Du’ā, the weapon of the believer, a treatise in the status and etiquette of du’ā in Islām by Abu Ammar Yasir Qadhi
Du’aa is the connection we have with the Majestic, you don’t have to wait in line; He can speak to everyone all at once without His attention being remotely compromised and He can do this all whilst still being capable of gazing upon all His Creation. The operator of the line is never busy and always available. There is no monthly charge for connecting, the calls don’t drop and the signal is as strong as your intention, your sincerity and your certainty in Him.
Du’ā. A short two-syllable word with such weight and value that all the words in the world would become exhausted trying to describe it and still the meaning expressed by human scribes would be insufficient. How do I explain what du’ā means?
Shaykh Dr Yasir Qadhi (“YQ”) does a great job in this little book that I read with The Thinking Muslim Bookclub, led by Sister Farhat Amin for the sisters cohort. The book is really well structured and filled with incredible depth that helps to deepen your connection, your understanding of the purpose of du’ā, how to approach du’ā and almost everything you need really to enhance your own personal and direct connection.
YQ draws his inspiration predominantly from Qur’an, the prophetic examples, examples from the earliest Muslims, as well as drawing a lot of inspiration from Ibn Al Qayyim. The book starts off looking at the purpose and approach of du’ā and it being the nucleus of a believer’s ibadah. From solidifying the foundations and reviving the believers purpose, he then explores soul edifying themes of delays in du’ā and how to extrapolate divine wisdom, the benefits and provisions within du’ā, the auspicious times when du’ā is most likely to be answered, the etiquettes of du’ā, the discouraged etiquettes and conditions of du’ā and so much more. For a book of barely 200 pages in length, YQ packs a spiritually powerful punch. The target is hit.
In my own reflections after reading this book, I had some additional thoughts on the topic of du’ā.
A lot of people look for a book of pre written du’ās and whilst this is a necessary and noble pursuit in and of itself, I firmly believe that this is only half of the work. The faculty of communication is not only in speech; when we learn a language, we undertake oral, listening, reading and writing work. The same is true for du’ā – you cannot only rely upon the works and du’ā of others but rather you need to also nurture your own connection and bond with Allah through one of the highest forms of ibadah (worship) – direct communication with Allah. Learn the beautiful du’ā of the Qur’an, the du’ā of the prophetic tradition, the du’ā of the sahaba kareem, the earliest Muslims and the devoted Muslims of today; take inspiration from it all but let it not preclude you from being earnest and sincere in your own unique du’ā with Allah. Allah made all of us unique and carved unique and collective experiences for us, thus it is incumbent upon us to take inspiration from others and nurture our own connection with Him.
This book also tackles in a very strong manner, the layered wisdom and meaning behind Allah’s delayed or alternate responses using primarily Qur’anic, prophetic and sunnah based examples. Qadhi leverages a lot from Ibn Al Qayyim which I will never ever complain about!
One of my all time favourite quotes of Ibn Qayyim (RA) that pertains to the interconnectedness of du’ā, qadr and khair, is the following:
“Had Allah lifted the veil for His slave and shown him how He handles his affairs for him, and how Allah is more keen for the benefit of the slave than his own self, his heart would have melted out of the love for Allah and would have been torn to pieces out of thankfulness to Allah. Therefore, if the pains of this world tire you do not grieve. For it may be that Allah wishes to hear your voice by way of du’aa. So pour out your desires in prostration and forget about it and know; that verily Allah does not forget.”
I found a great deal of affirmation in this book and also new wonderful quotes from Ibn Al Qayyim especially, as well as others. It’s a really well structured book that reframes, refreshes and transforms your perspective on du’ā as well as in sha Allah impacting your ibadah in a refreshed and more conscious way.
Whilst YQ does not mention this explicitly in his book, I would add in the frame of du’ā the importance of refreshing and reviving your du’aa. A lot of us make repetitive du’ā without changing our approach or increasing the beauty in our methodology. Du’ā is a means of communicating with Allah. It means to call upon. When we call upon each other, do we repeat the same thing on every call? When we are trying to establish a bond between one another do we remain fixated on one topic of conversation? Or do we not establish bonds when we explore our relationship, know the other person better and thus expand our ability to communicate with them? Stale conversations reap stale and disconnected superficial bonds. I now realise the impoliteness in the stale approach I had fostered with the Divine! How was I investing more in my conversations with human beings and yet not increasing my approach and beautifying my conversations with Him?
Thus, I think it is incredibly important to refresh our conversations with Allah. You can’t know or approach Him in a manner befitting to Him until You explore His names and attributes. You can’t know or approach Him in a manner that will benefit you until You read His words in the Qur’an. You can’t know or understand the wisdom in His delay in response, nor can you perceive the benefit in your qadr until You explore, nurture and expand your conversations and relationship with Him. A couple of years ago, I changed my approach to du’ā. I try to no longer repeat the same thing over and over again. Even if I am asking for the same thing, for instance guidance, I approach this request afresh each time. It’s not difficult when you start to contemplate it but sadly, social media and tweet length sentences have compromised our ability to engage in deeper and more expansive conversations. We rush to be done. We lack the patience and sincerity to sit and read for longer never mind to sit and speak or write for longer with anyone. Being lazy in du’ā is of no use to you, so I try now to come to a conversation with a fresh tongue and I have noticed that even if there is delay in His response, I feel greater satisfaction and peace in the conversation no longer being stale anymore than I did before. Write and speak with Allah in abundance and see how this will transform the quality of your life, your ibadah and your connection with Allah.
Caveat, please note that all that I am describing above is the aspirational level of du’ā – it does not escape me that our emaan waxes and wanes like the phases of a moon; it is not easy to maintain a heightened level of consciousness and perfection in our approach is not a necessity whilst striving and nurturing better practices most certainly is. The beauty of our relationship with Allah is unlike any other relationship. Whilst people will become disappointed by our tone, our distance or our imperfections in communications, Allah is not human in his approach or response, and so there are unlimited gates to entry and inner peace is found in every single one of them.
“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” – Qur’an 13:28.
I am still on my own journey to transforming my du’ā and I do not think I will ever be done. His names and attributes are too many to number and too deep to comprehend all at once. The most exciting and least dull relationship in your life can be your relationship with Allah – increase your conversations, explore and refresh your approach with Him at regular intervals. The more you exercise sacred components of your existence, the more He will expand your chest!
I highly recommend this book. It is easy to read, well structured, accessible and a book that I anticipate re-reading again when I feel my connection to du’ā needs reviving.