Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dua - A Miracle

I still remember it was my first workshop on sales training which I attended while working with a travel agency. A qualified sales trainer was hired for this purpose and all the sales executives were asked to gather in a conference hall of the hotel where the workshop was to be conducted. The aim was to enhance our sales skills and make us efficient in this department.

The training was divided into two parts. The first part comprised theoretical question-answer session on the information of various travel packages offered by the company to test our product knowledge. And the second part was the practical sales training to test our negotiation and sales skills by way of mock sales calls. Here, the trainer acted as our prospective customer and we were required to sell him a travel package. After the practical session the trainer gave us individual feedback on our performances and tips to enhance our sales skills.

Sales need lots of persuasion and continuous follow up with the prospective customer to convince him and hence in order to achieve miraculous success, our trainer advised us to be:

Patient in conduct
Earnest in intentions
Persuasive in efforts
Committed in approach

Years later, I practically experienced this when the need arose to replace my R.O System; I looked for the salesman who had approached me in the past for selling it. His earnestness and persuasion convinced me to give him the business.

True – Patience; Earnestness; Persuasiveness; Commitment – are keys to succeed in the field of sales. These virtues help us present ourselves well in front of the prospective customer and create a bond with him.

If we wish to create a bond with Almighty Allah we need the help of supplications. Through supplications we can connect with Allah – The Most High. Hence let us try to understand the importance of Supplication (Dua) in the light of Quran.

As Allah (SWT) says in the following ayahs:

•“Aur tumhare Parvardigar ne farmaya ke tum mujhse dua maango (Main jo tumhare nafa’a ki hogi wo) zaroor qubool kar liya karoonga. Yaqeenan wo log jo Meri ibadat karne se akadte hai wo anqareeb zaleel ho kar Jahannum main daakhil honge.” – (Surah-e-Ghafir, ayah 60)

“(And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!")”

In the above ayah Allah (SWT) clearly instructs us to call Him by way of supplication. He also promises to fulfill all our desires which are beneficial to us.

• “(Ae Rasool (SAW)) jab Mere bande Mera haal tumse poochein to (kehdo ki) Main unke paas hi hoon aur jab Mujh se koi dua maangta hai to Main har dua karne waalon ki dua (sunn leta hoon aur jo munasib ho to) qubool karta hoon pas unhain chahiye ke Mera kehna maanein aur Mujh per imaan laayein taake woh hidayat paajaeein.” - (Surah-e-Baqra, ayah 186)

“(And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way)”

 Allah (SWT) is Omnipresent but unseen through our eyes. Dua gives us vision to feel Him and it is through Dua that we can reach Him. Thus Dua definitely creates a bond with Him.

In management parlance it is said that positive thinking gives positive results. A person who is always hopeful remains happy and healthy.
And Quran says in the following ayah:

•“Insaan bhalayee ki duaein maangne se to kabhi uuktata nahin aur agar ussko koi takleef pahonch jaaye to (fauran) na-ummeed aur be-aas ho jaata hai.”- (Surah-e-Haam Mim Sajda, ayah 49)

“(Man does not weary of asking for good (things), but if ill touches him, he gives up all hope (and) is lost in despair.)”

Even if ill touches us we need not lose hope and faith in Him. Thus if we wish to seek His nearness by supplications we need to remain hopeful and be positive. There are times when we don’t get what we expect and pray for; and that is the test of our faith in Him.

As the following ayah from Surah-e-Baqra further confirms our above claim:

•“Aur Hum tumhain kuch khauf aur bhook se aur maalon aur jaanon se aur phalon ki kami se zaroor aazmaaenge. Aur (Ae Rasool (SAW) aise sabr karne walon ko khushkhabri dedo” – (Surah-e-Baqra, ayah 155)

“(And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient.)”

When we claim that we are true believers, we will be tried in various ways. During this testing time if we remain patient we are bound to achieve whatever we seek from Him. Thus Patience is the important key for our supplications to be heard by Almighty Allah.

