Friday 1st of March 2024
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Du`a’ in the Holy Qur’an & traditions

Du`¡’ in the Holy Qur’¡n

The Almighty, who is the Revealer of knowledge and wisdom, states in His Qur’¡n:

قُلْ مَا يَعْبَأُ بِكُمْ رَبِّي لَوْلا دُعَاؤُكُمْ فَقَدْ كَذَّبْتُمْ فَسَوْفَ يَكُونُ لِزَامًا.

Say (O’ Mu¦ammad to the disbelievers): My Lord would not concern Himself with you, but for your prayers. (25:77)

Du`¡’ is the means for attracting God’s attention and blessings. His attention removes calamity from the life of one who prays, and brings about blessings for him/her.

The All-Knowing Lord says in Qur’¡n:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِي إِذَا دَعَانِي.

And when My servant question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. (2:186)

No one is as close to the servants as Allah. He is the One who have created man, fashioning him in the womb, and transferring him to this world. He has bestowed His material and spiritual blessings to man, sent the prophets to guide him, and granted him the Divine Qur’¡n and the infallible Imams (a.s). God has created water for the thirst of man and food for his hunger. He cures man’s diseases and makes his health continuous. Allah compensates man’s loneliness with wife, children, and friends, and his bareness with various kinds of clothes. Allah makes man dear to the others, and maintains his dignity before them. Allah solves his problems, however difficult they seem. Who is so aware of man’s deepest needs and can provide him with all these blessings, except Allah? He is indeed closer than everyone to man. Hence He says in Qur’¡n:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِنْسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ.

We verily created a man and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (50:16)

The prophets (s.a), who are superior to other people in terms of wisdom and insight, are aware of the unseen more than others, and know the reality as it is, were so much devoted to du`¡’. They spent part of their time both at day and night to attach to this firm and reliable string, and become present before Allah. They considered du`¡’ as the means to strengthen the mind, purify the soul, and solve the problems. The holy prophets (s.a) knew for sure that no suppliant closes du`¡’ except that Allah grants his requests to him from His presence. They hence believed in the fulfillment of du`¡’ and humbly asked Allah to grant their supplication. The holy Qur’¡n states this fact as clear as day from Prophet Abraham’s enlightened soul and purified speech:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي وَهَبَ لِي عَلَى الْكِبَرِ إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ إِنَّ رَبِّي لَسَمِيعُ الدُّعَاءِ.

Praise be to Allah who hath given me, in my old age, Ishmael and Isaac! Lo! My Lord is indeed the Nearer of Prayer. (14:39)

Zechariah requested God, with the power of du`¡’, to grant him a child. God fulfilled his desire and bestowed on him John, though his wife was barren. (19:5-9)

Following his disciples’ request, the Christ asked Allah to descend a heavenly table spread with food. The Almighty God accepted his prayer and send down for him and his disciples a table spread with foods from heaven. (5:112-115)

The Powerful has ordered His servants to pray in all situations, either in happiness or sorrow, with a humble heart and a tearful eye, demanding their needs from Him and be hopeful of acceptance of their supplication by Allah. The Omniscient has also assured to consign to hell those who are too proud to serve Him:

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمْ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ.

And your Lord hath said: Pray unto me and I will hear your prayer. Lo! Those who scorn My service, they will enter hell, disgraced. (40:60)

Du`¡’ in Traditions

Allah’s benevolence toward His creatures is extended and comprehensive, especially for mankind. Allah’s presence is not a place of hopelessness or stinginess. His generosity and forgiveness is constant, as is His long for the servants to pray to Him. Allah addressed Prophet David (a.s):

“Say to My servants: Why don’t you befriend Me, since I deserve friendship? I am a God of no parsimony, there’s no ignorance in My Omniscience, no debility in My Forbearance, and no alternation in My Attributes or My Speech. My Mercy and Forgiveness is unvarying and constant. I am the friend of he who befriends Me, and I accompany him who invokes on Me in his solitude. O David! He who seeks Me finds Me; and he who finds Me deserves not to lose Me. O David! Blessing is from Me but My servants thank others; I ward off calamity but they seek it from others. Their safe haven is My Presence, but they seek refuge to others, though finally they return to Me.”

A plethora of such meaningful texts in Islamic books, along with Qur’¡nic verses, give good tidings to the servants to be hopeful of God’s Mercy. The servants should, therefore, pray and ask their exigency from God. That’s why the traditions narrated by the Ahl Al-Bayt have all stressed the importance of du`¡’. It is narrated from the holy Prophet of Islam (s.a):

إنَّ الدُّعَاءَ هُوَ العِبَادَةُ.

Du`¡’ is indeed as a worship.[1]

الدُّعَاءُ مُخُّ العِبَادَةِ.

Du`¡’ is the core of worship.[2]

Imam al-B¡qir (a.s) stated:

أفْضَلُ العِبَادَةِ الدُّعَاءُ.

