Sometimes I feel like I am doing all the right things, such as the five daily prayers, dhikr, fasting, etc., but I still do not feel as close to Allah as I would like.
It makes me wish I could have that “special” feeling in my relationship with Allah that some people do. But most of the time, when this happens, I realize that I am lacking in one major area: dua (supplication).
Dua can be easily forgotten at times, because it is not a fixed requirement like salah is (the formal daily prayers). However, this doesn’t make it any less important. In fact, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Dua (supplication) is the essence of worship.
This means that the true heart of our worship lies in our dua.
A Challenge of Vulnerability
For some people, making dua can be a little difficult because they are not used to opening up emotionally. This may be due to their personality, cultural norms, or even being hurt in the past. Dua challenges our ability to be vulnerable, and it is a reflection of how much we trust Allah.
If someone has trouble opening up to Allah, it helps to make sure the dua is done in a private space where they will not be seen, heard, or interrupted.
Although dua is usually done and even recommended after salah, it can really be done anywhere, even just when laying it bed at night. Emotional vulnerability is a skill of sorts, which can take time to develop. Starting slowly and privately helps. And who better to learn this with than Allah, who will never hurt His worshipers?
A Sign of Sincerity
Throughout the Quran, there are people mentioned who do dua insincerely. These people are not genuine in their relationship with Allah. They tend to only call upon Allah when times are tough, but when things get better, they forget all about the fact that Allah is the one who helped them.
Sound familiar? It’s not an uncommon phenomenon, actually.
Let’s not be like those people. And the best way to avoid that is to be consistent in supplicating to Allah in both good times and bad.
If dua is a daily habit just like our other acts of worship, then it is something that we will be used to doing whether life is going great or not. This is a clear sign of our honest intentions as worshipers of Allah. It essentially shows Allah that our trust in Him and our opinion of Him are not dependent on our life circumstances.
A Special Secret
This is one of my favorite things about dua. I like that it’s like sharing a secret between me and Allah. Only Allah knows what I whisper to Him or ask of Him in my heart. I can open up about my deepest feelings, regrets, and hopes; and I know that I am sharing all of this with the best confidant.
With anyone else, I might worry that they will use these things against me, betray me in some way, or have a worse opinion of me after finding certain things out.
But when it comes to sharing things with Allah, I know that He will always care about me; and He will never use my weaknesses against me. Allah is the one who erases our sins as soon as we ask for forgiveness sincerely. He also grants us our every wish in the way that is best for us, according to His knowledge and wisdom.
Putting Things in Perspective
Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by my life circumstances that even the smallest issues become a big deal to me. This is when dua helps to put things into perspective. When I make dua, I remember that there are others who are in more difficult situations than I am. Praying for others is the easiest way to be reminded of this.
Dua also reminds me that even if my situation seems impossible to overcome, everything is actually under control. That’s because Allah is the one in charge; and He is the one I am asking for help from. So how can I lose hope that things will turn out alright, if the most capable being, the Creator of all that exists, is on my side?
Even if we have been seriously lacking in the dua department, it’s never too late to improve in this area of worship. Allah is waiting for us to call out to Him. Today is as good a day as any to start working on our relationship with Allah; and dua is a great way to do just that.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)