“Allah has commanded the believers to do that which He has commanded the Messengers. The Exalted has said, ‘O Messengers! Eat of the good things and do right.’ And the Exalted also said, ‘O believers! Eat of the good things that we have provided for you.’”
In this next part of the hadith, the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) quoted a verse from the Qur’an:
“O Messengers! Eat of good things and do right”
This shows us that the Messengers are ordered by Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) to purify themselves with respect to both their body and spirit – eating good things and performing good deeds. This noble command was also addressed to the believers, and forms the basis of the principle that all true servants of Allah should lives by. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) says in the Qur’an:
“O believers! Eat of good things that We have provided for you”
The food that one consumes to sustain themselves should be pure and good, or halal, and the money they use to purchase this sustenance should also be pure and good, and earned through halal means (not from interest, or sale of liquor etc ).
These actions are essential keys to having ones deeds will be accepted by Allah. It was a command which Allah gave to all the Messengers and which He (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has given to this nation also. Consuming what Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has prohibited will cut us off from His Mercy.
“… a man who after a long journey is disheveled and dust coloured. [The man] stretches his hands out toward the sky and says, ‘O Lord, O Lord,’…”
In this very moving example, the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) describes a man who is in need. He is at the end of a long journey, his clothes are disheveled and he is covered in dust. Usually, this state of need would put a person in a good position to have his dua answered. As the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Three supplications are responded to: the supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveller, and the supplication of the father for his child.”
[Recorded in al-Bukhari]
When we are travelling and we are in a strange land, far away from home and friends and family, perhaps facing hardships, our heart becomes softened and we are more inclined to realise our dependence on Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). This feeling in the heart is one of the greatest causes for one’s supplication to be answered by Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala).
The fact that this traveller was disheveled and dusty implies a simplicity and modesty of the part of the person which is also noted as being one of the causes for a supplication to be answered. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) stated:
“Many a person with disheveled hair is turned away from the doors [whereas Allah holds him in such high esteem] that if he were to swear by Allah, Allah would fulfill that for him.”
[Recorded in Muslim]
This man then ‘stretches his hands out toward the sky’ which is another important characteristic in having your supplication answered. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Your Lord is munificent and generous, and is ashamed to turn away empty the hands of His servant when he raises them to Him.”
[Recorded in Ahmad]
The Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) was known to raise his hands in dua. It is recorded in a hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari that when he (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) prayed for rain he (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) raised his arms so high you could see the whites of his armpits. Similarly when he (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) beseeched Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) during the Battle of Badr, he (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) extended his arms so much that his cloak fell off his (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) shoulders.
Finally, the traveller says, ‘O Lord, O Lord’. We can feel here that the man is making an urgent request to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), pleading with Him. By calling Him his Lord he is admitting his dependence on Him. Indeed many of the supplications that are found in the Qur’an begin ‘O Lord’ or ‘O our Lord’.
In this simple description then, the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) described a man who, by all external appearnances, appeared to be in a prime position to have his dua answered by Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). But as we see, there is a fundamental criteria that must be met before a dua can be answered, and this man, despite his need, had not met it.
“…while his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful. How is he to be answered [in such a state]?”
Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), in His infinite His Grace and Mercy, has revealed to His Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) factors which facilitate His (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) answering of dua, as well as factors which can inhibit His (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) answering of dua. This part of the hadith shows us some of the things we need to be careful about if we want Allah to answer our dua.
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) clearly states in this hadith that the man’s food, drink, clothing and nourishment were unlawful, and for these reasons Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) may not respond to his supplication, even though he was a traveller in need calling out to his Lord. This shows us that how we live, what we eat and drink and how we clothe ourselves are of fundamental importance to our relationship with our Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala).
If our lives are filled with forbidden things, how can we expect Allah to respond when we ask of Him (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala)? If we do not respond to Allah’s call, how can we expect Him (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) to respond to our call when we need Him (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala)? Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them) that I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. Therefore, let them respond to Me [My commands] and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided.”
It is recorded by Ibn Rajab in his work Jaami, that one of the companions of the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said of dua, “Do not be surprised that the response is slow in coming as you have blocked its road due to your sins.”
Ask yourself if you can think of anything that you may be doing that is blocking your dua from being answered, for we are more in need of the answer to our prayers than we are of anything else in this dunya.
May Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) Help us and Guide us always. Aameen!