Islam-beliefs

Dua/Supplication – An act of Worship

Introduction

I found this as a really serious topic, as many things are connected to this particular thing. The problems associated to this topic are as follows:

  1. When one finds his/her Dua-not fulfilled the below mentioned things might happen:
    1. Some may start developing an idea – “Is there no one Listening to me?” – Questioning God’s Existence and Concern for us.
    2. Some may think, “As my Duas are not accepted – I am left to injustice – so I will not do justice to my religion.” So they-
      1. Stops praying and get disconnected to Allah(swt)
      2. Goes away from the fold of Islam neglecting their religious obligations and restrictions
    3. Some might also think, “I am too impure/sinful to make Dua to Allah(swt); So they might-
      1. Lose hope and stop making Dua.
      2. Decide to go to another person or the grave of another person instead to get the desires to be fulfilled – might be entrapped to commit Shirk thereby.
    4. Few might grow an opinion(that I used to have before), “I leave all of my matters to Allah(swt) to decide upon, as He knows best what is good and bad for me”. Therefore stop making Dua.
  2. Most people don’t know how to make Dua – Conditions and Etiquettes.
  3. Most even don’t know the possible consequences when a Dua is made.

I will be discussing each of the above matters in turn.

Actual Meaning of Dua

We all are going to face challenges and difficulties in life. Let us first try to understand the reality of Dua. What is the Purpose of Dua? We often confuse Dua with Talab. Talab in Arabic means to ask/demand for something. The Literal Meaning of Dua is to Call. When we make Dua to Allah – sometimes in that Dua we make some demands or requests. The most important thing in Dua is not what we are asking from him, but the fact that we are humbly communicating with Allah – This is the ultimate Goal of making Dua. Whether or not the things we are asking for are given to us – instantaneously is a separate issue altogether. Our Dua is a means by which we connect to Allah, they are not a means to create this World into heaven. We all know that Dawat means to invite someone – Dua and Dawat have the same Arabic root, which might help us understand the concept and true meaning of Dua.

In the stories of the Prophets we can see that their Dua was answered – and huge changes occurred right after they made their Dua. As if those major incidents would never occur without those Dua being made and those Duas were acting like a bridge in between those major events.

When Duas are not fulfilled

Four Possible Consequences:

One: Questioning God’s Existence and/or Concern for us

Few questions might be raised in minds like:

  • “Is there no God, at all?”
  • If there is any God- “Am I calling upon the right God?”
  • “Is there no one Listening to me?”
  • “Does He has any concern for me?”
The answers to these question are:
  • Yes, there is God (no doubt about it). A perfect world with perfect human would never be possible without the existence of a creator, nourisher and sustainer.
  • You are calling upon the right God, if He satisfies the 4 requirements of Ikhlas-
    • He is One; He is Eternal; He has no father/child; & There’s no one like Him.
  • Allah(swt) is always near to us and listening to us.
  • Allah(swt) loves us the most no one can possibly love us the way that He does. As He loves us He is also deeply concerned for us.
In this discussion, I am focusing on the first two answers:

Allah(swt) is always near and immediately responds to our supplications. But we have our responsibilities as well, to be obedient to Allah(swt) and having our belief in Him.

And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.

{Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 186}

…Indeed, He is Hearing and near.

{Surah Saba, Ayat 50}

Even Muhammad(pbuh) in the below Hadith confirmed that Allah(swt) is always hearing to us. Al-Ash`ari narrated:

We were in the company of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). Whenever we went up a high place we used to say: “None has the right to be worshiped but Allah, and Allah is Greater,” and our voices used to rise, so the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “O people! Be merciful to yourselves (i.e. don’t raise your voice), for you are not calling a deaf or an absent one, but One Who is with you, no doubt He is All-Hearer, ever Near (to all things).

{Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith: 2992}

Abu Musa also reported that the Prophet(pbuh) said: O `Abdullah bin Qais (Abu Musa’s name) should I teach you a statement that is a treasure of Paradise: `La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (there is no power or strength except from Allah).

Furthermore, Allah(swt) has the maximum concern for us and He is with us whenever we call Him: Abu Huraira reported, the Messenger(pbuh) said that Allah(swt) mentioned:

“I live in the thought of My servant as he thinks of Me and with him as he calls Me.”

