Supplication (Dua) is an important part of Muslims faith and beliefs. It is a higher form of worship that Allah loves. It is a means of keeping in touch with the Creator, and draws the supplicant closer to the Almighty. It causes increase in bounties and helps remove pain and suffering. There are many ways that people make Dua. This article presents information from the Quran, the Hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH), and from the teachings and Duas of the infallible Imams (PBUTH). It is hoped that the reader will find the material helpful in communicating with the Lord, the Exalted, most High.
What is Dua?
Literally the word Dua means to call upon. In Islam Dua or supplication means to address Allah with praise, thanksgiving, hope, and to mention ones needs. In English it is also referred to as Prayer.
Importance of making Dua
In Islam Dua has a very special place. Allah has commanded in Quran that we make Dua to Him. Those who are too proud to make Dua, Allah says will be punished.
It has been related from the sources of the Imams that Dua can change fate. Because Dua is to ask Allah for Changing the fate so one should not say this cannot happen. Nothing is beyond the reach and the power of Allah. He is most generous and full of mercy.
Types of Dua:
Dua in one’s own words, depending upon need or situation. It may be very spontaneous or may be well thought over. It may be based upon verses of Quran. Quran has many Duas. Some Dua formulas are from Allah to mankind addressed directly, and others are the Duas taught to the prophets of the old. It may have come to us from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) &his progeny or from the Imams.
Psychological and spiritual benefits of making Dua
There are several consequences in making Dua:
a) It increases the faith of the supplicant, who acknowledges the fact that Allah is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and is the ultimate recourse.
b) It gives hope and the strength to the distressed soul, and saves from despair.
c) It brings the supplicant closer to the Creator, strengthening the bond between them.
d) It increases humility, which in turn increases piety.
e) It curbs ego and vanity.
Etiquette for making Dua
Just like when we speak to a dignitary, or head of a state, we use certain language; follow the protocol to get proper attention and response. Similarly there are formulas and language taught by the Quran, the Prophet (PBUH) and his progeny, and the Imams to make Dua.
Guidance from the Quran:
Almighty Allah says in the Quran:
“You [alone]do we worship, and to You [alone] do we turn for help” (1:5)
Also your Lord says:
“Your Lord has said, ‘Call Me, and I will hear you!’ Indeed those who are disdainful of My worship will enter hell in utter humiliation“(40:60).
And He said:
“Say [that Allah declares,] ‘O My servants who have committed excesses against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed Allah will forgive all sins. Indeed, He is the All-forgiving, the All-merciful.“(39:53).
“Say, ‘Invoke ‘‘Allah’’ or invoke ‘‘the All-beneficent.’’ Whichever [of His Names] you may invoke, to Him belong the Best Names.’ Be neither loud in your prayer, nor murmur it, but follow a middle course between these“(17:110).
“When My servants ask you about Me, [tell them that] I am indeed near most. I answer the supplicant’s call when he calls Me. So let them respond to Me, and let them have faith in Me, so that they may fare rightly“(2:186).
Call on your Lord with humility and in private; for Allah loves not those who trespass beyond bounds:
“Those whom you invoke besides Him can neither help you, nor help themselves”(7:197).
“Say, Invoke those whom you claim [to be gods] besides Him. They have no power to remove your distress, nor to bring about any change [in your state]–They [themselves] are the ones who supplicate, seeking a recourse to their Lord, whoever is nearer [to Him], expecting His mercy and fearing His punishment.’ Indeed your Lord’s punishment is a thing to beware of“(17: 56, 57).
“Call you not (any one) besides Allah, that neither profits you nor harms you”(10:106).
“[Only] to Him belongs the true invocation; and those whom they invoke besides Him do not answer them in any wise—like someone who stretches his hands towards water [desiring] that it should reach his mouth, but it does not reach it—and the invocations of the faithless only go awry“(13: 14).
The Hadith that have come through the sources of Imams:
It has been reported by William Chittick in the introduction to Sahif-e-Sajjadiah(1) (The Psalms of Islam) that the prophet (PBUH) related that Allah says:
“O My servants, all of you are misguided except him whom I guide, so ask Me for guidance, and I will guide you. All of you are poor except whom I enrich, so ask Me for riches, and I will provide for you. All of you are sinners except him whom I release, so ask Me to forgive you, and I will forgive you”.
The Prophet (PBUH) and his progeny said: Supplication is the weapon of the man of faith, the center pillar (essence) of the religion, and the light of the heavens and the earth. (Bihar ol- Anvar. Vol: 93. P: 289).
Guidance from the Imams: Imam Ali (PBUH)
Nahjul-Balaghah(2) Excerpts from Imam Alis advice to his son Imam Hasan (PBUTH) in the form of Will: (Letter No. 31 in Nahjul Balaghah):
Trust in Allah and let your mind seek His protection in every calamity and suffering; because you will thus entrust yourself and your affairs to the Best Trustee and the Mightiest Guardian. Do not seek help and protection of anybody but Allah. Reserve your prayers, your requests, your solicitations, your supplications and your entreaties to Him and Him alone. Therefore the best thing for you to do is to seek guidance of the one who has created you, Who maintains and nourishes you, Who has given you a balanced mind and normally working body. Your prayers should be reserved for Him only, your requests and solicitations should be to Him alone. You should be afraid of Him and nobody else. You beg of Him to grant you your hearts desires; you lay before him the secrets of your heart; you tell him about all the calamities that have befallen you and misfortunes that face you, and beseech His help to overcome them. Think over it that by simply granting you the privilege of praying for His favors and Mercies, He has handed over the keys of His Treasures to you. Whenever you are in need, you pray and He confers His favors and Blessings.
