In Surah Qasas, chapter 28 of the Quran, it tells the story of Moses and in ayah 24 the rabbi inni lima dua is revealed.
So why caused Musa (AS) recite this dua and what purpose did it serve?
At the time Musa (AS) was adopted by the corrupted Pharaoh and was among royalty. One day, he made his way into the city where he came across two men fighting. One member was from his group and the other was the enemy.
He ended up getting involved in the fight and struck the man unintentionally killing him. News spread quickly, and people became fearful of Musa (AS) believing he was a tyrant. A man who came from the farthest end of the city came to warn him, “O Moses, indeed the eminent ones are conferring over you [intending] to kill you, so leave [the city]; indeed, I am to you of the sincere advisors.” (28:20)
So he did, he ran away toward the city of Madyan where he came across a crowded well of people watering their flocks. Here he came across two women that he observed struggling with their flock, they kept pulling them back stopping them from reaching the well. Musa (AS) found this strange and went to ask what their situation was.
The women told him that their father is a very old man and can’t take care of the flock and they do not want to go into the crowd of other shepherds for whatever reason, likely because they are female, so they wait until the other shepherds leave the watering hole.
Prophet Musa (AS) who was likely very tired from his travel took the sheep from the women and watered the flock. This took some time and after returning the flock back he sought comfort in the shade.
This is the background building up to the moment he recited the full rabbi inni lima anzalta dua.
RABBI INNI LIMA ANZALTA DUA
The rabbi inni lima dua in Arabic text is written,
رَبِّ إِنِّى لِمَآ أَنزَلْتَ إِلَىَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍۢ فَقِيرٌۭ
Transliteration Rabbi inni lima anzalta ilayya min khairin faqir
RABBI INNI LIMA ANZALTA DUA MEANING
The meaning of the rabbi inni lima dua is “My Lord, indeed I am, for whatever good You would send down to me, in need.”
Here’s other translations of this ayah from other Quran commentators:
DR. GHALI “Lord! Surely I have need (Literally: I am poor) of whatever charity You will have sent down to me.”
MUHSIN KHAN “My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!”
PICKTHALL “My Lord! I am needy of whatever good Thou sendest down for me.”
DR. MUSTAFA KHATTAB “My Lord! I am truly in ˹desperate˺ need of whatever provision You may have in store for me.”
Prophet Musa (AS) was a fugitive, on the run, and exhausted. In the tafsir of Mufti Shafi it was said he did not have any food for the last seven days.
Despite this fatigue, the mistake he made was weighing heavy on his mind and whatever good he could do to redeem himself he would take. This opportunity to help the two women was viewed by Musa (AS) as an opportunity bestowed by Allah SWT to right his wrongdoings. This is why as he walking to the shade he recited this dua “My Lord! I am needy of whatever good Thou sendest down for me.”
We can learn from this the attitude the Prophet had, the urgency to do good despite being physically and mentally exhausted. By being of service and helping others will help restore your own faith and happiness.
The word khair in the dua rabbi innee limaa anzalta ilayya min khairin faqeer is sometimes used for wealth as in the case of Surah Baqarah ayat 180, sometimes it is used for strength like as in Surah Ad Dukhan ayat 37 and other times referencing food as in this specific verse.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS DUA (BENEFITS):
This is a beautiful dua, it asks Allah for good provision which is a broad term encompassing many things. It can refer to getting a job, wealth, marriage, food, drink, or just asking for good before a journey.
From this Prophet Musa, we can learn that even after helping these two young women the Quran says Musa (AS) turned away and found shade. There we no strings attached, he truly wanted to help with no expectations of getting anything in return. Especially since he was helping women we can see his intention was pure which is a testament to his character.
Also, we can learn that despite being broken, isolated, travelling for days in the heat with no food he did not grow in anger towards Allah. In fact, in complete desperation he turns to Allah and says “I am in need” or “I am desperate” and to please send down whatever good. He understands provision only comes from Allah.
So what happened next?
Allah SWT heard this dua and sent help for Musa (AS), the story continues with the two women disappearing and returned back to their home. Their father curious as to how they finished so quickly today and was told about the man who helped them water the flock. The father then sent one of his daughters back to find him and hire him for a job, “Indeed, my father invites you that he may reward you for having watered for us.” (28:25)
He was offered help and he took the opportunity. Despite being from royalty back in Egypt he had enough humility and was not embarrassed to accept help. Allah’s blessings can come in a variety of ways we are not aware of, we must learn to become receptive.
This is a very beautiful dua and the story behind it offers many life lessons we can all learn and take from.
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