Friday Sermon: Du’a/Prayer/Supplication, The Greatest Weapon Of Believer By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His servant and Messenger.
Dear brothers and sisters, have you ever felt upset about something that recently happened to you? Have you ever felt so worried to the point that your head spins? Have you ever felt so angry that you just feel like reacting irrationally? Are you in social, financial, economic, leadership, marital, family, physical, mental or spiritual problems?
Remember, when in doubt, pray it out. The power of prayer has led Prophet Musa, Peace be upon him, to split the two seas. It has led Prophet Ibrahim, Peace be upon him, to cool down the Fire for him amid his execution by Namarud (Nimrod), the most atrocious and tyrannical leader in the world. Most importantly, it has led our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), in victoriously winning many battles in which their armies are substantially outnumbered! The power of Du’a has brought many miracles to the Prophets of Allah, Companions of the Prophet, the awliya and other Muslim brothers and sisters who sincerely believe in Allah.
Respected brothers and sisters, Du’a means invocation – to call out – and is an act of supplication, meaning asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. For Muslims, it is an act of worship in which we ask Allah for His forgiveness and mercy, to grant us His favours and answer our requests.
Du’a is one of the most important tools handed by Allah to humanity, an immensely personal means for us to communicate and connect with the Almighty.
The Qur’an is the word of Allah, revealed by our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) as guidance for humanity. It is permanent and unchanging, its words permanently etched into eternity.
A Du’a is our conversation with our Creator, the relay of our thoughts and words to Him. We can use any words, ask for anything, for good in this life and the Hereafter. We can ask for ourselves, for our friends, for our families, for strangers, for those in need, for the Ummah and humanity.
It is more than just a channel of communication or a ritual, however. Du’a has been described as the essence of worship, for by turning to Allah we are affirming that He alone has the power to grant or deny our wishes, desires, hopes and ambitions.
A Hadith recites that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) stated:
“Du’a is [that act which is worthy of being called true] worship.” [At-Tirmizi]
Dear brothers and sisters, Du’a (pronounced Du‘a) literally means a request, invocation or supplication. According to Imam al-Khattabi, Du’a is the asking of a servant for his Lord for help and for His continued support. It is a form of Ibadah (worship) and Zikrullah (remembrance of Allah).
There are numerous Du’a with various purposes in the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). We are highly encouraged to recite these Du’a from both sources for our benefits in both worlds. Also, we can personalise our Du’a by making it in our own words and in a language we are comfortable with for better contemplation. Even if our expressions in the Du’a may sound opaque or not well organised, Allah Almighty knows best of our thoughts and intentions.
• The power and merits of Du’a/supplication
1. Du’a/supplication is a reminder of Allah’s closeness to His servants, Allah Almighty says:
“And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be on the right path.” [Qur’an, 2:186]
2. Du’a/supplication keeps us humble
By making Du’a, we admit that we, being His flawed servants, are in dire need of His help. Thus, admitting such dependency helps overcome pride and arrogance. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Allah will be angry with those who do not make requests from Him.” [At-Tirmizi]
Sheikh Al-Mubarakfuri—author of Tuhfat al-Ahwazi, the explanation of the AHadith narrated by Tirmizi—said:
“It is because not asking (making Du’a) is arrogance and an expression of self-sufficiency, and these attributes are not permissible for a servant.”
3. Allah Almighty will answer Du’a and remove difficulties of those in distress. He says in the noble Qur’an:
“Is it not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil.” [Qur’an, 27:62]
This Qur’anic verse illustrates the benefit of making Du’a in general. Despite that, some exceptional cases should be brought to our attention. Some Du’a may not be immediately or completely granted by Allah Almighty. And He may eventually bestow with something else that is even better. And some Du’a may not be answered at all for some reason. This is due to the fact that Allah Almighty is Al-Hakim (All-Wise) and Al-Alim (All-Knowing) about what is best for His servants. What we think is good for us could be otherwise in reality, and vice versa.
