On Supplication (Dua)
From The Risalah Principles of Sufism by Abu-l-Qasim ‘Abd-al-Karim bin Hawazin al-Qushayri
God Most High said:
Call upon your Lord humbly and secretly (7:55)
Your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will answer you’ (40:60)
Abu Ali bin Ahmad bin Abdan reported….from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of God said, “Supplication is the core of worship.”
Du’a, supplication, is the key of need, the comforter of the distressed, the refuge of the destitiute, the breath of relief for those who are in want. God Glorious and Exalted has condemned a people who abandoned such prayer, saying:
And they close their hands (9:67)
that is, “They do not stretch them towards Us, asking.” Sahl bin Abd Allah al-Tustair said, “God Most High created the creation and said, ‘Confide in Me, and if you do not, then look toward Me, and if you do not, then listen to Me, and if you do not, then be at My door, and if you are not, then lay upon Me what you need of Me.”
I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that Sahl bin Abd Allah said, “The prayer that is closest to being answered is the prayer expressed in one’s state. ‘The prayer expressed in one’s state’ means that the one who prays is in absolute need and has no other recourse.
It is correctly said that in the case of things that are the rightful lot of a Muslim or that involve some service to the Truth, asking is better. When supplication involves asking for something for one’s lower self, silence is more perfect.
According to a transmitted hadith, “When a servant is supplicating God and God loves that servant, He says, ‘O Gabriel, delay My servant’s need, for I love to hear his voice.’ And when a servant is supplicating God and God is angry at that servant, He says, ‘O Gabriel, satisfy My servant’s need, for I hate to hear his voice!’”
It is related that Yahya bin Said al-Qattan saw the Truth, glory to Him in a dream and said, “My God, how often I have supplicated You and You have not answered me!” He said, “O Yahya, it is because I love to hear your voice.”
The Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam said, “By Him in Whose hand is my life, the servant will supplicate God Most High while God is angry with him, and God will turn away from him. Again he will supplicate, and God will turn away, and again he will supplicate, and God will turn away. The again he will supplicate, and God Most High will say to the angels, ‘My servant refuses to call upon anything other than Me so I have answered him.’”
Abu-l-Husayn Ali bin Muhammad bin Abd Allah bin Bushran of Baghdad reported…from Anas bin Malik RadhiAllahu anhu, “There was a man who made an arrangement with the Messenger of God SallAllahu alaihi wasallam to trade between Damascus and Madinah and between Madinah and Damascus. Placing his trust in God Almighty and Glorious, he would not have the caravans accompanied by guards. He said that he was coming from Damascus intending to go to Madinah when suddenly a brigand on horseback appeared and shouted, ‘Halt, halt!’ So the merchant stopped and said to him, ‘Your business is with my property so let me go free.’ ‘The property is my property anyway,’ said the brigand. ‘I want your life!’ ‘What do you want with my life?’ the merchant asked him. ‘Your business is the merchandise. Let me go free!’ But the brigand replied to him with the same speech as before. So the merchant said, ‘Wait until I perform ablution and a prescribed prayer and call upon my Lord.’ ‘Do what has occurred to you,’ said the thief. So the merchant stood up, performed ablution and offered four cycles of prescribed prayer. The he raised his hands to heaven and said in his supplication, ‘O Loving One, O Loving One, O Owner of the Glorious Throne, Beginner of things and Returner of everything to its proper state, constant Doer of what He wills, I ask You through the light of Your Countenance that floods the Pillars of Your Throne, through Your Omnipotence by which You have total power over Your Creations, and through Your Mercy which encompasses everything, there is no god but You, O Granter of help, help me! (three times).’ When he had finished his prayer, suddenly there appeared a rider upon a grey horse wearing green garments and holding in his hand a spear of light! When the thief saw the rider, he left the merchant and began to edge toward him. But when he had drawn close, the horseman charged the thief and pierced him with a stab that threw him away from his horse. Then he came to the merchant and said, ‘Rise and kill him!’ ‘Who are you?’ the merchant asked him. ‘I never killed anyone in my life, and death is not sweet to me!’ The rider went up to the brigand and killed him. Then he came to the merchant and said, ‘Know that I am an angel of the third heaven. When you prayed the first time, we heard the doors of heaven shake and said, “Something is happening!” When you prayed the second time, the doors of heaven opened with sparks like flames of fire. The when you prayed the third time, Gabriel descended to us from the height of heaven and cried, ‘Who is for this man in distress?’ Then I prayed to my Lord that he assign me to kill the one who threatened you. And know, O Servant of God that whoever offers this supplication of yours in any difficulty, any danger, any calamity, God Most High will liberate him from it and help him.’ So the merchant proceeded safe and sound until he entered Madinah, where he went to the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam, told him the story and told him the supplication. The Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam said to him, ‘God Almighty and Glorious has instilled in you those Beautiful Names of His which, when you call upon Him by them, He answers, and when you ask of Him by them. He gives.’”
Part of the conduct proper to supplication is presence of heart, that you are not inattentive while you supplicate. It is related that the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam said, “God Most High will not answer the supplication of a servant whose heart is heedless.”
Another one of the conditions of supplication is that your food be lawful. The Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam said to Sad RadhiAllahu anhu, “Earn your livelihood lawfully so that your supplication will be answered.” It has been said that supplication is the key to need, and the teeth of that key are lawful morsels.
I have several copies of this compilation by Mullah Ali Qari Rahamtullah alaihi to post if requested in the comments. The following is from the preface: “It is a well recognized fact that out of the many factors leading to happiness in this world and the Hereafter, whole-hearted prayer is the only one which contributes equally to success in the world and matters of faith. The all encompassing nature of prayer demonstrates its power. This is why in the Qur’an and in the Hadith the excellence of prayer has been repeatedly emphasized and its observance has been strongly advocated. Many saintly believers have stated that whatever merit they have earned has been through prayer." The text is Arabic with English translation.
All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala Bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Rasul SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. May He accept our humble efforts and grant us the capacity to be good and do good. Ameen.