Supplication (Dua)

 

     قال الله تعالى: { وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ}، البقرة 186).

  قال الحسن: ( سببها أن قوما قالوا للنبي صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: أقريب ربنا فنناجيه، أم بعيد فنناديه؟ فنزلت).

      Allah -the Exalted- says: {And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad, concerning Me, then answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My knowledge).  I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me (by obedience) and believe in Me, so that they may be guided} (Surah 2, verse 186).

Al-Hasan said concerning this verse: “The occasion of revelation (sabeb ul-nuzool) of this verse was that a group of people asked the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him: ‘Is Our Lord close so we would invoke Him, or is He distant so we would call upon Him?’ So the verse was revealed.”

   عن أَبي سعيدٍ الخدري رضي الله عنه، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمٍ يَدْعُو بِدَعْوَةٍ لَيْسَ فِيهَا إِثْمٌ وَلَا قَطِيعَةُ رَحِمٍ، إِلَّا أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ بِهَا إِحْدَى ثَلَاثٍ: إِمَّا أَنْ تُعَجَّلَ لَهُ دَعْوَتُهُ، وَإِمَّا أَنْ يَدَّخِرَهَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ، وَإِمَّا أَنْ يَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ مِنَ السُّوءِ مِثْلَهَا» ، قَالُوا: إِذًا نُكْثِرُ، قَالَ: اللَّهُ أَكْثَرُ».  رواه أحمد والبخاري في “الأدب المفرد” والحاكم، وإسناده صحيح.

       Narrated Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “There is no Muslim who supplicates Allah with a supplication that does not contain any sin or cutting off ties with kin except that Allah will give him one of three things: His supplication will be promptly answered, or it will be saved for him in the Hereafter, or an evil will be repelled from him equal to the his supplication.” The companions said: “So, we will supplicate in abundance.”  Thereupon, the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- replied: “Allah is more bountiful.”  Related by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari in “AL-Adab Al-Mufred” and Al-Hakim, with authentic narration.

 

      One of the special and great blessings granted to the nation of Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- is that Allah has promised to answer their supplication or Du’a.  Both in Qur’an and Hadith, Allah the Exalted informs the Muslims that He is near and hears their supplication or Du’a and will answer them.  That is a promise from the Lord of the worlds; therefore, Muslims are urged to always make du’a and supplicate to God, during the day and night, during the times of plenty and need, during ease and hardship and during all times and ask Allah for all of their needs.

 

Yet there are some circumstances when the supplication or du’a is not immediately answered and the Muslim may wonder why he did not get what he was asking for and trying to obtain.

There are a number of reasons that may explain why the supplication is not immediately answered:

First, Saved for the Hereafter:  as the above hadith states sometimes the supplication or Du’a is stored for the Mu’min in the Hereafter.  The Mu’min or believer has to think of his Hereafter as well, and attaining the high levels of Paradise sometimes can only be achieved by forsaking some aspect of the worldly life or Dunya.  Thus, the supplication is stored for the Mu’min in the Hereafter, and how glad he will be when he sees his reward multiplied numerous times for being denied something in the worldly life (dunya).  The Mu’min may feel sad at first, but he must have high hopes in Allah -the Most Generous- and should have full trust in His Most Wise ways.

Second, Turn Some Evil Away:  for some Muslims, especially those who indulge in minor sins, their supplication or Du’a may not be answered in the form they asked because it will be used to repel an evil from them.  Had this evil occurred, it would have caused pain and suffering, but their frequent supplication and beseeching to Allah result in the evil being turned away.

Third, Something Better Instead: Allah is the Most Knowledgeable and Most Wise and sometimes Allah knows that the thing the slave is so eagerly praying for is not the best for the slave, so Allah the Most Kind and Gentle (Al-Leteef) grants his slave something else better than it instead.  The slave may feel sad and wonder why his supplication was not answered, but sooner or later he finds that Allah has granted him something better in its place.  When the Muslim experiences a difficulty, hardship or a loss, then he is instructed to read: ‘إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ’ (Verily, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return), then be patient and supplicate Allah -the Exalted- as the following hadith shows:

Narrated Umm Selemeh, the wife of the Prophet, -may Allah be pleased with her- said: “I heard the Messenger Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- say: ‘If any servant (of Allah) who suffers a calamity says: ‘إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ (We belong to Allah and to Him shall we return); O Allah, reward me for my affliction and give me something better than it in exchange for it,’ except Allah- the Exalted- will give him reward for his affliction, and would give him something better than it in exchange.’

She added: When Abu Selemeh died, I uttered (these very words) as I was commanded by the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him, so Allah gave me better in exchange than him: (I was taken as the wife of) the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him.”  Related by Muslim.

Fourth, Some Time: Allah loves when the slave makes Du’a to Him.  Allah the Exalted is our Creator and thus the slave must show humility and express his need before the Mighty One above.  Sometimes the Du’a or supplication is delayed until the slave shows full humility and surrender to his Lord and only then is the Du’a is answered.  Therefore, the Muslim should never lose hope and should always have great expectations from the Most Generous, Allah, as the following hadith shows:

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may Allah be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “The supplication (Du’a) of anyone of you is granted (by Allah), as long as you do not get impatient and say: I prayed my Lord but my request has not been granted.” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Moreover, one should continue to make du’a and supplicate Allah no matter how long it takes.  It is related that one of the righteous predecessor, Muwweriq Al-Ijli said: “I asked my Lord for something and continued to supplicate Him for twenty years. I have not been granted my request, but I have never stopped or despaired.”  But as the slave should also work for that goal as well.  If someone is trying to pass a test, he must study and pray.  Just praying without any making any effort is not enough.  The slave must make supplication, but also try his best.