• The Blessed Times for Du’a
As we earnestly hope to have our Du’a/supplication/prayer answered, look out for these best times known as Sa‘at al-Ijabah or Sa’at al-Istijabah (Times of answered prayers), so that Allah Almighty may fulfil our prayers the best way possible:
1. In the depths of the night
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Our Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the latter part of the night is left and says: Who supplicates Me so that I may answer him? Who asks Me so that I may give to him? Who asks Me forgiveness so that I may forgive him?” [Muslim]
2. Before saying Salam in a prayer
According to the Hadith reported by Abu Umamah (RA), It was said:
“O Messenger of Allah, which Du’a is heard?” He said, “In the last third of the night, and following every prescribed prayer.” [At-Tirmizi]
In interpreting dabr al-salawat al-maktubah (following the prescribed prayers) some scholars are of the view that it is before the Salam. Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
“The word dabr refers to something that is part of a thing, like dabr al-hayawan (the hindquarters of an animal).”
3. Between the Azan and the Iqamah
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“A Du’a/supplication offered between the Azan and Iqamah is not rejected.” [At-Tirmizi]
4. Saying Du’a during free time and in good health regularly
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“If anyone finds pleasure in receiving an answer from Allah in times of difficulty, he should make many supplications when times are easy.” [At-Tirmizi]
In his book Tuhfat al-Ahwazi, Sheikh al-Mubarakfuri explained that:
“Al-rakha (when times are easy) means good health and free time.”
5. Between Asar and Maghrib on Fridays
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Friday consists of twelve hours. There is one in which a Muslim who asks Allah for something will have it granted to him. Seek it in the last hour after Asar.” [An-Nasa’i]
6. Between two Khutbahs of a Friday prayer
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said while talking about the merits of Friday:
“There is a time on Friday at which a Muslim, while he is performing a prayer and is supplicating, will be granted whatever he (or she) is supplicating for. And he pointed with his hand to indicate that this period of time is very short.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
7. During Sujud in a prayer
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The nearest a servant can be to his Lord (Allah) is while doing sujud, so increase in supplication” [Muslim]
8. While drinking the water of Zamzam
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.” [Ibn Majah]
9. During Ramadan—especially before breaking fast, on the last ten days, and the Lailatul-Qadr (Night of Power)
Ramadan, as the best month of all, is filled with great blessings when a servant does good deeds that include Ibadah in the form of Du’a. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“There are three people whose Du’a is not rejected; the fasting person until he breaks the fast, the just leader, and the oppressed person, whose Du’a Allah lifts above the clouds and opens unto it the doors of Jannah, and Allah says: “I swear by My Honour, verily I shall assist you, even though it may be after some time.” [At-Tirmizi]
And as the last ten nights of Ramadan are deemed the best nights of all in a year, it is therefore greatly encouraged to say Du’a during those nights. Regarding Lailatul Qadr, Aisha (RA) said:
“I asked the Messenger of Allah: O Messenger of Allah, if I realise Lailatul Qadr, what should I supplicate in it? He said, “Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.” [At-Tirmizi]
10. At times of adversity
Allah Almighty says in the noble Qur’an:
“And (remember) Zun-Nun (Prophet Yunus), when he went off in anger and imagined that We shall not punish him (i.e. the calamities which had befallen him)! But he cried through the darkness (saying): None has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) are You. Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers. So We answered his call and delivered him from distress. And thus We do deliver the believers (who believe in the Oneness of Allah, abstain from evil and work righteousness).” [Qur’an, 21:87-88]
11. While performing Hajj, on the first ten days of Zul-Hijjah and on the day of Arafah
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“There are no days during which the righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah Almighty than these (first ten) days (of Zul-Hijjah).” [Ibn Majah]
And in another Hadith, he (Peace be upon him) said:
“The best of Du’a is Du’a on the day of Arafah.” [At-Tirmizi]
• Etiquettes of Du’a
There are etiquettes (Adab) that should be observed so that our Du’a will be offered in a proper manner in hopes that they will be granted. Some of these are as follows:
1. Be sincere
Having Ikhlas (sincerity) is a prerequisite of the acceptance of Du’a. Allah Almighty says in the noble Qur’an:
“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him).” [Qur’an, 98:5]
2. Glorify and praise Allah Almighty, and recite Salat (salutation) upon the Prophet
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“When any of you prays, he should begin with the glorification of his Lord and praise Him; he should then invoke blessings on the Prophet (Peace be upon him); thereafter he should supplicate Allah for anything he wishes.” [At-Tirmizi]
