What is dua?
Our understanding of many of the concepts of our deen is very superficial. ‘Shukr’ (gratitude) is so much more than ‘thank you’ and ‘Sabr’ (patience) is so much deeper than standing at the light without cursing. The word ‘dua’ implies ‘to call out, to summon.’ But the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasullum described it in the following words:
It was narrated from Nu’man bin Bashir that the Messenger of Allah salallahu alaihi wasullum said: “Indeed the supplication is the worship.” Then he recited: “And your Lord said: Invoke Me, I will respond to you.”
A dua is not simply a prayer or a plea but supplication is the essence of ibadah. As soon as the words ‘Rabbana…’ leave your lips you are actually in a state of worship. These Rubbana duas are also extra special because Allah subhanawatala included them in the Quran and many of them were delivered upon the tongues of the Prophets and the righteous slaves of Allah.
Why call upon Him?
1. To fulfill your immediate desires and remove any oppression
Dua should be made at all times and in all circumstances. Matters do not have to be desperate before you remember Allah. It is sad but true however, that we call upon Allah with intense sincerity only when we are feeling completely hopeless.
Recall such a moment of absolute hopelessness when everyone had failed you. Recall a time when you could not see your own hands raised in prayer, because the hot, desperate tears stung your eyes and blinded you, and your whole soul convulsed with grief. A breaking point was reached and you handed everything over to your Rubb because the burden had just become too heavy to carry. From that moment of absolute servitude you witnessed a glimmer of the absolute majesty of Allah subhanawatala.
2. To protect yourself from a spiritual death
A habit of making dua protects us from the fate of the person who is lost in this dunya. He is like someone walking with their head down and all he can see is the pot holes in the path and his dust covered shoes. Ease seems a mirage and with each step success and contentment seem further and further away. Confusion, regret, despair and greed consume his life because he has become obsessed with the path and negligent of the destination.
And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.
(Al Hashr 59: Verse 19)
3. To fulfill your desire to meet Allah
When you make sincere dua to Allah subhanwatala, suddenly all the pieces of the puzzle of life fall into place: I am a slave of Allah, He is my Rubb. I ask Him because I know He can hear me and He will respond. The creation fades into the background as you focus your attention solely on the Creator. The dua itself becomes a source of joy and comfort because indeed in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. It is important to realize that only if you can have a meaningful conversation with Allah in this life, will you be allowed to continue to have a dialogue with Him in Paradise. If you say ‘Rabbana’ now in this world only then will you be given the ability to say ‘Rabbana…’ in Jannah, inshallah.
Is every dua accepted?
Acceptance of dua is guaranteed but you must be patient upon the decree of Allah.
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasullum said: “The servant’s dua will be answered provided he does not ask for what is sinful or for the breaking off of relations, and also if he does not show impatience.” He was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is impatience?’ And he replied, “That the servant says: I invoked, but I do not think it (my invocation) was answered, and he becomes disappointed and abandons dua.”
(Muslim from Abu Hurairah)
The acceptance can also take several different forms: maybe your supplication will be accepted exactly as you envisioned, maybe Allah subhanawatala will give you a rain check for a better acceptance in the Hereafter, or a calamity that was headed your way is averted.
What are the Rabbana Duas?
“Rabbana…” means ‘our Lord.’ A series of 40 quranic verses that begin with that phrase are called the Rabbana Duas. They are succinct, eloquent and relevant supplications for everyday life. Allah subhanwatala mentions in Sura Baqarah:
Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.
(Surah Al Baqarah 2: Verse 37)
The words of the Rabbana duas are there for us to receive. We simply have to pronounce them with sincerity, humility and certainty and inshallah acceptance, reward and the pleasure of Allah is guaranteed. To truly benefit from these duas we will inshallah examine each dua closely and hopefully memorize them along the way. I invite you to accompany me as I acquaint myself not just with the words but with the people who spoke the words, the context in which they were spoken, their emotional state, their relationship with their Rubb, how the dua was accepted as well as a brief glimpse into the placement of a particular dua in a specific Sura.
Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing
(Surah Al Baqarah 2: Verse 127)
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