In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 186
Ramadan is not only a month of fasting, but it is also a month of acceptance of du’as [supplications]. Therefore, the next ayah after the command of fasting is about du’a.
Ibadi [عِبَادِي] is the plural of the word ‘abd. The entire creation (believers and disbelievers) are the servants of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He owns us. When He says: My Servants, it means those who follow His commands and prove by their actions that they are indeed the servants of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
The word ujeebu [أُجِيبُ] is from the root jeem-wau-bay [jawaab] which means response or answer. From the same root is the word falyastajeebu [فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا].
Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “We were in the company of Allah’s Messenger during a battle. Whenever we climbed a high place, went up a hill or went down a valley, we used to say, ‘Allah is the Most Great,’ raising our voices. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came by us and said:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، ارْبَعُوا عَلى أَنْفُسِكُمْ، فَإِنَّكُمْ لَا تَدْعُونَ أَصَمَّ ولَا غَائِبًا، إنَّمَا تَدْعُونَ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا، إنَّ الَّذي تَدْعُونَ أَقْربُ إِلَى أَحَدِكُمْ مِنْ عُنُقِ رَاحِلَتِهِ
“O people! Be merciful to yourselves (i.e., don’t raise your voices), for you are not calling a deaf or an absent one, but One Who is All-Hearer, All-Seer. The One Whom you call is closer to one of you than the neck of his animal.” [This hadeeth was also recorded in the Two Saheehs, and Abu Daw’oud, An-Nasa’i, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah recorded similar wordings.]
According to Ibn Katheer, a visitor from a village asked the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Tell me if our Lord is near us, then, we shall pray in a lowered voice; and if He is far, we shall call Him with raised voices.” Thereupon, this ayah was revealed.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me.”
The words: da’ai [دَعْوَةَ], da’wata [الدَّاعِ] and da’ani [دَعَانِ] all are from the same root i.e. dal-ayn-wau which means to call, invoke or invite. Notice the repetition of the words.
Here we learn that when we are going through a trial in our life or have a need then instead of pursuing a haram path to satisfy our need we should call upon Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He is the Master of all the worlds; there is nothing that He cannot do. Therefore, we should put our worries and anxieties aside and solely depend on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
We also learn that one of the conditions to get our du’as answered is to directly call Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala without intermediaries. Do not believe that you have to be a devout Muslim to get your supplications answered. There is no such condition. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala listens to everyone when they call out to Him. Be sincere in your supplications. Have the conviction that He is All-Able to fix our matters.
We should know the etiquette of supplication. We should not be screaming or yelling. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala hears the whispers that we make in the state of prostration.
If we want our du’as to be accepted, we must make heart-felt supplications. We should be conscious of what we are saying and asking for. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not answer the supplications which are made with an absent heart.
Allah accepts the Invocation
Imam Ahmad also recorded Abu Sa’eed radhiAllahu ‘anhu saying that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمٍ يَدْعُو اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِدَعْوَةٍ لَيْسَ فِيها إِثْمٌ ولَا قَطِيعَةُ رَحِمٍ، إلَّا أَعْطَاهُ اللهُ بِهَا إِحْدَى ثَلَاثِ خِصَالٍ: إِمَّا أَنْ يُعَجِّل لَهُ دَعْوَتَهُ، وَإِمَّا أَنْ يَدَّخِرَهَا لَهُ فِي الأُخْرَى، وَإِمَّا أَنْ يَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ مِنَ السُّوءِ مِثْلَهَا
“No Muslim supplicates to Allah with a du’a that does not involve sin or cutting the relations of the womb, but Allah will grant him one of the three things. He will either hasten the response to his supplication, save it for him until the Hereafter, or would turn an equivalent amount of evil away from him.” They said, “What if we were to recite more (du’a)?” The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “There is more with Allah.”
Imam Malik recorded that Abu Hurairah radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
يُسْتَجَابُ لأَحَدِكُمْ مَالَمْ يَعْجَلْ، يَقُولُ: دَعَوْتُ فَلَمْ يُسْتَجَبْ لِي
“One’s supplication will be accepted as long as he does become get hasty and say, `I have supplicated but it has not been accepted from me.” [Al-Bukhari]
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” It means we should not only make demands from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, but also play our part. If we want our supplications to be responded to then we first need to mend our relationship with Him. We should submit to Him whole-heartedly.
