As believers, we all have a deep yearning to attach ourselves to our Merciful and Gracious Creator. Even the sinful aspire to do something that will please their Master and bring them closer to Him. Out of His sheer Grace and Mercy, Allāh ta'ālā has created many ways for us to acquire this closeness. One of these is du'ā.
Du'ā holds special significance among the many important and spiritually uplifting forms of worship we have been bestowed with. It is an act extremely liked by Allāh ta'ālā as it represents the height of humbleness and submission to the Creator. It is for this reason it has been termed the “essence of 'ibādah” and even simply “ 'ibādah”. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam states:
Du'ā is the essence of 'ibādah. (At-Tirmidhī)
Du'ā is 'ibādah. (At-Tirmidhī)
Du'ā is so important that Allāh ta'ālā becomes displeased when His bondsman neglects it. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam states:
Allāh becomes angry with the person who does not ask from Him. (At-Tirmidhī)
By making du'ā, we create a special connection with Allāh ta'ālā whereby love for Him increases, faith in Him strengthens and the doors of boundless mercy are opened for us. If we do not ask from our Creator, we will never be able to create that special relationship.
Take the example of two people, one who is poor and needy and the other who is wealthy and eager to find opportunities to assist the needy. If the poor man were never to ask the rich man for assistance, he would never develop any relationship with him. However, by asking for assistance, a degree of recognition is created. If, at every time of need, he asked the rich person for help, and the rich person gave, then this would surely create love for the rich man in the poor man's heart. Similarly, witnessing the helplessness and neediness of the poor man, mercy would increase in the heart of the rich man, and he would regard this needy person instrumental in gaining the Pleasure of the Creator. He would advise the poor man not to be hesitant in asking him for help whenever the need arises. Soon the relationship would become such that the rich man would not wait for the poor man to ask, but would bestow his generosity upon him even before that. This is just an example of how mere mortals would behave; the Mercy and Grace of Allāh ta'ālā are beyond imagination!
Remember, du'ā is the weapon of the believer. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam said:
Verily, du'ā is beneficial against that (affliction) which has descended as well as that which has not [yet] descended; so hold fast, O bondsmen of Allāh, to du'ā. (At-Tirmidhī)
So we should always remain steadfast with du'ā. Holding fast to the following points will inshā'allāh help in this regard:
1. We need to create a habit of asking Allāh ta'ālā for all our needs in every situation. Whether a matter is big or small, difficult or easy, we should turn to Allāh ta'ālā. Our attitude should be that even in circumstances where we are fully confident of success, du'ā is still our first step. Even for trivial everyday needs we need to adopt the habit of turning to Allāh ta'ālā. Our first recourse should be du'ā and thereafter asbāb (means). Unfortunately, our approach is to turn to asbāb first and then to du'ā, or more precisely, when the asbāb do not deliver the desired result we turn to du'ā. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam has advised us that even if the strap of a sandal breaks, we should ask Allāh ta'ālā first before going about getting it repaired. (At-Tirmidhī)
2. Make it a practice to say a short du'ā after every good deed, whether you are in need or not. In reality we are always in need, but sometimes we get the impression that we have no needs. Our circumstances all look favourable; we are healthy, we have sufficient finances, we have security, our children are obedient, etc. The question is: Can we be sure that these circumstances will remain same? We also need to think a little deeper: is my death on Īmān guaranteed? What about the stages of the grave? How will I fare on the Day of Resurrection? In reality, we are always in need and so should always adopt the habit of making du'ā, even for a short while, after every good deed. If we are short of time, then there are some very concise yet comprehensive supplications which we can make at such moments, e.g.
3. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam has taught us many beautiful supplications for various occasions that are amazing in their precision, conciseness, depth of meaning and appropriateness to the occasion. Contemplating their meanings increases one's faith and love for Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam. This is such a great favour of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam upon us that we can never repay even if we were to spend our entire lives sending salutations upon him.
Prior to my recent operation, I thought it opportune to request my akābir (elders) to make du'ā for me. Amongst those who are especially affectionate to me is my respected Shaykh, Hadrat Mawlānā Qamaruz-Zamān sāhib hafizahullāh. During our conversation, only moments before the operation, Hadrat advised me to recite one of the supplications of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam that Hadrat Shāh Wasīyullāh sahib rahimahumallāh used to frequently read.
O Allāh, I ask You for a pure life and a peaceful death and a return that is neither disgraceful nor dishonourable.
Although, this supplication is of a general nature and not stipulated for this particular situation, however, whilst pondering over the meaning of this du'ā, I felt as if it was especially devised for the very situation I was in. All supplications of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam are priceless gems, if only we were to value them. We should learn them and make them part of our daily lives. This will also help us maintain the remembrance of Allāh ta'ālā throughout the day.
4. There are also many supplications of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam that are not specific to any occasion. Our mashāyikh have gone to great lengths to compile these in book form so that we can benefit from them. We should make it a practice to read these compilations so that we can reap their benefits in both worlds.
Two famous compilations are Al-Hizb Al-A'zam and Munājāt-e-Maqbūl. It is best if we can read both daily, otherwise at least one. If this is also difficult then at the least the abridged version of Al-Hizb Al-A'zam should be read. Similarly, Allāh ta'ālā granted me the tawfīq to compile those supplications in which Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam sought refuge from certain things. This compilation, called Al-Mu'awwadhāt, will also bring great benefit if included in one's daily practices. Istighfār is also a form du'ā. I was also granted the tawfīq to compile the phrases of istighfār from the Qur'ān in a small booklet, and this will also be of great benefit as part of one's daily practices.
Let us hold fast to du'ā. It is a priceless gift and powerful tool granted to us by Allāh ta'ālā and we should recognise it as such. We should not regard the great gift of du'ā as a burdensome ritual carried out without any real interest or understanding of its importance.
Courtesy Riyādul Jannah