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Last Updated: 2006/09/19
Summary of question
Does the recitation of some Duas, like Dua Ahd, have an effect if recited more or less than the specific period mentioned?
What happens if a person dies before the 40th day of reciting Dua Ahd (or any other Dua which is to be recited for a specific period)?
Concise answer

Every good deed is made up has two aspects: The deed itself, and the right intention. That is, a deed is accepted by the Almighty when the action is a good one, as well as the intention for it, which has to be only for the pleasure of Allah. Many Islamic traditions have stressed the importance of intentions, and have recognized intentions as being the soul the deed itself. Even if a pious believer intends to do a good deed, but doesn’t manage to, if his intention was a pure one, and according to the tradition of the Masoomeen (the Sainted Ones), Allah will reward him as if he had performed the deed in its entirety. Similarly, if a person has sincere intentions of reciting Dua Ahd, and passes away before he can complete this deed, Allah will reward him as though he had recited the Dua. The recitation of other recommended supplications if read more than their specifically mentioned times, it would only result in more reward and blessing.

Detailed Answer

In Islam, every act and deed has two conditions for its acceptance: First, the act itself should be a permissible and a good one, like helping others, reciting Duas (supplications) etc. Secondly, this deed has to be undertaken with a pure intention; for example, if a person is reciting a Dua (supplication), it should be only for the pleasure of Allah, or if a person helps another human being, it should be only to please Allah, not for the praise of the people. Islam stresses the importance of the principal of purity of intentions, in order for the deed to be accepted. The Holy Prophet is quoted to have said: “Actions are bound by intentions.”[1]

            Our Saint Imam’s (P.B.U.T.) have also mentioned a great deal about the intention of carrying out a particular action, and the importance of its purity. Imam Sadiq (a.s) quotes from the Holy Prophet: “The intention of a believer is better than his actions.”[2] The Late Allamah Majlisi, explaining this hadith further, quoting Imam Baqir to have said: “The reason for this is that a believer intends to do many good deeds, but may not be successful in performing them.”[3] Therefore, the importance and effect of the intention of a believer is far more than his actions. As much as he may intend to do good, like recite Dua Ahd for 40 days[4], or to give a certain amount of money to the poor, yet he has no idea when the time of his death is written for him, or that he actually doesn’t have the ability to give the poor money at that present time, but since his intentions were pure and good, Allah will reward him fully, without him actually having performed the deed, because he is the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.


Imam Sadiq (a.s) has said: “A poor person says: O Allah, grant me wealth and possessions, so that I can help the poor ones. Since Allah knows the purity of his intention, and that he is a truthful person, He writes for him the reward of performing that action, as He is the Merciful One.”[5] Therefore, if a person intends to recite a recommended supplication, even if he doesn’t recite it at all, or performs a certain amount then passes away, or due to circumstances does not manage to recite them, Allah gives him the reward of performing the act. Reciting these supplications beyond the specified amount is good and honourable and will result in more reward and blessing, although performing these acts as they have been instructed is more acceptable


One of the supplications which has been very highly recommended is Duae Ahd of Imam Mahdi (a.s), which has been brought forward to us from Imam Sadiq (a.s): Whoever recites this supplication for forty consecutive mornings will be of the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.s), and if he dies before the reappearance of the Imam, he will be brought out of his grave to offer his services to the Imam. This supplication is not an exception to the rule mentioned above; that if a person has a sincere intention to recite the Dua for 40 consecutive mornings, but due to certain circumstances can not, Allah will grant him the reward and effects of his deed.

[1] Saheeh Bukhari, Bud’ Alwahyi Vol 1, Saheeh Muslim.

[2] Usoole Kafi Vol 3, Mustafawi Translation pg 133.

[3] Usoole Kafi Vol 3, Mustafawi Translation pg 133.

[4] Mafateehul Jinan, Duae Ahd. Biharul Anwar Vol 53, pg 95, 96. Biharul Anwar Vol 91, pg 41, 42.

[5] Usoole Kafi Vol 3, Mustafawi Translation pg 133.

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