They were a small family living in their modest home a few hundred miles outside of Riyadh. Their city was literally in the middle of the desert. One Ramadan, the mother of the home became resolved to an extremely specific request from Allah. Her cornerstone du’aa in this blessed month would be as follows:
🤲 ‘Oh Allah, grant our family a grand house on a river!’
The whole month she persisted in her du’aa. Every night at the time of iftar, her husband would find her praying with heartfelt tears for her riverside dream house. He would smile and tell her, ‘A house I understand, but you want a house on the river while we live in the middle of the desert?! My dear, we are not moving to Europe anytime soon.’ ‘This does not concern you.’, she would respond. ‘This is between me and Him!’
Shortly after Ramadan of the same year, even before the Hajj season, the husband received a call from one of his relatives who lives in Riyadh. Allah had blessed this man with a good deal of wealth, and he regretted that he had not taken better care of his relatives, including the husband in our story. He called not only to offer him a good job, but also a huge house in Riyadh. The husband thanked his relative and accepted the offer on an agreement that he would put some money toward the house.
The husband traveled with his wife to the city but did not yet tell her about the house. When they arrived, he was himself surprised. This was not a house. This was a palace! The wife burst into tears and began profusely praising and thanking Allah.
Already in awe at how Allah had responded to his wife’s du’aa, the husband began searching the property for the river. He figured there must be some type of canal, perhaps a manmade lazy river, or maybe even a swimming pool. Nothing. As grateful and excited as the couple were for their new home, the wife confidently said, ‘I am sure I will get my river.’
Sometime later, the husband told their story to a shaykh. He told him how amazed he was that Allah answered his wife’s du’aa for a house more than he ever expected but wondered why Allah did not give her everything she asked for – the river.
The shaykh began asking the man details about where they lived including the neighborhood, ‘So you are close to masjid so and so?’. The husband told him that the masjid was in front of their home as he stepped out the door.
The shaykh said: ❝That is your river!❞
The shaykh was referring to the hadeeth in Saheeh AlBukhari from Abu Huraira in which the narrator says: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him?” They said, “Not a trace of dirt would be left.” The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “That is the example of the five prayers with which Allah blots out (annuls) evil deeds.”
✤ There are many reflections I have about this amazing story:
► Reflection 1:
The power of du’aa always amazes me. Allah loves for us to pray to Him and ask of Him because He loves to give to His servants, especially those recognize their need of Him.
Allah ﷻ The Almighty says:
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِى عَنِّى فَإِنِّى قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ
“When my servants ask you concerning me, I am indeed near. I respond to the caller when he calls upon me.”
Have you ever noticed that in every verse in the Quran when it says “when they ask you”, it then says “tell them”? In this verse we notice two differences:
- First, there is no “tell them” because Allah answers His servants, each of us, directly without anyone in the middle. Everyone of us needs another person to teach us and to explain to us about Allah and His religion, but none of us need another person to pray to and ask of Allah.
- The second interesting difference is that there is no mention of a question like the other verses (they ask you about the moon, they ask you about the orphans, they ask you about menses). In this verse, Allah only says ‘they ask you about me’ but there is no mention of du’aa or seeking a request. Allah is the one who makes a connection between asking about Him and asking something from Him, and he addresses us directly telling us that He is near and that he responds to our call. Allah is ready and happy to answer us even before we ask!
► Reflection 2:
We might ask Allah for something, but in His infinite knowledge and wisdom Allah has something better for us. The wife was seeking the beautiful scenery of a river, but Allah gave her and her family an opportunity to raise their levels in paradise where the rivers will not only run in front of your house but beneath it as well.
يَغفِر لَكُم ذُنوبَكُم وَيُدخِلكُم جَنّاتٍ تَجري مِن تَحتِهَا الأَنهارُ وَمَساكِنَ طَيِّبَةً في جَنّاتِ عَدنٍ ۚ ذٰلِكَ الفَوزُ العَظيمُ
“He will forgive your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and house you in splendid homes in the Gardens of Eternity. That is the ultimate triumph.”
مَثَلُ الجَنَّةِ الَّتي وُعِدَ المُتَّقونَ ۖ فيها أَنهارٌ مِن ماءٍ غَيرِ آسِنٍ وَأَنهارٌ مِن لَبَنٍ لَم يَتَغَيَّر طَعمُهُ وَأَنهارٌ مِن خَمرٍ لَذَّةٍ لِلشّارِبينَ وَأَنهارٌ مِن عَسَلٍ مُصَفًّى ۖ وَلَهُم فيها مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَراتِ وَمَغفِرَةٌ مِن رَبِّهِم ۖ كَمَن هُوَ خالِدٌ فِي النّارِ وَسُقوا ماءً حَميمًا فَقَطَّعَ أَمعاءَهُم
“The description of Paradise which the righteous have been promised is that in it are rivers of water in which the taste and smell never change; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine delicious to those who drink; and rivers of clarified honey. Therein for them is every kind of fruit; and forgiveness from their Lord. (Are these) like those who shall dwell forever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water that tears apart their insides?” (Quran 47:15)
I am happier with the choice that Allah makes for me than the thing I wanted for myself.
