All praises and glory be to Allah who tells us that:
“I have only created jinn and mankind to worship Me.”
Know that the greatest and most noble form of worship is du’a. It is a plea from the heart of the believer directed towards Allah, who is As-Sami’, the Hearer of all things. It is an acknowledgement of our helplessness before our Creator and our need for His help and assistance. Du’a is an implicit affirmation of all of Allah’s Names and Attributes and a perfect recognition of His right to be worshipped. In this respect, it is the very essence of worship.
With this noble status in mind, it becomes obligatory on us as believers to become familiar with the concept of du’a, its importance in the religion of Islam and its etiquettes. What is du’a? What are its blessings? Why is one person’s du’a responded to and another not? What are the factors that prevent our du’a from being accepted? These are all the essential questions that we will be finding the answers to in the coming weeks inshaAllah.
Du’a is a Form of Worship:
Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, has said:
“Verily, your Lord has said: ‘Call upon Me, and I will answer you!’ Those who are (too) arrogant to worship Allah will enter Hell, humiliated!”
In this verse, Allah has commanded us to ask Him and petition Him, and has stated that those who do not do this are among those too arrogant to worship Him. From this, we can clearly understand that du’a is from among the acts of worship. This was also explicitly stated by the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, who said:
“Du’a is worship.”[Recorded in Ahmad]
Du’a is also equated with the Deen or the entire religion by Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, when He says:
“He is the Hayy (Ever-Living), there is no deity except Him. So make du’a to Him, to Him is the Deen.”
There is no other act of ibadah or worship that has been given this honour.
One of the benefits of understanding that du’a is a form of worship is that we realise its manner and etiquettes must be taken from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Just as we cannot use our own whims and desires to decide how we pray and fast, so too we cannot use our own whims and desires when it comes to deciding the best manner in which to perform du’a.
Du’a Increases Imaan:
Du’a is also one of the best ways that a person can increase their imaan or faith, and appreciate Allah’s Names and Attributes.
There are many factors that cause du’a to increase imaan. Firstly, it is a reminder of the power of Allah and the fact that we have absolutely no conrol over our own destiny. It shows us how much we are in need of our Lord for everything, and this in turn increases our imaan. It proves that when we make du’a we sincerely believe that Allah hears us and answers us, and this deepens our understanding of the perfection of His Names and Attributes. These two factors – knowing one’s need of Allah in every matter, and knowing Allah’s Perfect Nature – are the essence of imaan and servitude to Allah.
Du’a and Tawhid:
Du’a also has a very strong relationship with aqeedah or creed and tawhid, the belief in the oneness of Allah.
When we call out to Allah, we acknowledge Him as our Creator, Sustainer and Master and this is the essence of Tawhid al-Rububiyyah, the belief in Allah’s Oneness concerning His Lordship.
Our du’a also recognises that only Allah deserves to be worshipped, which is an affirmation of Tawhid al-Uluhiyyah, that Allah alone has the right to be worshipped.
Further, our du’a makes us to realise Allah’s Names and Attributes which is the essence of Tawhid al-Asma wa al-Sifat. He is As-Sami, the All-Hearing, only He can hear the cry of our hearts. He is Al-’Alim, the All-Knowing, only He can understand our plight. He is Al-Matin, the Powerful, only He can change our circumstances.
Du’a therefore beautifully affirms tawhid in all of its three aspects.
Du’a to Other Than Allah is Shirk:
All praises be to Allah who tells us in the Qur’an:
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘I make du’a only to my Lord (Allah alone), and I associate none as partners along with Him.’”
It is clear that du’a can only be directed towards Allah alone. To make du’a to other than Allah is to associate partners with Him, which is shirk, the only sin that Allah does not forgive. This is because if we ask a saint, or rock or idol or other created object for something, we are attributing to them powers that only Allah has.
Allah tells us:
“If you invoke (or call upon them), they hear not your call, and even if they were to hear (you), they could not grant your (request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them. And none can inform you (O Muhammad) like Him Who is the All-Knower (of each and everything).”
Only Allah can respond to our du’a. Only He knows what’s in our hearts and has the power to grant our wishes. If we call on other than Allah, we are calling on someone or something that cannot benefit us in anyway. But by calling on them, we bring harm to ourselves by committing shirk. Look at the example that Allah gives of one who calls on other than Him:
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Shall we invoke others besides Allah (false deities), that can do us neither good nor harm, and shall we turn on our heels after Allah had guided us? Like one whom the devils have made to go astray, confused (wondering) through the earth, his companion calling him to guidance (saying): ‘Come to us.’ say: ‘Allah’s Guidance is the only guidance, and we have been commanded to submit (ourselves) to the Lord of the Worlds.’”
Others, think that making du’a through an intermediary will give their du’a a stronger chance of being accepted. The Arabs at the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would worship the idols with the exact same excuse – that they were only trying to come closer to Allah – and yet despite this, Allah considered them to be committing shirk. Allah is the only one that has the right to be worshipped, and Islam does not allow for any intermediaries.
We must ensure therefore that we make our du’a directly to Allah alone, for He is the only one who can answer our call.