We wander among and co-exist with Allah’s creations while they praise and humble themselves to Him [SWT]: “Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “’Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion.’ They said, ‘We have come willingly.’” [41:11] Yes, we don’t hear their praise with our own ears, but we do with our hearts that are saturated with Allah’s words,
The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allah] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving. [17:44]
They love Him [SWT] no doubt, but we want to love Him too and for that reason we’re seeking out the most beloved deeds to Him [SWT] and making them permanent parts of our life. So, let’s start with another deed today.
Did those close to you offer themselves as “your rock, your shield, your sword” as the saying goes? But when you were in need did you fail to call upon them? Did they reproach you for not calling on them for help? Did you disappoint them that way? To Allah [SWT] are ascribed the best of examples. The Prophet (saw) said, “There is nothing more honorable to Allah than supplication.” [Tirmidhi] Imagine in the eyes of Allah it is “honorable” to beg Him [SWT], whereas begging in our social strata is humiliating. It means that with Allah [SWT] you have reached the highest status of worship, whereas on a socioeconomic level you have reached rock bottom.
You’re probably going to say, “Here’s another talk about Dua.” Singing, “Boooooooooring!’ Well, I’ll try and make this one a fresh perspective on the topic as much as possible, and if I fail then please take it as a reminder. Fact is, there are among us those who invoke Allah often, but there are among us those who forget. And even then there are those who make dua from the depths of their hearts, but others do so with distracted hearts. Some of us after prayer just walk away abandoning a golden opportunity for their dua to be accepted, whereas others are very conscientious of these times and make a point of exposing themselves to them. So, as you can see as far as dua is concerned we come in an assortment of varieties. Question is: what is the state that Allah [SWT] wants to see us in during Dua?
Let’s put things into perspective. What are you doing in Dua? Simply put, you are turning to Allah [SWT] with this attitude, “O Allah! I am in need! HELP ME!” Allah [SWT] created us imperfect so that we need Him [SWT]. We are needy across the board—whether it is for support, emotion, affection, knowledge, guidance etc. You name it, we need it. All of us are born with absolutely nothing. Nada! Zilch! Zero! Absolutely nothing that would get us through life without the provision of Allah [SWT]. We arrive in need from day one. Who may I ask do you think provided for you? Your parents? Think again, because your parents were put in place by Allah [SWT]; the love for you—a total stranger by the way who takes and does not give—instilled in their hearts was from Allah [SWT]. How many children are abandoned by their parents in this world? Look up the statistics; even those who are abandoned Allah [SWT] provides for them. Plus Allah [SWT] provided your parents so they could provide for you; just listen to their stories of how despite financial hardships when you came along things just fell into place. Do you think it’s sheer luck? Nothing is sheer luck, it’s all ordained and decreed by your Provider. And this is when you did not know how to ask. Now imagine when you do ask!
So, since we’re created in this state of “need”, we have one of two options. We either ask each other or we ask our Creator [SWT]. Just look around you at those who ask others for their needs. How they rely on them? How they are ready to crawl on all fours and beg and despair if they are denied? For in 100% of the cases, the person being asked undoubtedly reaches the point of being ‘fed up’. That of course in addition to their “limited” resources being depleted or their fear that they will. Compare that to Allah [SWT] who never is fed up of us asking, contrary to the fact He [SWT] asked our Prophet (saw) to tell us: “Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything.” [Tirmidhi] As for His [SWT] resources, don’t worry they are never depleted:
. . . If the first of you and the last of you, the Jinn of you and the men of you, were to stand one side [that is in unison] and ask Me. I will give each one of you what you ask and still this will not decrease from My Majesty. This will not decrease from My Majesty as if you dip a needle into the water. [Muslim]
So, let me weigh our options here? Who do we ask, the one who is in need himself? Whose resources have the potential to be depleted? Will get fed up of us asking? Will deny us and possibly humiliate us? Will definitely not be available for our every whim? Or should we ask He [SWT] who is the exact opposite? The answer is clear people, very clear. So, how is it that as Muslims some of us don’t invoke Allah [SWT]? How is it that He [SWT] is our last resort? How is it that it is an arduous task for many of us to remember when it was the last time that we raised our hands and begged Allah [SWT] for something? Since “Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything”, I wonder how many of us He is angry at. Just imagine this situation: someone goes through so much suffering for something they need, when help was right around the corner. It’s like, “Hello! Help is right here!” That’s what Allah [SWT] is telling us: “And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.’” [40:60] You don’t need to install a device, sign up for internet or wireless connection, or pay a monthly fee. It’s absolutely free! It comes with a 100% guarantee too that if you “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” [40:60] There are daily specials too such as between Adhan and Iqama, in every Sajdah, after every Salah, in the last third of the night. Then there are monthly and annual specials. You get the drift.
