Prayer (dua) means petition before Supreme Court of Allah Ta’ala for one’s needs and requirements – be such needs mundane or spiritual. It is the lifting of mind and heart to Almighty God for assistance. Dua is conversation with Allah T’ala. It is most librating, empowering, transforming conversation a person can ever have. It is the most potent weapon of a sincere believer.
Allah Ta’ala is most compassionate and He can do anything or change anything at will and at anytime. The Qur’an Majeed says “and your Lord hath said; Pray unto Me and I will hear your prayer. Lo! those who scorn My Service, they will enter hell, disgraced, (40:60)”
In every difficulty, our first action is prayer and also is our last resort. We ask Allah Ta’ala to show us the way to handle that problem. We seek His help to enable us to follow the right path that He had shown us. We seek His aid in making our efforts successful.
Effectiveness of prayer has its own methods and techniques which must be strictly adhered to. Prayer for unreasonable desires and needs may not be accepted. That is to say, prayer and effort must be combined together This presupposes that all righteous undertakings must be followed by making use of one’s power and capabilities with serious planning and hardworking.
One who devotes himself mainly to prayer but does not make personal effort to improve his/her lots may not achieve his aim While praying, all the lawful means and steps for getting what you are making dua for must be properly harnessed, so that you can achieve success. For example, there is need for a student who is making prayer for success in examination to study widely and intelligently, otherwise his dua may not be answered. Similarly, the sick person praying for quick recovery should follow strictly the advice of a medical doctor, at the same time; a person who is praying for protection against an enemy must find ways and means of warding off the enemy. If you are hostile to your neighbors, you cannot expect them to be kind to you!
It is important to note that, there are some affairs in human life in which physical and personal efforts have little or no ve role to play .Example of these condition are lack of rain, unsuitable weather, famine ,pestilence ,sudden death, general calamities, deception of the “nafs” and oppression of the wicked people. In a situation like these, one has to totally submit to the will of Allah Ta’ala by making dua and supplication to HIM alone for help.
Acceptance of one’s dua by Allah Ta’ala depends on certain conditions; full devotion and concentration are very essential while making prayer. One’s state of mind and body need to be concentrated and directed towards the purpose of your dua. You must not allow anything however small to distract your attention and you must forget everything about this worldly affair. The types of seriousness and concern which people have, when making appeal in the court of law, should at least be emulated when making dua in the Divine court of Allah Ta’ala. Dua lacking concentration and conviction is no prayer at all.
The second condition is that before you will consider yourself properly fit to call Allah Ta’ala for something, you too must keep HIS commandments. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was reported to have said “By Him is whose Hand is my soul, you must enjoin what is reputable and forbid what is disreputable, or Allah will certainly send punishment from Himself to you. Then you will make dua and will not receive an answer (Tirmizi)
If you commit a sin, make a haste to sincerely repent and pray to GOD for forgiveness, being a merciful GOD,He will forgive you but do not go back to that sin again .Because, if you approach Allah for something with your sins, there is no doubt about it, your request will not be granted.
Allah says in the Quran Majeed:-” Say, O my servants who have transgressed against their souls (by committing evil deeds and sins), do not despair of the mercy of GOD. Verily, GOD forgives all sins; for He is oft-forgiving, most merciful. Turn ye to your Lord (in repentance) and submit to Him before the chastisement comes on you after that you shall not be helped” (Quran 39:53-54)
Thirdly, build and have strong imaan (faith) in Allah that He will grant your humble request for some time you will pray and may not see your answer as you want it. Be steadfast and patient in your dua and have faith and conviction for a doubter will have nothing. Remember that no sincere dua is left unanswered. When will it be answered? Only Allah Ta’ala knows.
One should never lose hope in the event of fulfillment of one’s dua being delayed or not accepted. One has to submit to the will of Allah Ta’ala because it is His sole prerogative to accept or reject the appeal made before Him. The Holy Quran also advises us on this “O people of imaan! Seek aid with sabr (patience) and prayer (2:153)
Three reasons may lead to the delay or non-acceptance of your prayer. Viz:
One, the worldly materials which you ask for may be harmful in the spiritual plane at that moment. So Allah withholds them from the petitioner just as a responsible father will deny his child an object which is detrimental to the welfare of the child. Allah Ta’ala says in the Quran Majeed:-….It is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you; and that you love a thing that is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know (2:216)
The second reason may be that, Allah Ta’ala wants to use that dua to ward off some unseen calamities from the petitioner in lieu of the things asked for since Allah in His wisdom sees that we mortals cannot see.
