By Zaineb Shebani
Du`a’ (supplication) is an incredible power that many of us sometimes don’t fully comprehend—because if we did, we would do whatever is necessary to get our du`a’s answered. Sometimes our du`a’s are answered immediately and sometimes they take much longer than we expect. However, when made properly, du`a’ can transform our lives and bring about miraculous results.
In order to get our du`a’s answered we must fully comprehend the dynamics behind du`a’. Firstly, we must have complete certainty (yaqeen) that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (Glorified and Exalted is He) will answer our prayer. There should be absolutely no doubt in our minds that Allah (swt) is listening to our du`a’s and is capable of answering them. We must also be careful not to lose hope in our du`a’ and become impatient when we don’t see the results we want. We need to continuously remind ourselves that the key to getting our du`a’s answered is by being persistent in our du`a’. And most importantly, we must make sure that there isn’t a sin we are committing that we haven’t repented sincerely from, as our sins can be the first thing that can get in the way of our du`a’s being accepted—especially if the sin includes earning a living through unlawful means.
Once this is understood and followed, rest assured that Allah (swt) will either give you what you want or something much better than it; and He will most likely give it to you in a way that you never imagined.
Allah (swt) says: “[…] And whoever fears Allah—He will make for him a way out / And will provide for him from where he does not expect […]” (Qur’an 65:2-3)
ومن يتق الله يجعل له مخرجاً، ويرزقه من حيث لا يحتسب
Allah (swt) also says: “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me—indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of every supplicant when he calls upon Me […]” (Qur’an 2:186)
وإذا سألك عبادي عني فإني قريب أجيب دعوة الداع إذا دعان
Now, I would like to share a story that proves how powerful making du`a’ can be; and how Allah (swt) can answer our prayers in the most miraculous of ways. This story should be taken as a parable, rather than as fact:
Dr. Saeed, a well-known doctor, was once on his way to an important medical conference in another city in which he was going to be granted an award for medical research he had recently done. He could barely contain his excitement on his way to the airport and couldn’t wait until he arrived at the conference. He had worked long and hard on his research and felt his efforts deserved the award he was about to obtain. However, an hour after the plane took off, the pilot announced that there was a problem with the plane and that they were going to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport.
Afraid that he wouldn’t make it in time for the conference, the doctor ran to the information desk as soon as the plane landed and explained to the woman at the desk that he was expected to be at a very important conference and that he needed to find another way to get to his destination. She told him that there was nothing she could do to help him as there wouldn’t be another flight to his destination for another sixteen hours; but suggested he rent a car and drive down to the city as it was only three hours away. Having no other choice, the doctor agreed to the idea despite his hatred for driving long distances.
The doctor rented a car and started his journey. However, soon after he left, the weather suddenly changed and a heavy storm began. The pouring rain made it very difficult for him to see and he missed a turn he was supposed to take. After two hours of driving, he was convinced he was lost. Driving in the heavy rain on a deserted road, feeling hungry and tired, he frantically began to look for any sign of civilization. After some time, he finally came across a dark tiny cottage. Desperate, he got out of the car and knocked on the door.
A small elderly woman opened the door for him. He explained his situation and asked if he could use her telephone. She told him that she didn’t have a phone or electricity but that he was welcome to come in for some food and something warm to drink as he had completely lost his way and that it would take him some time to get back on the right road. Hungry, wet and exhausted, the doctor accepted her kind offer and walked in. The woman told him to help himself to some food and hot tea on the table and then excused herself to finish her prayers.
Sitting on the table sipping his tea, the doctor watched the woman in the dim light of the candles as she prayed next to what appeared to be a small baby crib. Every time she finished a prayer, she would start another one, and she seemed to be engrossed in making du`a’ while in sujood (prostration). Every now and then she would rock the crib gently.
Feeling that the woman might be in need of help, the doctor seized the opportunity to speak as soon as she finished one of her prayers and told her that he hoped Allah (swt) would answer her du`a’s. He then said that he noticed that she had been making a lot of du`a’ and asked if there was something she needed that he could get for her or help her with. The woman smiled and said that Allah (swt) had answered all her prayers except for one. She said she didn’t know why Allah (swt) hadn’t answered this specific prayer yet but perhaps it was because of her weak iman (faith).
The doctor asked if she didn’t mind telling him what she was making the du`a’ for. Nodding her head in approval, she said that the child in the crib was her grandson and that both his parents had recently died in a car accident. She said that the child had a very rare type of cancer and that all the doctors she had seen were unable to treat him. She also said that she had been told that there was a doctor who specialized in the type of cancer her grandson had, but there was no way for her to get to this doctor as he lived very far from her; so she has been spending her days and nights praying and making du`a’ that Allah (swt) helps her find a way to get to Dr. Saeed—the doctor who could treat her grandson.
Upon hearing her words, tears began to flow down the doctor’s cheeks and he said: ‘Subhan’Allah (glory be to God), there was a malfunction in the plane, a thunderstorm hit, and I lost my way; and all of this happened because Allah (swt) did not just answer your prayer by helping you find a way to get to Dr. Saeed, but he brought Dr. Saeed to your house. I am Dr. Saeed.’
With tears streaming down her cheeks, the woman raised her hands in du`a’ and said: ‘Oh Allah, how great and merciful You are!’