Friday, 12 February 2010

My God and my Protector-(Du'a (supplication)

Dua, sometimes written duah, means calling, asking for something, and in the Islamic sense of the word it is doing just that, but to God. The word Dua can be translated in English to 'prayer', and this is accurate, but should not be confused with the other form of Muslim prayer, the Salat (aka namaz) which is something different. Dua is unlike the obligatory pillars of Islam such as Salat and Sawm (fasting) which have a rigid standard of regulations, because through du'a we are able to use our very own individual styles of expression.  the Muslim supplicator raises his hands palm-up in front of him, at the level of his chest, or on his lap during this type of prayer,
Du'a (supplication) is our own personal means of communication with our Creator and it is accepted in any language. An individual may pray to ask for forgiveness, prosperity, help, improvement of a situation, increase in faith, or to thank God for His bounty or answering previous prayers; A person can pray for anything that is good and halal (permitted Islamically), and he can also pray for the damnation of the enemy and the ending of the world's evils. An individual may also pray for other persons.
Duas can be individual and personal, but there are a great number of books that have pre-written duas, written and compiled by scholars, and these relate duas presented by Prophets (PBUT),

The Quran itself has a number of duas within its pages, one such dua is this one where Prophet Abraham (PBUH) says:

    الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ الَّذِي وَهَبَ لِي عَلَى الْكِبَرِ إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ إِنَّ رَبِّي لَسَمِيعُ الدُّعَاء
    رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلاَةِ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاء
    رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ
    [Quran 14.39] Praise be to Allah, Who has given me in old age Ismail and Ishaq; most surely my Lord is the Hearer of prayer:
    [14.40] My Lord! make me keep up prayer and from my offspring (too), O our Lord, and accept my prayer:
    [14.41] O our Lord! grant me protection and my parents and the believers on the day when the reckoning shall come to pass!

The last line from that dua is sometimes said in a popular Qunoot dua, which is a special type of dua that is said in regular Salat prayers. A future article will be written about this to further elaborate.

Another dua from the Quran that we can use personally when we make dua is this:

    لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِن نَّسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا أَنتَ مَوْلاَنَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
    [Quran 2.286] ...Our Lord! do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake; Our Lord! do not lay on us a burden as Thou didst lay on those before us, Our Lord do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us, Thou art our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people.

We have all undoubtedly been through some testing moments in our lives, and in such situations may have turned to close family and friends for help. Although they can provide us with valuable reassurance and comfort, they probably can do very little in helping to resolve the problem. Therefore it is necessary to confide in He who is the All-Listening and Most Wise, since it is only Allah (SWT) who has the power to really make a difference. Verily Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran,

    وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
    [Quran 2.186] And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.

However, it is important that we do not get into the habit of making du'a as a last resort and only after all else has failed. Surely if we remember Allah (SWT) at times of well-being, then He will remember us at times of difficulty. Therefore supplication should be a regular part of our lives, especially since it strengthens our relationship with Allah (SWT).
The severity of neglecting du'a

The consequence of not making du'a is explicitly summarized in a single ayah (verse) of the Holy Quran:

    وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ
    [Quran 40.60] And your Lord says: Call upon Me, I will answer you; surely those who are too proud for My service shall soon enter hell abased.


    
Du'a - Our connection to the heavens


 Dua, sometimes written duah, means calling, asking for something, and in the Islamic sense of the word it is doing just that, but to God. The word Dua can be translated in English to 'prayer', and this is accurate, but should not be confused with the other form of Muslim prayer, the Salat (aka namaz) which is something different. Dua is unlike the obligatory pillars of Islam such as Salat and Sawm (fasting) which have a rigid standard of regulations, because through du'a we are able to use our very own individual styles of expression.
The Muslim supplicator raises his hands palm-up in front of him, at the level of his chest, or on his lap during this type of prayer, but this is not a requirement.