Thirdly, Allah may wants to save your immediate request as a treasure in the Aakhirah (hereafter) or may want it for the children of the supplicant after his departure from this Earthly world.
Fasting is another ingredient of making effective prayer, for fasting will consolidate your soul and mind together: likewise, fasting will make you to move nearer to your Creator because your mind will be off temporarily from this sinful world. The fasting, however, must be observed in secret because it is an allegiance between you and your GOD. The Quran Shareef says 🙁 O Mankind), call upon your Lord humbly and in secret. He does not love the aggressors (7:55). And every fasting must be followed with a serious prayer and meditation. If you fast and you do not find time to pray, the purpose of that fasting is defeated.
Lastly, while praying and fasting, you must remember the poor ones in our midst by giving them alms and be kind to all people. Whatever be the circumstances, you should not be angry or fight with anybody when you are making special prayer because if you do, you will certainly lose contact with your GOD. Similarly, you must not show a sign of selfishness against your fellow beings when you are requesting something from Allah through your prayers
You ought to know that life is give and take but the problem with human beings is that many of us want to have something out of nothing which is practically impossible.
The times of dua should not be limited to the period of compulsory five prayers alone. Dua at all times is heard and accepted by Allah Ta’ala. However, there are special occasions which are more conducive for acceptance of dua e.g after Fardh Salaat, during Zuhr and Asr time, while on a journey, on Thursdays and Fridays, at the time when thy heart is grieving, at the time when there is hardship in the home, after Tilaawat of the Holy Quran majeed, in the plain of Arafat when the sun is about to set, in the sacred month of Ramadan, at the time of rainfall, between the Azan and the Iqamaat and during Tahajjudu period (midnight) etc. No one gets Allah unless he follows hard after Him. No soul follows hard after Allah, if he is not after Him in the mid-night.
Another essential thing that can also facilitate effective prayer is searching for a sacred place which must be freed from the noises of people such as around Holy Kabba in Makkah or a Masjid, you can also set a corner aside for the purpose of offering prayers in your room. You cannot achieve your aim if you are praying in noisy and dirty places since you will not be able to concentrate fully and since we know that ALLAH is a clean GOD who equally needs cleanness in whatever we are doing including the place where we want to offer our prayers.
We seize this opportunity to humbly inform our dear brothers and sisters in faith that quietness and privacy are mandatory for effective prayer. In addition to this, peace of mind at all cost must be the motto of any person that is making dua because without this, you will not be able to present and defend your appeal before the supreme court of Allah Ta’ala who is to determine the prayer before HIM.
If we can try to follow sincerely all the conditions as enumerated above while praying, there is no doubt about it, Allah will certainly accept our supplications. The Almighty Allah said in the Quran Majeed that ” when my servant asks thee concerning me, I am indeed close(to them) listen to the prayer of every supplicant who calleth on Me, and believe in Me that they walk in the right way(2:186)
Hazrat Abu Hurraihirah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rassulullah (S.A.W) said “Nothing is more appreciable to Allah than dua(Tirmizi ibn Majah)
Hazrat Ali, peace be upon him said “He who is bestowed four things is not disallowed four things:-he who is allowed to pray is not deprived of the response to it; he who is allowed to offer repentance is not deprived of its acceptance; he who is allowed to seek forgiveness is not deprived of forgiveness; and he who is allowed to be grateful is not deprived of furtherance of favors.”
We should make dua at all times, not only during the time of distress. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “whoever desires that Allah answers his/her dua in favorable and difficult conditions; he or she should make
plentiful dua in days of ease and comfort. Prayer can change our life, our outlook and our fate. But it works, only for those who try sincerely and seriously.
Man cannot surely go astray in the performance of his legal duties when he brings himself into constant accord with his Creator, dua is the only link and remainder of man’s duties to GOD and his fellow beings.
We beseech Allah Ta’ala to pardon us all our faults and shortcoming through HIS unlimited bounty and mercifulness and accept whatever defective services that we are able to render to the cause of GOD and Humanity in general. May Allah Ta’ala keep us all with safety and aafiyah.
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Message from the National Co-coordinator, New Era National Islamic Propagation Centre, P. O. Box 1145, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Or P.O Box 1909, Osogbo Osun State, Nigeria.