Supplication is of paramount importance in Islam. The benefits of supplication are immense as are its virtues. In this article, we shall briefly discuss some of reasons why supplication is so important.
1. Supplication is an act of obedience to Allah. By offering supplications, we are actually carrying out Allah’s command. Allah says:
“And your Lord said: Supplicate to Me, I shall answer you.”
(Sûrah Ghâfir: 60)
He also says:
“And supplicate to Him, making your religion sincerely for Him alone.”
(Sûrah al-A`râf: 29)
2. Supplication protects us from arrogance. Allah says:
“And your Lord said: Supplicate to Me, I shall answer you. Indeed, those who are too haughty to worship Me shall enter Hell in humiliation.”
(Sûrah Ghâfir: 60)
Al-Shawkânî offers the following comments [Tuhfah al-Dhâkirîn (28)]:This verse indicates that supplication is an act of worship, since Allah commands His servants to call upon Him in supplication, then says “…those who are too haughty to worship Me…” implying that supplication is a form of worship and that abandoning supplication is a form of arrogance. Indeed, it is the ugliest manifestation of arrogance possible.
How can the servant be too haughty to call upon his Creator and Provider in supplication? Allah is the one who created him – and all of creation – out of nothing. Allah is the one who provides for it all. It is He who gives life to every living thing and He who causes its death. He is the giver of reward and of punishment.
3. Supplication is a form of worship. We have already seen this clearly in the verse that we have just discussed.
Indeed, the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Supplication is worship.”
[Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2969), Sunan Abî Dâwûd (1479), Sunan Ibn Mâjah(3826)]
Al-Tirmidhî declares it to be a good and authentic hadîth. Al-Albânî also authenticates it.
4. Supplication is the most noble of deeds before Allah. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“There is nothing more noble before Allah than supplication.”
[Sunan al-Tirmidhî(3370) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (3829) with a good chain of transmission]
Al-Shawkânî offers the following comments about this hadîth [Tuhfah al-Dhâkirîn (30)]:It has been said that the reason it is so is because supplication signifies Allah’s ability and our inability. However, it would be better to say that since supplication is an act of worship – indeed the pinnacle of worship as we have already discussed – it is most noble to Allah on account of it. This is because worship is what He created his creatures for. Allah says:
“And I have not created jinn or human beings except to worship Me.”
(Sûrah al-Dhâriyât: 56)
5. Supplication is beloved to Allah. In a hadîth from Ibn Mas`ûd – though with a weak chain of transmission – it is related that the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Ask Allah of His bounty, for truly Allah loves to be asked.”
[Sunan al-Tirmidhî (3571)]
6. Supplication expands a person’s heart. It alleviates worry, removes distress, and eases a person’s affairs.
7. Supplication is a means of warding off Allah’s anger. Allah is angry with those who do not beseech Him. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Whoever does not ask Allah, Allah becomes angry with him.”
[Sunan al-Tirmidhî (3373) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah(3827), and declared a good hadîth by al-Albânî]
This hadîth shows that beseeching Allah in supplication is one of the most important and critical of obligations. No one can argue that avoiding Allah’s anger is something obligatory.
8. Supplication shows our reliance upon Allah. The reality of relying upon Allah is for our hearts to depend on Allah alone. This reliance manifests itself in its greatest form when we beseech Allah in supplication, seeking His help, entrusting our problems and our concerns to Him and Him alone.
The fullness of our reliance upon Allah cannot be realized except when we take the necessary steps that we are expected to take to reach our goals. Whoever dismisses the causes for things is not relying upon Allah in the right way. And it needs to be said that supplication is one of the most important of these causes, if not the most important of all.
9. Supplication is a means of ennobling the spirit. This is because the supplicant is resorting to the firmest of supports by way of which he fulfills his needs and seeks assistance in all of his affairs. This removes from the supplicant’s heart feelings of greed for what other people possess, and in doing so, it frees him from servitude to created beings and from dependency on their favor. Dependency on the favor of others breaks a person’s power, since currying the favor of other people becomes his overwhelming concern.
