Sheikh Abdur Rahman ibn al-Jawzi رحمه الله has given amazing advices; the learned saint says that we are quick to ask Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله for what we require but we forget about our sins. The proper manner is that we should seek forgiveness first and then ask for our needs. We should implore Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله in the following way; “O Allah, protect us from overlooking our sins before praying for our worldly needs.”
If we seek forgiveness, repent and erase our sins; then Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله will grant us our needs automatically. In a narration of Tirmidhi (#2926), it has been mentioned that those servants who cannot ask Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله for their needs due to them being occupied in His remembrance will get from Him what is given to those who ask.
It has been said of Hazrat Bishr Hāfi رحمه الله that he used to raise his hands in duaa but should withdraw them because he did not consider himself worthy of asking Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله for anything. Hazrat Bishr Hāfi رحمه الله possessed immense Divine Awareness as though he saw Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله and felt ashamed to make duaa for anything because of his lapses.
Our pitiful state is that we choose negligence; we then pray to Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله although we are distant from Him. What is even more surprising is that we commit sins and inspite of our disobedience, we still pray to Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله for our worldly needs! We are so weak that we do not ask Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله for our reformation. We need to remember that if we are going to ignore and neglect our islāh (reformation), we will be on the brink of destruction. What is thus required of us is that we become consumed in grief over our sins and this remorse should be a constant occupation. We learn from the Ahlullāh that they continuously nurtured the fear of Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله as an integral component of their islāh (reformation).