When it is definite and beyond dispute that whatever happens in the
world happens by the Will of God and that every thing that exists lies
absolutely in His power and control, it is manifestly natural for us
to supplicate to Him in our needs, big as well as small. Followers of
all religions beseech God and address their petitions to Him. But in
Islam it is a matter of paramount importance. States the Quran:
And your Lord says: “Call on Me: I wi ll answer (your Prayer).”
Say (to the rejectors): my Lord is not uneasy because of you if ye call
not on Him. (XXV: 77)
Together with calling on us to supplicate to God in our needs the Quran
also goes on to assure that God is very close to His servants: He hears
their petitions and grants them.
When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close to them.
I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on me. (II:
The holy Prophet also assures that to beg to God for our needs, to turn
to Him and to make our petitions to Him, is the very essence and marrow
of worship. Says he:
“Du’a (making of earnest entreaties to God) is worship.”
(According to another version, the Tradition reads: “Du’a
is the essence and marrow of worship).”
“Nothing enjoys a loftier place in the sight of God than Du’a”.
God is displeased with those who do not beg for their needs to Him.
The Prophet is reported to have said, “God is displeased with
His servant who does not supplicate for his needs to him.”
Glory be! If a person approaches a close friend or a near relative with
his needs every now and then they get sick of him, but God is so marvelously
gracious and benevolent to His servants that He gets angry if they do
not turn to Him in their need. A Tradition says:
“For whom the doors of Du’a have opened for him the doors
of mercy have opened.”
Anyway, to pray to God for one’s needs or for the realization
of one’s ambition is not only a means to their fulfillment but
also a superb act of worship and God is very happy with him who does
so. He opens the gates of His mercy for him. This is true of all supplications
whether they be of a religious or spiritual nature or for a worldly
need. The only condition is that the object or need should be of a lawful
and legitimate kind. To pray for an improper or sinful thing is also
improper and sinful.
The greater the depth of feeling, the stronger the realization of one’s
own helplessness and the firmer the conviction of Divine Omnipotence
and Benevolence with which a prayer is made, the greater the chances
are of its acceptance. A prayer which does not spring from their heart
but is uttered only by the mouth as a formality is not a prayer. The
“God does not grant a prayer that is made with a sleeping heart.”
God listens to prayers at all hours but we learn from Traditions that
there are certain occasions on which if a prayer is made it stands greater
chances of acceptance as, for instance, after a Farz (obligatory) Namaz,
during the later part of the night, at the time of breaking a fast or
at any other moment of a similar nature when a good act is performed,
and during the course of a journey particularly when it is undertaken
for a religious purpose and for the sake of God.
It is not necessary for a man to be a saint, or innocent of sin, for
his prayers to be granted. It is true that the prayers of noble and
virtuous persons are granted more than those of others but it does not
means that the prayers of ordinary men and sinners are not heard at
all. One, therefore, must not give up making supplications to God thinking
what would the supplications of a sinner do. God, the Beneficent, the
Merciful, listens to the prayers of His sinning servants, too, just
as He feeds them and clothes them in spite of their misdeeds. Everyone
should, therefore, pray. We have seen how Du’a is regular worship.
Divine recompense will in any case be his who will engage himself in
It will be foolish to loose heart and cease praying if the object for
which an earnest prayer is made to God is not realized. God, in any
event, is not bound by our desires. Sometimes, in His judgment, it is
in our own interest that our prayers should not be granted at once.
Sometimes delay is found by Him to be better for us. But, we, in our
ignorance, get disheartened. We are inclined to be hasty and when our
prayers are not answered we give up praying as futile. As a Tradition
of the Prophet assures us:
“Du’a never wasted. But the forms of its acceptance vary.
Sometimes a person gets what he begs for. Sometimes God does not think
it best for him that the thing he prays for should be granted. So He
does not give it to him but, in its place, a greater favour is bestowed
on him or an impending calamity is averted or the prayer is made an
atonement for his sins. (Since the supplicant does not know it he imagines
that his entreaties and supplications have come to nothing). Sometimes
the prayer is turned into the harvest of the Hereafter. The object for
which a person prays is not granted to him in this life but a greater
reward is reserved for him in the life to come as a compensation thereof.”
And here is another:
“Some people, many of whose prayers had not been granted in this
world, when they will see in the Hereafter the glorious rewards and
blessings that had been set aside for them as a recompense for their
unfulfilled prayers, will exclaim mournfully how great would it have
been had none of their prayers been granted in the world so that they
could get the compensation for them all in the Hereafter.”
In fine, everyone who believes in God should make it a habit of his
to call on Him for his needs with all his heart and with an unshakeable
faith in the Omnipotence and the Benevolence of the Almighty and believing
positively that the prayer will be granted. He must be sure in his heart
that his prayer shall never, never go waste.
The endeavour should be to pray in words richly expressive of Divine
Might and Magnificence and of one’s own total helplessness. Many
prayers are contained in the Quran and hundreds of them in the Traditions.
These prayers, the prayers of the Quran and the Tradition, are by far
the best. A selection of forty of these prayers is given at the end
of the book.