Let us now see the following ayahs from Surah-e-Aale Imran:

•“Aur Khuda apne unn bandon ko khoob dekh raha hai Jo yeh duaein maanga karte hein “Ae hamare Palnewale humto be-tamul imaan laye hain pus Tu bhi hamare gunahon ko bakhsh de aur humko dozakh ke azaab se bacha”. Yehi log hain sabr karne wale aur sach bolne wale aur Khuda ke farmabardar aur Khuda ki raah main kharch karne wale aur peechli raton main Khuda se tauba isteghfar karne wale.” – (Surah-e-Aale Imran, ayah 16-17)

“(Who say: "O Lord, we believe; forgive our trespasses and save us the torment of Hell." They are the patient, the sincere and devout, full of charity, who pray for forgiveness in the hours of dawn.)”

From the above two ayahs Quran has cited the example of those chosen believers of Allah whose supplications are appreciated and liked by Him. They are patient in their conduct and committed to the cause of Almighty Allah. They have set the example which needs to be followed.

Thus it can be inferred that Commitment and sincerity to the cause of Allah (SWT) is as important as Patience for our supplications to be heard by Him.

Earnestness and humility always help us in winning an argument or even proving a point. Would this help in making successful supplications? Let us see the following two ayahs for this:

•“Aur (azaab ke) khauf se aur (rehmat ki) aas laga ke Khuda se duaein maango (kyunke) neki karne walon se Khuda ki rehmat yaqeenan qareeb hai.” – (Surah-e-Airaf, ayah 56)

“(Call on Him with fear and longing (in your hearts): for the Mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good.)”

•“(Logo) apne Parvardigar se gid gida ke aur chupke chupke dua karo, Wo had se tajawuz karne walon ko hargiz dost nahin rakhta” – (Surah-e-Airaf, ayah 55)

“(Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for Allah loveth not those who trespass beyond bounds.)”

Thus the above two ayahs clearly confirm that if we supplicate with fear and humility in our hearts we will be blessed by His Mercy soon. He definitely responds to our earnest calls. Earnestness is again an important virtue for supplications to be heard by Allah (SWT).

Mandatory namaz is the highest form of prayer offered 5 times a day. It is invalid if not offered at its prescribed time and cannot be offered more than 5 times. Keeping this in mind let us see what Allah (SWT) has to say about supplication? What is the time fixed for it? And how many times should He be called through supplications in a day?

In the following ayah Allah has answered our above questions:

•“Aur apne Parvardigar ko ji hee ji main gid gida ke aur dar (dar) ke aur bahot cheekh ke nahin (dheemi) awaaz se subah wa sham yaad kiya karo aur (Uss ki yaad se) ghafil bilkul na ho jaao.” - (Surah-e-Airaf, ayah 205)

“(And remember your Lord within yourself humbly and fearing and in a voice not loud in the morning and the evening and be not of the heedless ones.)”

Whenever we wish and wherever we are, we can always call Him through supplications. It is not time-bound and hence there is no fixed time. Allah (SWT) can be persuaded in mornings and evenings till the time our Dua is not fulfilled. He likes to be Pursued continuously by supplications.

The ayahs which we referred uptill now helped us in understanding the importance of Dua. We also got to know what Allah (SWT) has instructed in this regard. Allah (SWT) fulfills our desires through supplications and hence it is a miracle. Let us look into Quran and try to find out the miracles of Dua in it.

We will see the following ayah from Surah-e-Aale Imran:

•“To usske Parvardigar ne (uunki nazar) Mariam ko khushi se qubool farmaya aur usski nasho wa nuuma (parwarish) achhi tarah ki aur Zakariya ko uunka kafeel banaya, jab kisi waqt Zakariya uunke paas (uunke) ibadat ke hujre main jaate to Marium ke paas kuch na kuch khane ko mawjood paate to poochte ke ae Marium ye (khana) tumhare paas kahan se aaya hai to Marium yeh keh deti theen ke yeh Khuda ke yahan se (aaya) hai beshak Khuda jis ko chahta hai be-hisaab rozi deta hai.” – (Surah-e-Aale Imran, ayah 37)

“(Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty: To the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (Her) chamber to see her, He found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! Whence (comes) this to you?" She said: "From Allah: for Allah Provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure.)"

