Sheikh Yûsuf al-`Aql, professor at al-Imam University, al-Qasîm Branch
The Arabic word fadl is mentioned in our supplications in the context of referring to Allah’s grace and favor.
The literal meaning of the word fadl is “surplus”. It is used to describe something that is given without any payment in return.
When we say something is “fadl from Allah”, we mean it is given by Allah without being deserved by the receiving party. Allah gives us rewards for our good deeds and increases our blessings and providence purely out of His generosity, magnanimity, and grace.
When we ask our Lord for His grace or favor (fadl), we are asking Him to give us something even though we do not deserve it. It is our recognition that what Allah gives us is out of Allah’s generosity and from His favor.
This is why it is preferred for us to ask of our Lord, beseeching His grace and favor. We do not deserve any reward for the deeds that we do. In fact, considering all of our sins and shortcomings, we rather deserve to be punished.
Allah says: “And if Allah had destroyed men for their iniquity, He would not leave on the earth a single creature” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 61]
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today