Lecture 8 in the Ramadaan series:
DUA IN THE LIGHT OF QURAN & AHLUL BAIT (A.S)
Tuesday 14 May 2018 (8 Ramadaan 1440)
Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town
Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
The last condition we discussed was softening of the hearts and tears as very important factors in the acceptance of duas (lecture 7). As Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) said, we should take benefit when our heart is broken, as that is the time of acceptance of our dua. We discussed a number of aspects in this regard, as the emphasis is great on this part of dua, namely softening of the hearts and tears.
We should try hard to make our hearts soft, even one teardrop is very precious. Our religious scholars have emphasised greatly, that we should try to cry when we make dua. We should try to shed tears, even with the help of remembering some hardships and calamities.
CRYING IN AWE OF ALMIGHTY ALLAH (SWT) GAINS US PROXIMITY TO HIM
I would like to complete the remaining points on this subject in this discussion. I would like to list a few benefits of tears and having a soft heart.
Firstly, crying and softening of hearts bring proximity to Almighty Allah (SWT). Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) explains that Almighty Allah (SWT) sent revelation to Nabi Moosa (a.s), and said that His servants do not come any closer to Him than when they have these 3 qualities/characteristics. They are:
- Abstain from Dunya pursuits
- Abstain from sins
- To cry out of His fears
One of the places where the servant is closest to Almighty Allah (SWT) is when he is crying out of the fear of Almighty Allah (SWT).
Secondly, when someone cries in a gathering of dua, the whole gathering is blessed with the mercy of Almighty Allah (SWT). Again, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) says that if one person cries out of fear of Almighty Allah (SWT), the whole community and nation will receive the mercy of Almighty Allah (SWT). This is a most profound point we will discuss later.
THE BEAUTY OF THE NIGHT IS THE SECRET TIME OF DUA
Crying brings love of Almighty Allah (SWT). There are many Hadith narrated, which say that there is nothing better than bringing love of Almighty Allah (SWT) than shedding tears in fear of Allah (SWT). Our 5th of Imam of Ahlul Bait (a.s), Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s) said that there is not a drop of tear loved more dear by Almighty Allah (SWT) than the drop of tear which is shed in the darkness of the night.
This is the time when there is nobody. You are all alone and it is peaceful with pin drop silence. Nobody is watching you. You are alone with your Lord (SWT), and you shed tears out of fear of Almighty Allah (SWT), and no other motive. Almighty Allah (SWT) loves this drop of tear more than anything else, because he acknowledges you staying up for Him in the middle of the night when everyone else is fast asleep.
On the same chapter of dua and spirituality, there is a great emphasis in the teachings of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) on the night specifically. There are many Hadith narrations which say that we will never achieve except by keeping the night alive. These stages are not possible without leaving our warm beds and being alone with Almighty Allah (SWT).
TEARS CLEANSE OUR SOULS FROM SINS
Again, there are plenty of Hadith narrations on this point, which says that one tear out of the fear from Almighty Allah (SWT) washes away the sins. Imam Ali (a.s) said that sins are washed away with the tears for Almighty Allah (SWT), and results in the protection of the whole body from the Hellfire, despite tears only coming from our eyes!
Hadith narrations explain that every eye on the day of Qiyamah will be stressed and under intense pressure, except 3 eyes:
- The eye which was lowered when looking at something Haraam.
- The eye which was awake during the night, in obedience to Almighty Allah (SWT).
- They eye which cried in the middle of the night, out of fear of Almighty Allah (SWT).
All of these factors result in tears bringing Noor (light) to your soul and enlightens your heart, namely:
- your eyes bringing you closer to Almighty Allah (SWT),
- your tears results in the forgiveness of your whole community,
- your tears results in the love of Almighty Allah (SWT) coming to you,
- your tears wash away your sins, your tears protect your whole body from the Hellfire
Imam Ali (a.s) says that crying out of fear of Almighty Allah (SWT) enlightens the heart and protects the heart from repetition of sins. This is the amazing effect of crying, that it makes it very difficult to commit the same sins.
PERSISTENCE OF DUA IN GOOD TIMES AND HARD TIMES
We covered 5 conditions for acceptance of dua in the previous discussion (lecture 7). Another very important issue in dua and the manners of dua is persistence. This is the 6th condition.
This means that we should not only make dua when we need something or when we are in a difficult situation. In fact, dua supposed to be during times of both, ease and difficulty.
This means we should always make dua, and this takes us back to our first point in lecture 1, where we established that dua is the channel of communication between us and our Lord (SWT). Therefore, dua should be our communication at all times and not only when we are in a difficult situation.
There is a Hadith which guides us towards knowing Almighty Allah (SWT) during times of ease and He will know us during times of difficulty.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) also says that whoever wants his duas to be accepted during difficult times should make lots of duas during easy times! He goes further to explain that his grandfather Rasulullah (SAWA) said that we should go ahead in dua, because when a servant makes dua in ease and again when some difficulty befalls him, then Almighty Allah (SWT) will recognise this familiar voice!
ABSTINENCE FROM SINS
However, as Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) explains from Rasulullah (SAWA), if a person only makes dua during difficult time, then it will be asked from such a person, where was he before this?! In fact, the Holy Quran also refers to this nature of human beings, that they do not recognise when they are surrounded by blessings and ease. You will recall this from our earlier discussions, that the realisation and need (poverty) is not only in difficult times, but at all times. I am still a dependent beggar, even though everything is going well!
This is the 7th condition for acceptance of dua.
We cannot expect Almighty Allah (SWT) to accept our dua when we do not stay away from sins. Our 5th Imam of Ahlul Bait (a.s), Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s), says that we servants ask our needs from Almighty Allah (SWT), and then we commit sin. Almighty Allah (SWT) informs the angels to not reply to the needs of such a person and deprive such a person from what they want, as they have caused the anger of Allah (SWT) and deserves to be deprived from His mercy.
This condition is mentioned many times in the duas of the Ahlul Bait (a.s), that one of the main reasons for the delay in our duas being accepted, is our sins!
ASSEMBLING FOR DUA
This is also a very crucial condition. Almighty Allah (SWT) loves us to make dua together. There is absolutely nothing wrong in making dua alone, especially when you are alone in the middle of the night in peace and quiet, focussed with your Lord Almighty (SWT). This is one of the best conditions, no doubt.
But let us be honest – not everybody is capable of attaining this condition. Unfortunately, our Imaan (faith) is weak and our hearts are hard, and also our sins are too much, causing us to not be able to achieve this status that we get out of our warm bed in the middle of the night to spend time alone with our Lord (SWT), shedding tears out of His fear.
So, the solution to this is to make dua together, amongst other people, as this has its own special benefit, aside from praying alone.
MOST PROFOUND ANECDOTE EXPLAINING THE BEAUTY OF DUA IN CONGREGATION
I always like to give this example from one of my teachers, who explained that it is not required for each of us to come out of our hostels to join in communal recitation of dua Kumayl, for example.
So, what use to happen is that some students use to feel that they can stay in the room, switch off the lights and make dua on their own. Indeed, this is very good, no doubt! However, our teacher explained through the following beautiful example that there are big benefits of communal recitation of dua, which cannot be achieved if you are alone.
He used to say that there are 2 methods of buying fruit in the market.
Firstly, you select the fruit you want individually. So, you search specifically for the good ones. You never choose the rotten ones, nor do you choose the overripe ones that are about to go bad. You only choose the best ones. So, he explained that Almighty Allah (SWT) is buying from you in this manner, when you make dua alone. He is only selecting the best ones! The rotten ones are left behind!
The second method of buying fruit is through purchasing a whole box! We know very well, that in this box there may be some rotten ones too, amongst the many good ones. However, the buyer will buy, because the few bad ones are altogether amongst the many good ones in the box. My teacher use to say that when we make dua in congregation, Allah (SWT) will “buy” our dua in the whole box, and will overlook the fact that there are a few bad ones in the box!
So, if you want to “sell” your dua one by one, then there is no buyer if you are rotten! Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong in reading dua alone at home, but you can never achieve the same benefit as reading in congregation, as this is wholesale, which means rotten and good are sold altogether! There is no buyer at home for your dua if you are rotten!
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) says that if 40 people get together to read dua sincerely, then it is very difficult for Almighty Allah (SWT) to refuse, because there may be a few very good ones in this “box” of 40, which Allah (SWT) will not refuse the whole “box” ie. the congregation praying to Him.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) goes further to say, that even if there are 4 people, and they read 10 times, then Almighty Allah (SWT) will still surely accept this. Similarly, if there are not 4 people, but 1 person, and he repeats 40 times, then surely Almighty Allah (SWT) will accept at least 1 sincere attempt out of these 40 times.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) then says that whenever his father was sad, he would gather the whole family and raise hands in dua, imploring the help of Almighty Allah (SWT). This was the manner of dua which Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) taught us, that we should bring all the women and children of the house, even the small ones who have no sins, as they are very much the favourite in the eyes of Almighty Allah (SWT).