{Sahih Muslim, Book 48, Hadith 25}

Two: My Duas are not Accepted so I Don’t Care about my Religion

Some of us think that injustice is done to us when we don’t get whatever we wished for. After few of such incidents occur, unfortunately some of us lose our patience and starts getting away from the fold of Islam. In most cases, we stop making Salat(which is the best blessing for Humanity) and slowly we start disregarding most of the divine obligations and restrictions over us.

In this regard I need to discuss few issues:

  • We need to be aware of the proper etiquettes of making a Dua, following which increases the chance of our Duas getting accepted. — Discussed below
  • Every difficulty in our life is either a test or punishment. Bearing this in mind we need to be patient when we ask something to Allah(swt).
  • Sometimes what we expect from our Duas might not be beneficial for us at all, which is better not being accepted.
  • Lastly we must be aware that Allah(swt) is always listening to us attentively and none of our Duas are actually wasted, we must know the possible consequences after making a Dua. — Discussed below

Please note that this is a trick of the Shaitan to get us away from Allah(swt). Shaitan makes evil whispers in our hearts mentioning that – Allah(swt) doesn’t care for us so our Duas are not answered, so we should not follow His straight path. Thus, our Imaan gets tested whether we follow these whispers of the Shaitan or be patient and stick to the path of Allah(swt) which has a guaranteed success, at least.

No matter how much we get on earth, human minds never get peace in that and our demands and desires continue to get more and more. This is a common human nature which should not be blamed because we are built with a mechanism where true peace is only found on the remembrance of Allah(swt). And true success is achievable only by getting close to our maker, passing every single test and making our way to the Jannat.

…Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.

{Surah Ar-Ra’d, Ayat 28}

Three: I am too Impure/Sinful to make a Dua

Some might think that they are so much engraved in sins and disobedience towards Allah(swt) that they won’t be able to face Allah(swt) and ask for a Dua. They feel their connection to God to be torn apart which will never be established/restored again. This may lead that person to 2 situations:

  • Stop making Dua completely, getting hopeless
  • Look for alternative solutions for their issues and desires – reaching out graves of some pious people and asking their help or even going to black magicians.
Situation 1: Hopeless and stop making Dua

In the below ayat, Allah(swt) is directly addressing to His disobedient slaves (not pious/religious ones), instructing them never to lose hope in the mercy of Allah(swt), irrespective of the sins that these people may have committed; and return back to the path of Allah(swt) before the punishment may overtake them:

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” And return [in repentance] to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped.

{Surah Az-Zumar Ayat 53-54}

In fact, giving up hope of Allah’s(swt) mercy and forgiveness is considered to be a form of disbelief. He is Ar-Rahman Ur-Rahim, and you must believe that he will forgive you.

…Indeed, no one give up hope of Allah’s mercy, except the people who disbelieve. {Surah Yusuf, Ayat: 87}

We must understand that Allah(swt) is all knowing of our daily activities. So none of our sins are hidden to the most merciful Allah(swt). So we must not feel shy to face Him and make a Dua to him.

Islam does not demand us to be converted to a pious person at once, it just invites us to a straight path and slowly and gradually follow it as much as possible. So, we should not think of our status in Islam before making a Dua.

Situation 2: Going for alternative solutions

It is allowed to ask some brother or sister to make Dua for us. However, we must bear in mind, that no matter how we are, we always have a direct connection and access to Allah(swt). There is a huge risk of committing the greatest of crimes (shirk), both intentionally or unintentionally, trying to go for an alternative solution instead of making Dua directly to Allah(swt).

Going to Black Magicians is Dangerous

This Ayat illustrates Black Magic

… the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut. But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, “We are a trial, so do not disbelieve [by practicing magic].” And [yet] they learn from them that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife. But they do not harm anyone through it except by permission of Allah . And the people learn what harms them and does not benefit them. But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew.

{Surah Al-Baqarah Ayat 102}

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said:

“Avoid the seven sins(major sins) … Associating others with Allah (Shirk), magic, killing a soul whom Allah has forbidden, consuming Riba(interest), consuming the property of orphans, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who never even think of anything touching their chastity and are good believers.”

{Sahih Muslim Hadith 89 and Sunan an-Nasa’i Hadith 3671}

Reaching out graves of some pious person for own desire is completely prohibited

There is no problem in visiting graves in order to:

  1. Make Dua for the dead or ;
  2. Praying Salaat al-janaazah.
  3. Remind ourselves for our own Hereafter.

In fact, we should visit graves, as Abu Hurairah narrated that Muhammad (pbuh) said: 

Visit the graves, for they will remind you of the Hereafter.

{Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 6, Hadith: 1636}

However it, is not permissible (bid’ah/innovation) to visit graves for:

  1. Making Dua for our own
  2. Performing Salat (other than the salat-al-janaazah). Abu Huraira reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Let there be curse of Allah upon the Jews and the Christians for they have taken the graves of their apostles as places of worship… {Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 1390 and Sahih Muslim: Hadith 530b}.

Lesson from Surah Fatiha Ayat 5: ‘Iyyaaka na’budu wa lyyaaka nasta’een’ which means – “You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).” So it is only Allah(swt) that we should ask for our help and nobody else.

From these Ayats we can find that we should not think of making anyone as an intercessor between Allah(swt) and us:

…And those who take protectors besides Him [say], “We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position.” Indeed, Allah will judge between them concerning that over which they differ….

{Surah Az-Zumar Ayat 3}

If you invoke them, they do not hear your supplication; and if they heard, they would not respond to you. And on the Day of Resurrection they will deny your association(shirk)…

{Surah Fatir Ayat 14}

Four: Leaving all to Allah(swt) and stop making Dua

This is a concept that, I personally used to have before having proper knowledge. I had developed a concept: “As Allah(swt) knows what is good and what is bad for me, there is no use in making a Dua.”

I used to think about 2 risks for making a Dua:

  1. It might make me more away from Allah(swt) – not being accepted.
  2. It might be detrimental for me or any other person.

But, this concept is totally wrong because of the below reasons:

  • Making Dua is an act of worship that is loved by Allah(swt) – we will miss that if we stop making dua.
  • It creates distance from our maker.
  • It might make us start thinking of ourselves as self-sufficient.

Allah(swt) encourages His servants to call upon Him, and He guarantees to respond.

And your Lord says: “Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell – in humiliation!

{Surah Ghafir Ayat: 60}

So, the points are:

  • Supplication/Dua is an act of worship
  • Allah(swt) encourages us to call upon Him
  • He guarantees to respond
  • We must not be too arrogant by not making Dua.

As An-Nu`man bin Bashir narrated, The Prophet(pbuh) said:

“The supplication, is worship.” Then he said that Allah(swt) said: “Call upon Me, I will answer you. Verily, those who are too arrogant to worship Me, will surely enter Hell in humiliation!’ {Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3372}

Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“Indeed, he who does not ask Allah, he gets angry with {Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3373}

Now a simple question comes to mind. If Allah(swt) guarantees to respond, what about the Duas not found to come into effect. Will discuss this later in the Consequences of Dua.

Proper Etiquettes of Making a Dua

Munajat After our Salat/Namaz

I must start this with a beautiful Hadith where Fadalah bin `Ubaid narrated:

“While the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was seated, a man entered and performed Salat, and he said: ‘O Allah, forgive me, and have mercy upon me.’ The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘You have rushed, O praying person. When you perform Salat and then sit, then praise Allah with what He is deserving of, and send Salat upon me, then call upon Him.’” He said: “Then another man performed Salat after that, so he praised Allah and sent Salat upon the Prophet (ﷺ). The Prophet (ﷺ) said to him: ‘O praying person! Supplicate, and you shall be answered.’” {Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3476}

This is a very common matter to us, till now. We perform our salaah and raise our hand and ask forgiveness followed by other desires of ours. Most of us miss the actual etiquettes of our Duas. Now let me discuss these in turn.

4 Etiquettes of Making Dua

There are 4 conditions/etiquettes of Making Dua. Many of us do not know regarding this, so we must take this into account in order to make them more perfect and acceptable. 

First: Start by Praising Allah(swt)

We should start our supplications by first praising Allah(swt). We can use few of His relevant names and attributes connected to our Dua’s e.g. AL-GHAFOOR (The Forgiver and Pardoner) may be used when asking forgiveness and doing istighfar. We can take lesson from Surah Fatiha where we initially start by praising Allah(swt) as mentioned below and then seek for His guidance and assistance on the later part:

  • All praise and thanks be to Allah
  • The Lord of the worlds / all existence.
  • The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
  • The Master of the Day of Judgment.

After praising we start our actual Dua

  • It is You we worship and You we ask for help.
  • Guide us to the straight path.
  • The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor,
  • Not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

Second: Sending Blessings to Muhammad(pbuh)

Right after praising Allah(swt) we must send blessing and salutation upon our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) before starting with our actual Dua. 

Umar bin Al-Khattab narrated:

“Indeed the supplication stops between the heavens and the earth. Nothing of it is raised up until you send Salat upon your Prophet.”

