Du’a (Supplication) in a Glance 1

Du’a’ (supplication) in a Glance 1

Du’a’ is the expression of deprivation to the One.

Du’a’ is the pronunciation of poverty to the Eternal Absolute.

Du’a’ is seeking assistance of the powerless from the All-Powerful.

Du’a’ is the demonstration of humility to the Omnipotent.

Du’a’ is loved by the Almighty, and is dear to the mystic and the miserable.

Du’a in the Holy Quran

The Almighty, who is the Revealer of knowledge and wisdom, states in His Qur’an:

قُلْ مَا يَعْبَأُ بِكُمْ رَبِّي لَوْلا دُعَاؤُكُمْ فَقَدْ كَذَّبْتُمْ فَسَوْفَ يَكُونُ لِزَامًا.

Say (O’ Muhammad to the disbelievers): My Lord would not concern Himself with you, but for your prayers. (1)

Du’a’ is a tool for attracting God’s attention and blessings. His attention removes calamity from the life of one who prays, and brings about blessings for him/her.

The All-Knowing Lord says in Qur’an:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِي إِذَا دَعَانِي.

And when My servant question thee concerning Me, then surely I am close (to them). I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calleth unto Me. (2)

No one is as close to the man as his creator, Allah. He is the One who has created man, fashioning him in the womb, and then transferring him to this world. He bestows His material and spiritual blessings unto man, sent the prophets to guide him, and granted him the Divine Qur’an and the Immaculate Imams (as).

Allah has created water for the thirst of man and food for his hunger. He cures man’s diseases and improves his health. He discards man’s loneliness with a spouse, children, and friends, and his starkness with various kinds of clothes. Allah makes man cherished by the others, and maintains his dignity before them. Allah solves his problems, however difficult they may seem. Who is so closely and intently aware of man’s deepest needs and can provide him with all these blessings, except Allah? He is indeed closer to man than anyone else. Hence He says in Qur’an:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِنْسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ.

We verily created a man and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (3)

In spite of being superior to all others in terms of wisdom and insight, aware of the unseen more than others, and knowing the reality as it is, the prophets (as) too were extensively devoted to du’a’. They spent part of their time, both at day and night, to attach themselves to this firm and reliable string, and stand humbly before Allah. They considered du’a’ as the means to strengthen the mind, purify the soul, and solve problems.

The holy prophets (as) knew for sure that no suppliant ends his du’a’ except that Allah grants his requests to him from His presence. They hence believed in the fulfillment of du’a’ and humbly asked Allah to grant their supplication. The holy Qur’an states this fact so clearly from Prophet Abraham’s enlightened soul and purified speech:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي وَهَبَ لِي عَلَى الْكِبَرِ إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ إِنَّ رَبِّي لَسَمِيعُ الدُّعَاءِ.

Praise be to Allah who hath given me, in my old age, Ishmael and Isaac! Lo! My Lord is indeed the Hearer of Prayer. (4)

Zechariah requested God, with the power of du’a’, to grant him a child. God fulfilled his desire and bestowed on him John, though his wife was barren. (5) Following his disciples’ request, the Christ asked Allah to descend a heavenly table spread with food. The Almighty God accepted his prayer and send down for him and his disciples a table spread with foods from heaven.(6)

The Powerful has ordered His servants to pray in all situations, either in happiness or sorrow, with a humble heart and a tearful eye, demanding their needs from Him and be hopeful of the acceptance of their supplication. The Omniscient has also assured to consign to hell those who are too proud to serve Him:

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمْ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ.

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. (7)

Du’a’ in Traditions

Allah’s benevolence toward His creatures is extended and comprehensive, especially for mankind. Allah’s presence is not an abode of hopelessness or stinginess. His generosity and forgiveness is relentless, as is His longing for His servants to pray to Him. Allah addressed Prophet David (as):

“Say to My servants: Why don’t you befriend Me, since I deserve friendship? I am a God of no miserliness, there’s no ignorance in My Omniscience, no incapacity in My Forbearance, and no alternation in My Attributes or My Speech. My Mercy and Forgiveness is unvarying and constant. I am the friend of him who befriends Me, and I accompany him who invokes on Me in his solitude. O David! He who seeks Me finds Me; and he who finds Me deserves not to lose Me. O David! Blessing is from Me but My servants thank others; I ward off calamity but they seek it from others. Their safe haven is My Presence, but they seek refuge from others, though finally they return to Me.”

A surplus of such meaningful texts in Islamic books, along with Qur’anic verses, give good tidings to the servants to be hopeful of God’s Mercy. The servants should, therefore, pray and ask their prerequisites from God. That’s why the traditions narrated by the Ahl Al-Bayt (as) have all stressed the importance of du’a’. It is narrated from the holy Prophet of Islam (S):

إنَّ الدُّعَاءَ هُوَ العِبَادَةُ.

Du’a’ is indeed a worship.(8)

الدُّعَاءُ مُخُّ العِبَادَةِ.

Du’a’ is the core of worship.(9)

Imam al-Baqir (as) stated:

أفْضَلُ العِبَادَةِ الدُّعَاءُ.

The most preferable of worships is du’a.’(10)

The Imam (as) also narrates:

مَا مِنْ شَيْءٍ أفْضَلُ عِنْدَ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مِنْ أنْ يُسْأَلَ وَيُطْلَبَ مِمَّا عِنْدَهُ، وَمَا أحَدٌ أبْغَضُ إلَى اللهِ مِمَّنْ يَسْتَكْبِرُ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ وَلاَ يَسْأَلُ مَا عِنْدَهُ.

