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July 23, 2012

5

An Introduction to the Lord of the Worlds – Day 22

by Umm Muawiyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Here’s Day 21.]

10. Many people don’t have a correct understanding of dua (supplication).

In this section, I’m not going to be focusing on the etiquettes of dua but rather some errors that people make with regards to dua. The reason for these errors is due to their lack of knowledge of Allah’s Names and Attributes and of His Rights.

a) Forgetting to do dua.

Unfortunately, this is a very, very, very common problem.

A couple of years ago, I had a Ramadan workshop and was talking about the importance of dua.

One of the sisters in attendance, came up to me at the end and told me that during the workshop, she realised that she hadn’t been doing dua. At all.

[Note: I do not teach anymore. I moved over to blogging.]

This was a bit shocking to me. How could people NOT do dua?

Subhan Allah, after that, I met so many people who had the same issue. Either they didn’t ask at all or they forget to do dua for things that they wanted!

One of my classmates was searching for a specific type of cat for her daughter and she was telling me the story. I asked her if she had done dua. No, she had forgotten.

Have you wanted something (halal) for a long time?

If the answer is yes, have you ever asked Allah for it? If you haven’t asked, then why not??

ASK ALLAH.

I repeat: ASK ALLAH.

[Here’s a previous post on preparing a dua list.]

[A reminder for myself and for you: Please don’t forget to do dua for the Muslims around the world, especially the Syrians, may Allah ease their affairs. I should also point out that I read that Muslims in Burma are being persecuted very badly, may Allah ease their affairs. As usual, the mainstream media is silent and will probably only report this in Year 2040.]

b) Placing greater importance on other factors over dua.

“If only we had money for the treatment. Rich people are so lucky.”

I’ve heard statements similar to this many many times.

Sadly, this is a statement of someone who does not know Allah.

If they had known Allah, they would have known that He was Ar-Razzaq (the One who provides in abundance)* and that He has power over all things.

[*This Name was discussed earlier in the series.]

They would have realised that they should do dua, taken whatever means they had to achieve their goal, whilst putting their trust in Him.

Money by itself cannot do anything. It’s just a means.

If Allah has willed that the means work, they will work. Otherwise, they will not.

Keeping the treatment statement in mind, let us ask ourselves: How many people have we seen who had the money for their treatment but  weren’t cured?

And how many people do we know that didn’t have the money for their treatment but Allah provided for them through unexpected means?

I can’t answer for all of you but my answer to both questions is: A whole lot of people.

We should remember that dua is the primary weapon that we have so we should use it. Every time some incidence happens to the Muslim ummah (nation) I keep seeing articles that talk about doing this and that.

Most of the time, dua is not even mentioned or else it is mentioned at the very end.

Remember: If Allah does not permit us to achieve something, then we will never be able to achieve it, so we need to ask Allah to bestow His Mercy on us and to aid us in all our affairs.

Some people might say “Oh, isn’t there something else we can do? Just doing dua seems too little.”

This question needs to be looked at from three perspectives:

1) The first perspective is if a person just does dua and does not take any other means – even though he is able to. That is not correct. I call this phenomenon “duaing” and discussed it in this post.

2) The second perspective is if a person is not able to do anything except dua. Then he should definitely do this as this is the only means that he can take.

3) The third perspective is if a person does dua but puts more importance on other means. As I mentioned above, that is not correct. Dua is the most powerful thing we have so we should not look down upon it.

After all, what are we doing when we do dua? We are calling upon the Lord of the Worlds, the One who has Power over all things.

So why do so many people belittle dua??

Let me give you an example of a situation where people overlook dua: when trying to find parking in a jam-packed parking lot.

Okay, anyone who has a car will know how frustrating it is to try to get parking in a place where there is no place. [Sorry, I couldn’t resist.]

Question to those who have been in this situation: Have you ever asked Allah to grant you parking? If not, then why not? Who else can help you at this time??

[If you’ve never tried it, then try it. Don’t be shocked if you find a place in a few minutes.]

c)  “I feel shy about asking Allah for too much. He’s given me so much already.”

