Kind, Loving and Caring Lord, we thank you for this wonderful month of Ramadhan, when your care and generosity overwhelm us. So, “Lord, lift up my heart and ease my task. Untie my tongue, so that people may understand my words”. “Make me intelligent and thoughtful”. “O Kind Lord, increase me in knowledge”.
Let’s talk about Dua, it refers to devotion, seeking help, asking for something, word, call and praise. Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi defined it as “the pleading of the servant to the Majestic Lord for His support, help and provision.” This ‘call’ and sincere plea could be for help at a time of difficulty, for Divine kindness, healing and peace of mind. This gives the devotee a sense of self-assurance and security – priceless gems. The Messenger ﷺ said, “Dua is the essence of worship.” One of the Divine names is Al-Mujeeb, the one who answers and replies to the call of his servants “call Me and I will answer you” says Allah (Ghafir: 60).
The significance of prayer
Dua generates spiritual energy that comforts the soul. The Messenger ﷺ likened the person who remembers Allah to a living person, full of energy and vitality, and the person who does not to a dead person. “When my servants ask you about Me, surely I am near. I answer the caller when he calls Me, so let them obey Me and believe in Me that they may be guided” (Baqarah: 186).
A bedouin once asked the Messenger ﷺ “Is our Lord near so we can have a secret conversation. Or is He far away so that we have to call our Lord?”. This verse was revealed to explain the meaning of “Surely I am near.” Imam Razi clarifies some of the misunderstandings people have about prayer, he says:
- Allah is the knower of all secrets, then what is the need for Dua? Allah already knows what I need.
- They say, if the purpose of Dua is to benefit the creation, then shouldn’t Allah give without asking?
- The highest level of piety is to be satisfied with the Divine Will, whatever that may be. Dua negates this since you are preferring your own wish over the Divine Will.
- They claim Dua is demanding from Allah or stopping Him, this is blasphemous.
Imam Razi’s Views
Razi rejects these views, he says, in Dua there is no intermediary between us and Allah it is a direct dialogue. The caller concentrates and focuses on their needs with deep conviction they put their trust in Allah and call onto Him. So, Dua brings us closer to the Lord and it is the best form of worship.
In fact, it is possible that Allah is annoyed with those who do not ask from Him. “Then why did they not call upon us at the time of trouble, hardened and Shaitan decorated the deeds they used to do” (An’am: 43). The Prophet ﷺ said Dua is the essence of worship and “Dua is worship”. Say “Little does my Lord care about you, if you do not pray to him, since you have denied, soon the punishment will happen” (Furqan: 77).
The gist of Razi’s argument is that Dua is an expression of devotion, humility and turning to Allah wholeheartedly. If this is the aim of Dua, then those doubts listed above disappear. In response to the argument that Dua is not answered, Imam Razi cites the hadith. “A Dua of a Muslim is never rejected. As long as he does not ask for a forbidden thing or breaking of ties. Either the Dua will be fulfilled or recorded and saved for the hereafter. Or Allah will divert away from him a calamity.”
Here are some Duas taken directly from The Majestic Quran. The intimate nature of Dua is illustrated by examples of Duas made by the Prophets, below are a few examples:
After the construction of the Kabah, Ibrahim turned to his Lord and prayed:
رَبَّنا تَقَبَّل مِنّا إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّميعُ العَليمُ
“Lord accept this from us, for you are All-Listening and All-Knowing” (Baqarah: 127).
I have failed in my duty as an obedient servant of yours:
لا إِلٰهَ إِلّا أَنتَ سُبحانَكَ إِنّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظّالِمينَ
“There is no God but you, glory be to you, I was wrong” (Anbiya: 87).
I am weak and feeble in my response to You, yet You continuously bless me, this tough life has sapped me of energy and left me helpless and hopeless:
رَبِّ أَوزِعني أَن أَشكُرَ نِعمَتَكَ الَّتي أَنعَمتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلىٰ والِدَيَّ وَأَن أَعمَلَ صالِحًا تَرضاهُ وَأَدخِلني بِرَحمَتِكَ في عِبادِكَ الصّالِحينَ
“Lord, make me grateful to You for the blessings that You have given me and my father; and grant me strength to do righteous deeds to please You; and kindly, include me with Your righteous servants” (Naml: 19).
I thank you profusely for the gift of family:
رَبَّنا هَب لَنا مِن أَزواجِنا وَذُرِّيّاتِنا قُرَّةَ أَعيُنٍ وَاجعَلنا لِلمُتَّقينَ إِمامًا
“Our Lord, grant us joy in our spouses and children, and make us an example for those who are mindful of You” (Furqan: 74).
I often fall into the trap of the world, I humbly plead to you, my Guardian and Protector:
رَبَّنا آتِنا فِي الدُّنيا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنا عَذابَ النّارِ
“Our Lord, grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and protect us from the punishment of the Fire” (Baqarah: 201).
So often I shout, get angry and get upset:
رَبَّنا أَفرِغ عَلَينا صَبرًا وَثَبِّت أَقدامَنا وَانصُرنا عَلَى القَومِ الكافِرينَ
“Our Lord, shower patience on us, keep our feet firm on the ground and help us against the disbelievers” (Baqarah: 250).