Saturday, September 24, 2005

Supplication is Worship

The following hadith is cited in Sufism and Good Character:

It is reported by Nu'man ibn Bashir that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him abundant peace) said,

"Supplication is worship."
(Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and Ibn Maja; Tirmidhi deemed it rigorously authenticated [sahih])

I was reflecting on the meaning of these blessed words this afternoon. Supplication is worship. Du'a is 'ibadah. How so? To make du'a as we should make it, is to recognize that Allah Subhanahu Ta'Ala is the only One who can grant us ease, blessings, and khayr, and it is He Alone who can lift hardships and tribulations. Yet we take things for granted. We place our hopes and beliefs in creation rather than in the Creator. With each breath we take, we assume another will follow. The companions of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would put on one sandal and make du'a that Allah give them the ability and permission to put on the other sandal. This is what tawqa does when it is firmly entrenched in the heart. Yet we live our lives and do not believe that death can indeed take us at any time. In the words of Shaykh Nuh Keller,

"People between the ages of 20-40 are immortal in the opinion of their own nafs".

I know of a young man who was on his high school football team and after a game, collapsed while walking off the field, and died on the spot. An aneurism had erupted and without a moment's notice, Allah had taken him back. Countless young people die in accidents they never thought would happen. Yet people, especically young people, do not believe that they can die at any moment.

The scholars mention that when doing or saying anything we should ask ourselves if we would be content to die that way. I often hear people, even Muslims, swearing, slandering, just being crass, and I cringe at the thought of anyone dying with those being their last words and deeds. On the contrary, imagine dying in prayer, fasting, in dhikr of Allah, having started you last deed "in the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate" or saying "there is no god, but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger".

Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui once commented upon the hadith "supplication is worship" and spoke of how we as an ummah have generally forgotten what it means to truly supplicate. We raise our hands and spin off du'as from memory without reflecting on what we asking for, or even worse we ask for things, for help, but have no real conviction that Allah will answer in the way that is best for us. The friend and knower of Allah, Ibn Ata'illah wrote in his Hikam,

"If you make intense supplication
and the timing of the answer is delayed,
do not despair of it.
His reply to you is guaranteed;
but in the way He chooses,
not the way you choose,
and at the moment He desires,
not the moment you desire."

So ask. Ask Allah. As the hadith says,

"If you ask, ask Allah. If you seek help, seek help from Allah."
(Tirmidhi, Ahmad)

And with Allah Alone is success.

1 comment:

  1. Subhan Allah. barak Allah fikum for composing this message. This is exactly the kind of writing I was hoping you would offer more of on your blog =)