And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.”
Brothers and Sisters,
In the midst of the storms we face on an individual and collective level as an Ummah, it is easy to become vulnerable to relying solely on created beings for support. During these times, I remind you and remind myself of a form of worship bestowed upon us by Allah (SWT) who controls the entirety of our existence. Du’a’, or supplication, holds a significant position with Allah (SWT) and is greatly rewarded. It is an act of humility that juxtaposes man’s vulnerability and powerlessness with the Sufficiency and Omnipotence of His Creator (SWT).
Allah (SWT) states, “And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.” [40:60] This verse, which presents a condition and a promise if that condition is fulfilled, is considered by scholars to be amongst the most optimistic verses in the Quran.
Allah (SWT)’s response is guaranteed if we call upon Him, make du’a’ to Him. How generous is our Creator (SWT)? If we were able to humble ourselves to place our reliance on Him and our hope in His response, He promises that we will be granted our requests. But as the verse indicates, there are people who are too arrogant to realize that their dependence on created beings and avoidance of worship will only lead to self-oppression.
Let us review the external components of performing this act of worship according to the Sunnah.
1.It is favorable to be in a state of tahara, or purity, when making du’a’ which was the practice of the Messenger of Allah (SWT).
2.It is also encouraged to face the qiblah when making du’a’ as has been narrated to us to be the practice of Prophet Muhammad (S).
3.The Prophet (S) would raise his hands when making du’a’ with his palms open and facing upward in a horizontal position near his chest.
4.We should begin our du’a’ by first praising Allah (SWT) and describing our servitude and gratitude to Him (SWT).
5.The content of what we ask for in our du’a’ should be considered since it is an indication of our priorities. Therefore, we should not only ask for worldly matters but also remember to ask for forgiveness and for our abode in the permanent life. When we ask for worldly matters we should remain cognizant of our limited knowledge and always ask Allah (SWT) to grant us what He deems to be good for or deen and dunya and make us content with His decree for us.
6.It is also good practice to memorize the du’a’s found in the Quran and Sunnah and make them a part of our daily routine.
7.The conclusion of our du’a’ should always be salat and salam, prayers and salutations, upon Prophet Muhammad (S).
If then we have adhered to these etiquettes of du’a’ and feel that the response has been delayed, it is important for us to consider these matters highlighted by Imam al-Jawzi.
1.To remember that we are created beings and that our Creator is the owner and planner of everything. Our knowledge is limited while His (SWT) knows no bounds. “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” [2:216]
2.Trials and tribulations are an inherent aspect of the life of this world and overcoming them requires patience and accountability. Therefore, we should be persistent in asking Allah (SWT) in a state of both fear and hope.
3.To fear Allah (SWT) and fulfill that which He has obligated of us including obligatory and voluntary acts of worship. “And whoever fears Allah - He will make for him a way out.” [65:2] As Imam al-Jawzi states, “The drunkenness of being heedless prevents the water from reaching the lands of our wishes.”
4.To recognize that the essence of du’a’ is humility not entitlement. A scholar was reported to have responded regarding an unanswered du’a’, “It is because you know Allah but do not obey Him, you know the Messenger but do not follow his Sunnah, you know the Quran but do not live in accordance to it, you consume the favors of Allah without thanking Him, you know Paradise but do not seek it, you know the Hellfire but do not flee from it, you know Satan but you comply instead of defy him, you know death but do not prepare for it, you bury the deceased but do not take a lesson from it, and you ignore your faults and preoccupy yourself with the faults of others.”
Let us strive together to empower our lives with du’a’. May Allah (SWT) accept our prayers, forgive our shortcomings, and increase us and our families in steadfastness. Allahuma Ameen.