Importance of Dua
Dua is asking Allah for help or for the fulfilment of a particular need. It expresses a slave's helplessness and dependence on Allah, the All-Powerful and Merciful. It is the channel through which one gets directly in touch with one's Creator.
The purpose of man's creation is worship and according to a Hadeeth, 'dua is the essence of worship'. (Tirmizi) And according to another Hadeeth, 'dua is the worship'. (Tirmizi)
Just as Salăh, Sawm, Zakăh, Hajj etc. are acts of worship, dua too is an act of worship. Therefore just as one takes out time to pray Salăh or to recite the Qur'ăn or make zikr, similarly, according equal importance to dua, one should also take out sufficient time for the sake of dua.
The objective behind every act of worship is the Recognition of Allah as the Creator and the All-Powerful, and that one acts according to His Will and not as one likes. A Servant of Allah accepts his weaknesses and recognises his need for Allah. Out of all devotions, this humbleness and total submission is best expressed in dua. Furthermore, other acts of worship can become a source of pride whilst dua is an act which is usually free from any trace of pride.
Nowadays, dua has become a mere ritual. It has become a routine practice which one is accustomed to perform at certain times of the day. People raise their hands for a few moments at the time of dua, uttering a few words, some consciously, and some without even realising what they are asking for.
Today hardly anybody resorts to dua for solutions to their problems. For most people dua is a devotion which is the most difficult to practise. Even at the blessed places and in the blessed moments, a short while occupied by duas will seem like hours. By and large, we find that the engagement in Salăh or the recitation of the Qur'ăn is relatively easier than making dua. This only reflects our distance from the Being of Allah, as dua is the only act of worship which provides us with the opportunity to communicate with Allah in the manner we wish. Lack of concentration in this act of worship shows that the performance of other acts of worship are also customary and superficial, and lacking the true essence. If we truly enjoyed the Proximity of Allah, we would inevitably have found enjoyment in confiding in Him and beseeching Him. We would have always felt an eagerness to turn to Him, in open and in solitude.
Many of us make dua half-heartedly, not convinced whether our demands will be answered or not. We should know that Allah always answers the duas of people. However, it may not always seem so and many people, failing to experience the effects immediately, begin to feel dejected and put off. This, however, should not be the case, as Allah, the All-Hearing, undoubtedly hears and accepts the supplications of people, only that the duas of some are answered immediately, whilst those of others are deferred for their own benefit.
One should keep in mind that the acceptance of duas also depends on the expectations of a person. Allah deals with people in accordance with what they expect of Him. In one Hadeeth, the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam has related the following Statement of Allah: 'I treat my servant as he expects of me…' (Bukhări, Muslim)
The Ahădeeth also tell us that duas (provided that their requisites have been fulfilled) are accepted invariably, but their acceptance is manifested in either of the three below-mentioned ways: Sometimes, Allah immediately answers them and blesses the seekers with what they have asked for; sometimes He substitutes what they have asked for with something that in His Knowledge was better for them; or alternatively, through the blessings of the dua, He removes an impending calamity that was to befall them. At times, neither of the above may transpire, but on such occasions, the dua is treasured for the Hereafter. These unanswered duas will bear so much reward that a person, on the Day of Qiyămah, will wish that none of his duas were accepted in the world. (Kanzul 'Ummăl)
Abstaining from harăm (clothing, food, income, etc.) is another essential requisite for the acceptance of dua. The Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam once
made mention of a person who travels widely, his hair dishevelled and covered with dust. He lifts his hands towards the sky (and thus makes the supplication): "O Lord, O Lord," then the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam said, "But his diet is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothes are unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful. How then can his supplication be accepted?" (Muslim)
By keeping the following few points in mind concerning dua, inshă'allah, one will benefit greatly. Firstly one should remember that dua is an act of worship and should be given an independent status of its own. It should not remain a mere ritual.
Secondly, one should make dua after performing all good deeds such as Salăh, recitation of Qur'ăn, zikr etc., and also fix a specific time especially for dua. In dua, one should adopt humility and ensure that one understands what is being asked. The time spent in dua should be gradually lengthened. In the initial stages, the same duas can be repeated over and over, and in the meantime more and more duas should be memorised. An effort should be made to learn those duas in particular which encompass the general need of all the Muslims.
Thirdly, when making dua, a person should have a firm faith that he is asking from Allah the All-Powerful, and He is able to fulfil every need of ours. The chances of being cured from a fatal illness, for instance, may seem remote but it should be believed from the depths of the heart that Allah is able to cure any illness if He so wished. Dr. 'Abdul Hay 'Ărifi rahmatullahi alayh (a renowned saint) used to say, 'Does there exist any problem that cannot be solved through dua?', and then he would say 'How can there, when dua is a request made to Allah for the removal of problems and there is no problem on earth whose removal is beyond His ability.'
One should ask Allah for both worldly needs and those of the Hereafter. Rasoolullah sallalahu alayhi wasallam has instructed us to ask Allah for all our needs, however petty they may seem to be. He sallalahu alayhi wasallam mentioned that even if a person's shoelaces break, he should ask Allah before embarking to obtain new ones.
Finally, one should not ask for anything unlawful. Many young people do not realise this and by asking for impermissible things incur the displeasure of Allah.
May Allah give us all the tawfeeq to turn to Him for all our needs and may He fulfil all our lawful needs of this world and the Hereafter. Ămeen.