By: Abdul-Khaleq Jarallah
And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed Near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright. (Al-Baqarah 2:186)
The above verse was revealed as an answer to a question addressed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) by some of his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). They asked him: “Oh Messenger of Allah! Is our Lord near to us, so we can secretly talk to Him, or He is far, so we should call upon Him [loudly]?” Thereupon Allah Almighty revealed this verse: “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge)”
This is because Allah is the Watcher, the Witness Who knows what is in the hearts [the secret] and that which is more hidden; He knows the treacherous (look) of the eyes and whatever the hearts conceals. Allah is Near to whoever supplicates him and immediately responds as He says “I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me”. (Ad-Dahhak)
There are two types of Du`aa’’:
– Du`aa’’ made while worshiping Allah.
– Du`aa’’ made at time of affliction and need.
Moreover, Allah is Near to His servants through the following two manners:
– His Knowledge encompasses all His creatures.
– He is near to those who worship and supplicate him and responds to their supplications by answering and granting them support and success.
When a person sincerely invokes Allah asking for lawful things and there is nothing preventing answering his Du`aa’ such as having unlawful source of livelihood and the like, Allah has verily promised to respond to his Du`aa’.
This is especially when a supplicant adheres to the means necessary for answering the Du`aa’ which are as follows:
– Obeying the commands of Allah.
– Abandoning His Prohibitions.
– The certainty that He responds to our supplications.
That’s why Allah says in the above verse: “So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright”. Meaning, whoever sincerely supplicates Allah will surely be led to faith, the straight path and be distant from delusion.
There are many texts in the Qur’an and Sunnah urging Muslims to make Du`aa’ and confirming Allah’s promise to respond.
Evidence from the Qur’an
Allah Almighty says:
And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islâmic Monotheism)] (and ask Me for anything) I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship [i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness, (Islâmic Monotheism)] they will surely enter Hell in humiliation! (Gahfir 40:60)
Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He likes not the aggressors. [Al-A`raf 7:55)
Is not He (better than your gods) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil” (An-Naml 27:60)
Evidence from Sunnah
Abu Sa`id (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Any Muslim who invokes Allah Almighty with no sin or severing the ties of kinship, Allah will answer by giving him one of three: either to immediately answer his Du`aa’ in this world; or saves it for him in the Hereafter (as a good deed and reward); or protects him and takes away an evil that was decreed upon him. The companions said: So, we should make Du`aa’ in abundant. The Prophet replied: “Allah is the Ever Generous”. (Al-Hakim)
In another hadith narrated by Anas, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Du`aa’ is the essence of worship”
This means that Du`aa’ is the essence of worship due to two reasons:
– Making Du`aa’ implies submitting oneself to the commands of Allah Who said: “Invoke Me, [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islâmic Monotheism)] (and ask Me for anything) I will respond to your (invocation)”.
– When a Muslim is aware that everything [benefit or harm] lies in the hands of Allah, he will refrain from seeking support from anyone except Him.
Morals and lessons derived from the verse:
1- Urging to supplicate Allah and manifesting His bounties, The Ever Generous Who commanded us to invoke Him and promised to answer.
2- Allah is Near to all His creatures through His encompassing knowledge and He is Near to the one who supplicates and worships Him answering and giving rewards.
3- Clarifying the necessary means for answering supplications: obeying the commands of Allah, refraining from His prohibitions, believing in Him, having lawful livelihood and raising one’s hands to the sky.
4- Believing in Allah and obeying Him are the means towards gaining His success and guidance.
5- Warning against engaging in anything that prevents answering Du`aa’: having unlawful livelihood [food, drink and clothes], asking Allah for a sin or severing ties of kinship, losing hope in answering one’s supplications, abandoning faith, refraining from obeying the commands of Allah and committing sins.
6- Obeying the commands of Allah and believing in Him are the means towards gaining knowledge which is the perfect guidance both theoretically and practically.