Thursday 27 May 2021

Allah Reassures Believers to Call upon Him and He will answer their prayers

Prayer / supplication / Du'a is the most powerful tool in the hands of believers to invoke mercy and blessings of Allah. A fact that Allah Himself acknowledges in many verses of the Qur'an so that believers should not feel helpless and the notion of being forgotten does not creep into their minds to weaken their faith.

Herein under, in the 60th verse of Surah 40. Al Mu'min, Allah promises the believers to call upon Him and He will answer their prayers. However at the same time He sounds a warning for those who wax too proud to worship Allah and promises that they shall enter Hell, utterly abased:

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادۡعُوۡنِىۡۤ اَسۡتَجِبۡ لَـكُمۡؕ اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ يَسۡتَكۡبِرُوۡنَ عَنۡ عِبَادَتِىۡ سَيَدۡخُلُوۡنَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِيۡنَ
Your Lord says: "Call upon Me. I will answer your prayers. Those who disdain My worship on account of pride, shall certainly enter Hell, disgraced."

"Call upon Me. I will answer your prayers." That is, "all the powers to answer our prayers vest in Me only; so you should not pray to others but pray to Me." To understand the spirit of this verse well, three points should be comprehended properly:
First, man prays only to that being whom he regards as all-Hearing and all-Seeing and Possessor of supernatural powers. And the real motive of prayer for man is the internal feeling that the natural means and resources of the material world are not enough to remove any of his troubles and to fulfill any of his needs, or are not proving to be enough, Therefore, it is inevitable that he should turn to a being who is possessor of supernatural powers and authority. Man invokes that Being even without having seen Him; he invokes Him at all tithes, at all places, and under all circumstances; he invokes Him in solitude, aloud as well as in a low voice, and even in the depths of his heart. He does so inevitably on the basis of the belief that that Being is watching him everywhere, is also hearing whatever he has in his heart, and possesses such absolute powers that, it can come to the help of the supplicant wherever he is, and can help him out of every trouble and difficulty. After having known this truth about the prayer, it remains no longer difficult for man to understand that the one who invokes another than Allah for help, commits shirk absolutely and purely and clearly, for he believes those attributes to be belonging to the other being, which only belong to Allah. Had he not believed the other being to be an associate of Allah in the Divine attributes, he would never have even thought of invoking it for help.
Second, one should. fully understand that man's merely thinking about a being that it is the possessor of powers and authority, does not necessitate that it should actually become possessor of the powers and authority. Being possessor of powers and authority is a factual matter, which is not dependent on somebody's understanding or not understanding it. The one who is actually the Possessor of the powers will in any case remain the Possessor whether man regards Him so or not. And the one who is not in reality the possessor, will not be able to have any share whatever in the powers only because man has believed it to be possessing the powers Now, the fact of the matter is that the Being Who is all-Powerful, all-Hearing, All-Seeing, and Who is actually controlling the whole Universe is only Allah, and He alone is Possessor of all powers and authority. There is none else in this Universe, who may have any power to hear the prayers and to answer them or reject them. As against this factual matter if some people of themselves start entertaining the belief that some prophets, saints, angels, jinns, planets or imaginary gods also are share-holders in the powers, the reality will not change in any way whatever. The Owner will remain the Owner and the helpless servants the servants.
Thirdly, the one who invokes others than Allah behaves like the supplicant who takes his petition to a government office, but leaving aside the real officer who has authority, presents it before one of the other supplicants who may be present there with his petition, and then starts imploring him humbly, saying Sir, you possess all the powers, and yours is the only authority here; so, you alone can fulfill my needs. " Such a conduct, in the first place, is in itself highly foolish, but in a case like this it also amounts to high insolence, because the real officer who has the authority, is present and before his very eyes applications and petitions are being made before another, apart from him. Then this ignorance and folly reaches its height when the person before whom the petition is being presented makes the petitioner understand over and over again that he himself is a petitioner like him and possesses no power at all, and that the real officer who has the powers is present, and he should make his petition before him. But in spite of this counsel and warning, , the foolish person goes on saying: `Sir, you are my lord: you alone can fulfill my need."
Keeping these three things in view, one should try to understand what Allah has said here: `Call upon Me: I shall answer your prayers: it is for Me to accept them. " 

" Those who disdain My worship on account of pride, shall certainly enter Hell, disgraced." Two things deserve special attention in this verse:
  • Du'a (prayer) and 'ibadat (worship) have been used as synonyms here. The "prayer" of the first sentence has been called `worship" in the second. This makes it explicit that prayer itself is worship, rather the essence of worship; and
  • The words they disdain My worship on account of pride" have been used for those who do not pray to Allah. This shows that praying to Allah is the very requirement of one's servitude to Him, and turning away from Him amounts to being vain and arrogant.
According to Hadrat Nu'man bin Bashir, the Holy Prophet said: The prayer is the very essence of worship. Then he recited this verse." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Abu Hatim, Ibn Jarir). According to Hadrat Anas, the Holy Prophet said. "Prayer is the marrow of worship." (Trimidhi) Hadrat Abu Hurairah says that the HolyProphet said: 'Allah becomes angry with him who does not ask Him for anything." (Tirmidhi)

In the light of the above, the enigma that often causes confusion in the minds is also resolved. In connection with prayer, people say that when the evil or the good destiny is in the control of Allah, and whatever He has already decreed in accordance with His dominant wisdom and expedience has to take place inevitably. what is then the use of the prayer? This is a serious misunderstanding which destroys the importance of prayer from the heart of man, and with this false notion even if man prays, his prayer would be soulless. The above verse of the Qur'an removes this misunderstanding in two ways:

In the first place, Allah says in clear words: ¦Call upon Me: I will answer your prayers." This proves that fate or destiny is not something which. God forbid, might have tied the hands of Allah Himself also, and the powers to answer the prayer might have been withdrawn froth Him. The creatures have no doubt no bower to avert or change the decrees of Allah: but Allah Himself certainly has the power to change His decrees and decisions on hearing a servant's prayer and petition. The other thing that has been stated in this verse is that whether a prayer is accepted or not, it is never without an advantage. The servant by presenting his petition before his Lord and by praying to Him acknowledges His Lordship and Supremacy and admits his own servitude and helplessness before Him. This expression of servitude is in itself "worship", rather the essence of worship of whose reward the servant will in no cast be deprived, irrespective of whether he is grained the particular thing for which he had prayed or not.

We get a full explanation of these two themes in the Sayings of the Holy Prophet. The following Traditions throw light on the first theme: Hadrat Salman Farsi (relates that the Holy Prophet said: 'Nothing can avert destiny but the prayer." (Tirmidhi) that is, no one has the power to change the decisions of Allah but Allah Himself can change His decisions, and this happens when the servant prays to Him.

Hadrat Jabir bin 'Abdullah says that the Holy Prophet said: "Whenever man prays to Allah, Allah either gives him the same which he prayed for, or prevents a calamity of the same degree from befalling him provided that he does not pray for a sin or for severing relations with the kindred." (Tirmidhi) Another Hadith on the same subject has been reported by Hadrat Abu Said Khudri in which the Holy Prophet said: "Whenever a Muslim prays, unless it be a prayer far .r sin or for severing relations with a kindred, Allah grants it in one of the three ways: Either his prayer is granted in this very world, or it is preserved for rewarding him in the Hereafter, or a disaster of the same degree is prevented from befalling him." (Musnad Ahmad)

Hadrat Abu Hurairah says that the Holy Prophet said: "When-ever one of you prays,, he should not say: O God, forgive me if You so please, show me mercy if You so please, grant me provisions if You so please, but he should say definitely: O God, fulfill my such and such need." (Bukhari). According to another Tradition from Abu Hurairah, the Holy Prophet said: `Pray to Allah with the certainty that He will answer it." (Tirmidhi). In still another Tradition Hadrat Abu Hurairah has reported that the Holy Prophet said: "The servant's prayer is granted provided that he does not pray for a sin or for severing connections with the kindred, and is not hasty. It was asked: What is being hasty, 0 Messenger of Allah? He replied: Being hasty is that man should say: I have prayed much, too much, but I see that my prayer is nor being answered. Then he should be tired of it and give up praying." (Muslim). The other theme is explained by the following Traditions:

Hadrat Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet said: "Nothing is as praiseworthy in the sight of Allah as the prayer." (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah).

Hadrat Ibn Mas'ud says that the Holy Prophet said: "Ask of Allah His bounty, because Allah likes that He should be asked." (Tirmidhi)

Hadrat Ibn 'Umar and Hadrat Mu'adh bin Jabal state that the Holy Prophet said: "The prayer is in any case beneficial, both with respect to those calamities which have descended and with respect to those which have not yet descended. So, O servants of Allah, you must always pray." (Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad).

Hadrat Anas says that the Holy Prophet said: `Each one of you should ask his every need of Allah; so much so that even if his shoe-lace breaks, he should pray for it to Allah." (Tirmidhi). That is, even in matters which man feels are in his own power, he should invoke Allah's help for it before planning his own devices for it, for in no matter can man succeed only on the basis of his own devices without the help and succor of Allah, and praying before devising plans means that the servant is at all times acknowledging the supremacy of Allah and admitting his own helplessness. 

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: The Command to call upon Allah By His grace and kindness,
Allah encourages His servants to call upon Him, and He guarantees to respond. Sufyan Ath-Thawri used to say: "O You Who love most those who ask of You, and O You Who hate most those who do not ask of You, and there is no one like that apart from You, O Lord.'' This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. Similarly; the poet said: "Allah hates not to be asked, and the son of Adam hates to be asked.'' Qatadah said that Ka`b Al-Ahbar said, "This Ummah has been given three things which were not given to any nation before, only to Prophets. When Allah sent a Prophet, He said to him, `You are a witness over your nation.' But you have been made witnesses over mankind; it was said to the Prophets individually, `Allah has not laid upon you any hardship in religion,' but He said to this entire Ummah:
(and Allah has not laid upon you in religion any hardship) (22:78) 
And it was said to the Prophets individually; `Call upon Me, I will answer you,' but it was said to this Ummah, (Call upon Me, I will answer you).'' This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Nu`man bin Bashir, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Messenger of Allah said: l(Indeed the supplication is the worship. )'' 

Then he recited: (And your Lord said: "Call upon Me, I will answer you. Verily, those who scorn My worship they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!''). This was also recorded by the Sunan compilers; At-Tirmdhi, An-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir. 

At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih.'' It was also recorded by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i, and Ibn Jarir with a different chain of narration. Allah's saying: (Verily, those who scorn My worship) means, `those who are too proud to call on Me and single Me out,'

(they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!) means, in disgrace and insignificance. 

Imam Ahmad recorded from `Amr bin Shu`ayb from his father, from his grandfather that the Prophet said: (The proud will be gathered on the Day of Resurrection like ants in the image of people, and everything will be stepping on them, humiliating them, until they enter a prison in Hell called Bulas. They will be fed flames of fire, and given for drink a paste of insanity dripping from the people the Fire.)''

Yusuf Ali  Explanation:
As this life is not the end of all things, and we are to have its fulfilment in the Hereafter: we have only to pray to the Lord of the Present and the Hereafter, and He will hear us, forgive us, guide us, and make our Path smooth. But Pride will have its fall,-and its humiliating Punishment: Cf. xxxvii. 18.

Qur'an Wiki:
Allah tells us that He has committed Himself to respond to those who pray to Him, warning those who are too proud that they will be made to suffer total humiliation: "Your Lord says: Call on Me, and I shall answer you. Those who are too proud to worship Me shall enter hell humiliated."

Supplication and prayer must observe certain manners. Hearts must be totally dedicated to God, reassured that He will answer our prayer. We must not suggest a particular form or time or circumstance for answering it. To make such a suggestion is improper when appealing to God. We should be clear in our minds that it is a blessing that we address our prayers to God, and that His response is another blessing. `Umar used to say: "I am not worried about my prayer being answered. I am worried about addressing my prayer. Once I am inspired to pray to God, prayer will be answered." These are the words of someone who has insight, knowing that when God wills to respond to someone's prayer, He also wills that person to pray to Him. The two are concurrent.  Those who are too proud to pray to God and appeal to Him deserve their just reward, which leads them to enter hell in total humiliation. Such is the fitting end of the arrogance that fills some hearts in this small planet and short life, forgetting the greatness of God's creation, let alone His own greatness.

May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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