3. Include Allah’s glorified names
Seek to learn and understand His glorified names. There will always be at least one name that is apt for what we are asking for in our Du’a. Allah Almighty says in the noble Qur’an:
“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who believe or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do.” [Qur’an, 7:180]
• Things that Hinder the Acceptance of Du’a/supplication
Nothing worries more than not having our Du’a granted especially when our lives are at stake. Therefore, it is imperative to learn the reasons why our Du’a is not being answered as below:
1. Engaging in unlawful activities
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Allah is good and accepts only what is good, and He has given the same command to the believers as He has given to the Messengers, saying, “O Messengers, eat of what is good and act righteously” (Qur’an, 23:51) and also, “O You who believe, eat of the good things which We have provided for you” (Qur’an, 2:172). Then he (the Prophet) mentioned about a man who makes a long journey in a dishevelled and dusty state, who stretches out his hands to heaven saying, “My Lord, my Lord,” when his food, drink and clothing are of an unlawful nature, and he is nourished by what is unlawful, how then can his supplication/Du’a be accepted?” [Muslim]
Despite the committed sins, individuals who erred should not lose hope in Allah Almighty and thus, establish Tawbah (repentance) and gradually improve themselves with what is made obligatory and other good deeds. Allah Almighty affirms His mercy for the wrong-doers:
“Say (O Prophet, that Allah Almighty says), “O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, 39:53]
2. Making inappropriate Du’a and showing a lack of patience and conviction
Making Du’a for something against the Islamic principles will result in not having the Du’a/supplication to be answered. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The servant will continue to have his supplications answered as long as he does not ask for a sin or cutting of ties and he is not impatient.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is its impatience?” The Prophet said, “He says: I have supplicated again and again, but I have not seen an answer. He becomes frustrated with that and gives up supplicating.” [Muslim]
• Making Effort While Praying for the Best
As much as Muslims are encouraged to make Du’a, they should also put in the effort to help realise their wishes, before leaving the outcome to Allah Almighty. Effort should be made due diligence based on the individual’s capacity. It may also require one to review themselves from time to time for better results, as part of the effort altogether.
In fact, the true meaning of Tawakkul comprises both effort and reliance, unlike Tawakul which includes only the latter. The following Qur’anic verse serves as a general guideline to ensuring one exerts himself for self-improvement:
“Verily! Allah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state themselves.” [Qur’an, 13:11]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) taught us to establish effort accordingly, as reported by Anas Ibn Malik (RA) that a man said:
“O Messenger of Allah! Shall I tie it (camel) and rely (upon Allah), or leave it loose and rely (upon Allah)?” He said, “Tie it and rely (upon Allah).” [At-Tirmizi]
What If the Outcome is Different Than What We Prayed for?
As servants of Allah the Benevolent, our responsibility is to do our due diligence in the form of Du’a, effort and reliance on Him to meet our wishes. Nevertheless, we must have unwavering faith in Allah Almighty as His infinite knowledge is way beyond ours, and it includes the predestination of all things.
Our belief will signify husn al-zann (good opinion) towards Him for whatever result, good or bad, that may come eventually. Allah Almighty says in the noble Qur’an:
“Though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [Qur’an, 2:216]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) illustrated how Allah Almighty fulfils one’s Du’a:
“Any Muslim who makes a supplication containing nothing which is sinful or which involves breaking ties of relationship will be given for it by Allah one of three things: He will give him a speedy answer, or store it up for him in the next world, or turn away from him an equivalent amount of evil.” Those who heard it said, “We would then make many supplications.” And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied, “Allah is more ready to answer than they were to ask.” [Musnad Ahmad]
Allah Almighty employs various approaches to address the Du’a/supplication of His servants as He knows what is best for each of them, and how His blessings will affect them, positively or otherwise at any point in their lives. For instance, if we make Du’a to be blessed with an abundance of worldly wealth, peace, unity and progress, Allah Almighty knows how it will impact us in the short and long terms.
Although we have observed all the etiquettes while making this Du’a, Allah Almighty may not grant it immediately as it may corrupt us out of greed. Thus, He may fulfil it at a later time when we are more ready spiritually and morally to hold the responsibility of bearing great wealth.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Safar 22, 1445 AH (September 08, 2023).

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