By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

 Call on Me and I Shall Answer You
Blessings of Du’a and its Etiquettes

 

(Khutbah at ISOC – Ramadan 23, 1436/ July 10, 2015)

 

We are in the last few days of the month of Ramadan. This month of Allah’s special mercy and blessings is about to leave us. We pray that Allah accept our fasts and our devotion in this month and give us many opportunities to receive this month again with Iman and in good health, and observe it with love and devotion. It is interesting that when Qur’an opened the subject of fasting, it said ‘ أياما معدودات ’ (a number of days). Ramadan is the whole month, but when you start fasting, it goes so quickly that you feel that it was only few days. The month of Ramadan goes fast with fasts. Let us take full advantage of the remaining days and nights of this month.

This is a special time of du’a. Du’a means ‘calling, supplication, invocation, prayer.’ Du’a is our special conversation with Allah. Allah has honored human beings that they can speak to Him at any time. Du’a can be done at any time, at any good place and in any language. We do not need a mediator, an interpreter and we do not need an appointment to speak to Allah. Allah says,

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ {غافر 60}

Your Lord says, ‘Call on Me and I will answer you; those who are too proud to serve Me will enter Hell humiliated.’ (Ghafir 40:60)

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ {البقرة 186}

If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided .(Al-Baqarah 2:186)

Allah is near those who make du’a and He responds to them. However, it does a make a difference who is calling Allah and where and when. Allah responds to all those who call upon Him, but the du’a of the righteous people is more accepted. Allah responds to the calls from any place and at any time, but the du’as done in special places and at particular times have also a great significance and efficacy. Du’as of the Prophets, especially du’as of Allah’s last Prophet have great power. Du’as of pious and righteous people bring more results. Similarly du’as done in Makkah, Madinah and Jerusalem have great significance. Du’as after every obligatory salat, du’a in the last part of the night, on Friday, during Ramadan, during the last ten days of Ramadan and specially during the Night of Qadr, and du’as in Hajj specially on the day of ‘Arafah, all have great meaning and power. We should try to learn the du’as of Allah’s great Prophets and Messengers and we should try to seek those places and times that are special for du’as.

Whatever du’a we make and wherever we make it we should observe some rules and manners of du’a to make our du’as more effective and acceptable to Allah.

  • Sincerity : Pray to Allah with the most sincere heart. There should not be any shirk in du’a. Du’a should be only to Allah, not to any angel, prophet, saint or any person. The Prophet –peace be upon him- advised his young cousin Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas,

... إِذَا سَأَلْتَ فَاسْأَلْ اللَّهَ, وَإِذَا اسْتَعَنْتَ فَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ.... (أخرجه الترمذي في سننه)

Whenever you pray for something, pray to Allah; whenever you need help seek help from Allah… (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)

  • Full attention and devotion : When you make du’a, you should pay full attention to what you are saying. During du’a your heart, mind and soul should all be towards Allah. The Prophet –peace be upon him- said,

أدعوا الله وأنتم موقنون بالإجابة واعلموا أن الله  لا يستجيب من قلب غافل لاه (رواه الترمذى والحاكم)

Make du’a and be sure that Allah will respond. But know that Allah does not respond to a du’a that comes from a heart that is inattentive and distracted. (Al-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim)

It is good, though not required, to raise hand with palms open towards the heaven when making du’a. The Prophet –peace be upon him- said,

إن الله تعالي حيى كريم يستحي إذا رفع الرجل إليه يديه أن يردهما صفر خاليين (   رواه أحمد وأبو داود والترمذى وابن ماجه والحاكم )

Allah is shy and generous. He feels shy when a person raises his hands begging Him to return them empty. (Reported Ahmad, Abu Daud, al-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim)

  • Good opening : Begin your du’a with the praise of Allah and with Salat and Salam on Prophet Muhammad, his family and followers. It is recommended:

إذا صلى أحدكم فليبدأ بتحميد الله تعالي والثناء عليه ثم ليصل على النبي  صلى الله عليه وسلم  ثم ليدعو بما شاء (   رواه أبو داود والترمذى وابن حبان)

When you pray, begin with the thanks and praise of Allah and then with salat of the Prophet and then ask whatever you wish. (Abu Daud, al-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Hibban)

  • Blessings here and in Hereafter : When you pray, pray for good things of this life and for the life to come. Do not pray only for the good things of this life. Allah says,

فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ {200} وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ {201}أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِمَّا كَسَبُوا ۚ وَاللَّهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ

{البقرة 200-202}

Among the people there are some who pray, ‘Our Lord, give us good in this world,’ and they shall have no share in the Hereafter. There are others who say, ‘Our Lord, give us good in this world and in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torments of the Fire. They will have the share they have worked for. Allah is swift in reckoning. (Al-Baqarah 2:200-202)

  • Du’a with good deeds : The du’as done after doing some good deeds and the acts of charity are always very effective. It is good to give some sadaqah before making du’a.

Ask Allah for everything. There is nothing too big for Allah and there is nothing impossible to Him. Always ask him for Halal and good things, never ask Allah for that which is Haram, sinful, corrupt and oppressive. Among the etiquettes of du’a is that you pray to Allah always in all situations. Do not pray to Him only at the time of difficulties and troubles; pray to Him when you are happy, healthy and prosperous as well as when you are sad, sick and poor. Those who remember Him in the situations of prosperity and comfort, He also remembers them when they are in pain and difficulty.

All prayers are beneficial. The Prophet - peace be upon him - told us that some of our prayers come as we ask immediately. Some are kept for us for our future benefit in this world or the hereafter and some are used to avert evil from us. Let us all make special du’as at this time. Pray with utmost humbleness and devotion and without any grudge and ill feeling towards any one. I like the following inspiring and moving prayer of a Muslim scholar:

اللهمّ غير ما بأنفسنا، وحول حالنا من الضغف إلى القوة، ومن العسر إلى اليسر، ومن الخوف إلى الأمن، ومن اليأس إلى الأمل، ومن الذلة إلى العزة، ومن الهزيمة إلى النصر، ومن الفرقة إلى الوحدة، ومن الضلالة إلى الهدى، ومن رذائل الجاهلية إلى فضائل الإسلام

O Allah, remove our ills, change our condition from weakness to strength, from difficulties to ease, from fear to safety, from despair to hope, from humiliation to honor, from defeat to victory, from division to unity, from errors to guidance and from the evils of ignorance to the virtues of Islam.

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