With supplication, a person is spared all of that ignominy and thereby retains his composure and dignity. This is the pinnacle of success and the basis of felicity.
Ibn Taymiyah says [al-`Ubûdiyyah(94-95)]:The stronger the servant’s desires are pinned on the favor and mercy of his Lord as being the means to fulfill his needs and repel his misfortunes, the stronger his servitude to his Lord becomes. And in this is freedom from everything besides Him. For, since it is the case that the more a person’s hopes are pinned on created beings, the more he is compelled to subservience to them, it follows that his having no hope in them provides him with independence from them.
10. Supplication keeps us from helplessness and is an indication of our astuteness. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“The most helpless of people is the one who is unable to beseech Allah in supplication, and the stingiest of people is the one who is too stingy to greet others with peace.”
[Sahîh Ibn Hibbân (1939) and authenticated by al-Albânî]
The person with the feeblest opinions, the basest concerns, and the blindest perspectives is the one who is unable to beseech his Lord. This is because supplication will always benefit him and can never harm him.
11. The rewards of supplication are guaranteed. As long as the supplicant fulfills the conditions of having his supplication answered, he will certainly achieve what is good and invariably earn a good share of benefit on account of his supplication.
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“No one beseeches Allah in supplication without Allah either giving him what he asks for or preventing him from being afflicted with a harm equivalent to it in magnitude, as long as he does not supplicate beseeching something sinful or the breaking of blood ties.”
[Sunan al-Tirmidhî (3381) and graded as good by al-Albânî]
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) also said:
“There is never a Muslim who supplicates without beseeching something sinful or the breaking of blood ties, except that Allah grants him one of three things: either He fulfills his supplication immediately, reserves it for him in the Hereafter, or prevents him from being afflicted with a harm equivalent to it in magnitude.”
It was said: “Then we should do so a lot?”
He said: “Allah is the greatest!”
[al-Adab al-Mufrid (710) and authenticated by al-Albânî]
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“There is never a Muslim who raises his face to Allah and asks something of Him except that Allah gives him what He asks for, either immediately in this world or by reserving it for him in the Hereafter, as long as he does not get impatient.”
They asked: “O Messenger of Allah! What is it to get impatient in this?”
He said: “It is to say: ‘I have beseeched and beseeched and I do not see myself being answered.”
[Musnad Ahmad (2/448) and al-Adab al-Mufrid (711). Al-Albânî says: “It is authentic on the strength of what precedes it.”]
These hadîth show us that a Muslim’s supplication is never neglected. He will, by Allah’s grave and favor, be given what he asks for, either now or later.
Ibn Hajar says [Fath al-Bârî (11/95)]:Every supplicant is answered. However the answer will come in different ways. Sometimes it comes precisely as requested and sometimes by way of something else in its stead.
12. Supplication is a means of warding off affliction before it befalls. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Nothing reverses Divine Decree except supplication.”
[Sunan al-Tirmidhî (139) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah(90) and graded as good by al-Albânî]
Al-Shawkânî comments [Tuhfah al-Dhâkirîn (29-30)]:This hadîth gives an indication that Allah prevents, by virtue of supplication, what He had decreed to befall the servant. A number of hadîth are found that convey the same idea…
In brief, supplication is by Allah’s decree. Therefore, He may decree that something would befall his servant had he not offered supplication, so when the servant offers supplication, it is warded off from him.
13. Supplication brings relief from affliction after it has occurred. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Whoever among you has the door to supplication open to him, then he has the gates of mercy open to him. Allah is not asked anything to be given more beloved to Him than for someone to ask for well-being. Supplication benefits with respect to what has befallen and to what has not befallen. Therefore, worshippers of Allah, engage in supplication.”