Fifth, Asking for Wrong or Evil: As the first hadith states, the supplication for wrongful acts or sins is not answered.  Likewise the supplication for cutting off ties with kin or relatives and causing mischief is not accepted.  Finally, asking for impossible things or unreasonable matters is not answered, for example someone asking for the rank of the prophets, or the ability to fly, or asking for impossible details, etc, as the following hadith shows:

Narrated Abu Nu’ameh, said: “Abdul-Allah Ibn Mughaffal –may Allah be pleased with him- heard his son praying to Allah: ‘O Allah, I ask Thee a white palace on the right side of Paradise when I enter it.’  So he said to him: ‘O my son, ask Allah for Paradise and seek refuge in Him from Hell-Fire, for I heard the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- say: `Indeed, there will be some people in this nation who will exaggerate in purification and supplication.`’ ” Related by Abu Dawood.

Sixth, Lack of Humility, Devotion and Trust: The Muslim is asked to put his full Trust in His One and Only Creator and Lord, Allah.  Thus, when the Muslim makes du’a or supplication, he should make it with the utmost humility, devotion and attention while beseeching the Mighty One above, and also with full Trust and the greatest hope.  Just as the needy child expects food from his mother, the needy slave should pray for and expect better from his Lord.  The Muslim should have full trust that Allah the Most Generous will answer his supplication sooner or later, and he should never doubt the promise of Allah -the Almighty.  In case the supplication is not promptly answered, then the Muslim should reflect on his actions and repent of all sins, asking Allah for forgiveness but should continue to pray with full devotion, high hope and expectation, and the greatest degree of trust, as the following hadith shows:

          Narrated Abu Hurairah -may Allah be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “Supplicate to Allah while you are certain of being answered.  And know that Allah does not answer the supplication of the negligent, heedless heart.”  Related by Al-Tirmidhi.

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   Barriers and blocks that stop the supplication:

 

Seventh, Unlawful Earning: One of the major reasons why the supplication or du’a is not answered is haram or unlawful earning.  Money earned from riba (usury), stealing, cheating, or snatching acts as a barrier to the supplication so that it is not answered.  Thus, the Du’a of the thief or criminal does not ascend until he repents of his sin and gives back people’s dues.  Likewise the money earned from usury (interest) is prohibited in Islam and forms a block that stops the supplication.  The Muslim must first stop any unlawful or haram source of income for his du’a to be answered, as the following authentic hadith shows:

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may Allah be pleased with him- said: “Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- mentioned (the case) of a person who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky (and supplicates): ‘O Lord, O Lord,’ while his food is unlawful (haram), his drink is unlawful, his clothes are unlawful, and he has been nourished with the unlawful. Then how can his supplication be accepted?”  Related by Muslim with authentic narration.

 

Eighth, Approving of Sins: One reason why this nation has been favored is that they enjoin good and forbid evil.  Allah the Exalted says: {You are the best nation ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin good,  forbid evil, and you believe in Allah} (Surah 3, verse 110).  When the Muslim sees an evil, he must show distaste for the disobedience and try to stop the sin being committed by hand (action) or mouth (advice) or heart (disapproval).  But when Muslims stop enjoining good and forbidding evil, and either ignore the sin being committed or start to accept it, then their supplication would not be accepted. Therefore, when the supplication is not answered, the Muslim must reflect and try to account the self for any sin it may be engaged in, or approving others’ sins unknowingly.  The following hadith shows the gravity of the sin of accepting the widespread sin:

Narrated Huzeifah -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, you shall enjoin good and forbid evil, or Allah will send down a punishment to you, then you would pray Him, but your supplication would not be answered.”  Related by Al-Tirmidhi.

And last,

Ninth, Major Sins: Indulging in major sins strips the heart of Iman (faith), so the heart becomes sinful and tends toward evil.  Such a heart turns away from the Commands of Allah, so Allah turns away from him.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace upon him- explained that insisting on sins blackens the heart until all of it becomes dark.  Once that happens, the heart becomes sinful and the supplication of such a person is not answered until he repents of his sins and turns back to Allah -the Exalted.

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “When the believing faithful (Mu’min) commits a sin, there would be a black dot on his heart.  Then if he repents, gives up that sin, and asks Allah’s forgiveness, he is polished off it.  And if he commits the sin furthermore, then it increases until his heart is enclosed with it.  And that is the Ran (covering of sins) that Allah mentioned in His Book: {Nay!  But the Ran (covering of sins) has covered their hearts of that which they used to earn} (surah 83, verse 14).”  Related by Al-Tirmithi, Al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, and Al-Haakim.

When the Ran or the black covering of sins encloses the heart, the supplication of the slave is not answered, as Yayha Ibn Mu’ath Al-Razy said: “Do not wonder at the delay of the answer of you supplication (Du’a), while you have blocked its path by committing many sins.”  However, once the Muslim repents to Allah and truly abandons sins, then his supplication will be answered as Allah is the Most Forgiving and forgives those who repent and turn back to Him.

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Then these are some circumstances when the du’a or supplication may be delayed or not answered.  The Muslim should never despair and give up, but should continue to supplicate his Lord and Creator with humility, devotion and full Trust.  When the supplication is not answered, the Muslim should ponder upon his actions and reflect on any sin he might be committing and insisting on.  The Muslim should then repent and ask Allah for forgiveness, while continuing to make du’a with full hope and high expectation of being answered sooner or later.  The Muslim should always surrender to the Will of Allah, and believe that only Allah knows what is best for the slave, so the slave should pray then put his trust in his Lord to answer the supplication or Du’a in the best way or form.  We pray Allah to guide us to the Right Path, grant us from His bounties in both lives and grant us Paradise.  And Allah knows best.

 

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