Now, let’s look at this beautiful Qudisi hadith that I am sure you have heard so many times before. Let’s look at it closely: “O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you.” So, we wander off easily; we stray. We need guidance. When we’re kids our parents realize this and keep us on tight leashes—figuratively speaking. They pass on the guidance of Allah [SWT] they received through the Quran and Sunnah. When we are alone we still need Allah’s guidance, because we can wander off again. We’re constantly in need of Allah’s guidance, whether we are young or old. Allah [SWT] continues: “O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you.” Now which one of you was born with 2 pockets full of money for food? Which one of you has a skill or is intelligent and does not need opportunity or venue provided by Allah [SWT] where you can put them to action? Believe me without an opportunity or venue, you’re mental and manual assets are worthless. So, turn to Him and say, “Ya Rab!” There’s more. Allah continues: “O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you.” We’re born naked and cold—I would think that’s partly why we’re crying on arrival. Unfortunately, in the land of plenty we can’t imagine not having closets full of clothes that we don’t wear, but just a quick survey around the globe makes you realize what a blessing it is to be clothed, covered and protected from the elements. We’re such a pitiful sight without Allah [SWT]. We’re naked, hungry, penniless, and strays. If that isn’t enough, we err non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whoever said, “To Err is Human” was absolutely right. Without Allah’s guidance and forgiveness we’re one big mistake after another, and so Allah [SWT] reminds us, “O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you.” If you get off your high horse and realize that you are in need, and it is only Allah [SWT] who can provide you are ready to be a servant of Allah [SWT] and worship Him [SWT] alone. He says, “seek guidance of Me”, “seek food of Me”, “seek clothing of Me”, and “seek forgiveness of Me”. He is offering His services, free of charge. He [SWT] doesn’t need us, we need Him [SWT]. Plus, He [SWT] absolutely enjoys giving us, hence He mandates that we ask Him [SWT]. This is dua, one of the most beloved deeds to Allah [SWT].
Now that we have established that dua is a beloved deed to Allah [SWT] let’s contemplate on why Allah [SWT] loves dua. Dua symbolizes ‘worship’—it is that picture perfect pose in which we see a visible connection between a worshipper and his Creator; that moment when the earth meets the heavens. That time when you graduate from the school of life with both the dignified title and job description of the Servant of Allah. It was the title of Muhammad (saw) for Allah (SWT) says in Surat Al Israa, “Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.”  In Surat Al Kahf, “[All] praise is [due] to Allah, who has sent down upon His Servant the Book and has not made therein any deviance.”  Dua is the barometer that measures your servitude to Allah [SWT] for the Prophet (saw) said, “Dua is worship.” If dua is not part of your life then it’s time to re-evaluate what you are in relation to Allah [SWT]. Do you know why Dua is equated with worship? Scholars say it is because a servant’s qualities are humbleness, humility, poverty because he relies on what his master gives him, ignorance except for that knowledge that his master bestows on him. You are not allowed to be in this submissive state in relation to other humans. Contraire! With fellow humans you are a dignified human being who does not beg. But towards Allah [SWT] you’re a totally different person, that dignity is transformed into humility, and begging is the absolute best way to ask. This point is made clearer if we look at the dua of Al Istikhara when we say,
O Allah! I seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power [and Might] and I ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and I do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, You have knowledge of the unseen.
Such is the state of dua that you should be in physically, mentally, spiritually. Say it like you mean it! Allah [SWT] loves this state so much that He [SWT] had our Prophet (saw) convey to us a hadith that just melts your heart, “Allah will not stop answering your duas, till you get bored and tired of asking.” So, let’s be servants of Allah [SWT] every day. Not just when we are going through difficult times. Let’s attain this close relationship with Allah [SWT], as did our Prophet (saw) and those who followed in his footsteps.
