Almighty Allah said:
وَ قَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُوْنِیْۤ اَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْؕ-
Translation: And your Lord said, ‘Pray to Me, I will answer [the prayer].’
(Part 24, Surah Al-Mu`min, Ayah 60)
According to a verdict, the word ‘اُدْعُوْنِیْۤ’ mentioned in the Ayah means ‘supplication’. The meaning is, ‘O people! Supplicate to Me, I will fulfil it.’ In accordance with another verdict, it means ‘worship’. In this sense, the meaning is, ‘Worship Me, I will grant you reward.’ (Tafseer Kabeer, vol. 13, pp. 350)
Du’a [supplication] is a great and glorious act of worship. Its greatness and excellence have been mentioned in a large number of Ayahs and Ahadees. To make supplication expresses our love for Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, it indicates that we are His bondmen and believe in His divinity, it shows that we trust and rely on His knowledge, power and bestowment and it is an acknowledgment and proof of our belief in His Pure Being. This is the wisdom behind considering supplication to be extremely great. Our belief is that Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ is our Creator, Owner and Bestower of sustenance. He عَزَّوَجَلَّ is ‘رَبُّ الْعَالَمِیْن, اَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِیْن, اَحْکَمُ الْحَاکِمِیْن, مَالِکُ الْمُلْک. He has all respect, greatness, powers, treasures and kingship. He عَزَّوَجَلَّ is the Owner of everything. He عَزَّوَجَلَّ bestows upon all including those who bestow upon others. All creatures are needy and supplicate in His court. Whereas, He عَزَّوَجَلَّ is the Almighty, Great, Independent and Free from all needs and cares. He عَزَّوَجَلَّ is Generous and Beneficent. He عَزَّوَجَلَّ bestows and shows generosity and beneficence beyond our imagination. If He عَزَّوَجَلَّ bestows trillions of treasures upon each and every single creature, still His treasures will not reduce equivalent to even a needle eye. And if He عَزَّوَجَلَّ does not bestow anything upon anyone, so no one can snatch anything from Him. If He عَزَّوَجَلَّ wills to bestow anything upon anyone, so no one can prevent Him. And if He عَزَّوَجَلَّ prevents anything from anyone, so no one can give anything to him.
When we pray, we have the same beliefs about Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ in our heart and mind either knowingly or unknowingly. In other words, it is as if we express these beliefs in the form of our words and feelings when praying.
Keeping this wisdom in view, one can realize that supplication is the expression of great beliefs and hence is a great act of worship but rather is the essence of worship. Keeping these points in mind, read the virtues of supplication and rejoice over the mercy of the Almighty. Here are some blessed Ahadees about the virtues of supplication:
٭ In the court of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, nothing is more respectable than supplication. (Sunan-ut-Tirmizi, vol. 5, pp. 243, Hadees 3381)
٭ Supplication is the weapon of the Muslims, pillar of religion and Noor of the sky and the earth. (Al-Mustadrak, vol. 2, pp. 162, Hadees 1855)
٭ Supplication does not let trouble and calamity descend. (Al-Mustadrak, vol. 2, pp. 162, Hadees 1856)
٭ Supplication causes the sins to be forgiven. (Sunan-ut-Tirmizi, vol. 5, pp. 318, Hadees 3551)
٭ Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ is with the supplicating person. (Sahih Muslim, pp. 1442, Hadees 2675)
٭ The supplication benefits [the bondman] regarding the calamity that has descended and that has not yet descended. (Sunan-ut-Tirmizi, vol. 5, pp. 322, Hadees 3559)
٭ Supplication is the essence of worship. (Sunan-ut-Tirmizi, vol. 5, pp. 243, Hadees 3382)
٭ Supplication is the key to mercy. (Musnad-ul-Firdaus, vol. 2, pp. 224, Hadees 3086)
٭ Supplication changes destiny. (Al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, pp. 548, Hadees 6038)
٭ Supplication removes calamity. (Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, vol. 2, pp. 63, Hadees 3121)
٭ The doors of mercy have been opened for the person granted the ability to supplicate. (Sunan-ut-Tirmizi, vol. 11, pp. 459, Hadees 3471)
Commentators have described some conditions and manners for the fulfilment of supplication. A summary of them is as under: One should supplicate with sincerity. One should not be thinking about anything else when supplicating. One must not supplicate for something impermissible and sin. The supplicating person should be sure about the mercy of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. If the effect of the fulfilment of supplication does not occur, one should not complain, saying that I supplicated but it was not fulfilled.
So when a person meets these conditions while supplicating, so his supplication is fulfilled. However, it should be kept in mind that the fulfilment of the supplication actually means that Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ says to the bondman ‘لَبَّیْکَ عَبْدِی’ when he invokes Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. It is not necessary that the bondman be given what he asks for. In fact, the effect of being given anything on asking for something may occur in two ways: For example, sins are forgiven in relation to the supplication; or reward is stored for him in the Hereafter; or instead of giving him the thing he had actually asked for, something better is given to him; or the thing asked for in supplication is delayed until the time when he needs it more.
After we have supplicated, we should now leave the outcome to the mercy of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, hoping that the Merciful and Kind Almighty will do what is better for us. Remaining pleased with the Will of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ is a very high rank and is really more beneficial to us. This is because our knowledge is imperfect but the knowledge of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ is perfect and infinite, encompassing everything. Many times, we seek something out of our lack of knowledge but Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ does not give it to us out of His mercy because the thing we ask for is actually harmful to us. For example, someone supplicates for wealth but it is dangerous for his faith or anyone asks for good health and safety but Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ knows that good health in the worldly life is harmful to his afterlife. So, leaving such a supplication unfulfilled, is certainly better for the bondman.
The blessed supplications made by the Holy Nabi صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم were very comprehensive. Choosing some of them for oneself is very nice. One can also say the following comprehensive supplication, ‘O Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ! Bestow upon me a long life with faith, piety, good health, safety, happiness and prosperity. Protect me from times of troubles and ordeals as regards my life, wealth, respect and family. Bestow upon me a good end with faith and safety, easiness during the severities of death, protection from the punishment of the grave and Hell and from panic during the day of Resurrection and bless me with entry into the Jannat-ul-Firdaus without accountability. Fulfil all of these supplications for my parents, wife and children, brothers and sisters.’
اٰمِيۡن بِجَاهِ النَّبِيِّ الۡاَمِيۡن صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيۡهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم