The cornerstone of Islam is the concept of a single deity and the direct relationship of people with God. The Muslim prayer is addressed directly to the Creator, without any sons, partners, semi-Gods, saints, or ancestors who intervene on the supplicant’s behalf. In other words, we don’t need “wasta” with God. We are taught to pray directly to the source of all good – God Almighty – and that praying to others or expecting benefit from them is offensive to God and a great sin.
He said in the Quran, “And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.” (2:186) If God Himself hears our prayer and answers us, why would we ever ask another? In addition to performing formal prayers at regular intervals so that we are trained to connect with God often, we are encouraged to engage often in remembrance of God and supplication.
Supplication is informal communications with God, a spontaneous prayer from the heart of a believer at any moment during his life – in times of need, in moments of joy, during reflection or strenuous effort. The prophet Mohammed (PBUH) set a perfect example by supplicating often from the time he woke up until he slept at night. He repented often, sought God’s help at every opportunity and constantly glorified He who sustains us, provides for us and guides us throughout our lives.
His supplications were recorded by his companions and touch every aspect of life – from the usually mindless activities such as dressing in the morning to the most serious and somber situations like preparing a body for burial. Ramadan is a month full of many blessings and a superior time for supplication. This can be inferred from the statement of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who said, “When Ramadan comes, the Doors of Mercy (another narration says Paradise) are opened, and the doors of Hell are closed, and the devils are locked up.”
(Sahih al-Bukhari #1899, Muslim #1079)Thus, it is clear that supplication during Ramadan has a greater chance of being accepted, as the Gates of Paradise and Mercy are opened. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also said, “Three supplications will not be rejected (by Almighty God), the supplication of the parent for his child, the supplication of the one who is fasting, and the supplication of the traveler. [at-Tirmidhi].
Because Ramadan is the month of fasting, it is one of the best times to supplicate to our Creator for whatever our hearts desire. But be careful what you ask for! Ask things that are really important and valuable, not things that could eventually lead us to wrongdoing. The Quran provides examples for our prayers. The following prayers touch upon many worthwhile aspirations: My Lord, increase me in knowledge. (20:114) My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring.
Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of those who submit to You. (46:15) Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and make us die as those who have surrendered themselves unto You. (7:126) And do not disgrace me on the day they are [all] resurrected, the day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children, but only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart. 26:87-89 Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire (2:201).
Courtesy of the TIES Center, whose mission is to empower Kuwait’s expats through social and educational services that promote a positive and productive role in society, and to facilitate opportunities for intra- and interfaith interactions that promote social solidarity. For more information, please call 25231015/6 or e-mail: [email protected].
By Teresa Lesher