُسِی‏ءِ وَ أَنْتَ الْمُحْسِنُ وَ أَنَا الْمُسِی‏ءُ فَبِحَقِّ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ تَجَاوَزْ عَنْ قَبِیحِ مَا تَعْلَمُ مِنِّی"' (Oh Doer of Goodness, the evil doer has come to your sanctuary and you yourself have said that the doer of good should forgive the evil doer. You are the doer of good and I am the doer of evil, therefore, by the right of Muhammad (s) and the family of Muhammad (a) send your peace and blessings upon them and forgive me my evil actions, of which you yourself are well aware. Then after such a supplication, God will say: Oh my angels, be witness that I have forgiven him and I have made the people who have rights against him well pleased.)[2]

3- The recitation of Surah Ikhlas 12 times with a specific supplication after the five daily prayers: Imam Ali (ʿa) has stated: If anyone wishes to be free of sins when he passes away from this world, in the same manner that gold is made free of any impurities, so that no individual would go after him in taking back his rights (because of any oppression he has committed against that individual) then he should recite Surah Ikhlas twelve times after the five daily prayers and he should then open his hands in prayer and recite the following supplication: "اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّی أَسْأَلُکَ بِاسْمِکَ الْمَکْنُونِ الْمَخْزُونِ الطَّاهِرِ الطُّهْرِ الْمُبَارَکِ وَ أَسْأَلُکَ بِاسْمِکَ الْعَظِیمِ وَ سُلْطَانِکَ الْقَدِیمِ‏ أَنْ تُصَلِّی عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ یا وَاهِبَ الْعَطَایا یا مُطْلِقَ الْأُسَارَى یا فَکَّاکَ الرِّقَابِ مِنَ النَّارِ أَسْأَلُکَ أَنْ تُصَلِّی عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ أَنْ تُعْتِقَ رَقَبَتِی مِنَ النَّارِ وَ أَنْ تُخْرِجَنِی مِنَ الدُّنْیا آمِناً وَ أَنْ تُدْخِلَنِی الْجَنَّةَ سَالِماً وَ أَنْ تَجْعَلَ دُعَائِی أَوَّلَهُ فَلَاحاً وَ أَوْسَطَهُ نَجَاحاً وَ آخِرَهُ صَلَاحاً إِنَّکَ أَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُیوب‏"[3]

Translated, this means the following: 'Oh my Lord, I ask You by Your secret, hidden, pure, faultless and blessed Name, and by your great Name, and Your so everlasting sovereignty, to shower Your blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad; O endower of bounties! O emancipator of captives! O rescuer of 'necks' from the Hellfire; I ask You to shower your blessings upon Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and to free my neck from the Hellfire and to take me from this world in tranquility and to enter me into Paradise soundly and to make the beginning of my supplication [to You] salvation, the middle of it success, and its end wellbeing; indeed You are the knower of the unseen." Then Amir al-Mumineen (ʿa) said: This supplication is amongst those left with me as a trust. It was taught to me by the Prophet (s) and he ordered that I teach it to Hasan (ʿa) and Husayn (ʿa)'.

It is worth mentioning that these supplications have been specifically designed for those who have made a firm decision in not going against the rights of God and the people and they were not designed for those who insist upon continuing their wrong ways.


[1] Warraam ibn Abi Farraas, Mas'ud ibn Isa, Majmu'at Warraam, vol. 2, p. 264, Faqih Press, Qum, 1410 AH.

[2] Ibn Taawus, Ali ibn Musa, Falaah al-Saa'il wa Najaah al-Masaa'il, p. 155, Bustane Ketab Press, Qum 1406 AH.

[3] Ibn Baabwayh, Muhammad ibn Ali, Man Laa Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol. 1, pg. 324, Islamic Publications Office affiliated with the Association of Seminary Teachers of the Islamic Seminary, Qum, 1413 AH.


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