Here Imam Ali(PBUH) teaches us how to beseech Allah. Excerpts are given below:
“Oh Allah, I ask Thee by Thy mercy I seek intercession from Thee with Thyself. My Allah and my Lord! Have I any but Thee from whom to ask for removal of my affliction and regard for my affairs? And towards Thee my Lord, I have extended my hand. Bless Muhammad and Muhammads household, and do with me what is worthy of Thee! My Allah, do You see that I have come to You from the direction of hopes. I have knocked upon the door of Your mercy with hand of my hope. O the best of those who is called to remove affliction and object of hope in every difficulty and ease!” Bless Muhammad and his household, the God-fearing, answer my supplication, hear my call By Thy Mercy, O most Merciful of the Merciful! And Allah bless the best of His creatures, Muhammad and his household”.
Dua Al Mashlool:
“Oh He Who answers all supplications! Oh He Who bestows requests! Oh He Who fulfills all entreaties! Oh He Who provides all needs! I ask Thee with every asking ¦ I ask Thee with every name with which Thou has named Thyself And I ask Thee by the Names most beautiful that Thou hast described in Thy Book, And I ask Thee my God, I call Thee my Lord, I have hope in Thee my Master, For I have called Thee just as Thou has commanded me”.
Some Duas of Imam Sajjad Zainul Abedin(PBUH) in Sahifa-e-Sajjadiah
This Imam is most notable for his beautiful worded supplications, which were collected by his disciple in his very presence and are available in book form titled Sahifa-e-Sajjadiah, also known as Sahifa-e-Kamilah.
- The Imama In the Dua for Wednesday says:
“Therefore bless Muhammad, the last prophet, and the members of his house, the pure, the holy, and let me have the intercession of Muhammad, (may thy favor be on him and his progeny), and do not deprive me of his company; verily, verily Thou art the most Merciful“
- In the Thursday Dua the Imam prays:
“O Lord! Bless Muhammad and his progeny, and let my adherence to him be an effectual intercession on the Day of Judgment. Verily Thou art the most Merciful“.
- In Dua Makarim al Akhlaq the Imam prays:
“O Allah, make me leap to Thee in times of distress, ask from Thee in needs, and plead to Thee in misery! Tempt me not to seek help from other than Thee when I am distressed, to humble myself in asking from someone else when I am poor, or to plead with someone less than Thee when I fear; For then I would deserve Thy abandonment, Thy withholding, and Thy turning away, O most Merciful of those who show mercy”.
Imam Al Baqir (PBUH)
It has been reported from Imam Muhammad Al Baqir (PBUH) that “Dua itself is one of the best forms of devotion to Allah, and no devotion will be left without reward”.
Imam also said:
“there is nothing more loved by Allah than man’s asking and beseeching Him for His bounties, and there is nothing which is more disliked by Allah than if one refrains from such devotion and does not beseech for His bounties”.
Two important benefits of making Dua:
1. Fulfillment of the immediate needs and removal of the distress.
2. Higher form of worship. This may not get due attention or may be overlooked altogether.
The latter in fact is more important because it brings the supplicant closer to Allah. It strengthens the bond between the supplicant and the beneficent Lord. The benefits go way beyond the fulfillment of the immediate need; in fact the benefits will be realized in this life and will pay everlasting dividends in the life hereafter.
If the approach is correct then, one may receive both the benefits by addressing Allah in the proper manner.
Dua and invoking intercession of the Prophet Progeny (PBUTH)
Intercession does not necessarily mean addressing anyone other than Allah but also we can swear Allah to grand our need or request for infallible Imams. In accordance with several narrations to swear Allah to the rights of Imams and their honor in the presence of Allah then to make Dua, Dua will be accepted and our needs, granted (If Almighty Allah wills.). Therefore, the best way to make Dua is to swear Allah to infallible Imams honor then request Allah for our needs and wishes. So Below are given some suggestions on making Dua to Allah and seeking intercession of the infallibles (PBUTH):
1. O Allah grant my need for the sake of Muhammad and his pure progeny (Imams specifically Imam Mahdi (PBUTH)).
2. O Allah grant my need for the rights that Muhammad and his pure Children have on You.
3. O Allah grant my need for the love You have for Muhammad and his Household progeny.
4. O Allah grant my need for the love that Muhammad and his pure progeny have for You.
5. O Allah grant my need for the love I have for Muhammad and his Infallible Family.
The guidance from the Quran, the Prophet and the Imams (PBUTH) about making Dua can be summarized as follows:
Address Allah directly or through Imams (2 ways both) and mention your needs, difficulties and distresses.
Praise and glorify Allah before making the Dua. Seek His nearness and good pleasure; and remember that making Dua is also an act of worship.
Before and after making Dua send peace and blessings on the Prophet and his progeny peace be upon them all.
1. The Holy Quran (Qarai Translation).
2. Nahjul Balagha (Syed Askari Jaferys translation).
3. Sahifa-e-Sajjadiah (William Chitticks translation).
4.The Prayers Almanac (MafaatihAl Jinaan By Sheikh Abbas Qomi)
1- (The supplication book of the 4th Imam of Shia Muslims)
2- (The collection of Imam Alis speeches, aphorisms and letters collected by: Al-Sharif al-Radi)