Allah (SWT) had assigned the task of protecting and taking care of Bibi Mariam (A.S) to Zakariya (A.S). She used to stay in her chamber alone, where she prayed and lived. Nobody could enter the chamber except Zakariya (A.S). And whenever he entered he would find various kinds of fruits for sustenance kept in front of her. Surprised, he would inquire about the fruits and Bibi Mariam (A.S) would reply saying Allah (SWT) has supplied her with this sustenance. Inspired by this Zakariya (A.S) supplicates and puts forward his desire in the following manner:

•“(Yeh majra dekhte hi) ussi waqt Zakariya ne apne Parvardigar se dua ki aur arz ki “Ae mere Palnewale Tu mujhko (bhi) Apni bargaah se pakizah aulad ataa farma beshak Tu hi dua ka sunne wala hai.” – (Surah-e-Aale Imran ayah 38)

“(There did Zakariya pray to his Lord, saying: "O my Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure: for Thou art He that heareth prayer!)”

Now let us see what happens?:

•“Abhi Zakariya hujre mein khade (yeh) dua kar hi rahe the ke farishton ne uunko awaaz di ke Khuda tum ko Yahya (ke paida hone) ki khushkhabri deta hai jo Kelamatullah (Isa) ki tasdiq karega aur logon ka sardar hoga aur auraton ki taraf raghbat na karega aur nekokar nabi hoga.” – (Surah-e-Aale Imran, ayah 39)

“(While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: “Indeed Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya (John), who will confirm a Word (or sign) from Allah, – a leader, always refraining from women, a Prophet from one of Our devoted ones.)”

Before he could finish his supplication angels called him to confirm that his call was heard and he would soon be a father to Yahya (A.S). This miracle surprised him:

•“Zakariya ne arz ki mujhe ladka kyunker ho sakta hai halaanke mera budhapa aa pahoncha aur (uss per) meri biwi baanjh hai (Khuda ne) farmaya issi tarah Khuda jo chahta hai karta hai.” – (Surah-e-Aale Imran, ayah 40)

“(He said: "O my Lord! How shall I have son, seeing I am very old, and my wife is barren?" "Thus," was the answer, "Doth Allah accomplish what He willeth.)” – (Surah-e-Aale Imran, ayah 40)

Allah accomplishes whatever He Wills. Old age of Zakariya (A.S) and barrenness of his wife did not stop him to be the father of a son like Yahya (A.S). Yes, his earnest supplication did create a miracle in the form of birth of Yahya (A.S).

Thus supplications create miracles. If we seek anything from Allah (SWT) very earnestly & appropriately He fulfills our desire.

Let us see the following ayah from Surah-e-Yusuf now:

•“Aur Yaqub (A.S) ne un logon ki taraf se mooh pher liya aur rokar kehne lage haai afsos Yusuf (A.S) per aur isqadr roye ke aankhein un ki sadme se safed ho gayee wo to bade ranj ke zaabit the.” – (Surah-e-Yusuf, ayah 84)

“(He turned away from them and cried: "Alas for Yusuf!" And his eyes turned white with grief which he bore in silence.)”

When children of Yaqub (A.S), after returning from Misr (Egypt), narrated the story of their brother Benjamin getting detained by the King on the charges of robbery since the lost bowl was recovered from his belongings to Yaqub (A.S), he uttered the above words. This shows that he always missed his lost son – Yusuf (A.S), who got separated from him when he was a child. And he cried so much that he lost his eye-sight. So why did Allah (SWT) take so long to fulfill his wish. Can we claim that for these years his Dua was unheard?

When we look at the sequence of events which happened in the life of Yusuf (A.S) we can see that - As a child he was thrown in the well – Then sold in the market of Misr – Then he was imprisoned. Yaqub (A.S) during this time remembered his son and prayed for his well being. The news of the atrocities in the life of Yusuf (A.S) would have further devastated Yaqub (A.S) and hence during this time Allah (SWT) ensured that no such news ever reaches him and thus saved him from further pain. And when finally Yusuf (A.S) became king of Misr he was re-united with his father Yaqub (A.S). This way his supplications were heard and happiness was doubled.

Thus there are times when our supplications are unheard for many years and that is the time to have faith that whatever Allah (SWT) provides, whenever He provides, shall be more than what we have asked for.

