If someone were to ask: "How can duaa repel Divine Decree?" we would respond, "The fact that you may be ill has already been decreed by Allaah for you, as has the fact that you will ask Allaah to cure you of this illness (i.e. both the illness and your asking to cure the illness has been decreed). In a similar manner, a person may be deprived of his sustenance that was decreed for him, since Allaah's eternal knowledge encompassed the fact that this person would perform a sinful deed that would cause the deprivation of his sustenance.
All of this, then, is from the decree of Allah, all Glory and Praise be to Him". There are a number of ahaadeeth that clarify this point. For example, Muadh ibn Jabal (RA) reported that the Prophet (salallahualayhi wa sallam) said: "Caution will be of no benefit against Divine Decree, but duaa benefits all things, whether they come down or not. Therefore I advise you to make dua, O servants of Allaah!" (Timidhi)
So no matter how cautious a person is, he cannot escape what is written for him, simply because Allaah controls everything and nothing escapes His Knowledge or Power. However, by turning to Allaah through duaa, it is possible to avert something that might have been decreed. Salman al-Farsi narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Nothing repels Divine Decree except dua, and nothing increases ones life-span except good deeds." (Tirmidhi)
This hadith informs us in no uncertain terms that the only way that we can repel some Divine Decree is through the means of duaa. So it is possible that some unpleasant matter has been preordained for us; but only if we do not make duaa to avert it from us. So if duaa is made, then this matter will not occur or be fulfilled, whereas if duaa is left, the misfortune will occur. Another narration in al-Tirmidhi also supports this. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "There is no Muslim on the face of the earth that asks Allaah for anything except that Allaah gives it to him, or averts from him a similar evil, as long as he does not ask for something evil ... From this narration, the benefits of duaa are made dear, and its value is understood.
For not only is a person rewarded for making a duaa, but it is also a cause of repelling an evil that was destined for him, and in obtaining the good that he was expecting. Ibn Hajr, commenting on the benefits of duaa, said: "And the benefit of performing duaa is the attainment of reward by obeying the command (of Allaah to make duaa), and also by the attainment of what is asked for, for there is a possibility that the request is dependent on the duaa, since Allaah is the Creator of both the effort and result of the effort!"
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited