The mother of the Believers, Hadhrat Ayeshah Siddeeqah narrates that when the month of Ramadhaan would enter Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe Wasallam) would increase frequency of offering his Salaah, his complexion would change, and he became more fervent in Du’aa (Supplication). (Bayhaqi)
This condition of his dedication would undergo even further transformation upon the entry of the last ten days of the great month. It therefore, behooves us, as followers of this Illustrious Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam), to assimilate within ourselves at least a semblance of this fervor, devotion, and commitment to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) during this holy period.
Du’aa is an act that one cannot do enough of. No Ibaadah (Worship) is complete without Du’aa, and no Muslim can do without it, yet the Ummah has shown surprising indifference to this forte of Imaan. A cursory survey of the Ummah’s condition at this stage of our history will reveal the true extent of our spiritual and mundane woes. The problems we face are complex, complicated, and seemingly insurmountable. Our marriages are under severe strain, domestic lives are cast into disarray, financial circumstances have become straitened, physical well-being is always threatened by debilitating illnesses, and worse still, the enemies of Islam have joined ranks in a physical and spiritual onslaught against the Ummah world-wide. Any nation would normally capitulate under such austere conditions, but Almighty Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has given Muslims special spiritual resilience to withstand all the elements of adversity.
While we have experimented with many formulas in an attempt to resolve these and numerous other problems, the cause of failure can partially be attributed to lack of sufficient and sincere Du’aa. No doubt, we are making Du’aa, but it appears that our Du’aa has no spark, fervor, or zeal. It must be acknowledged that Du’aa alone cannot solve certain issues and people affected will have to resort to Shara’i solutions, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Du’aa has that catalytic effect to convert our efforts into successful solutions.
Furthermore, when one has exhausted all avenues in arriving at a solution or in resolving an issue without success, the last recourse is Du’aa. It is this aspect of Islam which we wish to address in these lines.
There are sure to be many complex and unsolvable issues that we have almost given up hope on. Well. Ramadhaan is the month of Du’aa; the month when the acceptance of Du’aas is guaranteed by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). When all else has failed, let us utilize this opportunity to turn to Our Rabb (Lord) in earnest. When all our efforts have reached a dead end, it is time we allow the element of Du’aa to prevail. Stretch out that begging bowl before the Creator and Controller of the universe, of which we are a part, with a passion that has never been witnessed before. Submit to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Majestic, in total humility, admit to Him our failure and weakness, and acknowledge that having reached the end of our tether, we now revert to Him for the alleviation of our difficulties.
This is the actual and factual position of our lives at this juncture. It is our conviction beyond all shadow of doubt that none can alleviate hardship but Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Supreme. Confess to Allah: O Our Rabb! We have given up all hope of successfully resolving the huge problems that plague us! We are at our wits end! We now petition you. O Almighty Rabb! Provide succor, help, and Divine Aid in resolving the complexities of our troubled lives!
Before proceeding with a dissertation on the reality of Du’aa, we need to take cognizance of a most important requisite for the acceptance of Du’aa, and that is the earning of Halaal (Islamically permissible) sustenance in whichever form. One who indulges in eating and dressing that were acquired from unlawful or Haraam (Islamically prohibited) sources can forget about his or her Du’aa accepted. This is proven from the following Hadeeth of Saheeh Muslim:
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah reported: Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe Wasallam) said:
أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ طَيِّبٌ لَا يَقْبَلُ إِلَّا طَيِّبًا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِمَا أَمَرَ بِهِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ
“O people! Allah is pure and He only accepts what is pure. Verily, Allah has commanded the believers as He has commanded His Messengers.
