Dua is the most potent weapon of a believer. With it, we can never fail, without it, we can never succeed. Once Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) passed by a group of people who were suffering from some affliction. "Why don't they make Dua (supplication) to Allah for protection," he said. With all the suffering and disasters Muslims are facing in various parts of the world, the question can be directed to all of us today.
It is not that we have forgotten Dua completely, we refer to it regularly. But our ideas and practice regarding Dua have become distorted. Often it is reduced to the level of a ritual. Generally it is considered when all our efforts have failed—an act of last resort. It is belittled through actions and sometimes even with words. Is it any wonder that today mostly a mention of Dua is meant to indicate the hopelessness of a situation?
What a tragedy, for Dua is the most potent weapon of a believer. It can change fate, while no action of ours ever can. It is the essence of Ibaadah or worship. With it, we can never fail, without it, we can never succeed. In the proper scheme of things, Dua should be the first and the last resort of the believer, with all his plans and actions coming in between.
Dua is conversation with Allah, our Creator, our Lord and Master, the All Knowing, the All Powerful. This act in itself is of extraordinary significance. It is the most uplifting, liberating, empowering, and transforming conversation a person can ever have. We turn to Him because we know that He alone can lift our sufferings and solve our problems. We feel relieved after describing our difficulties to our Creator. We feel empowered after having communicated with the All Mighty.
In every difficulty, our first action is Dua, as is our last. We ask Allah to show us the way to handle that difficulty; we seek His help in following the path He shows to us, we seek His aid in making our efforts successful. When we fall sick, we know that we cannot find the right doctor without His Will, that the best doctor may not be able to diagnose our condition without His Command. The best treatment plan will not succeed without His permission. We make Dua for all of these. We make Dua before we seek medical help, while we are receiving it and after it has been delivered. The same is true of all other difficulties we may encounter.
Dua is the essence of Ibaadah. A person engaged in Dua affirms his belief in Tauheed (monotheism) and shuns belief in all false gods. A person seriously and sincerely engaged in Dua understands exactly the relationship between himself and the Creator and affirms it through his actions. That is the essence of worship!
In Addition, such a person can never become arrogant or proud, a logical result of true worship. Dua is our most potent weapon in all struggles of life as well as in jihad in the battlefield. During the battle of Badr, Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) stood up all night in prayer seeking Allah's help in the battle between unequal armies that would follow the next day. In the decisive battles against the crusaders, Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi was busy day and night. His days were devoted to jihad. His nights were spent making Dua, crying, and seeking Allah's help.
We should make Dua at all times, not only during times of distress. We should ask for all of our needs: those related to this world as well as those related to the Hereafter. We should make Dua not only for ourselves, but also for our parents, brothers and sisters, spouses and children, relatives and friends, teachers and other benefactors, destitute and struggling Muslims everywhere. We should pray for them for the good in this world as well as in the Hereafter.
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: "The Dua of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side. Whenever he makes a beneficial Dua for his brother the appointed angel says, Aameen. And may you also be blessed with the same. [Muslim, Hadith 4914]
In the dark ages that we are living in today, everyday brings fresh news about atrocities committed against our brothers in Palestine, Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, etc. And what do we do? We can continue to just feel frustrated and depressed. We can petition the determined perpetrators or a fictional "International Community." We can just forget all of this and move on to some other subject. Or we can stand up before Allah and pray for His help, who alone can help.Dua can change our life, our outlook, and our fate. It is the most potent weapon. But it works only for those who try sincerely and seriously to use it.