Rushd is different from hidayah. While hidayah is guidance, rushd is becoming firm on right guidance meaning whatever we do, we do it in the right way whether it is a worldly or a religious matter. That is why we make istekhara prayer making decisions. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to lead us to that which is better for us and turn us away from that which can harm us.
When D’uas are Not Answered
When our du’as are not being answered, we should look at our condition. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I obey Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in all matters of life?
- What are the commands that I am unable to follow and why?
- Is my earning lawful? Can I justify the salary I get for the hours I spend at work and the kind of work that I perform? Does my work involve riba [interest]? (This is important because if our earning is not lawful we cannot expect our du’as to be answered.)
- Do I have the yaqeen [conviction] that my du’a is being heard? (This is important because supplications that lack conviction or are made with an inattentive heart are not answered.)
Conditions for Du’as to be accepted
- We should not invoke Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for an impermissible act such as causing harm to someone.
- Be patient with your du’as. If your du’a is not being answered, do not abandon supplicating to Him. Hold good thoughts about Him because Anas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالى أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي وَأَنَا مَعَهُ إِذَا دَعَانِي
“Allah the Exalted said, ‘I am as My servant thinks of Me, and I am with him whenever he invokes Me.’” [Ahmad] Therefore, continue making du’as and not be hasty about their fulfillment.
- Make du’a with yaqeen [conviction] that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is listening. There can be a delay in the answer because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has planned something else for you.
- Call Allah subhanahau wa ta’ala with His Names and Attributes. For example, if you are worried about rizq [sustenance] call upon Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala by His Name: Ar-Razzaq. If you want children call Al-Khaliq. If you are terrified and are seeking a trustworthy companion to protect you ask Al-Wali to become your friend and Al-Natheer to help you. If you are lost ask Al-Mubeen to show you the way and make things clear for you.
- Don’t only ask people to make du’a for you without supplicating for yourself.
- Mend your relationship with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. If we want Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to listen to us then we must too listen to the Creator, as well.
Three People whose Supplication will not be rejected
Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
ثَلاَثةٌ لَا تُرَدُّ دَعْوَتُهُمْ: الْإمَامُ الْعَادِلُ، وَالصَّائِمُ حَتَّى يُفْطِرَ، وَدَعْوَةُ الْمَظْلُومِ، يَرْفَعُهَا اللهُ دُونَ الْغَمَامِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَتُفْتَحُ لَهَا أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ، يَقُولُ: بِعِزَّتِي لَأَنْصُرَنَّكَ وَلَوْ بَعْدَ حِين
“Three people will not have their supplication rejected: the just ruler, the fasting person until breaking the fast, and the supplication of the oppressed person, for Allah raises it above the clouds on the Day of Resurrection, and the doors of heaven will be opened for it, and Allah says, ‘By My grace! I will certainly grant it for you, even if after a while.’”
We should learn the adaab [etiquette] of making du’a and improve our du’as. We should not limit our du’as to the joys of this world only. We should ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for success in both the worlds. We should rely on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala more than we depend on people. We should also look at the quality of our worship. How good is it? If we are not regular with our obligatory prayers then we must bring regularity. If we start waking up for Tahajjud during a testing time then we must not abandon the good habit after our need has been fulfilled. We should adopt the habit and make it a regular part of our life.
We should also ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for steadfastness because nothing is possible without His help. We should try to be become committed Muslims and set worthy goals in life. We should not become slaves of mood or time. For example, we have college break so we start a routine with the Qur’an and athkar [words of remembrance], but as soon as college re-opens we return to our old life. Similarly, single people should not fast only when they are single. Now that their bodies are trained they should carry on fasting and waking up at Tahajjud so that the children too pick on these good habits. In sha Allah!
Each year give yourself a target: What can I do to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? Plan your life and aim high.
Learn the du’as from the Qur’an and the du’as of the Prophets ‘alayhi salaam because their du’as were complete and concise. There is no du’a that our Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has not taught us. And that is why he was the most successful. His enemies became his friends. He had multiple wives and each of them felt she was the special one. If we want to be successful in our lives we need to make du’as at each step of life.
If you are going through a testing time, know that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is there. Open up your heart to Him before you reveal your secrets and inner turmoil to the people. People are as helpless as you. Do not depend on them alone. People cannot help us, even if they want to. They can only hear us out, but they cannot fully comprehend our situation or guide us regarding which path to take. Not only can Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala see and understand our turmoil but also guide us. So, why not call upon Him first?
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