[Another variation of this is “Oh I’ve asked Allah for so much already, how can I ask for more?]

I actually read a post on a forum where someone said this. Another person replied by saying that he liked his humility!

I’m sorry but this is not humility. This is misguidance.

That might sound very harsh but it’s the truth.

What’s my proof? Well, I mentioned it on Day 20. Here are some of them one more time:

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

“And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship [i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness, (Islamic Monotheism)] they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!”” [Surah Ghafir (40) : 60]

إنه من لم يسأل الله يغضب عليه

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Indeed, he who does not ask Allah, He becomes angry with him.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3373. Graded ‘hasan’ by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3373.]

ما من مسلم يدعو بدعوة ليس فيها إثم ، ولا قطيعة رحم ؛ إلا أعطاه بها إحدى ثلاث : إما أن يعجل له دعوته ، وإما أن يدخرها له في الآخرة ، وإما أن يصرف عنه من السوء مثلها . قالوا : إذا نكثر . قال : الله أكثر .

It was narrated from Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (radiallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “There is no Muslim who does not offer any dua in which there is no sin or severing of family ties but Allah will give him one of three things in return: either He will answer his dua sooner, or He will store it up for him in the Hereafter, or He will divert an equivalent evil away from him because of it.” They said: “What if we should increase (in it)?” He said: “(With) Allah is more.” [Sahih At-Targhib wat-Tarhib, Hadeeth No. 1633]

This issue, like the earlier issues, also arises as a result of not knowing Allah’s Rights over us (i.e. He alone has the right to be worshipped) and not knowing His Names and Attributes (i.e. He is unlike His Creation).

We are slaves who were created to worship Allah and doing dua is part of worshipping Him. We should not forget that.

If we don’t ask Him, who else will we ask? Is there anyone else who can help us?

The more we ask, the more we show our reliance and dependance on Him and the more we submit. This is what dua means. If we don’t ask, it means we think that we are self-sufficient and this is pure arrogance and opens the door to disbelief.

However, many people just don’t understand this part which is why Shaytan (the devil) comes and fools them with the whole “You are so humble not to ask Allah” scenario.

d)  “One should not ask God for too much.”

A few years ago, I was teaching a class on dua and I pointed out how important it was to ask Allah for all things and mentioned the above proofs.

One of my students looked completely stunned. I asked her what was wrong. She pointed out that growing up she had been surrounded by Orthodox Christians and they had a saying.

What was this saying? Well it was something like “Don’t ask God for too much, ask Him for only the important stuff.”

Laa ilaaha illallah.

I was quite stunned to hear that people (even if they were disbelievers) thought in this way. Now I realise that this is how Shaytan beautifies people’s deeds. This is how he stops them from worshipping Allah and submitting to Him.

As I mentioned before, we need to ask Allah for each and everything, because if He does not permit us to attain it, we won’t!

The problem with this saying is that it gives Allah human attributes and Allah is free from such defects. Humans do not like to be asked but Allah loves to be asked.

Big difference.

e) “I’m tired of asking. I’ve done dua so many times but I haven’t gotten what I wanted. I think I’m going to stop asking.”

Does this statement sound….familiar?

Yes, because this has happened to most of us.

Why does it happen? Well, it’s because many people don’t understand that the main purpose of dua is not getting what they want, rather it is to actualise the purpose for which they were created i.e. to worship Allah alone.

If we get what we asked for, then this is from the Mercy of Allah.

I would like to remind everyone that we do not have a right over Allah in this regard. We cannot say “Oh we did so much dua so Allah has to give us what we want.”

Sadly, many people think this way. They think that it is their right to get their duas answered and when they don’t, they start to have bad thoughts about Allah. They think to themselves “I did so much! I deserved to have my duas answered.”

After this, they leave off worshipping Allah, either partially or in totality.

We ask Allah to keep us steadfast and to save us from such misguidance.

The problem with this way of thinking is that the person forgets his place i.e. that of a slave, and starts to barter (I did this so I should get this). And this is NOT submission.

We cannot say “Oh I will stop worshipping Allah.” If we do that, we lose our chance of going to Paradise!