And let us see one more example from Surah-e-Aale Imran:

•“(Ae Rasool (SAW) woh waqt yaad karo) jab Imran ki biwi ne (Khuda se) arz ki ke Ae mere Palnewale mere pait main jo bachha hai (ussko main duniya ke kaam se) azaad karke Teri nazar karti hoon Tu meri taraf se (yeh nazar) qubool farma Tu bada sunnewala aur Jannewala hai. Phir jab wo ladki jani to (hairat se) kehne lagi Ae mere Parwardigar (main kya karoon) main to yeh ladki jani hoon.”) – (Surah-e-Aale Imran, ayah 34-35)

“(Behold! a woman of 'Imran said: "O my Lord! I do dedicate unto Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: So accept this of me: For Thou hearest and knowest all things." When she was delivered, she said: "O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!"-)”

The above ayah has indicated the incidence when wife of Hazrat Imran dedicated her - to be born child, for the service of Allah (SWT) thinking it would be a male child. But when she delivered a female child she wondered what she would do. Allah (SWT) accepts her dedication and the child just born is named – Mariam (A.S). Allah (SWT) then appoints Hazrat Zakariya (A.S) as her care taker and protector.

Thus at times we might pray to Allah (SWT) with our own understanding and what we feel is right but since He is All Knowing and All Understanding He might not accept our supplication as it is and instead fulfill it the way He feels is right.

After reading the above incidences some of us might feel that we have discussed about chosen ones of Allah (SWT) and hence their supplications were heard easily. Would it be the same for ordinary people like us?

Let us see the following two ayahs now:

•“Ae Rasool (SAW) tum un ke maal ki zakaat lo aur uss ki badaulat un ko gunahon se paak saaf kardo aur unke waaste dua-e-khair karo kyunke tumhari dua un logon ke haq main itminaan ka baaes hai aur Khuda to sab kuch sunta aur jaanta hai.” – (Surah-e-Tauba, ayah 103)

“(Take alms out of their property, you would cleanse them and purify them thereby, and pray for them; surely your prayer is a relief to them; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing)”

•“Aur (Rasool (SAW)) jab unn logon ne (nafarmani karke) apni jaanon per zulm kiya tha agar tumhare paas chale aate aur Khuda se maafi maangte aur Rasool (SAW) (tum) bhi unnki maghferat chahte to beshak wo log Khuda ko badaa tauba qubool karne wala Meharbaan paate.” – (Surah-e-Nisa, ayah 64)

“(If they had come to you after wronging themselves and asked forgiveness of God, and you had also asked forgiveness for them, they would surely have found God forgiving and merciful.)”

Duas of Rasool (SAW) are a great relief for us. The above ayah says that even if someone after wronging himself go to the holy Prophet (pbuh) and ask his intercession for Allah’s mercy, Allah (SWT) promises to forgive him.

It means that during the time of the holy Prophet (pbuh) the call of Dua would have been easily answered. One could have approached the holy Prophet (pbuh) with his desires and through his supplication and intercession Allah (SWT) would have fulfilled his desires. But today, how should one supplicate so that it is heard?

In the starting of this article we saw two ayahs from Surah-e-Aale Imran (ayah nos. 16 & 17) referring to few chosen people whose supplications and conduct is appreciated by Allah (SWT). And we have known now the supplications of holy Prophet (pbuh) are a great relief for us. We can thus infer that these chosen people should be closely associated to the holy Prophet (pbuh) and hence let us try to find them and take guidance of supplication from them:

•“Wo Qandeel un gharon main roshan hai jinki nisbat Khuda ne hukm diya hai ke unki taa’zim kijaae aur unmain Uska naam liya jaae jin main subah wa sham wo log Uski tasbih kiya karte hai.” – (Surah-e-Noor, ayah 36)

“((The Light is lit) in houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted and that His name may be remembered in them; there glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings)”

The above ayah mentions certain divinely enlightened houses which are exalted by Allah (SWT) Himself. The people of these houses glorify Him mornings and evenings. And how is their glorification that Allah has appreciated so much:

•“Aise log jin ko Khuda ke zikr aur namaz padhne aur zakaat ada karne se na to tijaarat hi ghaafil kar sakti hai na kharid-o-farokht ka ma’amla kyonke wo log us din se darte hai jis main khauf ke mare dil aur aankhein ulat jaeengi Uski ibadat isliye karte hai taake Khuda unhain unke aa’maal ka behtar se behtar badlaa ataa farmaye aur apne fazal-o-karam se kuch aur zyada bhi de aur Khuda to jise chahta hai be-hisaab rozi deta hai.” - (Surah-e-Noor, ayah 37-38)

“(By men whom neither traffic nor merchandise can divert from the Remembrance of Allah, nor from regular Prayer, nor from the practice of regular Charity: Their (only) fear is for the Day when hearts and eyes will be transformed (in a world wholly new),- That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace: for Allah doth provide for those whom He will, without measure.)”

Their dedication and sincerity in remembering Him and their commitment for His cause is appreciated by Allah (SWT) and thus He has chosen them and has promised to reward them suitably.

Sala’bi has quoted Anas Ibn-e-Malik and Buraida that when Rasool (SAW) recited this verse, Hazrat Abu Bakr stood up and asked pointing towards the house of Ali (A.S) and Fatema (A.S), whether that house was included in the houses which are exalted by Allah (SWT) as referred in the ayah? Rasool (SAW) replied saying “Yes, and it is better than other houses to which this refers.” (Ref: Durr-e-Mansur, Vol 5, P 50)

Thus the house of Mawla Ali (A.S) and Fatema (A.S) is exalted by Allah (SWT), they have prayed the way Allah (SWT) wants and hence if we follow their way of supplications we would be rewarded.

We have seen the miracles of supplications cited in Quran, now let us see a miracle of the supplication given by Mawla Ali (A.S) to one of his follower. It is called ‘Dua e Mashlool’. Manzil Ibn Lahiq, a paralytic was healed by this ‘Dua’.

Fed up with his continuous misbehavior and disobedience, Manzil’s father cursed him that he may be inflicted by paralysis. After a lot of repentance and request, his father agreed to pray for his cure and they started for Mecca but unfortunately on his way his father died and he remained uncured of paralysis. While he was lamenting in front of Ka’aba his cries fell on the ears of Mawla Ali (A.S) and Imam Husain (A.S), who were inside the Harem. When he narrated his tragic tale to Mawla Ali (A.S), he was given this Dua. By the effect of this Dua he was cured miraculously. Imam Hussain (A.S) has said that ‘Dua e Mashool’ contains ‘Ism e Azam’.

Another Dua which Mawla Ali (A.S) gave to his companion Kumayl is famously called as ‘Dua e Kumayl’. Imam Ali (A.S) instructed Kumayl to recite this Dua on the eve of every Friday, if not then once a month and if not then atleast once a year so that he would be protected from the evils of enemies and plots contrived by imposters.

‘Sahifa e Kamila’ is the compilation of supplications by Imam Zainul Abedin (A.S). In the introductory section of the English translation of this book, William Chittick mentions:

•It has been reported that the holy Prophet (pbuh) has said that Allah (SWT) says: “O My servants, all of you are misguided except him whom I guide, so ask Me for guidance, and I will guide you. All of you are poor except whom I enrich, so ask Me for riches, and I will provide for you. All of you are sinners except him whom I release, so ask Me to forgive you, and I will forgive you.”

•The prophet (S.A.W.) and his progeny said: “Supplication is the weapon of the man of faith, the centre-pole (essence) of the religion, and the light of the heavens and the earth.”

And Allama Iqbal has these wonderful words for ‘Dua’:

“Dil se jo baat nikalti hai, asar rakhti hai, par nahin, taaqat-e-parwaaz magar rakhti hai.”

(The word springing from the heart surely carries weight, Though not endowed with wings, it yet can fly in space.)

“Qudsi-ul-asal hai, rif-at pe nazar rakhti hai, khaak se uthti hai, gardoon pe guzar rakhti hai.”

(Pure and spiritual in its essence, it pegs its gaze on high, Rising from the lowly dust, grazes past the skies.)

 Indeed ‘Dua’ is a miracle and it is through these earnest supplications we get our desires fulfilled. So let us supplicate and be grateful to the Almighty Allah for whatever He has given us and whatever He has not given us through the excerpt from the wonderful ‘Dua’ of Imam Zainul Abedin (A.S) in ‘Sahifa e Kamila’:

“O My Lord! Bless Mohammed (SAW) and his holy Household, delight my soul through Thy decree, expand my breast through the instances of Thy decision, give to me a trust through which I may admit that Thy decree runs only to the best and let my gratitude to Thee for what Thou hast taken away from me be more abundant than my gratitude to Thee for what Thou hast conferred upon me! Aamin.”

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