On one occasion, Sayyiduna Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), the special attendant of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), was asked, “Which du‘aa would Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) make the most?” Sayyiduna Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “The du‘aa which he would make the most was:

اَللّٰهُمَّ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارْ​

O Allah, our Rabb! Bestow us with goodness in this world, and goodness in the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the fire (of Jahannam)!

In emulating this blessed sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Sayyiduna Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would also recite this du‘aa in abundance. It is thus reported that if he ever made just a single du‘aa, then it would be this du‘aa, and when he made a lengthy du‘aa, then he would ensure that he did not forget to include this du‘aa with the other du‘aas that he made. (Saheeh Bukhaari #6389 and Saheeh Muslim #6840)

This du‘aa is not only established in the hadeeth, but is also mentioned in the Quraan Majeed. In Surah Baqarah (v201), Allah Ta‘ala makes mention of those people (in the pre-Islamic era of ignorance) who after performing hajj, would make du‘aa. However, when making du‘aa, they would only ask for worldly bounties and material blessings.

Thereafter, Allah Ta‘ala mentions the du‘aa of the believers (the abovementioned du‘aa), teaching us that we should recite this du‘aa as it includes seeking the goodness of both worlds, not just the material of the dunya. In this, we are also taught that when making du‘aa, we should not only ask for wealth, material and other worldly favours, but should ensure that we beg for that which is most important – the bounties of the Hereafter.

Regarding the comprehensive nature of this du‘aa, Haafiz Ibnu Katheer (rahimahullah) mentions, “This du‘aa encapsulates every goodness in this world, and repels every form of evil. The reason is that ‘goodness in this world’ includes every worldly bounty such as good health, a comfortable home, a good spouse, abundant sustenance, beneficial knowledge, righteous deeds, a comfortable vehicle, a good reputation, etc. …  As for ‘goodness in the Hereafter’, then it refers to (acquiring) the greatest bounty of the Hereafter, which is gaining entry into Jannah, as well as (acquiring) other bounties (of the Hereafter), such as being saved from the terror of the Day of Qiyaamah and the reckoning being made easy, etc. As for salvation from Jahannam, then it includes the path of salvation being made easy for a person during his lifetime i.e. abstaining from haraam, sins, and doubtful things.” (Tafseer Ibni Katheer vol. 2, pg. 122)

On one occasion, a group of people were seated by Sayyiduna Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). His close student, Thaabit Bunaani (rahimahullah), requested him to make du‘aa for them. Sayyiduna Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) obliged and made this du‘aa for them.

Sayyiduna Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then spoke to them for some time. Thereafter, when they were about to depart, Thaabit (rahimahullah) once again requested him to make du‘aa for them (it would seem as though they had considered the first du‘aa to be very short, and thus wanted Sayyiduna Anas [radhiyallahu ‘anhu] to now make a lengthy du‘aa for them).

Hearing their request, Sayyiduna Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said, “Do you want me to make many separate du‘aas for you (beseeching Allah Ta‘ala to bestow you with various individual bounties)? When Allah Ta‘ala blesses you with goodness in this world, and goodness in the Hereafter, and saves you from the fire of Jahannam, then He has bestowed you with all goodness (i.e. do not regard my first du‘aa as insignificant, as it sought all goodness of both worlds for you).” (Tafseer Ibni Katheer vol. 2, pg. 123)

We thus understand, from the above, that this du‘aa may be short in length, but it is lengthy in its benefit. It takes just a few seconds to recite, but it encompasses the goodness of both worlds and seeks prosperity and good conditions in all departments of our life and our after-life. Hence, as far as possible, we should never leave out reciting this du‘aa.