The most preferable worship is du`¡.[3]

The Imam (a.s) also narrates:

مَا مِنْ شَيْءٍ أفْضَلُ عِنْدَ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مِنْ أنْ يُسْأَلَ وَيُطْلَبَ مِمَّا عِنْدَهُ، وَمَا أحَدٌ أبْغَضُ إلَى اللهِ مِمَّنْ يَسْتَكْبِرُ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ وَلاَ يَسْأَلُ مَا عِنْدَهُ.

Nothing is more dear to Allah than asking for His blessings. And no one is more disfavored before Allah than one who is arrogant of supplication to His Presence.[4]

The following is narrated from Am¢r al-Mu’min¢n (a.s):

أَحَبُّ الأَعْمَالِ إلَى اللهِ تَعَالَى فِي الأَرْضِ الدُّعَاءُ.

“The most desirable deed on all the earth is supplication to Allah.”[5]

الدُّعَاءُ مَفَاتِيحُ النَّجَاحِ، وَمَقَالِيدُ الفَلاَحِ، وَخَيْرُ الدُّعَاءِ مَا صَدَرَ عَنْ صَدْرٍ نَقِيٍّ وَقَلْبٍ تَقِيٍّ، وَفِي الْمُنَاجَاةِ سَبَبُ النَّجَاةِ، وَبِالإخْلاَصِ يَكُونُ الخَلاَصُ، فَإذَا اشْتَدَّ الْفَزَعُ فَإلَى اللهِ المَفْزَعُ.

Du`¡’ is the key to success. The best du`¡’ is the one coming out of a purified soul and heart. The means to salvation is sincerity in du`¡’. When the problems cause restlessness, the solution is seeking refuge to God’s Presence.[6]

It is narrated from Imam ¯¡diq (a.s):

إذَا نَزَلَ الْبَلاءُ فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِالدُّعَاءِ وَالتَّضَرُّعِ إلَى اللهِ.

When Allah descends a calamity, come to Allah’s Presence with du`¡’ and lamentation.[7]

عَلَيْكَ بِالدُّعَاءِ، فَإنَّ فِيهِ شِفَاءً مِنْ كُلِّ دَاءٍ.

Du`¡’ is a must for you, since it is the solution to every problem.[8]

The Value of Du`¡’ in a Congregation

When the believers supply to Allah in a congregation and ask their exigency as a whole their du`¡’ is more probable to be answered, because in a group of people, there is, for sure, a poor, a bereaved, or an ascetic whose prayer may attract God’s Mercy and Forgiveness. Based on what appears in Islamic teachings, Allah may accept the prayer of others too, for the sake of that person, forgive their sins and grant them their exigency. Many traditions have been narrated from the Prophet (a.s) and ahl al-bayt (a.s) in this regard, some of which are stated here:

Imam ¯¡diq (a.s) stated:

مَا اجْتَمَعَ أرْبَعَةٌ قَطُّ عَلَى أمْرٍ وَاحِدٍ إلاّ تَفَرَّقوُا عَنْ إجَابَةٍ.

No four people congregate to pray for a single issue, unless their exigency is granted when they leave each other.[9]

The Holy Prophet (s.a) said:

لاَ يَجْتَمِعُ أرْبَعُونَ رَجُلاً فِي أمْرٍ وَاحِدٍ إلاّ اسْتَجَابُ اللهُ تَعَالَى لَهُمْ حَتَّى لَوْ دَعَوْا عَلَى جَبَلٍ لأَزَالُوهُ.

No forty men gather together to pray for a single issue, unless the Almighty God accepts their prayer; to the extent that if they pray against a mountain, it will collapse.[10]

The great Islamic scholar, Ibn Fahd Al-°ill¢, narrates from “Wasa’il al-Shi’a” in his book “`Uddat al-D¡`¢”:

Allah told Jesus through revelation:

يَا عِيسَى! تَقَرَّبْ إلَى المُؤمِنِينَ وَمُرْهُمْ أنْ يَدْعُونِي مَعَكَ.

O Jesus! Join the believers and order them to pray with you before My Presence![11]

Imam ¯¡diq (a.s) states:

كَانَ أبِي عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ إذَا حَزَنَهُ أمْرٌ جَمَعَ النِّسَاءَ وَالصِّبْيَانَ ثُمَّ دَعَا وَأَمَّنُوا.

My father always acted this way; when something made him sorrowful, he gathered women and children, then he prayed and they said Amen![12]

Despair; the state of the disbeliever

The supplicant should be aware that the Almighty God has invited him to pray and has guaranteed the acceptance of the supplication. Accepting the prayer and granting the supplicant’s exigency is easy for Allah, since all the world’s creatures are under His Absolute Power, and He provides the grounds for the fulfillment of His servant’s exigency with a single order. It is, therefore, not right to become hopeless in the Presence of God, whose Insight, Mercy and Forgiveness is infinite, especially when praying. Despair, as stipulated in the Holy Qur’¡n, is the state of the desbeliever:

يَا بَنِيَّ اذْهَبُوا فَتَحَسَّسُوا مِنْ يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلا تَيْئَسُوا مِنْ رَوْحِ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لا يَيْئَسُ مِنْ رَوْحِ اللَّهِ إِلاَّ الْقَوْمُ الكَافِرُونَ.

