Comment on the du‘aa’, “I strove hard to conceal my sins, and You strove hard, my Lord, in concealing me”
By His bounty towards the Muslim, Allah has made the matter of du‘aa’ broad in scope. There are du‘aa’s in the Qur’aan, du‘aa’s of the Prophets and Messengers, that are few in words but great in meaning. And there are du‘aa’s in the Sunnah, du‘aa’s of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). And there are also du‘aa’s of the noble Sahaabah, Taabi‘een, scholars and righteous people, which have been compiled in many books and are also to be found in their biographies. We do not think there is any need for anyone to come along and make up phrases for calling upon his Lord, and not be content with keeping them between him and his Lord until he spreads them among people on web sites and elsewhere. The one who browses websites will find a great deal of such material, most of which is questionable. The reason for that is that those who originally wrote these things were not scholars or seekers of knowledge.
One example of what we are talking about is something that is widespread on many web sites, a du‘aa’ that contains clear exaggeration and some phrases that is extremely abhorrent and distasteful. It is the du‘aa’ mentioned by the questioner. Its mistakes are twofold:
1. Using the same word referring to the striving of the created being in committing sin and the striving of the Lord, the Creator, the All-Forgiving. This is something that it is not befitting for the one who is calling upon his Lord to do, and it is disrespectful towards Allah, may He be glorified and exalted.
2. It ascribes “striving” to Allah, may He be exalted! This is a word that it is abhorrent to attribute to the Lord, may He be exalted. This word is indicative of expending effort and energy, which is impossible in the case of Allah, may He be exalted, Who told us that He created the heavens and the earth and everything in between and no fatigue or tiredness touched Him. Allah, may He be exalted, said (interpretation of the meaning): “And indeed We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in six Days and nothing of fatigue touched Us” [Qaaf 50:38]. This clearly states that there is no tiredness or fatigue on the part of Allah, may He be exalted, at all. Rather He mentioned it here, after He created the heavens and the earth and everything in between them, so as to dispel any confusion and refute those among the Jews who attributed that to Him. This negation of tiredness and fatigue is indicative of the perfection of His power, may He be glorified and exalted.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It should be noted that when it is said that Allah does not possess an attribute, it is not only a negation; rather as well as the negation, what is meant is the opposite. So when Allah, may He be exalted, said of Himself (interpretation of the meaning): “and nothing of fatigue touched Us”, what is meant is a negation of fatigue and an affirmation of the perfection of His might and power.
End quote from Tafseer Soorat al-Baqarah, 2/132
If it were correct to say of a sinful person that he “strove” in committing sin, how can a person be content to say of his Lord, may He be exalted, that He “strove” in concealing it when He – may He be exalted – is able to conceal it and, rather, to forgive it and replace it with good deeds (hasanaat) with one word, “Be!” This is not permissible; rather it is haraam, and it is not permissible for anyone to speak of his Lord in a manner that is suggestive of shortcomings or that is far removed from the proper etiquette that must be observed before Him, may He be glorified.
What the Muslim must do is refrain from using this phrase in his du‘aa’ and beware of spreading it. Websites must also erase this sentence from their pages and not incur sin by spreading it.
And Allah knows best.