Du'a (supplication) is our own personal means of communication with our Creator and it is accepted in any language. An individual may pray to ask for forgiveness, prosperity, help, improvement of a situation, increase in faith, or to thank God for His bounty or answering previous prayers; A person can pray for anything that is good and halal (permitted Islamically), and he can also pray for the damnation of the enemy and the ending of the world's evils. An individual may also pray for other persons.

Duas can be individual and personal, but there are a great number of books that have pre-written duas, written and compiled by scholars, and these relate duas presented by Prophets (PBUT), Imams (AS), and other Ma'soomeen (AS). The Quran itself has a number of duas within its pages, one such dua is this one where Prophet Abraham (PBUH) says:

    الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ الَّذِي وَهَبَ لِي عَلَى الْكِبَرِ إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ إِنَّ رَبِّي لَسَمِيعُ الدُّعَاء
    رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلاَةِ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاء
    رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ
    [Quran 14.39] Praise be to Allah, Who has given me in old age Ismail and Ishaq; most surely my Lord is the Hearer of prayer:
    [14.40] My Lord! make me keep up prayer and from my offspring (too), O our Lord, and accept my prayer:
    [14.41] O our Lord! grant me protection and my parents and the believers on the day when the reckoning shall come to pass!

The last line from that dua is sometimes said in a popular Qunoot dua, which is a special type of dua that is said in regular Salat prayers. A future article will be written about this to further elaborate.

Another dua from the Quran that we can use personally when we make dua is this:

    لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِن نَّسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا أَنتَ مَوْلاَنَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
    [Quran 2.286] ...Our Lord! do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake; Our Lord! do not lay on us a burden as Thou didst lay on those before us, Our Lord do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us, Thou art our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people.

Other duas can be found in special books, and some of these duas are formulated to help certain situations like seeking pregnancy, stopping nightmares and many other things. Some published duas are very popular, like.There is a formulated dua for every day of the week and almost every situation, and these are good to recite, and very beneficial.
Importance of du'a

We have all undoubtedly been through some testing moments in our lives, and in such situations may have turned to close family and friends for help. Although they can provide us with valuable reassurance and comfort, they probably can do very little in helping to resolve the problem. Therefore it is necessary to confide in He who is the All-Listening and Most Wise, since it is only Allah (SWT) who has the power to really make a difference. Verily Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran,

    وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
    [Quran 2.186] And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.

However, it is important that we do not get into the habit of making du'a as a last resort and only after all else has failed. Surely if we remember Allah (SWT) at times of well-being, then He will remember us at times of difficulty. Therefore supplication should be a regular part of our lives, especially since it strengthens our relationship with Allah (SWT).
The severity of neglecting du'a

The consequence of not making du'a is explicitly summarized in a single ayah (verse) of the Holy Quran:

    وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ
    [Quran 40.60] And your Lord says: Call upon Me, I will answer you; surely those who are too proud for My service shall soon enter hell abased.

Recommended etiquettes of du'a

As with all actions it is commendable that we start with the phrase 'Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem' (In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful), it is also recommended that we refer to our Creator and His glory through mentioning His names and attributes. Next, it is beneficial to invoke blessings on the Prophet Muhammad (SAW)

It is also strongly advised that before praying for ourselves we pray for others first, especially for those who have died. This is because when a person's life draws to a close, the opportunity for repentance and doing good ceases, and the deceased is held at a transitional phase which lies between death and the day of judgment - this is the state of Barzakh. . During this very vulnerable time the person is subject to a lot of questioning and punishment, therefore it is the supplication of the living for the dead that can help them at this most crucial point. In remembering the dead in our prayers we can only hope that when the time comes for our own souls to return to their Maker, there will be Muslims praying for us throughout this duration of difficulty. In addition to this, mentioning our Muslim brothers and sisters in du'a not only teaches us to be more compassionate, but it also means that the du'a is more likely to be accepted.