[Sunan al-Tirmidhî (3548) and graded as a good hadîth by al-Albânî]
Therefore, we should make every effort to engage in supplication as often as we can, for indeed our supplications are answered and our needs are fulfilled by the grace and mercy of Allah. The fact that the gates of mercy are open to the supplicant is proof enough that our supplications are answered.
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Caution will not save you from what Allah has decreed. Supplication benefits with respect to what has befallen and to what has not befallen. Indeed, supplication will encounter the (impending) affliction and the two will contend with one another until the Day of Judgment.”
[al-Mu`jam al-Awsat (2/800) Musnad al-Bazzâr(2165) and Mustadrak al-Hâkim (1/492) and graded as good by al-Albânî]
14. Supplication opens to the servant the doors of communion with Allah and all the pleasures of doing so. A person might embark upon communicating to his Lord, placing his needs before Him, to find that, while beseeching his Lord, his heart has become filled with the love of Allah, knowledge of Him, submission, humility, and adulation. The experience be so profound and overwhelming that he forgets the need that prompted him to beseech his Lord in the first place. What he experiences in his heart becomes dearer to him than the fulfillment of his need. His joy in it is greater than the joy would be of having his need fulfilled immediately and thereby bringing an end to this special experience.
It has been said by the pious [Ibn al-Qayyim, Madârij al-Sâlikîn (2/229):For there to be for me a need from Allah, so that I ask Him to fulfill it, and on account of it the doors to communion with Him and knowledge of Him, submission, humility, and adulation are opened for me – this is what makes me love to have the fulfillment of my need postponed so that I may just remain in that state of being.
15. Supplication fosters love between Muslims. When one supplicates for his fellow Muslim without that other knowing about it, his supplications are answered. This shows that the person’s inner being is genuinely in conformity with what he shows outwardly. This is a sign of piety, genuineness, and unity among Muslims. It strengthens the love that we feel for one another. Allah says:
“On those who believe and work righteous deeds will the Most Gracious bestow love.”
(Sûrah Maryam: 96)
16. Supplication is a characteristic of the pious and God-fearing. Allah says about His Prophets (peace be upon them):
“They were ever quick in good works, and they would supplicate to us in hope and fear and were humble before Us.”
(Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 90)
Allah says about his righteous servants:
“And those who came after them say: ‘Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the Faith, and leave not in our hearts animosity towards those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful’.”
(Sûrah al-Hashr: 10)
There are many other verses like this one that describe the pious through their supplications.
17. Supplication is a way of making the heart resolute, and it is a cause for being triumphant. Allah tells us abut when Saul and his army came up against Goliath and his forces. He says:
“When they advanced to meet Goliath and his forces, they prayed: ‘Our Lord! Pour out constancy on us and make our steps firm: Help us against those that reject faith’.”
(Sûrah al-Baqarah: 250)
What was the result? Allah tells us:
“So they routed them by Allah’s will and David slew Goliath.”
(Sûrah al-Baqarah: 251)
18. Supplication is the refuge of the oppressed and downtrodden. When oppression and weakness strips a person of all practical hope and leaves him with no soul to help him against those who oppress him, he raises his hands to the sky and sets forth his complaint before his Lord, the Almighty. Allah strengthens him and gives him success and lets His wrath fall upon those who oppress.
We see that Noah (Alaihis salam) supplicated against his people when they oppressed him, spurned him, and rejected his call.
Also, when Moses (Alaihis salam) beseeched Allah in supplication against Pharaoh after he had transgressed, oppressed, tyrannized, and rejected the true faith, Allah answered his supplication. The oppressor’s lot is disgrace in this world and a painful chastisement in the Hereafter.
19. Supplication is a sign of having true faith in Allah. It is an admission of Allah’s Lordship. It is an admission of Allah’s divinity, of His exclusive right to be worshipped. It is a recognition of Allah’s most beautiful names and attributes. When a worshipper beseeches his Lord in supplication, it implies that he believes in His existence, His independence, His hearing and seeing all things, his generosity, His mercy, His power, and his worthiness of being worshipped alone without partner