Du’a’ (singular of ‘ad‘iyah’) means a call or prayer. A servant of Allah invokes his Creator to express either his needs or his servitude to Him. This call in itself is a form of worship.
Allah is a living and permanent existence. He hears and sees and has the power to do as He desires and set the course of events in consonance with His will.
It is this firm conviction which gives rise to the urge within man to pray to Allah. When man receives inspiration from Allah, it comes to him naturally to call upon Allah for all his needs and to ask for Allah’s blessings in this world as well as in the Hereafter. Allah is truly man’s sustainer.
There is no time set for du’a’, neither is there any pre- scribed method nor a separate language. Man, at any moment, in any form, and in any language can pray to Allah. If the prayer has come from deep inside one’s heart, it will certainly reach Allah. Allah will hear the call without delay and will answer the suppliant’s prayers.
Du’a’ means seeking from Allah and this seeking from Allah has no ending. It continues eternally. Du’a’ is an expression of unceasing feelings welling up inside the believer’s heart for his Lord. No moment of a believer’s life can be bereft of it.
In the Qur’an, the importance of du’a’ is stated thus, “Say: My Lord would not care for you were it not for your prayer.” Du’a’ is one of the most important charac- teristics that distinguish a believer from an unbeliever and a significant indicator of one’s faith in Allah.
Many people may think that there is no divine control over the universe and that everything is interacting independently. However, what they do not know is that every creature in the heavens and on the earth has already submitted to Allah. There is no creature whose destiny is not determined by Allah and who is not obedient to Him. The unbelievers do not understand this substantial fact. The believers, on the other hand, are aware that the only way to obtain the things they want is to ask them from the One Who controls them. They know that Allah is the Creator and Director of all things.
However, it should also be understood that Allah’s answering to prayers is not necessarily giving all that is requested from Him. For man is ignorant and he “prays for evil as he prays for good; for man is ever hasty.” So Allah responds to all our prayers, but some- times gives what is wanted, and sometimes not, since it is in truth, ‘evil’.
Du’a’ should be done with humility and in private, in all sincerity, having hope but also fear of Allah in our hearts, and with deep concentration. Our prayers are actually a matter of confessing our weakness while showing our gratitude towards Allah. Abstaining from prayer shows arrogance and rebellion against Allah. Calling on Allah is both a prayer and also a great blessing. This very simple act of making a request is the key to attaining all physical and spiritual objectives.
“I was sent to perfect the best in moral characteristics and etiquette,” said the noble Prophet Muhammad [s] describing his mission. The main purpose of this message is to make man live according to the highest moral standards and etiquette which he is capable of.
Each person has a duty to cultivate good and desirable qualities which are part of his natural make-up. On the other hand, each person has a duty to strive against noxious qualities and habits. Bad qualities and habits are like rust on a pure heart. The more rust accumulates, the more insensitive a person’s heart will become. The covering of rust may eventually obscure all good and a person might reach a state where vice and noxious qualities become not only acceptable to him but beautiful. If there is still a spark of good left, the door for repentance or tawbah might still be open. The weeds in your garden must not be allowed to stifle and smother the flowers and the fruit.
In cultivating good qualities, it is important to remember the saying of the Holy Prophet [s] that the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are small. This stresses the need to develop good habits, whereby the practice of goodness becomes a matter of course, easy and natural.