He quoted he Aayah (Verse) of Quraan that Allah said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الرُّسُلُ كُلُوا مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَاعْمَلُوا صَالِحًا إِنِّي بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ [المؤمنون: 51]
“O messengers! Eat from the good (Islamically pure) things, and act righteously. Of whatever you do, I am fully aware.” (Al-Muminoon 23:51)
He further added another Aayah of Quraan that Allah said:
فَمَنْ خَافَ مِنْ مُوصٍ جَنَفًا أَوْ إِثْمًا فَأَصْلَحَ بَيْنَهُمْ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ [البقرة: 182]
“O you who believe! Eat of the good things (Islamically pure) We have provided to you and be grateful to Allah, if it is He whom you worship (in real terms).” ( Al-Baqarah 2:172)
ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ الرَّجُلَ يُطِيلُ السَّفَرَ أَشْعَثَ أَغْبَرَ يَمُدُّ يَدَيْهِ إِلَى السَّمَاءِيَا رَبِّ يَا رَبِّوَمَطْعَمُهُ حَرَامٌ وَمَشْرَبُهُ حَرَامٌ وَمَلْبَسُهُ حَرَامٌ وَغُذِيَ بِالْحَرَامِ فَأَنَّى يُسْتَجَابُ لِذَلِكَ
Then, the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) mentioned a man who traveled far, becoming disheveled and dusty and he raises his hands to the sky, saying: “O Lord! O Lord!” Yet his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing is unlawful, and he is nourished by the unlawful, so how can he be answered? (Muslim)
Many great ‘Ulamaa (Scholars) and Auliyaa (Saints) of the past have identified this as one of the major reasons why peoples’ Du’aas are not accepted. For the record let it be said that there are two types of Haraam: one is Haraam in the item itself, the other is a Haraam that is due to some external factor.
Examples of the first are wine, pork, and animals that have not been slaughtered according to Shari’ah, or any food items that contains one of the above. Example of the second is source such as stealing, fraud, gambling, usury, etc. From the Ahaadeeth of our Beloved Master, Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam), we learn a number of important guidelines when making Du’aa. It is imperative that we adhere to these principles to ensure acceptance of our Du’aas.
1. When asking from Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), we need to be convinced of His Power and strength to grant our request.
2. One should not ask for anything that is sinful or Haraam, such as breaking of family ties, or asking Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) to destroy a Muslim who happens to be one’s enemy.
3. One should not become impatient or lose hope if there is a delay in the answering of one’s Du’aa.
4. To be convinced that a Du’aa is answered in one of four ways:
a) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) either grants exactly what we ask for
b) Or He grants us something else in place of our request
c) Or He wards off some calamity because of that Du’aa
d) Or He stores that Du’aa for us in the Aakhirsh (Hereafter)
5. One should be firm and demanding from Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), but with humility and in a begging way.
6. If one has committed a sin, then first repent from that sin, then place his request before Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). Hence, it should be a standard practice to beg Istighfaar (Forgiveness) before a Du’aa.
7. Begin the Du’aa with praising Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and Durood (Reciting Salwaat upon our beloved Master). End the Du’aa also with Salawaat.
This brings us to the most important aspect of this issue, i.e. the precious moments when Du’aas are accepted. The blessed days and nights of Ramadhaan are among great times for Du’aa.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe Wasallam) is reported to have said:
نَوْمُ الصَّائِمِ عِبَادَةٌ، وَصَمْتُهُ تَسْبِيحٌ، وَدُعَاؤُهُ مُسْتَجَابٌ، وَعَمَلُهُ مُضَاعَفٌ
“The sleep of a person observing Sawm (Fasting) is ‘Ibaadah (Worship), his silence is Tasbeeh, his Du’aa is accepted, and (the reward of) his actions are multiplied.” (Baihaqi)
This proves that at any given time of the day or night, when a person observing Sawm raises his hands to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), that Du’aa does not fall on deaf ears.
Then there is the time of Iftaar (Breaking the fast at sunset), another moment of guaranteed acceptance from Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).
The time of Tahajjud, just before Suhoor (Pre-dawn meal before Sawm) has always been the choice of saintly people for their Du’aas. When the brothers of Prophet Hadhrat Yousuf (Joseph) confessed to their wrongdoing and requested their father, Prophet Hadhrat Ya’qoob (Jacob), to seek forgiveness on their behalf, he responded:
قَالَ سَوْفَ أَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكُمْ رَبِّي إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ [يوسف: 98]
“He said: ‘I shall pray to my Lord to forgive you. Surely, He is the Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful’.” (Yousuf, verse 98)
In the Tafseer (Quraanic Explanation) of this Aayah, it is written that the time Hadhrat Ya’qoob referred to in his promise was the latter part of the night, i.e. Tahajjud time
Numerous Ahaadeeth mention the efficacy of Du’aa after the Faradh Salaah (Obligatory Prayers). This is another time when Du’aas are readily accepted.
Some ‘Ulamaa mentioned that when a Muslim is going through a difficult period in life, such as sadness, depression, stress, loss of life or property or any situation of grief or hardship, then his Du’aas are also quickly accepted by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).
Let us get into the habit of Du’aa with fervor, zeal, enthusiasm, conviction, imploring and begging from Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Most High.