Our Prophet (saw) taught us how to turn to Allah in dua. He taught us that “dua pose”—not necessarily just for the sake of our dua to be accepted but the way Allah [SWT] wants to see us. That will make Him happy and pleased with us. First, is that you invoke Allah [SWT] with a posture that screams “I am in need.” Has someone ever called you asking for your help and you set up an appointment with them? Then they arrive a couple of hours late to the appointment. When they finally arrive they’re answering their phone; maybe even checking the time every five minutes. It’s obvious they aren’t in need. They’re in that state that the Prophet (saw) describes in this hadith, “Know that Allah does not answer supplication from a heedless and distracted heart.” So imagine a person making dua to Allah, but his eyes are looking around at passersby. He’s greeting people left and right. His body language says, “There’s no rush! There’s no urgency whatsoever!” Allah [SWT] says, “Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Little do you remember.” [27:62] As Imam Ibn Hanbal said, “Invoke Allah as if you are drowning in a turbulent sea, holding on to a piece of wood yelling ‘Ya Rab!’” This is the kind of dua that Allah [SWT] loves. Are you in need? I am sure you are. Look closely. I personally have all that a woman could want and more, except for one thing and that is a child to call me “Mama.” Look closely, because when you realize you are in need, you will make the dua of the needy. Allah [SWT] says, “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.” [2:186] In the tafseer of this ayah scholars of tafseer say that Allah is close to us all, but Allah [SWT] is especially close to a person who invokes Him [SWT]. Imagine that you call upon Him [SWT] and He responds to your call but finds you looking at something else. Finds your heart occupied with something else. Your mind distracted by something else. Although your words are spot on, your body language is just not cooperating. Your words and body posture are not in synch. That’s why the “dua posture” with your hands raised and cupped with you hunched over them helps place you in that dua mood.
Another tip to invoke Allah as a person in need is that you imagine what your life would be like if your dua is not accepted. Maybe you’re asking Allah to rid you of a bad quality in you, like losing your temper for the smallest of matters. Imagine what your life would be like if Allah [SWT] does not cure you from this bad quality—you could lose your job, cause your loved ones to leave you, end up divorced, maybe even in jail. I always imagine if Allah had not guided me to Islam? Did not cause us me to concentrate in Salat? Wake up for Fajr or Qiyam Al Layl? Did not cause me to enjoy fasting in Ramadan? That He did not cause me to enjoy wearing Hijab? I imagine meeting Allah having lived my life in such a state that worship was heavy on my heart and body? Contemplating such issues makes you realize how much in dire need we really are. There’s is no doubt He [SWT] is near but the question is are we?
Remember also, that Allah [SWT] wants you to supplicate certain that He will respond. This is the essence of dua. Allah [SWT] looks into the depths of your heart during dua as the Prophet (saw) says, “Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but He looks at your heart and your deeds.” (Muslim) How is it possible that after Allah [SWT] says this to you that you have traces of doubt: “I will give each one of you what you ask and still this will not decrease from My Majesty. This will not decrease from My Majesty as if you dip a needle into the water.”
Leave those traces of doubt for when you ask humans who are subject to the winds of change. Allah [SWT] controls those winds of change, He is not subject to them . He [SWT] does not need them. Allah [SWT] says “His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” [36:82] He [SWT] gives with a word, and deprives with a word. How can you doubt? Would you like for Allah [SWT] to look in your heart and find you worried that He [SWT] can’t give you what you’re asking for? Or would you like Allah [SWT] to look in your heart and find you questioning whether you deserve it or not? Happens to the best of us, the latter that is. Sufyan Ibn ‘Uyaynah says,
Do not doubt that Allah will not respond to your dua because of an evil quality you know about yourself. For Allah has responded to the dua of one who is more evil than you, Iblis. He said, ‘Reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.’ And Allah said, ‘Indeed, you are of those reprieved.’”
Iblis needed and Allah [SWT] responded, and so will He you. If He [SWT] doesn’t respond in the way that you expected, He has removes a calamity that would have come your way. Or He [SWT} will compensates you on the Day of Judgment. Make the dua of Prophet Zakariyyah (as) who came to the realization that his and his wife’s old age was no impediment to Allah’s will to grant them a child. Remember,
He said: My Lord! surely my bones are weakened and my head flares with hoariness, and, my Lord! I have never been unsuccessful in my prayer to Thee: I fear my kinsfolk after me, since my wife is barren. Oh, give me from Thy presence a successor. [19:4-5]
And surely in another Surah comes the response,
At that, Zekariyyah called upon his Lord, saying, ‘My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.’ So the angels called him while he was standing in prayer in the chamber, ‘Indeed, Allah gives you good tidings of Yahya, confirming a word from Allah and a prophet from among the righteous.’ [3:38-39]
So, let’s love Allah [SWT] by invoking Him for all our needs with certainty that nothing is beyond His reach. To Him not even the sky is the limit. Remember me in your duas everybody!