Your Rabb says: ‘Call unto Me. I will answer your call.” (Surah Mu-min, 60)
You may have understood by the Aayat that the topic of the bayaan today is to draw attention to Du’aa. Perhaps it crosses someone’s mind that we do make Du’aa and we do know the importance of Du’aa then what is the need for the caution? A caution is necessary for something which is not known or not practised?
The need to draw attention to Du’aa is that in spite of knowing and practising, when complacency is shown regarding Du’aa, i.e. its requisite etiquette and provisions are ignored then this confirms that there is a greater barrier here compared to things which are not practised upon due to lack of knowledge. In things which are not known the barrier is only ignorance which can easily be dismantled. But when there is complacency in known things then the barrier is formidable.
Although this indifference and absent-mindedness are bad in all forms of Ibaadat, but in Du’aa these are worse. The reason for this is that although the ultimate purpose of Ibaadat is the essence, but the external form is also a desired objective. But in Du’aa the desired objective is the essence which is: showing one’s need, dependence, submissiveness and attention. When these are missing then there is nothing.
Consider Salaat. The pre-conditions of Salaat, such as wudhu, facing the Qiblah, the amount of Rakaats, etc., evince that apart from the inner purpose of Salaat which is turning to Allah, the external form is also the objective and desired purpose. If a person makes his Ruku’, Sujood, etc., without the inner purpose, that is without his attention focused on Allah Ta’ala, a Mufti will still give Fatwa that the Salaat has been discharged. This confirms that the external form is also the objective. When the external acts of Salaat are confirmed the Fatwa will be of the Salaat having been discharged.
Take another example. In Saum (fasting) indications are that the inner purpose is to suppress the bestial desires of the nafs. Nonetheless, if a person fills his stomach at the time of Sehri and feels no hunger the entire day, in spite of the bestiality within him not diminishing, the fast will be valid by virtue of the external requisites of the fast being met.
A third example: The hidden purpose of Zakaat is to provide wealth to the poor. But it has a prescribed amount and a prescribed time. This shows that the external dimension is also an objective because merely providing wealth for the masaakeen (poor) is not dependent on these factors.
But in Du’aa, neither is time a condition, nor the Arabic language nor facing a particular direction nor a fixed amount nor conditioned with wudhu, etc. Du’aa just requires showing one’s need, one’s submissiveness and one’s helplessness, that’s all. This shows that the soul is everything here.
Now this lip-service ‘du’aa’ read in rote fashion without any humility, awe, or submissiveness in one’s heart is meaningless. To illustrate this inattentiveness, a person presents his appeal to the judge. How does he put forward his appeal? He has his back to the judge and faces a friend of his. He reads a line or two of his appeal and then converses and jokes with his friend. Then he reads another two lines only to engage himself with the friend again. Do you think the judge will appreciate this appeal at all? In fact this person is worthy of being punished.
In exactly the same manner understand the case of Du’aa. As long as the heart is not completely attentive and signs of submissiveness and need are not apparent, that cannot be considered a Du’aa. Allah Ta’ala looks at the condition of the heart.
In short, it is proven fully that presence of mind and humbleness are the prime objectives of Du’aa. If a Du’aa is accepted without these then one should understand that Allah Ta’ala is favouring one; it is not the effect of the Du’aa per se.
(From Muhimmaatud Du’aa by Hazrat Thanwi Rahmatullahi alaih)