There are a couple of prerequisites for du'a to be accepted, with some being more serious than others. One important thing to keep in mind is the 'give and take' aspect of du'a - why should Allah give us anything we ask for if we do not do what He asks of us - we don't give anything back for what He has given us. Why would Allah grant a poor excuse for a believer what he covets, when this bad Muslim only angers God by sinning continuously and not even doing the simple obligatory deeds of worship, the minimum at least?

God has an agreement with the people that He will grant them what they wish if they fulfill the requirements of the covenant, but yet people continue to sin and they ask: Why are my prayers not answered? People should ask: Do I really deserve it?

Some things that are required for prayers to be accepted:

Stop Sinning - Sins come in three grades: Greater sins, great sins, and minor sins. A single greater sin can make your dua count for nothing for a considerable time, sometimes (but rarely) permanently. After doing such a sin the person must truly repent for ever, just hoping that God may shed His mercy upon them, even though He could deny them His mercy for they are not worthy. A great sin is grave enough for dua to be denied for a good length of time, until the perpetrator asks god to forgive them a couple of times sincerely. A great number of minor sins, sins that sometimes the sinner does not realize they are doing, can add-up and rise to a certain level where God just says this person does not even deserve anything because the person does not cease their evil-doings. If someone has wronged another person then they should right that wrong before they should expect their prayers to be answered, or for them to be forgiven.

A few lines explain these concepts:

 O Allah! Forgive me those sins, which tear apart modesty. O Allah! Forgive me those sins, which bring down misfortunes. O Allah! Forgive me those sins, which alter blessings. O Allah! Forgive me those sins, which hold back supplication. O Allah! Forgive me those sins, which cut down hopes. O Allah! Forgive me those sins, which bring down distress. O Allah! Forgive me every sin that I have committed, and every mistake that I have made. ... O my Master! I ask You by Your might, not to let my ugly deeds and acts conceal my supplication from You, not to disgrace me by exposing what is secret of my (acts), which (only) You are aware of, ... My God and my Protector! You have laid on me rules (to follow), but I followed my own whims. ... I come to You, My God, after my shortcoming, ... I do not find any way out from what I have done, nor any place of refuge to turn to about my affairs, other than Your acceptance of my apology, and Your entering me into the range of Your mercy. O Allah! Therefore, accept my apology, have mercy upon the severity of my affliction, and free me from the tightness of my chains.


Good fortune.

1. Wealth: If a Muslim becomes the owner of vast wealth, he should show his gratitude to Allah by paying Zakat duly.

2. Health: If a Muslim is physically healthy, he should show his gratitude and obedience by performing the pilgrimage (Hajj), provided that he is financially capable

3. Sudden solution: If a Muslim finds that a big problem in his life has been solved, he should show gratitude immediately to Allah by performing a Sijdah. And later, he should perform extra prayers.

Misfortune

Well, you can come up with examples yourself.

The main thing is that Muslims should do his work and for the results depend on Allah. If he is going through hard times, he should still stick to praying to Him and abiding by His orders to show His trust in Him.

If a person close to him dies, instead of asking Allah questions, he should accept the tragedy and understand that what has happened is Allah's decision. This shows trust in Allah's decisions

I have always felt that it is really not the death of the one that dies, but the one that lives on. The dearly departed are released from the toil of this life for a serenity that we cannot imagine. In published data about NDEs or near death experiences in which people have had cardiac arrests but were resuscitated, the next world is reported to be one of incredible peace and pleasure. The refrain in all these NDE reports is that the subject did not want to return to this world but was told that their time had not yet come so they had to. What gives credibility to these reports is the amazing concordance in all of them describing a tunnel with a light at the end of it, seeing predeceased relatives and experiencing an enveloping tranquillity.

The suffering of the survivors is usually intense and seemingly endless. The multifarious struggles: financial, logistic, emotional and spiritual. And the invariable "why me" question, for which no answers come then.

"Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur'aan or are their hearts locked up?" (Surah Muhammad 47:24) is only one of the many verses in the Qur'aan that exhort us to think and reflect on nature and events. "Not a leaf falls without His knowledge," (Surah An'am 6:59) and other verses like: "No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz), before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah," (Surah Al-Hadid 57:22) are evidence against events happening randomly or due to tectonic shifts or weather related phenomena.

A Muslim's belief is complete only after his acknowledgment of God, all the prophets, the angels, the books, the Day of Judgment and "qadaa wa qadar" or fate and predestination. Belief in fate and predestination does not in any way release us from responsibility of our actions. The fact that God has full knowledge of all that will be does not reduce us to a robot-like state. Shaykh Fadlallah Haeri explains well in his book "Decree and Destiny" that there was the advent of the Jabbariyya who believed that all was determined by God and Man was powerless, and the Qaddarriya who believed that nothing was predetermined and man was able to control his destiny. Shaykh Haeri states that the reality actually lies somewhere between those two extremes.

"And know that your possessions and your progeny are but a trial, and it is with Allah that lies your highest reward" (Surah Anfaal, 8:28). This verse speaks of how man will be tested and the Qur'aan speaks also of punishment in this world as well as the next. I spent many years trying to figure out how one could tell whether an unfortunate incident was a test or a punishment. At the inception with the moral compass given to us at the time of the Primordial Oath, we are able to distinguish right from wrong and thus tell whether our record has been good, bad or ugly.

In less clear situations, it was Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani's book "Futuhul Ghayb" or Revelations of the Unseen that gave me my answer. He says that it is a punishment if the person complains all the time and is bitter, a test if the person tolerates it with patience and for spiritual elevation if the misfortune is borne with cheerfulness.

On August 19, 1999 a powerful earthquake killed 6000 people in Turkey. The day prior to it the Turkish government had passed a law that would jail any person caught teaching their children the Qur'aan within their home. True to the refrain in the Qur'aan, the revelation in the Qur'aan is only for those who reflect. In the town of Golcuk buildings that were constructed recently were destroyed but a mosque and its minaret built a century earlier stand unscathed. The building next to it is also standing for had it fallen it would have likely damaged the mosque. It is easy to give bland scientific explanations for natural disasters. And yet if one was to reflect and realise that there is nothing that occurs without a reason, a whole lot could be learned from life and events. And we would be a step closer to our Maker, knowing whom, or gnosis, should be our raison d'etre.

In the recent tsunami, the province of Aceh in Indonesia was essentially wiped out. And yet in many affected areas in Indonesia dozens of mosques stand untouched amidst the rubble around them. Secular interpretations say that mosques were better constructed and so escaped damage. However, according to an article by a non-Muslim journalist, in the town of Sigli a mosque made of wood stands whilst surrounding structures have been destroyed.

Whilst rebellious incidents such as the legislation in Turkey just prior to the earthquake have not been reported from Indonesia, it seems to be a matter of whether or not one is able to appreciate the concept of cause and effect that is mentioned in the Qur'aan. Our bad deeds as cause and ravaging disasters as effect, with the House of God bearing silent sombre testimony to His ire. On the happier side a great test for the survivors who lost entire families with an unscathed mosque as though saying that He tests us with our money and our children and those that bear with patience and fortitude earn a great station of closeness with Him and lasting bliss in the Hereafter.

Allah menitions in the Quran that when an evil befalls us it is due to what our own hands have earned. Also our beloved Messenger, Muhammad (sallalahu 'alayhi wassallam) said in a hadith that the most tried are the Prophets, then those in piety after those. So therefore in our day to daylife when things go wrong in our lives how do we decide whether it is due to our sinfulness or that Allah loves us . and therefore sends a trial upon us
Jazakallahu khairun

2 comments:

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

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bosnishmuslima said...

Concerning your last sentence, I real lately that we can know if it is a test or punishment of Allah swt. by the consequence - if it brought us nearer to Allah swt. then it was a test, but if we get weaker in our iman, then it was a punishment. Allahu Alim