Ibn `Abbâs relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say this “when he stood for the Tahajjud prayer”. This means when he awoke at the middle of the night. The apparent meaning of the text is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say this supplication before commencing his Tahajjud prayer.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) begins his supplication by praising Allah. Praise (hamd) is the act of commending the praiseworthy on account of his or her graciousness and acts of kindness. The Prophet (peace be upon him) praises his Lord for His perfect and noble attributes and for all His grace and blessings upon His servants. Allah is deserving of praise to the exclusion of all others. The phrasing here is absolute and categorical, expressing that Allah is worthy of praise in every way.
Then, the Prophet (peace be upon him) addresses Him as: “the sustainer of the heavens and the Earth”. This is one of Allah’s attributes. Allah is al-Qayyûm, which means that he is eternally independent of all else and the sustainer of everything else. He is in charge of the affairs of creation and the sustenance of His creatures. He is witness to all that they do and He is the one who will recompense them for their deeds. Allah says: “Is He then who watches every soul as to what it earns?” [Sûrah al-Ra`d: 33]
Then, the Prophet (peace be upon him) addresses Him as: “the light of the heavens and the Earth”. This is another attribute of Allah. One of Allah’s names is al-Nûr. Allah attributes light to Himself when He says: “And the Earth shall shine with the light of her Lord, and the Book is set up, and the prophets and the witnesses are brought, and it is judged between them with truth, and they are not wronged.” [Sûrah al-Zumar: 69]
One of the meanings conveyed by the statement “You are the light of the heavens and the Earth” is that Allah is the one who gives guidance to the denizens of the heavens and the Earth. He is the one who illuminates the heavens and the Earth by creating the light that illuminates them.
Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: “You are the Truth.” This is another of Allah’s names – al-Haqq. Allah is the clear and manifest truth in His essence and His attributes. There is no doubt about His existence, which is necessary. None has dominion or has the right to be worshipped aside from Him. All other deities and objects of worship are false.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) then says: “Your promise is true.” This means that Allah’s promise is certain and will never be broken. Allah’s promise must come to pass. Everything that follows in the supplication that the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentions as being true is part of Allah’s promise. Here we have an enumeration of things that have been promised, or we simply have mention being made of particulars after a general statement.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: “The meeting with You is true” he is making an affirmation of the Resurrection, of life after death. This is the destination of Allah’s creatures and this is where Allah will recompense them for their deeds.
When he says: “Paradise is true and the Fire is true”, he is affirming that these creations are in existence right now.
When he says: “Muhammad (peace be upon him) is true” this is conferring distinction upon him.
When he says: “The Hour is true”, he is referring to the Day of Resurrection.
Referring to all of these as true means that they have to come to pass. It also means that it is obligatory for us to believe in them. The word “true” is repeated over and over again, providing a strong emphasis to this meaning.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) then says: “With you I present my argument.” This means that he argues with what Allah has provided him with of proofs end arguments.
Then, when he says: “To you I appeal for judgment”, this refers to his deferring judgment to Allah for all those who refuse the truth. Allah is the judge between us, not to what the people in times of ignorance used to appeal to for judgment of charlatans and soothsayers.
Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) pleads: “So forgive me.” He asks this even though he had already been forgiven. However, he does so out of humility and deference, and to glorify and extol his Lord. He also may be doing so here in order to teach his followers who follow his example. Most likely, he is doing so for all these reasons.
He concludes by saying: “You are the one who brings forward and the one who postpones.” Allah brings forth to His servants what He pleases and holds back what He wills. He puts all things in their proper place.
This supplication is significant. It is a good example of the Prophet’s eloquence whereby in a few brief words he speaks volumes of meaning. This supplication starts by praising Allah with His names and attributes that in turn express His greatness and perfection and how He encompasses with his power and knowledge all of His creation. The supplication also expresses our worship of Allah, our devotion to Him and our submission to Him of ourselves and our affairs. It acknowledges our faith in the unseen – in the matters that constitute the basic tenets of our belief in Allah, his Messengers, the Last Day, and the abode of the Hereafter. It also entails the idea of praising and extolling Allah before humbly beseeching Him for forgiveness.
We as Muslims should humble ourselves before Allah by way of this noble supplication. By doing so, we will be following in the footsteps of our Prophet (peace be upon him).
Source: Islam Today