Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Dua: The essence of worship

EVERYONE desires something in life; health, wealth, children, a good job, a great spouse. There is a 24-hour hot line available to us where we can place a request, any time anywhere. The line is never busy and the caller’s request is always granted. It is perhaps the most under used communication tool offered to us. It is the hot line to Allah — dua.
Abdul Nasir Jangda, a renowned American Islamic scholar, outlined many important and interesting facts about dua in his popular lecture, “Dua Night”. He noted that most people think salat is obligatory but dua is optional. However, many of us don’t realize that Allah actually commands us to make dua. It is the core of worship, a practical spirituality. When we make dua, “We are directly accessing Allah’s mercy and wisdom that gives us stability in our thoughts and actions,” Jangda said.
The scholar also shared four steps we can take to ensure our duas are accepted. Before making dua, the first thing we should do is praise Allah using his 99 names and thank him for all His blessings. Second, we should send darood or salutations to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). An important element of making dua is conviction. If we fear a dua will not be accepted, we must constantly reassure ourselves to remove any doubt. As Imam Ghazali said, “When the tongue says it a thousand times the heart says it once”. Omar bin Khattab had said “It is my job to make dua, and Allah’s job to accept. I don’t have to worry about His job, I just have to do my job.”
The third step we should take is to put the dua in a position where it will be accepted. One way to do that is to make dua at times that are recommended in the Hadith. Some of these times are for instance after the obligatory prayers, between the adhan and iqama, on a Friday after Asr, last one third of the night (Tahajjud prayer times) and at the time of breaking fast (iftar). The fourth thing to make our dua acceptable is to humble oneself. Know you are the slave he is the master. Pray in private and in secrecy. Cry, beg and insist.
Jangda also spoke of the roadblocks to duas that stop it from being accepted. Impatience is one of them. Allah loves patience. Sometimes the effects of our dua can be seen long term. Like when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) after being rejected and stoned in the city of Taif prayed to Allah in response to which Angel Jibreel came and offered to destroy Taif and its people. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was patient and said, “No, for I hope that Allah will bring forth from their progeny people who will worship Allah alone, and none besides Him.” (Al-Bukhari)
The long-term effect of that dua was that not only did the people of Taif become Muslims but hundreds of years later, Mohammad Bin Qasim, a native of Taif was instrumental in bringing Islam to the vast sub-continent of India.
Jangda mentioned that committing sins regularly or intentionally and earning from haram sources can all prevent dua from being accepted. Not surprisingly then, giving up our regular sins and pursuing a halal source of income can have remarkable consequences. Jangda himself witnessed these consequences when a man approached Jangda’s father. The man, with a baby on the way, and a growing interest in Islam, hoped to give up his haram earning but was afraid. Jangda’s father encouraged the man to trust in Allah and make the changes; indeed Allah would reward him. The man complied. He had to struggle to make ends meet. But in a few years, the man was blessed with a miracle; his 2-year-old son had memorized Juz 29 and 30 from the Qur’an. Jangda even tested the boy’s recitation and was shocked!” The boy was always accurate but read in a Chipmunk voice.”
At the end of the lecture Jangda said if we couldn’t remember anything we should remember verse 186 of Sura Baqara: “And when My servants ask you, (O Muhammad), concerning Me — indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me (by obedience) and believe in Me that they may be (rightly) guided.”
Duas are always accepted in one of the three ways. We get what we pray for. We do not get what we ask for but in its place a calamity is removed or something better is granted. It is not granted in this world but in its place the person will receive such great rewards in the Hereafter that he will wish not a single prayer of his was accepted in the world.