A Duʿāʾ is any call, request, plea, prayer, asking Allāh for help. Calling out to the Divine is the most common and instinctive form of worship. Even non-religious people spontaneously reach out and make Duʿāʾ sometimes, e.g. ‘oh my God!’
Unlike ritual prayer (Ṣalāh), which grounds you and maintains your connection to Allāh, Duʿāʾ is a personal prayer, a personal appeal between you and the Divine. It’s often done in your own words and your own language, direct from the heart. An existing Duʿāʾ in Arabic from the Qurʾān or Sunnah can be also be used.
invoke, call upon
Allāh commands us in the Qurʾān to verbally ask for what we need. Making Duʿāʾ is mandatory.
- Call unto your Lord humbly and in the secrecy of your hearts. He does not love those who transgress the bounds of what He has ordained as right. (Qurʾān 7:55)
- Your Lord says, ‘Call on Me and I will answer you; those who are too proud to serve Me will enter Hell humiliated.’ (Qurʾān 40:60)
Allāh responds to our pleas
- [Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided. (Qurʾān 2:186)
- Everything in the heavens and earth asks [what it needs] of Allāh. Allāh produces results every day. (55:29)
During Duʿāʾ, we become mindful that Allāh is the only One who can fulfil our needs and the needs of all of creation. In Duʿāʾ, we can reflect on a humble request, calling on Allāh for help, support or inspiration with regards to a particular problem or situation.
Essence of worship
Duʿāʾ is worship.
Part of fate
Everything happens by the Will and Power of Allāh exactly as Allāh predestined it. Allāh has ordered us to ask for what we need, so let’s do it. The means of achieving all our goals is ultimately in the full control of Allāh. Calling out to Allāh for help is mandatory. It’s not something we have the option of abandoning, thinking that Allāh is incapable of something.
It could be that Allāh has already established that a certain matter will be granted to you, or a certain bad thing be avoided thanks to your plea. In Fat′ḥ al-Bārī, Ibn Hajr? writes: “The benefit of permorming Duʿāʾ is to attain reward by obeying the command (of Allāh to make Duʿāʾ) and also to attain what you ask for. Indeed it’s possible your request depends on your Duʿāʾ, since Allāh is the Creator [Ultimate Source] of both your effort and the result of your effort!”
Ibn Qayyim 3 possibilities (file 4)
A matter of Īmān
To abandon Duʿāʾ is to abandon secure belief itself:
“[Tell the Rejecters]: What are you to my Master and Provider without your Duʿāʾ? But since you have written off the truth as lies, the inevitable will happen.” 25:77
Tafsīr al-Qurṭubi explains that Allāh “is not in need of anyone’s worship, and that Allāh has only commanded them so that they can benefit themselves.” Were it not for the fact that you make Duʿāʾ, Allāh would not care about you.
Effects of Duʿāʾ
- “[Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided.” 2:186 We respond to Allāh by obeying Allāh and keeping a healthy Īmān. Allāh is near and responds. It’s one of the ways you become closer to Allāh, and Allāh comes closer to you.
- Rabbi ijʿalnī muqīm al-ṣalāti wa-min-dhurrīyatī. Rabbanā wa-taqabbal duʿāʾ. Rabbanā ighfir lī wa-li-wālidayya wa-lil-muʾminīna yawma qayūm al-ḥisāb.
“My Master, make me one who establishes regular ṣalāh and also my descendants. Master of us all, accept my request. Master of us all, forgive me, my parents, and the believers on the Day of Reckoning.” (from Sūrat Ibrāhīm 14:40-41)