Go, O my sons! And ascertain concerning Joseph and his brother, and despair not of the Spirit of Allah. Lo! None despaireth of the Spirit of Allah save disbelieving folk. (12:87)

The Holy Qur’¡n strongly recommends not being hopeless of God’s Mercy:

لا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ.

Despair not of the Mercy of Allah! (39:53)

The Prophet of Islam (s.a) states:

اَلفَاجِرُ الرَّاجِي لِرَحْمَةِ اللهِ تَعَالَى أقْرَبُ مِنْهَا مِنَ العَابِدِ المُقَنَّطِ.

Allah’s Mercy is nearer to a hopeful wrongdoer than to a hopeless worshipper.[13]

Imam sidiq (a.s) said:

الْيَأسُ مِنْ رَوْحِ اللهِ أشَدُّ بَرْداً مِنَ الزَّمْهَرِيرِ.

The cold of despair from God’s Mercy is colder than intense cold.[14]

Despair from Allah’s Mercy is considered as a major sin in Islamic teachings and traditions, and the hopeless is promised chastisement. The supplicant should not despair, in case his/her supplication is not answered. Perhaps the acceptance of supplication has not been in accord with God’s expediency, setting of acceptance may not have come, or God wants the supplicant to continue supplication and insistence on his/her demand. Moreover Allah may want to postpone granting the supplicant’s exigency to the Day of Judgment, in order to make the granting eternal. Therefore, losing hope of Allah’s Compassion is in no way acceptable from a believer. Many significant traditions have been narrated in invaluable Islamic books, considering du`¡’ and its acceptance. A few instances come here:

Imam ¯¡diq (a.s) narrates:

إنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَدْعُو اللهَ فَيُقُولُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لِلْمَلَكَيْنِ: قَدِ اسْتَجَبْتُ لَهُ، وَلكِنْ إحْبِسُوهُ بِحَاجَتِهِ فَإنَّي أُحِبُّ أنْ أسْمَعَ صَوْتَهُ، وإنَّ العَبْدَ لَيَدْعُو فَيَقُولُ اللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى: عَجِّلُوا لَهُ حَاجَتَهُ فَإنِّي أبْغَضُ صَوْتَهُ.

In fact, a servant prays and Allah says to two angels: ‘I accepted his supplication, but don’t grant his demand so that he continues praying, because I desire to hear his voice.’ And another servant prays, so Allah says: ‘Give him his demand promptly; I hate his voice.’[15]

Mansur Sayqal says: I asked Imam sidiq (a.s): Perhaps someone prays, and his supplication is accepted but not granted at once. Imam confirmed it. I asked: What is the reason? Is it for him to pray more? Imam confirmed it again.[16]

[1] Mahajjat Al-Bayza’: 2/282, Kitab Al-Azkar wa Al-Da’awat, Chapter 2.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Mahajjat Al-Bayza’: 2/283, Kitab Al-Azkar wa Al-Da’awat, Chapter 2.

[4] Al-K¡f¢: 2/466, The chapter on fazl Al-Do’a…, Tradition 2.

[5] Al-K¡f¢: 2/467, The chapter on fazl Al-Do’a…, Tradition 8.

[6] Al-K¡f¢: 2/468, Chapter Inna al-do’a silah al-mu’min, tradition 2; Mahajja al-bayza’: 2/284, Bab al-thani fi adab al-do’a…

[7] Al-K¡f¢: 2/471, Bab Ilham al-do’a, tradition 2; Mahajja al-Bayza’: 2/284, Bab al-thani fi adab al-do’a…

[8] Al-K¡f¢: 2/470, bab Inna al-do’a shifa’ min kolli da’, tradition 1; mahajja al-bayza’: 2/285, bab al-thani fi adab al-do’a…

[9] Al-K¡f¢: 2/487, Bab l-Ijtima’ fi al-do’a, tradition 2; Jami’ ahadith shi’a: 19/ 354.

[10] Mustadrak al-wasa’il: 5/239, bab 36, tradition 5772; jami’ ahadith al-shi’a: 19/354.

[11] Wasa’il al-Shi’a: 7/104, bab 38, tradition 8856.

[12] Wasa’il al-Shi’a: 7/105, bab 39, tradition 8860.

[13] Kanz Al-Ummal: 5869; M¢z¡n al-°ikmah: 10/5046; Al-Ghanut, tradition 17109.

[14] Mustadrak al-Was¡’il: 12/59, chapter 64, tradition 13507.

[15] Al-K¡f¢: 2/ 489, chapter min abta’at alayhi al-ijaba, traditions 2 and 3.

[16] Al-K¡f¢: 2/489.

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