Nothing is more dear to Allah than asking Him for His blessings. And no one is more destitute before Allah than one who is arrogant of supplicating in His Presence.(11)

The following is narrated from Amir al-Mu’minin (as):

أَحَبُّ الأَعْمَالِ إلَى اللهِ تَعَالَى فِي الأَرْضِ الدُّعَاءُ.

“The most desirable deed on all the earth is supplication to Allah.”(12)

الدُّعَاءُ مَفَاتِيحُ النَّجَاحِ، وَمَقَالِيدُ الفَلاَحِ، وَخَيْرُ الدُّعَاءِ مَا صَدَرَ عَنْ صَدْرٍ نَقِيٍّ وَقَلْبٍ تَقِيٍّ، وَفِي الْمُنَاجَاةِ سَبَبُ النَّجَاةِ، وَبِالإخْلاَصِ يَكُونُ الخَلاَصُ، فَإذَا اشْتَدَّ الْفَزَعُ فَإلَى اللهِ المَفْزَعُ.

Du’a’ is the key to success. The best du’a’ is the one uttered from a purified soul and heart. The means to salvation is sincerity in du’a’. When the problems cause restlessness, the solution is seeking refuge in God’s Presence.(13)

It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (as):

إذَا نَزَلَ الْبَلاءُ فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِالدُّعَاءِ وَالتَّضَرُّعِ إلَى اللهِ.

When Allah descends a calamity, come in Allah’s presence with du’a’ and lamentation. (14)

عَلَيْكَ بِالدُّعَاءِ، فَإنَّ فِيهِ شِفَاءً مِنْ كُلِّ دَاءٍ.

Du’a’ is necessity for you, since it is the solution to every problem.(15)

The Value of Du’a’ in a Congregation

When the believers supplicate to Allah in a congregation and ask their exigency in one voice, as one, their du’a’ is more likely to be answered, for in a group of people, there would surely be, a poor, a bereaved, or an ascetic whose prayer may attract God’s Mercy and Forgiveness. Based on what appears in Islamic teachings, Allah may accept the prayer of others too, for the sake of that person, forgive their sins and grant them their exigency. Many traditions have been narrated from the Prophet (S) and Ahl al-Bayt (as) in this regard, some of which are stated here:

Imam Sadiq (as) stated:

مَا اجْتَمَعَ أرْبَعَةٌ قَطُّ عَلَى أمْرٍ وَاحِدٍ إلاّ تَفَرَّقوُا عَنْ إجَابَةٍ.

No four people congregate to pray for a single issue, unless their exigency is granted when they leave each other.(16)

The Holy Prophet (S) said:

لاَ يَجْتَمِعُ أرْبَعُونَ رَجُلاً فِي أمْرٍ وَاحِدٍ إلاّ اسْتَجَابُ اللهُ تَعَالَى لَهُمْ حَتَّى لَوْ دَعَوْا عَلَى جَبَلٍ لأَزَالُوهُ.

No forty men gather together to pray for a single issue, unless the Almighty God accepts their prayer; to the extent that if they pray against a mountain, it will collapse.(17)

The great Islamic scholar, Ibn Fahd Al-Hilli, narrates from “Wasa’il al-Shi’a” in his book “‘Uddat al-Da’i”:

Allah told Jesus through revelation:

يَا عِيسَى! تَقَرَّبْ إلَى المُؤمِنِينَ وَمُرْهُمْ أنْ يَدْعُونِي مَعَكَ.

O Jesus! Join the believers and order them to pray with you before My Presence!(18)

Imam Sadiq (as) states:

كَانَ أبِي عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ إذَا حَزَنَهُ أمْرٌ جَمَعَ النِّسَاءَ وَالصِّبْيَانَ ثُمَّ دَعَا وَأَمَّنُوا.

My father always acted this way; whenever something made him sorrowful, he gathered women and children, then he prayed and they said Amen!(19)

Continue in the next article: ( Du’a (Supplication) in a Glance 2 )



1. (The Quran 25:77)

2. (The Quran 2:186)

3. (The Quran 50:16)

4. (The Quran 14:39)

5. (The Quran 19:5-9)

6. (The Quran 5:112-115)

7. (The Quran 40:60)

8. Mahajjat Al-Bayza’: 2/282, Kitab Al-Azkar wa Al-Da’awat, Chapter 2.

9. Ibid.

10. Mahajjat Al-Bayza’: 2/283, Kitab Al-Azkar wa Al-Da’awat, Chapter 2.

11. Al-Kafi: 2/466, The chapter on fazl Al-Do’a…, Tradition 2.

12. Al-Kafi: 2/467, The chapter on fazl Al-Do’a…, Tradition 8.

13. Al-Kafi: 2/468, Chapter Inna al-do’a silah al-mu’min, tradition 2; Mahajja al-bayza’: 2/284, Bab al-thani fi adab al-do’a…

14. Al-Kafi: 2/471, Bab Ilham al-do’a, tradition 2; Mahajja al-Bayza’: 2/284, Bab al-thani fi adab al-do’a…

15. Al-Kafi: 2/470, bab Inna al-do’a shifa’ min kolli da’, tradition 1; mahajja al-bayza’: 2/285, bab al-thani fi adab al-do’a…

16. Al-Kafi: 2/487, Bab l-Ijtima’ fi al-do’a, tradition 2; Jami’ ahadith shi’a: 19/ 354.

17. Mustadrak al-Wasa’il: 5/239, bab 36, tradition 5772; jami’ ahadith al-shi’a: 19/354.

18. Wasa’il al-Shi’a: 7/104, bab 38, tradition 8856.

19. Wasa’il al-Shi’a: 7/105, bab 39, tradition 8860.