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Breathe in, breathe out: Is prayer a transaction?

August 7, 2020

Words and Artwork Zaenab Baisaheba J. Imaduddin. (@zaenabimaduddin)


11 June, 2020 

A breath you take and a breath you give. Is this delicately balanced transaction an indication that nothing comes for free, except that which is destined for me? By this reckoning, is not prayer also a transaction? 

I resort to prayer because: 

  • Allah Ta’ala states in the Noble Quran,
    Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 4.21.44 PM
    (Pray to Me and I will answer your prayers!) 


Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 4.21.52 PM(Remember Me and I shall remember you!

  • The Hadeeth reminds me that
    Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 4.22.03 PM

(Prayer is a believer’s weapon.)



  • Hudaat Kiraam AS exhort us,
    Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 4.22.18 PM
    (Ask of Allah Ta’ala to your heart’s content and do not be bashful for He is generous.)


  • I wish to redeem that which I have lost by means of the invocation,
    Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 4.22.34 PM

(O One who restores what has been lost.)



However, if I ask for that which is beyond my destiny–my energy grid–does it then mean that some other energy is lost to compensate? Or does it imply Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 4.32.09 PM(cleansing of sin) so that the new can manifest? 

Should I then continue to supplicate for what I believe is due to me? Or should I instead choose to resign to the Provider of my Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 4.32.24 PM (fate), whilst taking solace from Ameerul Mumineen’s AS adage 

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 4.32.40 PM

(Take rest, for your livelihood pursues you)? 



Should I not repose my complete trust in Allah Ta’ala as did Nabi Ibrahim SA who stated “If it is Allah’s will that I perish in the fire, then who am I to desire otherwise? If He wants to save me, He will!” Should I not seek inspiration from Imam Husain AS in Karbala when he sheathed his sword and accepted martyrdom in submission to the will of his Creator? 


Should I continue praying to alter my fate since I am assured that Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 4.33.04 PM (prayer can alter what has ordained by fate)? Or should I look to Nabi Ibrahim SA and Imam Husain AS who chose Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 4.33.16 PM (to be satisfied with what was written in fate) during their most trying times, despite having recourse to alter what was predestined for them? 


Should I continue to dwell on what I believe is rightfully mine and what I have been denied? Or should I not, in a state of patient trust, believe that indeed He knows the right balance is for me? Is it not better, then, that I pray for repentance whilst detached from the outcome? 


If fate can be changed, what is the cost of that change, particularly if it affects the delicate balance between giving and receiving? Are some of my prayers granted at the expense of other rewards destined for me? 


A breath you take and a breath you give. 




We also did an interview with her and an artist feature on her! Check them out! Follow her at @zaenabimaduddin on Instagram to keep up with her artistic explorations and stunning work.

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  • Reply Munira August 7, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Beautifully written!

    • Reply Zaenab Imaduddin August 7, 2020 at 6:31 pm

      Shukran Munira!

  • Reply Maria August 7, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    I do not know how to comprehend my thoughts or deeds after asking myself the question that baisaheba has ended her intellectual word at. Truly a thought-provoking write up; contradicting yet a course to enlightenment!

  • Reply Mrym August 7, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Ya Ali what a paradox … this article has left me afraid and confused and at the same time inspired and hopeful. Such a powerful work of art.

  • Reply Zainab M August 8, 2020 at 6:45 am

    A very well written article with a unique concept to ponder upon, quite engaging. Thank you for sharing!
    Loved the artwork too!

  • Reply Mufaddal August 9, 2020 at 7:38 am

    So where can I find the answers to these questions? Which question is more valid than the other?

    • Reply Jamila August 9, 2020 at 6:13 pm

      I’m left with the same question. Perhaps there is no answer. Or perhaps there is no one singular answer.

      • Reply Mufaddal August 9, 2020 at 8:00 pm

        On further thinking, the answers can be easily found in Asbaaq 🙂

  • Reply Huzefa Tinz DXB August 15, 2020 at 2:28 am

    Beautifully written as well Saheb

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