Hadith Encyclopedia

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Supplication to Allah - Do'a

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

Translation: “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad ) concerning Me, then: I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.”
[al-Baqarah: 186]

Among the benefits derived from this verse:

1) Allah mentioned this verse in between verses talking about fasting. The verse before it starts with:

“The month of Ramadhan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)…”
[al-Baqarah : 185]

and the verse after it,

“It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of the fasts,…”
[al-Baqarah : 187]

The order of the verses suggests that the one who fasts in the month of Ramadhan should busy himself with the recitation of Quran and supplicating to Allah. It is established in the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in the hadith:

 ثلاث دعوات لا ترد : دعوة الوالد ودعوة الصائم ودعوة المسافر

“Three supplications is not rejected: Supplication of the father; supplication of the fasting one: and the supplication of a traveler.”
[Narrated by al-Bayhaqi from Anas and authenticated by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (no. 1797)]

2) Allah mentioned the questioners as “My Slaves” (عبادي), attaching them to Himself as a way of praising them and to show that Allah is pleased with them. “Slaves” (عباد) is the best of ranks, hence another form of praise towards the questioners. So, it is the habit of the slave or worshipper to ask about his Rabb and His Attributes, His Commands and His Prohibitions. And this is from those things which Allah is pleased with and will reward for, provided the questioning does not go beyond the bounds, like the questioning of the People of the Book, and the questioning is to gain beneficial knowledge.

3) Allah, the Exalted said: “And when My slaves ask you concerning me, then I am indeed near…” and He did not say: “And when My slaves ask you concerning me, then SAY: I am indeed near…” without an intermediary! This is also another way of praising the questioners, since Allah answered the question Himself without telling the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to answer it. Also, the supplication should be without intermediaries, as Allah answered (the question) without one (intermediary).

4) The statement of Allah: “Then I am near, I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me…” In it there is the question of the closeness of Allah.

How do we understand it?

4.1) The best of explanations is the Tafsir of Quran by the Quran. So, we read in the Quran:

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مَا يَكُونُ مِنْ نَجْوَى ثَلَاثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلَا خَمْسَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلَا أَدْنَى مِنْ ذَلِكَ وَلَا أَكْثَرَ إِلَّا هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُوا ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا عَمِلُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

“Have you not seen that Allah knows whatsoever is in the Heavens and whosoever is on the Earth? There is no secret counsel of three, but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, not of less than that or more, but He is with them wheresoever they may be. And afterwards on the Day of Resurrection, He will inform them of what they did. Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of everything.”
[al-Mujadalah : 7]

The verse starts with the knowledge of Allah and finishes with it, so the whole verse is talking about His knowledge. Hence, the meaning of Allah is with us or them, is in His Knowledge.

4.2) The statement of Allah:

الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى

“The Most Beneficient rose over the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty)”
[Taha : 5]

So, Allah is above His Throne, and His knowledge is everywhere. Hence, “I am indeed near” can only mean closeness in knowledge, response and attention.

5) Allah said: “I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me…” Here, Allah used the word “Supplicant” (الداع) which could mean a muslim or a non-muslim. Hence, we can understand that Allah is the One Who answers the supplications of the muslims as well as the non-muslims.

6) The phrase: “So let them obey Me and believe in Me…”, actually in the Arabic text it means “So let them answer me.” But to really understand this verse, or in fact the whole Quran, one has to refer to the tafsir of the muslim scholars.

According to al-Qurtubi, there are three opinions to this phrase as to what was meant by it:
First saying, it means: “So let them answer Me in those which I have called them to, ie, to believe in Me and do righteous deeds”
Second saying, it means: “So let them invoke or supplicate to Me.”
Third saying, it means: “So let them seek those things (deeds) which will make Me answer their supplication.”

This is not a contradiction, but rather one saying explains one aspect of the meaning of the verse while the others cover the other aspects. Hence, by combining the three sayings on the verse or phrase, we can deduce that Allah ordered man to invoke Him. And in invoking Him, seek to find and do those things which will make Him answer the supplications, and those things are without doubt the belief in Allah and doing righteous deeds.

It is important to note that ‘righteous deeds’ referred to are only considered righteous if they fulfill two conditions:
a. They were done seeking just the pleasure of Allah, or in other words, done with sincerity (Ikhlas)
b. They were done according to the Sunnah.

So, we find in the Sunnah of Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), those things which he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did during supplications, like raising his hands, supplicating at times when supplications are more likely to be accepted and others, which we can read in detail about in the book by Shaikh Husayn al-Awaishah, The Book of Supplication.

I would like to mention a hadith, number ten in the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi, to further illustrate this sixth benefit from the verse above. On the authority of Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) who said: Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

إن الله تعالى طيب لا يقبل إلا طيبا وإن الله أمر المؤمنين بما أمر به المرسلين فقال تعالى { يا أيها الرسل كلوا من الطيبات واعملوا صالحا } وقال تعالى { يا أيها الذين آمنوا كلوا من طيبات ما رزقناكم } ثم ذكر الرجل يطيل السفر أشعث أغبر يمد يديه إلى السماء : يا رب يا رب ومطعمه حرام وملبسه حرام وغذي بالحرام فأنى يستجاب له

“Allah, the Exalted, is Good and accepts only that which is god. Allah has commanded the believers to do that which He commanded the Messengers, and the Exalted has said: “O Messenger! Eat of the lawful things wherewith We have provided you.”
[al-Baqarah : 172]

Then he mentioned (the case of) a man who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty and who spreads out his hands to the sky (saying): ‘O Rabb, O Rabb!’ – while his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing is unlawful and he is nourished unlawfully, so how can his invocation be accepted.”

This hadith explains perfectly the three sayings or opinions mentioned above. Here is a man, who answered the call of Allah to invoke Him, and sought, as well, those things (deeds) which will make Allah answer his supplication, and the example mentioned by Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was that the man made supplications during a journey, looking dusty, as a man on a journey often will be, and we know from the hadith mentioned in point (1) that the supplications of one on a journey is not rejected. And the man raised or spread his hands in supplication, and as we all know that it is from the Sunnah to do this during supplication. And he also asked with His Beautiiful Names, saying ‘O Rabb!’ In short, the man answered the call to invoke on Allah, and he sought those which will make Allah answer his supplications, but did not obey Allah in that which He commanded with, so his supplications were not answered.
[Translated from an Islamic Magazine al-Hady an-Nabawi]

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