In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Praise be to Allah. We thank Him, seek His Help and Forgiveness. We seek His Refuge against the evils of ourselves and against our bad deeds. Whom Allah guides, there is no one can mislead and whom He misleads, no one can guide them.
I testify that there is no god but Allah alone and I testify that Muhammad is His Messenger and Servant.
"O you who believe! Fear Allâh (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islâm [as Muslims (with complete submission to Allâh)]" [Al `Imran: 102]
"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwâ’ (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women; and fear Allâh through Whom you demand (your mutual rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allâh is Ever an All-Watcher over you." [Al Nisa': 1].
"O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger (peace be upon him), he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and will be admitted to Paradise)." [Al Ahzab: 70-71].
Now we are coming to the point:
We have mentioned before that invocation is the weapon of a believer to which he resort in crises. From the nice stories reported in this regard is the following: One day, a scholar passed by the house of a rich person and heard the sound of obscene actions. So, he knocked at the door and a servant opened the door. The scholar said to him: Tell your master either to stop this or we will fight him with the arrows of the night. The servant did not understand the statement and went to his master, telling him about what has happened. His master said to him: Go back to him and say: We will stop that because we have no power against the arrows of the night. The meaning of the arrows of the night is: Invocation in the middle of the night.
Sometimes, Muslims are afflicted by withholding of rain, so they resort to Allah and ask for rain. They often do not feel any response for their invocations, so what is the reason? There are many reasons for this. The conditions of invocation must be fulfilled in order to be responded such as:
First, Sincerity to Allah in supplication because it is the core of worship as was reported in the authentic Hadith related by Imam Ahmad and the compilers of the Sunnah as well as stated in the Qur'an; of which: "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!” [Ghafir: 60].
Allah (Glory be to Him) has forbidden to supplicate others. Allah says: "And the mosques are for Allâh (Alone); so invoke not anyone along with Allâh." [Al Jinn: 18]. Allah says: "Verily, those whom you call upon besides Allâh are slaves like you. So call upon them and let them answer you if you are truthful." [Al A`raf: 194]. Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) commended his cousin saying: "When you ask, ask Allah and if you to seek help, seek help from Allah." This condition, sincerity to Allah in invocation, is lost in many countries except in few.
Many people are confused, saying: We do not invocate other than Allah but we seek help from Allah by the dead prophets and pious people because our sins are numerous. So, when we seek help of Allah by those dead, we use them as a mediation for the sake of our invocations to be answered.
That was the claim of the infidels of Makkah whom Allah narrated their story. They said about their idols and statues which were images for pious people as Allah says: "We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allâh.” [Al Zumar: 3] i.e., they made them only mediators to Allah.
To clear this issue: The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) are the ones who have achieved the pure and complete monotheism because they received the religion directly from the Prophet (peace be upon him). They had some adversities and troubles but they never asked anyone but Allah (peace be upon him) by His Messenger. Moreover, one year when there was a drought, `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) - as was authentically reported in the Sahih – went out along with Al `Abbas ibn `Abdul-Mutalib, the Prophet's uncle, to ask Allah for rain. He said: O Allah, when had a drought, we used to ask you rain by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and here we ask you rain with the uncle of Your Messenger. Al `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) supplicated Allah for them and they were answered. In the previous example, the Companions were near the Prophet's grave; why did not they ask Allah by the Prophet's grave and they sought the supplication of the living i.e., Al `Abbas? The answer is: Because the Prophet (peace b upon him) has left the world and moved to the other life.
Tawassul (seeking to draw close to Allah through lawful means) is of three types:
1- Tawassul to Allah by His Names and Attributes by saying: O Living, O the Eternal, O Hearer, O All-Seeing... etc.
2- Tawassul to Allah by pious actions as in the story of the three persons. When a huge rock blocked the opening of the cave and locked them inside, they supplicated Allah by their pious actions and supplicated their Lord. So, Allah removed away the rock and they were out walking.
3- Tawassul to Allah by the supplication of a pious Muslim brother as was reported in the story of `Umar with Al `Abbas and as was reported in the Sahih from the Hadith of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) when he entered the Masjid and said: "O Allah's Messenger! The livestock are dying and the roads are cut off. and asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to supplicate Allah for them and the rain has fallen.
These are the types of permissible Tawassul while the other types are not permissible.
