AI-u'man b. Bashir relates that the Prophet (salal/ahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Supplication is essentially what worship is." (Sunan al-Tirmidhi (2969))
Here the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) is indicating that supplication comprehends all forms of worship. This idea is also conveyed in the Qur'an where Allah says: "And your Lord said: Call upon me in supplication. I will answer you. Indeed, those who are too proud to worship Me will enter Hell in humiliation." (Q40[GhaafirJ: 60). We see in this verse that Allah first mentions supplication, saying: "Call upon me in supplication." Then He refers back to it as worship, saying: ".•. those who are too proud to worship Me ... " This shows just how important supplication is. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) considered to be synonymous with worship, indicating that all the worship we engage in is in some way a means of beseeching and supplicating our Lord. On this basis, scholars have divided the act of supplication into two categories:
I. There is supplication whereby a person asks Allah for something. This includes our beseeching Allah for forgiveness and for guidance. It is quite straightforward how this is an act of supplication.
2. Then there is supplication through devotional acts. Our formal prayers are a form of supplication. The fasts that we observe are a form of supplication. When we undertake the pilgrimage, it is a form of supplication. The reason for this isthat when aworshipper engages in one of these acts of worship, it is as if he is saying through his actions: "My Lord, You commanded me and I obeyed and hearkened to Your command. Here I am, offering you my worship, so please accept it from me." This is the very meaning of the humility and submission and the act of beseeching our Lord that - in other words, this is the meaning of supplication.
Also, the Arabic word for our formal prayers - salaah- literally means "supplication". Pure acts of devotion are the best means of supplicating our Lord. When we keep this in mind, it imbues all of our acts of Worship with adeeper meaning and makes us better realize the devotional nature of what we are ngagedin. We cannot lose when we beseech our Lord in supplication. Either we will be granted what we ask for, or we will earn blessings for the act of worship that we have engaged in by the very act of asking Allah. The rewards and blessings of our supplications are guaranteed – by Allah's grace - as long as we are truly sincere in our supplications. This is because our supplications are an act of devotion and a practical demonstration of our faith. Supplication embodies the quintessence of faith. When a person beseeches his Lord, he is acting upon his belief that there isa God - a Creator, a Sustainer, a heavenly Provider who is capable . - of all things and who has all things in His hand. The supplicant has certainty that the One he calls upon possesses what is being asked of Him; since He possesses all that is in the heavens and the Earth. The supplicant also has certainty that all created things are poor and only Allah is rich. Therefore, the act of supplicating our Lord is rich with deep and vital meanings And indeed, supplication repels and combats the greatest bane that can ever afflict the human being be he a believer or an unbeliever - and that is the bane of egoism. It is egotistical selfishness that causesstrife between people, for it is at the root of insolence, aggression, oppression, and tyranny. It causes people to deny the rights of others, to abuse their spouses, and to mistreat their colleagues. It causes a leader to misgovern his people and the governments of countries to transgress against each other. Societies suffer from selfishness and egoism as much as individuals do. It is the virus behind all of the problems and afflictions of human life. Supplication brings to bear the power of faith to defeat this virus. It does so because it brings about a state of self-effacement and humility in the supplicant before Allah, for the worshipper cannot approach his Lord through a better door than the door of humility. This is why the worshipper is closest to his Lord when he is in prostration.
The greatest of supplications are those that contain the meaning of self-effacement. For instance, the following suppIication is mentioned in the Qur'an: "There is no God but You. Glory be to You. Indeed I have been one of the wrongdoers." Also in the Qur'an we find: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves, and ifYou do not forgive us and have mercy on us, then we will surely be arnong the losers." The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said the following supplication: "0 Allah! You are my Lord. There is no God but You. You created me and I am Yourslave. And I am upon Your covenant and Your promise as much as Iam able ... " The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) taught AbuBakr to beseech Allah with the following words: "/ have wronged myself greatly, and no one forgives sins except for You. So forgive me with the forgiveness that is of You, and have mercy on me, for indeed You are Most-Forgiving, Most-Merciful." Ibn Rajab said: "The crying of the (penitent) sinners is dearer to Allah than the chanting of those who glorify His name." Supplicating Allah with this kind of humility rids a person of egoism. It also develops the supplicant's consciousness for others and makes him perceive himself within the context of others. This is why the most blessed and beautiful supplications are those where the supplicant beseeches Allah on behalf of other people – relatives and strangers, the righteous and the sinners, those who agree with him and those who oppose him. Now, when you supplicate like this, you are turning to the Almighty who is capable of all things. He bestows as He wills and decrees asHe wills with His word. If He wills something. He just says "be!" and it is Another way that supplication exemplifies worship is that it is a way of speaking in which the supplicant addresses his Lord directly with good words. This fortifies the speaker's heart and mind as well as those others who may participate in it. Some people are of the contrary impression that supplication is a type of deficiency, a manifestation of incapacity.They think that a person merely sleeps and slts around and then beseeches his Lord. On the contrary, supplication gives us the resolve, the strength, and the encouragement to carry on. This is why the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) told those who asked to be in his company in Paradise: "Help me in this by keeping up abundant prayer." He wanted to tie their aspirations in with constancy, resolve, and effort.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited