Saturday, October 29, 2011



In the terminology of Islam, Duʿāʾ (دعاء) Plural: Dow'āt (دعوات) literally meaning invocation, is an act of supplication. The term is derived from an Arabic word meaning to 'call out' or to 'summon', and Muslims regard this as a profound act of worship. This is when Muslim people from all over connect with God and ask him for forgiveness and favors. The Islamic prophet Muhammad(saw) is reported to have said "Dua is the very essence of worship," while one of Allah's commands expressed through the Qur'an is for them to call out to Him:

"And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer)!" 

There is a special emphasis on du'a in Muslim spirituality and early Muslims took great care to record the supplications of Muhammad and transmit them to subsequent generations. These traditions precipitated new genres of literature in which prophetic supplications were gathered together in single volumes that were memorised and taught. Collections such as Imam al-Nawawi's Kitab al-adhkar and Shams al-Din al-Jazari's al-Hisn al-Hasin exemplify this literary trend and gained significant currency among Muslim devotees keen to learn how Muhammad supplicated his lord.

When the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon Him) saw a Muslim man who was sick and had grown feeble like a chicken. The Messenger of Allah said to him: “Did you pray for anything or ask for it?” He said: Yes, I used to say: O Allah, whatever punishment You would give me in the Hereafter, bring it forward in this world. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon Him) said: “Subhaan Allaah! You cannot bear it. Why didn’t you say, O Allah, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the Fire?” Then he prayed to Allaah for him, and He healed him. [Narrated by Muslim 2688]

“No one of you should wish for death because of some harm that has befallen him. If he must wish for it, then let him say: ‘O Allah, keep me alive so long as living is good for me, and cause me to die when death is good for me.’” [Narrated by al-Bukhari, 6531; Muslim,2680] 


Raising one's hands

Raising one's hands is an encouraged option. There are many hadith that describe how Muhammad raised his hands during du'a. Some hadith describe him having raised his hands way up high in emergency situations. Many scholars agree that if it is not an extreme situation that Muhammad did not raise his hands above his head. The exact manner that many scholars in Islam describe how high the hands should be raised during a regular Du'a is up to the shoulders with palms placed together. Scholars however agree that there are two authentic ways of raising one's hands: when not in drastic conditions the palms of one's hands should be turned up facing the skies, whilst the back of one's hands are facing the ground, then the du'a can be "recited". One must also make sure to face the Qiblah (direction of prayer), whilst making du'a. The second way agreed upon by scholars is to have the palms facing one's face; once again one must face the Qiblah, but this time the back of one's hands should also face the Qiblah.

Evidence for facing the Qiblah during du'a can be found in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim-

Abdullah ibn Zayd narrated: 'The Prophet left (Madinah) to this prayer, seeking rain. So he made a du'a, and asked for rain, then he faced the qiblah and turned his cloak inside-out' Sahih al-Bukhari #6343, Muslim #894 and others


Facing the Qiblah

The Qiblah is the direction that Muslims face while performing salah. Facing the Qiblah is an encouraged option. It has been reported in hadith that Muhammad faced the Qiblah while making du'a as narrated in several hadith.

There are also well-known Sahih hadith which narrate that it is forbidden to lift one's eyes towards the sky in prayer.

Abu Huraira(ra) reported: People should avoid lifting their eyes towards the sky while supplicating in prayer, otherwise their eyes can be snatched away.

Wiping the Face

Once the du'a has been completed, it is most common for the supplicant to wipe their face with their hands, and this act signals the end of the du’a. However, this practice is objected to by others, based upon a number of reasons. These reasons include: the wiping of the face is an innovation because there are no authentic hadiths which state that Muhammad ever did it or ordered his followers to do it. Also, in du’a al-Qunut, Muhammad was never reported to have wiped his face after completing the du’a, or to have ordered his followers to do so. Finally, there are many authentic hadiths regarding du’a and none of them mention wiping the face at all.

No comments: