وَقُلْ رَبِّ أَدْخِلْنِي مُدْخَلَ صِدْقٍ وَأَخْرِجْنِي مُخْرَجَ صِدْقٍ وَاجْعَلْ لِي مِنْ لَدُنْكَ سُلْطَانًا نَصِيرًا
Wa qul rabbi adkhilnī mudkhala sidqin wa akhrijnī mukhraja sidqin waj‘al lī min ladunka sultānan nasīrā
And say: My Lord, cause me to enter a goodly entrance and to exit a goodly exit and grant me from Yourself a supporting authority.
(Surat al-Isra’ 17, Āyat 80)
The Holy Quran has many beautiful Duʿās in which Allah ‘azza wajall teaches us how to call out to Him and what exactly to ask from Him. In the above verse from Sūrat al-Isra’, Allah instructs Prophet Muhammad sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallam to plead for three things which will provide goodness for the individual asking and which holds the possibility of a collective communal goodness as well.
The first thing we are taught to ask is: cause me to enter a goodly entrance. This is something we should ask for whenever we enter anything; be it a relationship, a business partnership, a project, a conversation or even as we take a vacation. In every act that we engage in, we want to make sure we enter it in a sound and good manner. The Arabic word that is used in the verse is ‘sidq’ which means truthfulness. The truthfulness we are asking for is not one that is reserved for the tongue. It refers to a complete truthfulness in our thoughts, actions, and speech, a form of truthfulness that is free of all duplicity and hypocrisy. In other words, we want to begin what we are doing with absolutely no contradiction between what we think, say, and do.
We can understand why the above request is so important. Many people enter-into conversations or partnerships with selfish or ulterior motives, i.e., with an untruthful intention. But as believers we realize that the way to gain the mercy and blessings of Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā is to always enter everything we do with sincerity and truthfulness. While this first request is difficult to act out, it is not impossible. Where we find greater difficulty is in the second plea to Allah: (cause me) to exit a goodly exit. We may start an activity with good intentions but along the way distractions such as fame, wealth, notoriety, pride, allegiances etc., cross our paths. We lose the positive intentions we had. Imam Ja‘far al-Ṣādiq ‘alayhis-salām says: Persevering with an action until its end is harder than [performing] the action itself (al-Kāfī, v 2, p 16, h 4).
Even though it is challenging to see an act through to its end with truthfulness and sincerity, we realize its importance. Hence, we are taught to also ask Allah: and grant me from Yourself a supporting authority. As difficult as this task is for us, nothing is difficult for Allah (swt). We ask for His support to help us with these supplications of entering and exiting with goodness.
The benefits of entering and exiting everything we do with truthfulness and goodness are not limited to the individual. If all people desired truthfulness and goodness in their affairs, it would produce a society in which evil, hatred and corruption would cease to exist. Imagine that world! So let us memorize this Du’ā and recite it regularly, including in the Qunūt of our salāt.
Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shīrāzī, Al-Amthal fí Tafsīr Kitāb Allah al- Munzal, ‘Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān.