I wanted to ask about the validity of this du‘a(supplication): “O Allah, if my provision is in heaven, send it down; if it is in the earth, bring it forth; if it is far away, bring it close; if it is close, make it easy; if it is little, increase it; if it is great, bless it for me.” If it is saheeh (authentic), should it be said in any particular situation or at any particular time?
This du‘a is not proven in any of the books of Sunnah (prophetic teachings) and reports from the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and it was not narrated from any of the Sahabah (Companions) or Tabi‘een (Successors). Rather it is the du‘a of an unknown Bedouin woman which one of the scholars heard her saying at ‘Arafah.
Al-Daynoori narrated in al-Mujalisah wa Jawahir al-‘Ilm with his isnad (chain of transmission) (p. 727) that al-Asma‘i said:
I heard a Bedouin woman in ‘Arafah saying: “O Allah, if my provision is in heaven, send it down; if it is in the earth, bring it forth; if it is far away, bring it close; if it is close, make it easy.” End quote.
It was also narrated by al-Jahiz in al-Bayan wa’l-Tabyeen (517), by al-Zamakhshari in Rabee‘ al-Abrar (178) and others.
What is meant by this du‘a, in general terms, is asking for provision and that it be made easy to reach it. There is nothing wrong with this, although we think that this du‘a is a kind of overstepping the mark and long-windedness in asking, which is contrary to the best guidance, the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) after him. It was narrated that ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) preferred concise words in du‘a and would not use any other kind of words. Narrated by Ahmad (27649) and Abu Dawood (1482); classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jami‘.
What is meant by concise du‘as is that which covers the goodness of this world and the Hereafter, in which the words are few but the meanings many, as in the verse in which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!” [al-Baqarah 2:201]; and as in the du‘a asking for well-being (‘afiyah) in this world and in the Hereafter.
‘Ali al-Qari said: The concise du‘a is that which covers all good things or includes praise of Allah. End quote.
‘Awn al-Ma‘bood Sharh Sunan Abi Dawood, 4/249
It was narrated from a son of Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: My father heard me when I was saying, ‘O Allah, I ask You for Paradise and its delights and its joys and so on, and I seek refuge in You from Hell and its chains and fetters and so on.’ He said: ‘O my son, I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “There will be people who overstep the mark in du‘a.” Beware lest you be one of them. If you are given Paradise, you will be given all the good things that are in it, and if You are given refuge from Hell you will be given refuge from all the bad things that are in it! Narrated by Ahmad (1486) and Abu Dawood (1480); classed as saheeh by al-Albani.
One of the du‘as of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was: “O Allah, You are the First and there is nothing before You; You are the Last and there is nothing after You. You are the Manifest (al-Zahir) and there is nothing above You; You are the Hidden (al-Batin) and there is nothing beyond You. Settle our debt and spare us from poverty.” Narrated by Muslim, 2713.
It was narrated from ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) that a mukatib (slave who had entered into a contract of manumission) came to him and said: “I am unable to pay off my manumission; help me.” He said: “Shall I not tell you some words which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught me? And if you have debt like the mountain of Seer, Allah will pay it off for you. He said: ‘Say: Allahumma akfini bi halalika ‘an haramika wa aghnini bi fadlika ‘amman siwaka (O Allah, suffice me with what You have permitted so that that I have no need of that which You have forbidden, and make me independent of means by Your bounty so that I have no need of anyone besides You).’” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (3563); classed as hasan (sound) by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi. See: Tasheeh al-Du‘a by Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd, p.61-63.
What comparison can there be between this and that long-winded du‘a of the Bedouin?
What we prefer for you and for every wise person, is the du‘a of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). If you are faced with any need pertaining to this world or the Hereafter, offer whatever du‘a you like for your need to be met and things to be made easy for you. It is not essential for this to be the exact du‘a narrated in reports; but if there is a du‘a among those narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that suits your need, that is better. Otherwise, offer du‘a as you like for the good of this world and the Hereafter.
If you insist on saying this du‘a, then let it be occasional, and do not make it a wird (part of a routine) that you always recite or a regular habit, and do not attribute it to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or believe that it has any particular virtue or single out any particular time, place or act of worship for reciting it.
Some of the later Shafi‘i fuqaha’ fell into this error, and said that a certain du‘a was Sunnah at the time of the Duha prayer. They said:
It is Sunnah to say this particular du’a during the Duha prayer:
O Allah, the forenoon is Your forenoon, the glory is Your glory, the beauty is Your beauty, the strength is Your strength, the power is Your power, the protection is Your protection. O Allah, if my provision is in heaven, send it down; if it is in the earth, bring it forth; if it is difficult, make it easy; if it is haram (unlawful), purify it; if it is far away, bring it near, by virtue of Your forenoon, glory, beauty, strength and power; give me what You give Your believing slaves. End quote.
Quoted by al-Dimyati in Hashiyat I‘anah al-Talibeen (1/295); Hashiyat al-Tablawi ‘ala Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, 2/231; Hashiyat al-Jamal, 1/485.
They singled out these phrases for a specific act of worship without any evidence from the Quran or Sunnah, and they added to the words of the du‘a phrases that include some transgression and overstepping the mark, such as “by virtue of Your forenoon”. There is no known status or virtue of the forenoon such that one might ask of Allah by virtue of it.
In fact, the claim that this du‘a is mustahabb during the Duha prayer opens the door to bid‘ah and introducing innovations into the religion. It is not part of the teachings of the prominent earlier fuqaha (jurists), and it is not the action of the righteous salaf (predecessors), so it should be avoided, and the fact that it is falsely attributed to the Sunnah should be pointed out.
And Allah knows best.