The second condition is: Not to rush things up because it is so frustrating. It was reported in Sahih Muslim that the Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "The supplication of the servant is granted in case he does not supplicate for sin or for severing the ties of blood, or he does not become impatient. It was said: Allah's Messenger, what does:" If he does not grow impatient" imply? He said: That he should say like this: I supplicated and I supplicated but I did not find it being responded. and then he becomes frustrated and abandons supplication."
The third condition is: To supplicate Allah for good as was stated in the previous Hadith: "The supplication of the servant is granted in case he does not supplicate for sin or for severing the ties of blood, or he does not become impatient."
The fourth condition is: The attentiveness of the heart during supplication. It was reported in the Hadith which Al Tirmidhy and Al Hakim recorded that the Messenger of Allah said: "Supplicate Allah while you are sure that you will be answered. Let it be known that Allah does not respond to the supplication coming from inattentive heart." i.e., Your heart must be attentive while supplication, understanding what you are saying. Remember whom you are addressing, for you are talking to the Lord (Glory be to Him). So, it is not proper to talk to your Lord in words that you do not understand or with statements that you used to repeat without grasping their purports.
Very often we ask Allah for rain but we do not see any answer to our supplications. The reason behind this is that we supplicate in memorized supplication without trying to understand their meanings. We all supplicate to remove the harm we suffer and if we reflect on the supplication, we will understand what we are saying. The perfect example is Africa and if those people supplicate Allah, surely they will understand what they are saying. However, when they supplicated Allah, they asked Him by the name of Al Bukhari who died more than 1000 years ago as one of the Sudanese people has told me. Old saying goes as follows: A faked-mourner woman is not like the woman who lost her child. It is a parable for people's difference according to the conditions they have been through. When someone dies in some communities, they bring a woman to weep, shout and cry over their deceased. It is thus said: The weeping of this faked-mourner woman is not like the weeping of the woman who lost her child because the later feels the bitterness of departure. This is a good example for those who supplicate Allah without need and those who supplicate Allah in real need.
The fifth condition of answering supplications is: Thanking Allah for food. This is the most critical issue which no Muslim can divorce himself from these days due to their indulgence in pleasures, seeking the world and their lenience regarding where from they obtain their livings. People engage themselves in unlawful dealings and foods that are brought from the non-Muslim countries.
All these things and the like might be the barrier that blocks the way of answering supplications. It is reported in Sahih Muslim that the Messenger (peace be upon him) said: O people, Allah is Good and He therefore, accepts only that which is good. And Allah commanded the believers as He commanded the Messengers by saying: "O Messengers, eat of the good things, and do good deeds; verily I am aware of what you do" (xxiii. 51). And He said: 'O those who believe, eat of the good things that We gave you" (ii. 172) He then made a mention of a person who travels widely, his hair dishevelled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky (and thus makes the supplication): " O Lord, O Lord," whereas his diet is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, and his clothes are unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful. How can then his supplication be accepted?
From these things which a Muslim should care for is: To supplicate Allah in times of prosperity and in adversity. In the Prophet's will to his cousin `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, he says: "Know Allah in prosperity, He shall know you in adversity." That means: When a servant fears Allah, maintains His boundaries and safeguards His rights in prosperity, he has recognized Him and created a special relation with Allah. Consequentially, his Lord recognizes him in adversity and saves him from hardships by that knowledge. It was reported in the Hadith which Al Tirmidhy and Al Hakim recorded that the Messenger of Allah said: "Anyone likes that Allah responds to him in hardships and adversities, they should supplicate Allah frequently in prosperity."
Ad-Dahhak ibn Qays said: "Mention Allah in prosperity, He mentions you in adversity. Yunus (Jonah peace be upon him) used to remember Allah frequently. When he fell in the whale's belly, Allah (Glory be to Him) said: "Had he not been of them who glorify Allâh, He would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection." [As-Safat: 143-144]. The Pharaoh was a tyrant and never mentioned Allah but when he was about to sink, he said: I have believed. Thereupon, Allah said: "Now (you believe) while you refused to believe before and you were one of the Mufsidûn (evil-doers, the corrupters)." [Yunus: 91].
Abu Ad-Darda' said: "Supplicate Allah in days of prosperity so that he may answer your supplications in adversity."
The most important hardship that hits a person in the world is death and what comes after death is severer if the person had not done good. It is the duty of a believer to prepare himself for death by piety and pious actions. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "O you who believe! Fear Allâh and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Well-Acquainted with what you do. And be not like those who forgot Allâh (i.e. became disobedient to Allâh), and He caused them to forget their ownselves, (let them to forget to do righteous deeds). Those are the Fâsiqûn (rebellious, disobedient to Allâh)." [Al Hashr: 18-19].
As for a disbeliever, he does not remember Allah or mention Him except in the time of hardship as Allah says: "And when some hurt touches man, he cries to his Lord (Allâh Alone), turning to Him in repentance. But when He bestows a favour upon him from Himself, he forgets that for which he cried for before, and he sets up rivals to Allâh, in order to mislead others from His Path. Say: “Take pleasure in your disbelief for a while: surely you are (one) of the dwellers of the Fire!”" [Az-Zumar: 8].
Allah says: "And when harm touches man, he invokes Us, lying on his side, or sitting or standing. But when We have removed his harm from him, he passes on as if he had never invoked Us for harm that touched him! Thus it is made fair-seeming to the Musrifûn that which they used to do." [Yunus: 12].
There are proprieties for supplication which a person should take care of; of which are: To begin supplication with praising Allah and sending peace and blessing upon His Prophet (peace be upon him) as was reported in the authentic Hadith recorded by At-Tirmidhy and Al Nasa'y on the authority of Fadalah ibn `Ubayd that he said: When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sitting, a man entered (the Masjid) and began to offer Salah. The man said: O Allah! Forgive me and have mercy upon me. Thereupon the prophet (peace be upon him) said: "O you who performed Salah, you have finished your Salah quickly. When you sit (in the final sitting before ending Salah), praise Allah properly, send peace and blessings upon me and then make your supplications." He said: Another man offered Salah. He praised Allah and sent peace and blessings upon him; thereupon, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him: "O you who offered Salah, supplicate Allah and your supplication shall be answered."
From these proprieties is: To think positively in Allah. It was previously said in the Hadith: "Supplicate Allah while you are sure that your supplications shall be answered."
Of which is: To admit the guilt as was reported in the authentic Hadith that was recorded by Al Hakim and others in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Allah wonders at a servant who says: No god but You. I have wronged myself, so forgive my sins for no one can forgive sins but You. Allah says: My servant has known that his Lord forgives and punishes."
From these proprieties is: To supplicate Allah with determination. It was reported in the two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) says: "When anyone of you appeal to Allah for something, he should ask with determination and should not say, 'O Allah, if You wish, give me', for nobody can force Allah to do something against His Will."
A person should supplicate Allah with the short exclusive words and do not exaggerate in Supplication. He should also seek the preferable times in which supplication may be answered such as in the middle of the night, between Adhan and Iqamah, during Salah, especially during prostration, when hearing Adhan, on Friday, in `Arafah and on the Night of Revelation.
Allah may not respond to the supplication a person for several reasons:
1- The answer may be delayed to a more suitable time and your Lord knows the interests of His servants.
2- Allah may not respond to a person in the world to reward him in the Hereafter for a definite wisdom.
3- Allah may alleviate some harm from a person for his supplication and we do not realize our interests as Allah says in the story of the boy in Surat Al Kahf: “And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief." [Al Kahf: 80]. You may think that it is better for you that Allah provide you with a child to be the joy of your life and to raise him properly. However, you do not know that this boy may be against you as in the story of this boy.
However, there are other cases where invocations are responded; of which are: The invocation of the oppressed, the traveller, parents against their child, the Mujahid for the sake of Allah, the one who performs Hajj and `Umrah and the invocation of person to his Muslim brother.
These are the cases in which supplications are responded. So, dear brothers, we have to fulfil the conditions of invocations, especially in the current times where many Muslims have neglected sincerity in supplication. They supplicated other than Allah or committed some impermissible matters that lead to disbelieve in Allah such as Tawassul by the dead whether the dead is the Prophet (peace be upon him) or by the right of such and such pious person. Who have fulfilled sincerity in invocation, you find lack in some other conditions. Therefore, you see that the enemies of Islam have dominated the Muslim countries despite continuous invocations. We do not see much results of our supplications that is because we have neglected the reasons of answering supplications. I ask Allah to grant our Muslim brother success in fulfilling them in order that Muslims become powerful again after they had been humiliated. I ask Him to grant them success in obeying and worshipping Him and that is not difficult for Allah. O Allah, make Islam and Muslims victorious, humiliate disbelief and its people and provide victory for Your loyal servants. O Allah, reform our religion which is the core of our life and reform our world in which we live. O Allah, reform our Hereafter to which is our final destination. Make the world good and make death a comfort for us against every evil. Our last supplication is: Praise be to Allah, the lord of all mankind.
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