Du’a and Salvation
Du’a is the weapon of the believer because a Muslim’s strength lies in assistance from his Merciful Creator Allah. Through supplications he establishes connections with Him and as a result, receives His favors and assistance in times of hardships and sees the Right Path clearly without difficulty.
“Du’a is the weapon of the believer, the central axis of faith, and the light of the heavens and the earth,” said the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny).
The above statement of the Prophet makes the indispensable role of supplications come to fore in a Muslim’s life. Du’a is the weapon of the believer because a Muslim’s strength lies in assistance from his Merciful Creator Allah. Through supplications he establishes connections with Him and as a result, receives His favors and assistance in times of hardships and sees the Right Path clearly without difficulty.
According to traditions belonging to Prophet, supplications can avert the Divine Decree. For those who truly understand the concept of Tawheed, Du’a is an intimate expression of Tawheed which shape our sensibilities, emotions, thoughts, and concepts. For those who devote themselves to worship, Du’a is the flesh and blood of imagination. It keeps our inner selves alive and hopeful and our hearts replete with the pleasure felt in affinity with Him.
The Human Nature and Allah’s Mercy and Forgiveness
A common human being is prone to committing sins, and when we do so, we make Our Merciful Lord turn from us. In this way a distance is formed between us and our Lord. Sins take us away from Him, from the Lord Who has made mercy incumbent upon Himself, to the path of destruction and waywardness. If He did not respond to our pleas for forgiveness and mercy on us, we would further on the path of destruction.
The most Merciful Forgiving Lord assures His servants in His Book: “Say, ‘O my servants who have acted extravagantly against their own souls: Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.'” (39:53)
Therefore, we observe that Du’a has the power to make us get closer to our Lord again after being disgraced by sins. We supplicate and show repentance and He accepts us back in His fold of mercy. If we are so heedless that we even do not pray for His forgiveness, then surely we are destined to perish.
Du’a and Inspiration, Hope and Direction
Du’a has a magical influence on the soul which is dying under the burden of its sins. It makes it alive again, fills it with hope, and inspires it to excel in the midst of difficulties. It provides clear direction and saves from the waywardness and darkness of ignorance about our affairs. This is all because He who answers our Du’as has promised to respond to us: “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.” (2:186)
In one of his Du’as, Imam Zainul Abideen (peace be upon him says: “My dreadful crimes have deadened my heart, so bring it to life by a repentance from You!”
Du’as have a deep influence on our mental life too. They provide us with calmness and tranquility when we discuss our issues in the solitude of night or in whispered prayers to Our Merciful Lord. They make us full of hope for His help and mercy and give us strength to face the hardships of life.
Imam Sajjad also says, “I ask You by Your generosity to show kindness towards me through Your gifts, with that which will gladden my eye, through hope in You, with that which will give serenity to my soul, and through certainty with that which will make easy for me the afflictions of this world and lift from insight the veils of blindness!” Therefore, we observe that for a believer, having hope in Allah’s help is very much part and parcel of his faith. The lack of hope in Him leads to Kufr or disbelief.
The Merciful Lord says: ” And (as to) those who disbelieve in the communications of Allah and His meeting, they have despaired of My mercy, and these it is that shall have a painful punishment” (29:23)
In fact, disbelief and hopelessness are very much interrelated. Du’as reinforce our hope in Him and give sustenance to our faith. Du’as connect us with the most Mighty and make us have reliance on His might which never succumbs. Duas open the closed gates of treasures buried in our hearts, and make us feel Ghani. Du’as provide us that essential light of faith which makes the path of life illumined and matters clear to see. Du’as bestow upon us the ability to endure hardships and have patience and reliance on His might.
Prayers and Practicality
Prayers alone are not sufficient. As many traditions from the Holy Prophet and the chaste Ahlul Bayt show, with Du’as, effort is also required. Imam Ali says about practicality and the Du’a: “He who prays but does not make effort is like the one who shoots (an arrow) without the bow-string.” So making efforts as per our capabilities is very much needed with making Du’as. We should utilize all the faculties and capabilities given by Him, and at the same time, have full reliance in His power and ask Him to bestow success in the efforts being made, as the effects of our efforts are dependent on His will. When we are sick, we must visit the doctor and take medicine, but on every step, we should first pray for His guidance and good results, as the medicine or advice of doctor is subject to His will before showing any good results
Why Our Du’as Are Not Answered Sometimes
Prayers are not answered when they are either made with an insincere and neglectful heart, or the person’s prayer is not addressed exclusively to Allah. The prayers of the persons strained with exploitation of others, transgression, and such bad deeds may also not be answered.
“Call upon your Lord humbly and secretly; surely He loves not those who exceed the limit.” (7:55)
Sincerity of the heart is a fundamental condition for the acceptance of Du’as. The words being uttered by our mouth must be in harmony with the feelings emanating from our hearts. Imam as-Sadiq has said: “Verily, Allah does not answer the memorized prayer by a forgetful heart.” (Uddat ad-Dai) Imam Ali has said: “Allah does not accept the prayer of an inattentive heart.”
Imam as-Sadiq quotes the Holy Prophet as having said, “Allah informed one of his prophets in a revelation: ‘By My Power and Dignity! Verily I shall change into despair the hope of everyone who hoped from other than Me, and I shall dress him with the clothing of disgrace before people, and I shall remove him from My relief and bounty. Does my servant put his hope in other than Me in hardships, while hardships are in My hand; And does he expect anything from other than Me, while I am the Self-sufficient, the Munificent? In My hand are the keys of the doors while they are closed; and My door is open for the one who calls on Me.'” (Uddat ad-Dai)
The book Uddat ad-Dai has an interesting discussion on the various reasons why certain Du’as are not answered.
In conclusion, Du’as reinforce our faith, give direction to life, ease difficulties, raise spirits, alleviate the burden of sins, inspire for action with hope, and most importantly, connect us to Our Lord and increase our nearness with Him.