Another problem with this, is that the person doesn’t realise that not all his duas might be correct. Perhaps he was asking for something which might have harmed him and Allah withheld it from him out of His Mercy.

Another problem is that the person doesn’t understand that dua can lead to one of three things:

ما من مسلم يدعو بدعوة ليس فيها إثم ، ولا قطيعة رحم ؛ إلا أعطاه بها إحدى ثلاث : إما أن يعجل له دعوته ، وإما أن يدخرها له في الآخرة ، وإما أن يصرف عنه من السوء مثلها . قالوا : إذا نكثر . قال : الله أكثر .

It was narrated from Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (radiallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “There is no Muslim who does not offer any dua in which there is no sin or severing of family ties but Allah will give him one of three things in return: either He will answer his dua sooner, or He will store it up for him in the Hereafter, or He will divert an equivalent evil away from him because of it.” They said: “What if we should increase (in it)?” He said: “(With) Allah is more.” [Sahih At-Targhib wat-Tarhib, Hadeeth No. 1633]

So perhaps his dua was already “answered” as it were.

Another problem with this issue is not understanding the difference between a dua being answered vs. the act of dua being accepted.

“Huh? There’s a difference?”

Yes. A disbeliever’s dua might be answered as was the case with Iblees (the devil) when he asked for life until the Last Day. However, the act was not accepted because acts of worship are only accepted from the people of tawheed (those who worship Allah alone i.e. the Muslims).

Let me give you an example. A childless woman prays for a child. She never gets one.

So her dua was “not answered” in the obvious sense. However, perhaps Allah will accept her act of doing dua to Him, which means that she would have gotten the ultimate goal i.e. Paradise.

[Obviously, this is also linked to the hadeeth mentioned above which points out that dua can be answered in three ways.]

Here’s a very interesting and important article on this issue. A person mentions that his duas are not getting answered. Just read the Shaikh’s response.

Another problem with the original statement is that the person seems to be blaming Allah for not answering his duas instead of blaming himself. There are various things that cause a dua to not be answered. Here’s some of them.

In the next part, I’ll continue with more issues related to the correct understanding of dua. [I wanted to finish this section today but I wasn’t able to.]

To be continued…

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Faiza
    Jul 24 2012

    SubhanAllah, great post, very much needed. I always wondered how it was that my mother found parking and I never did until I asked her one day. Once you comprehend the power of dua you will never cease to ask. JazakAllah for this post, I am forwarding it.

    Reply
  2. fulana
    Jul 24 2012

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
    baarakAllahu feeki ukhti
    you know i was just thinking, i don’t know if u mentioned this in any of your posts bfre, that many of us think that dua is to take a prayer mat and sit and do dua, may be thats what makes most of us lazy, (notice i said US i am no where claiming to be perfect)
    correct me if i am wrong
    jazakillahu khayr

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Jul 25 2012

      Wa Alaikum Assalam Wa Rahmathullahi Wa Barakaathuh.

      Wa feeki baarakallah.

      You raise an excellent point, maasha-Allah. Yes, I too have noticed this phenomenon and have been a part of it i.e. that dua is only done at specific “good” times and that’s that.

      I wanted to mention something similar to this (but I think your prayer mat example was better) but couldn’t due to time constraints.

      What do you mean by “makes us lazy” though? Do you mean that the person would just think “I did dua already so I won’t do it again”?

      Interesting point. I didn’t think of that aspect before.

      Jazakillahu kheira.

      PS. Don’t worry about the “us”. I do it all the time in my posts….

      Reply
      • fulana
        Jul 25 2012

        wa iyyaki
        jazakillahu khayr for the appreciation
        i mean it makes us lazy in the sense, that whenever we are advised to do dua, we think ‘oh!! now go do wudhu, put on the head cover, take the prayer mat, and then sit and do dua’
        so u see its a very long process, so who we feel like doing it
        i am not sure about the wudhu part, but the head cover all this do come to mind, u see this is wear laziness enters…

        Reply
        • fulana
          Jul 26 2012

          assalamu alaikum
          sorry for the typo
          *will

          Reply

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