► Reflection 3:
We need to learn how to see the du’aa as an opportunity to be connected with Allah instead of just a way to gain things. Allah communicated with us through the Qur’an, and we communicate with Him through our du’aa. When you pray, do not only ask for worldly things, but make sure to pray for your forgiveness and for Paradise.
eed bin Jubayr said that IbnAbbas said, “Some bedouins used to come to the standing area (
Arafat) and supplicate saying,O Allah! Make it a rainy year, a fertile year and a year of good childbearing.’ They would not mention any of the affairs of the Hereafter.
Thus, Allah revealed about them:
فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَـقٍ
“…But of mankind there are some who say: ‘Our Lord! Give us (Your bounties) in this world!’ and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter.”
The believers who came after them used to say:
رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الاٌّخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
“…Our Lord, give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!”
Next, Allah revealed:
أُولَـئِكَ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا كَسَبُواْ وَاللَّهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ
“For them there will be an allocated share for what they have earned. And Allah is swift in account.”
Allah criticizes those who only ask for this life but praised those who ask for the affairs of both this life and the Hereafter.
► Reflection 4:
Take advantage of Ramadan and increase your du’a in this month. Be bold and do not hold back in seeking from Allah. More than fifty times Allah told us that He is capable of everything and is All Powerful.
He told us in the Quran:
وَقالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادعوني أَستَجِب لَكُم
“Call on me, I will respond to you…”
Ramadan is the month of du’aa and answering. When you make du’aa at the time of breaking the fast, be certain that your request will be answered.
The Prophet (ﷺ ) said: “Three supplications will not be rejected (by Allah): the supplication of the parent for his child, the supplication of the one who is fasting, and the supplication of the traveler”
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ ) said: “Du’aa is not rejected between the adhaan and iqaamah, so engage in du’aa (supplication).”
Whenever your du’a comes after great act of worship like fasting, that is one of the causes for the prayer to be accepted.
In Ramadan, when we eat our suhoor in the morning, this is also an excellent time for du’aa.
Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: ‘In the last third of every night, our Lord descends to the lowermost heaven and says; “Who is calling Me, so that I may answer him? Who is asking Me so that may I grant him? Who is seeking forgiveness from Me so that I may forgive him?”‘ [Sahih al-Bukhari]
The Prophet (ﷺ ) said: “There is at night an hour, no Muslim happens to be asking Allah any matter of this world or the Hereafter, except that he will be given it, and this occurs every night.”
In your night prayer, take advantage of every sujood (prostration) and before you close the prayer with tasleem. Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), said: ‘The nearest a slave can be to his Lord is when he is prostrating, so invoke Allah (Most High) much in it. [Muslim]
Take advantage of every Friday. Narrated Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him): Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) talked about Friday and said: “There is a moment on Friday during which if a Muslim is offering Salat (prayer) and asks something from Allah (Most High), then Allah (Most High) will definitely fulfill his request.” And he (ﷺ) indicated the shortness of that particular time with his hands. [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Some have said that this hour is from the time the Imam enters the mosque on Friday’s prayer until the prayer is over, whereas others have said that it is the last hour of the day (i.e., after the Asr prayer until the Maghrib prayer). If you make du’aa the entire day, I guarantee you that you will catch it.
Take advantage of Laylat-ul-Qadr (The Night of Decree). This night is the greatest night of the year. This is the night which the almighty Allah said about it:
لَيلَةُ القَدرِ خَيرٌ مِن أَلفِ شَهرٍ
“The night of Al-Qadar (Decree) is better than a thousand months.” [Surah al-Qadr, 97:3]
The Night of Decree is one of the nights in the last ten nights of the blessed month of Ramadan, and most likely in one of the odd nights. The angels descend down to the earth, and the earth is overwhelmed with peace and serenity until the break of dawn. It is when the doors of Paradise are opened, so open your heart and pray to your Lord.
Can you see how many opportunities you have? It all depends on how much you are willing and committed.
I encourage everyone to learn about the etiquettes of du’aa and its rulings. For me, one of the most important aspects of du’aa is that it should be sincere to Allah alone. It comes from the heart, so it does not matter what elaborate words you express or what language you use.
🤲 I ask Allah to open our hearts to call upon Him in every matter of our lives, and to give us what pleases us in this life and next.
- Waleed Basyouni (Ph.D)
Vice-President AlMaghrib Institute