Invocations (Duah) in Islam
“Seek ways to get closer to Him.” (Al-Ma'ida, 5: 36).
“O Allah, You are forgiving and You love to forgive, so (please) forgive me.” Ameen.
The duah is an imploration, a prayer, a request, a supplication that we, the Muslim Ummah, address to Allah (swt) to satisfy our needs, to grant us His blessings, to forgive our sins, to help us overcome our difficulties, to solve our problems, to correct our faults, to find (and tread upon) the right path, to enlighten our hearts to make the difference between good and evil, to find the true path and inner peace and to draw closer to Him.
The duah is the favourite weapon of all prophets and true believers so as to carry out the difficult tasks assigned to them and to endure the ordeals they have often suffered and shall continue to suffer. That is to say, just like there were the prophets of Allah and the pious people who had to go through all kinds of ordeals in the past and they used to invoke Allah to help them, likewise, presently and in the future also, there shall be such elects of Allah and the pious people who shall also seek the help of Allah in all their ordeals through prayer (duahs). Through various verses of the Holy Quran, we learn how the prophets (Hazrat) Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, Ayub, Zakariah and other messengers made duahs, especially during the difficult moments of their lives.
And the Holy Book teaches us how the Seal of the Prophets Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) strongly urged believers to seek the help of Allah (swt) in all circumstances. So much so that to start any particular job/ task you have to do a very easy duah, saying: “Bismillah”. The duah is the best way to have a healthy, perfect, agreeable relationship between man and his Creator, as well as his rooting in the notion of faith, since even the prophets who represent the peak of humanity as to their closeness to Allah (swt) and their connection to Him always resorted to duahs.
We must in no case neglect this act of worship, this great and best worship of Allah (swt) – after Salat and Quran reading. For if you meditate of its importance, you shall find that in Salat (prayer), it is mostly Quranic verses and duahs which are recited. It is duahs which embellish our Salat. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was right and he made it clear about duah: “Duah (Supplication) is the essence of worship.” (Tirmidhi).
Why the need to do duahs at any time as we are recommended by various Hadiths? Indeed, our need for duahs is our need to express this faith in Allah (swt), and to work to keep it alive within ourselves, to renew it at all times and to consolidate it constantly. This is why it is said in the Hadith that the duah is the “essence of worship”, literally, the bone marrow of worship. For it expresses the deep meaning of the bondage of submission and contemplation embodied in worship, where we concentrate and meditate on Allah and we contemplate Him with the eyes of our heart.
Duah should also not be considered as a simple traditional rite by raising one’s hands upwards, heavenwards and murmuring a few words while letting one’s eyes roam to the right and to the left, spying on the affairs of others. Nay ! Duah is a direct communication between man and his Creator, a period during which this man has absolutely no other thought, no other reflection than to address Allah (swt) in his own language, in his own style, in a position that suits him.
The greatest moment when a servant of Allah is closest to Allah is when he is in prostration before Him, and he maximizes the moment in Sijda to make lots of duahs. He humiliates himself before his Rab (Lord), be it in the mosque or in his house, during the Farz, Sunnah and Nafil prayers, whereby he pours out his sufferings before Allah and share with Him also his joys, and whereby he renders thanks to Allah for all the blessings He has bestowed upon him and he praises Allah and glorifies Him. This is such a moment when he put himself in such a state which is much abased/ lower than the earth (on which he is prostrating), and he hopes that Allah shall elevate him spiritually in a position of honour with Him. Moreover, like I have just said, he can raise up his hands and invoke Allah, but he should do it with fervour, seeking help and succour from Allah, and thank Him and be grateful to Him. He should concentrate in his duah, in any position which is comfortable to him, be it standing, sitting or lying down, whereby he remembers Allah and he keeps the remembrance of Allah alive in his heart and he makes his heart, soul and his physical and spiritual tongue – in a low tone so as not to disturb anyone – or in his heart, and he invokes Allah and seek His help and proximity in all circumstances.
There are various Quranic verses through which Allah (swt) Himself exhorts believers to address Him with their prayers, their supplications so that He may respond to them.
“And when My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided.” (Al-Baqara 2: 187).
Your Lord says, ‘Call on Me and I will answer you; those who are too proud to serve Me will enter Hell humiliated. (Al-Mu'min, 40: 61).
These two verses of the Holy Quran must be studied as per their spiritual value. They show two aspects of the importance of duah. In the first verse Allah (swt) sympathizes with the distress of the servants (His servants) and encourages them to appeal to Him, and He promises them that He will come to their aid and meet their needs.
In the second verse, the duah is present as an act of worship for which men must testify of their servitude to Allah (swt), so as not to be haughty towards Him and then deserving His terrible punishment. Is duah not an effective means of achieving salvation in this world, but much more in the hereafter, and a distinct, well-defined, clear line of demarcation between the believer and the non-believer? Between paradise and hell?
Allah says in the Holy Quran, “Say, ‘What are you to my Lord without your supplication? But since you have written off the truth as lies, the inevitable will happen.’” (Al-Furqan 25: 78).
It follows from this verse that Allah takes good care of His servants in proportion to the degree of connection they establish with Him through the many supplications (duahs). Some people then ask themselves the question of whether duahs really have such a great importance in the relationship of man with his Creator. Indeed, duahs (invocations to Allah) summarize a living expression of man’s feeling of his constant need of Allah (swt), in all his affairs, and of the deep gratitude of his servitude, embodied by his intimate conviction of his attachment to Him and the total subordination of his existence to Him. It goes without saying that one cannot attain a living faith, a pure and unshakeable faith in Allah (swt) without this feeling and without this conviction, because faith makes sense only when someone has the intimate conviction of the existence of an unlimited all-power and an absolute and infinite force before which man appears weak, very weak indeed, impotent, incapable of justifying his existence otherwise than by the will of Allah (swt) exclusively.
To conclude, I invoke Allah to strengthen our faith, to forgive us our failures and to guide us on the right path! Ameen. Insha-Allah, I will continue on the same subject next Friday.
---Friday Sermon of 07 September 2018 (26 Dhul-Hijjah 1439 AH) delivered by Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.