Supplication

In the Quran there are two hundred verses related to supplication. Fatiha, the first surah of the Quran, carries the special property of being a supplication taught personally by Allah to His servants. In this surah Almighty Allah has shown his servant how it is necessary to pray. According to this, it is necessary to first glorify Allah and remember Him with praise. Then, spiritual requests for pardon and forgiveness should be made, and after that requests can be made for worldly blessings. In the Fatiha it is emphasized that it is necessary to plead with Allah for salvation, the most important blessing for a human being, and to remain remote from the path of those who have gone astray.

According to one of the Prophet's hadiths, supplication is the essence of worship. Actually, salah also means supplication. In addition to meaning to call, supplication also carries the meaning to revere and to wish for together with reverence. Salah is the peak of reverence. According to the Prophet, the position of prostration is the time when a human is closest to Allah. Supplication is the servant's feeling of nothingness, poverty and his need for Allah's help. Prostration is the moment when this occurs in the most obvious way. Even if this is not expressed openly in prostration and the other positions of worship, still because they imply a wish for reward and merit, they are considered to be supplication.

The basic factor of servanthood, supplication is turning towards Allah. In order to be rescued from a difficult situation, to avoid something bad or to obtain a blessing, a human remembers Allah and asks for His help, admitting his own helplessness and sins. This wish leads him to regret for his sins or mistakes, repentance and purification; blessings he receives lead him to a desire to give thanks. All of these draw a servant closer to God. Supplication is an expression of man's wonder felt towards his Lord who created the universe, whose works are an expression of His sublime power, and who is the source of all beauty. In this respect, supplication is a connection with absolute truth by someone who has obeyed His commands and, investigating nature, sees His sublime power first-hand. For someone who investigates nature and sees Allah's signs will feel a need to pray and take refuge in Him. Pointing to this, the Quran says: "Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Men who celebrate the praises of God, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the thought): ‘Our Lord! Not for naught hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the fire." 1

It is stated in many verses that all creatures, animate and inanimate, praise Allah. For example, one verse reads: "The seven heavens and the earth, and all beings therein, declare His glory: There is not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet ye understand not how they declare His glory!" 2 Allah stated that man's essential duty is servanthood: "I have only created jinns and men that they may serve me." The Almighty wants humans to remember Him not only when they are in difficulty and times of trouble, but all the time. It is necessary that religious belief and feeling be as vibrant and effective as possible in a Muslim's consciousness. Just as Allah should be prayed to during difficult times, He should also be prayed to during good times.

The goal of making it mandatory for people to make salah, the essence of which is supplication, five times a day is to provide continuity of the belief in Allah in a person's consciousness. Undoubtedly, neglect of supplication and worship negatively affects a person's belief. In this respect, the verse in the Quran, "Say (to the rejecters): ‘My Lord is not uneasy because of you if ye call not on Him," was interpreted by Ibni Abbas to mean "If you had no faith."5  In order to prevent further estrangement from the Creator due to neglect, the Islamic religion wants to keep religious belief and feeling as alive as possible, and commands that some supplications and worship be performed. Supplication is glorification of Allah. The Quran considers it to be the most important form of worship. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated that the sins of anyone who repeated the beautiful names of Allah would be forgiven, even if they were as plentiful as the foam on the sea.

Allah informs us that He is ready to meet the needs of His servant and that he wants to be turned to for every reason. In fact, He says in one verse: "When my servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way." 7 Allah forgives a person who asks for pardon due to a mistake. One hadith informs that if there were no sinners, then Allah would destroy everyone and in their place create sinners who would later repent. Undoubtedly, the meaning of this is not to encourage people to sin, but to emphasize that those who think they have not sinned have lost their consciousness of being servants, and that sin plays the role of drawing man closer to Allah by means of repentance. Allah is pleased with His servant's pleading and being conscious of his servanthood. In fact, in one hadith how pleased Allah is with a person who implores him due to his sin is compared to the joy of a person who, having lost his camel carrying food and drink in the desert, then finds it again.8

No sin should prevent a person from praying to Allah and beseeching him. Allah even accepted the supplication of Satan; in fact, when Satan was thrown out of heaven, he asked for a respite from Allah until the day of resurrection and it was given to him.9 According to the Prophet, the supplication of a praying person is met in one of these three ways:

  • 1. The thing prayed for will immediately be given in this world.
  • 2. Or the reward to be given in response to the supplication is saved until the afterlife.
  • 3. Or an amount of evil equal to the good prayed for will be eliminated.

Supplication gains a person mental clarity, moral strength, common sense and insight and it affects spiritual health in a positive way. Because in one sense supplication is surrender, a servant who sincerely prays is really putting his trust in Allah. Every problem he faces is resolved more easily with the courage and strength he gets from Allah.

According to a sacred hadith, the closeness that derives from supplication and worship leads to Allah's love, and this love leads to the person having common sense and a sensitive conscience.10 In one supplication the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made it is understood that supplication erases marks on a person's conscience made by mistakes and sins and it makes the conscience clearer. He prayed in this way: "My God! Cleanse my mistakes with snow and hail water; just as you purify white clothing from dirt, purify my heart from sin." 11

In his supplications the Prophet usually asked for spiritual things like happiness in the next world and peace in his heart. However, one of the supplications he made most frequently is taught to us in the Quran: "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the fire!"12 This supplication includes every kind of good in both this world and the next. According to Aisha, the Prophet's supplications were short, with substance and comprehensive. 13 He usually sought refuge in Allah from bad temperament and behavior, spiritual affliction, an insensitive heart, an insatiable ego and knowledge with no benefit.

An opposing stand like, "Since everything is written in a human's destiny, what's the use of supplication?" is contrary to the essence of Islam. Islamic scholars viewed it as more acceptable to see supplication as a part of fate rather than rejecting it based on fate. Things that were pre-ordained still come about due to supplication. If fate has precedence in relation to events, Allah also has precedence in relation to fate. An idea contrary to this leads to the assumption that Allah is dominated by fate. Anyway, the purpose of supplication is not to remind Allah of something He does not know, but for a person to express his servanthood and to ask Him for his needs.

 

1. Al-i Imran 3/190-191.

2. Al-Isra 17/44. 

3.Al- Zariyat 51/56.

4.Al-Furkan 25/77.

5.Bukhari, Faith, 1.

6.Bukhari, Daavat, 65; Abu Davud, Salat, 359. 

7.Al-Baqara 2/186.

8.Muslim, Tauba, 2.

9.Al-A´raf 7/14-15.

10.Bukhari, Rikak, 38. 

11.Ibn Mace, Dua, 3.

12.Bakara 2/201; Nahl 16/122. 

13.Ebû Dâvud, Salât, 358. 

Nebi Bozkurt, “Dua Maddesi (Prayer Article)”,Islam'da Inanc Ibadet ve Gunluk Yasayis Ansiklopedisi, IFAV, v. I, Istanbul 2006.
 

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