{Jami` at-Tirmidhi Vol. 1, Book 3, Hadith 486}

Third: Making Dua with an attentive heart

We must make the Dua with an attentive heart knowing and concentrating to what we are actually asking. Most of us face problems when we memorize Dua in Arabic without knowing the meaning of them.

Allah(swt) hasn’t made it compulsory to make du’a in Arabic. Allah(swt) Lord of The Universe, understands all languages. So we can make du’a in our own language to make sure that we know what we are asking and concentrate on our own words.

Lastly: We should not exclude Hereafter in our Supplication

A lot of us have the tendency to make du’a only for the life of this world and forget about the hereafter. As Muslims, we must include both worldly life and the afterlife in our Dua.

…And among the people is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world,” and he will have in the Hereafter no share.

But among them is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”

Those will have a share of what they have earned, and Allah is swift in account.

{Surah Al-Baqarah Ayat 200-2}

Whoever desires the harvest of the Hereafter – We increase for him in his harvest. And whoever desires the harvest of this world – We give him thereof, but there is not for him in the Hereafter any share.

{Surah Toggle Ash-Shuraa Ayat 20}

In these Ayats, Allah(swt) instructed us to ask for the goodness for this world and also for the Hereafter, skipping this in our supplications has the risk of losing our share in our afterlife. So, we may ask for his forgiveness and protection from the azab and hellfire.

Few Considerations

Believe in Tawheed

We must bear in our mind that we are making our dua and asking help from Allah(swt) alone. No one else is worthy of worship or asked for help. Help always comes from Allah(swt) via a source.

Putting effort (Achievement = Human Effort + God’s Help)

We must put in effort to achieve what we have requested after making the du’a. As we know from the popular hadith, where a Bedouin was confused whether to leave his camel untied putting trust in Allah(swt). The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) said to him, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah” (At-Tirmidhi).

Even this can be noticed in various stories of the Prophets including Muhammad(pbuh), where they had to put trust over Allah(swt) and had to do their part and then the help from Allah(swt) came. Examples:

  • Ibrahim AS was about to slaughter his child(Ismail AS) – Allah(swt) replaced the child by an animal
  • Muhammad (pbuh) went into the Battle of Badr despite of his small army – Allah(swt) sent the angels to help which actually arrived later.

Do not make a Dua mentioning “If you Wish, O Allah(swt)”

Abu Huraira narrated that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

None of you should say: ‘O Allah, forgive me if You wish; O Allah, be merciful to me if You wish,’ but he should always appeal to Allah with determination, for nobody can force Allah to do something against His Will.” {Sahih al-Bukhari 7477}

Not being impatient

Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

The supplication of every one of you is granted if he does not grow impatient and says: I supplicated but it was not granted. {Sahih Muslim Book 35, Hadith 6593}

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that, when Muhammad(pbuh) was asked:

“What does being hasty mean, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “When one says: ‘I supplicated to Allah but Allah did not answer me.'” {Sunan Ibn Majah 3853}

So, it will be granted if: No Sin is Involved + Is patient

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“There is not a man who calls upon Allah with a supplication, except that he is answered. Either it shall be granted to him in the world, or reserved for him in the Hereafter, or, his sins shall be expiated for it according to the extent that he supplicated – as long as he does not supplicate for some sin, or for the severing of the ties of kinship, and he does not become hasty.”

{Jami` at-Tirmidhi Book 48, Hadith 238}

Consequences of Dua

The final Hadith discussed makes clear of the possible consequences of a Dua, which are discussed below.

The Dua those are Effective in the World

The Dua might come into effect in the World. But a point to note here is that, the expectations can be fulfilled immediately or take its time which may be extended to years. For example, Yaqub(AS) had to wait for years (some say 40 years) before his Dua came into effect and he met his son Yusuf(AS) again. 

The Dua those are not found to be Effective in the World

They may not be effective because they might be:

  • Sinful to us
  • Harmful for us
  • A part of the Test that Allah(swt) want us to pass through

But it will be reserved for the Hereafter as Good Deeds (Guaranteed)…

We are Always Win-Win Situation

So we should never stop making Dua: as Duas, which are not accepted in the world, are converted into good deeds. So we, being Muslims, are always in a win-win position. Such good deeds are never achievable without making the Dua – which are not accepted in this world.

Dua is an Act of Worship, loved by Allah(swt) because, by these we acknowledge our incapability and humility towards Him and declare His absolute control over everything.

Allah(swt) knows best

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