By Meru Hussain
I have regularly heard and read reminders about dua: the importance of it, the best time to supplicate, that it can be made anytime. Until recently, I wasn’t convinced that I could ask for anything. Of course, I would make dua and I was certain Al Mujeeb – the Responder – would respond, but I was reluctant to ask for everything I wanted. As with all of my relationships, I was the one setting the rules, the barriers, the formality.
I believe this was part of what was ingrained in me from childhood, as I was mostly reminded of Allah’s Wrath over His mercy. To have hope, yes, but mostly fear.
My background is Pakistani. Growing up, I was taught a less appealing version of Islam than the one I learned when I started studying it from the source. Alhamdulillaah, my parents brought me up on what they knew of Islam, but no doubt there were also cultural influences which, if I was to change my perception of supplication, I needed to weed out. I had the understanding that you could only talk to Allah during salah and make dua after.
I was limiting when to make dua and didn’t really feel a connection with Allah nor work towards building one. So, when I discovered that Allah is As Samee’ and hears even the silent whispers of your heart, I felt comforted and yearned for more knowledge about Allah. I began to strengthen my relationship with Allah and where I was lacking, He would send me an anchor.
My anchor would be struggling to conceive. I married young and was surrounded by other people’s children. I was naïve then and wasn’t sure what I wanted from life, but the norm was to get married and have children. The burden got heavier as the years got lonelier.
It would pain me to see people in my extended family having one child then another and so on. I couldn’t help questioning why not for me? I began thinking, “Is this punishment?” I felt tormented to be surrounded by children, with none to call my own.
I would cry to Allah, making intense du’aa. Succumbing to my desperate desire, I tried ‘cultural remedies’. Whatever well-wishing family and friends would advise, I would act upon as if my life depended on it. I would read certain surahs from the Quran a set number of times, not thinking of the source of this information. I was so focussed on this one area of my life that I had forgotten to be grateful for the many favours I had. It was time to turn back to Allah and call out to Him for guidance.
I slowly began to understand that there was a lesson in this trial, and that if I continued to ignore the lesson I would be engulfed in my own melancholy. I had to accept that I was not the only person in the world who was unable to conceive. I had set my mind to follow the narrative that society projected onto me, not what Allah had decreed for me.
I made peace with my inability to conceive. Although I never stopped making dua, I paved the way to make this volcanic desire dormant.
After 8 years of tears and dua, I was blessed with a daughter, alhamdulillaah. I accepted that this may be my only child and was grateful. However, when Allah gives, He doesn’t hold back.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ(salAllaahu alayhi wasallam) saying, “When Allah created the creatures, He wrote in the Book, which is with Him over His Throne: “Verily, My Mercy prevailed over My Wrath” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
After 2 years I fell pregnant again, with a son, alhamdulillaah. I cannot express in words how much I had wanted children. I never thought anything would even come close to this desire.
Yet Allah is the One who inspires our hearts and duaas. All khair (good) is from Him, if only we are patient. A couple of years later, as I continued seeking knowledge, I had a new desire within me – stronger than that of wanting children.
To perform Hajj.
I had no savings, 2 young children, and no viable means of making this happen. Yet this didn’t stop me from making dua; He says to a thing ‘Be’ and it is.
I was working at the time and I remember praying in the fire exit stairwell during my break, where I would make dua. Immense duas, full on, pouring my heart out, tears flowing, no barriers, no reservations, and complete trust that HE will respond.
I’m always astounded by the story of Musa (as). Trapped with his people, a people who saw no hope, between the sea and the army of Pharaoh…
[Moses] said, “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me.”
قَالَ كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ
Surah ash-Shu’araa 26:62
The certainty of his statement brought about a miracle to strengthen the hearts of the believing people.
The same happened for me.
I hear of people desperately wanting to go for Hajj and are delayed for years due to various circumstances… but for me the sea was split.
I went for Hajj with my husband in 2015, alhamdulillaah. That was the year 2 major incidents occurred resulting in tragedy: The crane falling in the Haram (Makkah) due to a sandstorm, and the stampede at the Jamaraat Bridge (stoning of the devil), each event killing multiple worshippers. May Allah have mercy on them.
I saw the sandstorm through the barrier of the glass doors of the hotel lobby and was terrified and in awe simultaneously. Terrified because of the intensity of the storm and witnessing tangible objects being swept by the wind as though they were leaves. I was in awe that within a few moments I had intended to be on the other side of the barrier and yet again Al Haafidh (the Protector) protected me because of the duas my family or I must have made.
We also narrowly escaped the second incident – we performed the stoning of the devils, then continued our way unaware of the tragedy we left behind.
Every single day the sea is split for you because of a supplication you made, or someone made for you. Yet, we focus on the result, not the miracle.
My family was worried for our safety and was engaged in dua the whole time. Time and again throughout my life Allah is enforcing the lesson of dua and how much honour He has granted us to be able to converse with Him. Yet when we are granted ease, we supplicate less or abandon altogether the One who gave us ease. A reminder I take from this is if you are caught off guard, the test of ease can be the most difficult.
I needed to tell this story as much to myself as to you because I am the reluctant supplicator and I have decided that this is my goal: to ask of Allah, as He has told us:
“O My slaves, all of you are astray except those whom I guide, so ask Me for guidance, and I will guide you. O My slaves, all of you are hungry except those whom I feed, so ask me for food and I will feed you. O My slaves, all of you are naked except those whom I clothe, so ask Me for clothing and I will clothe you. O My slaves, if the first of you and the last of you, your humans and your jinn, were to stand on a single plain and ask of Me and I were to give each one what he asked for, that would not cause any loss to Me greater than what is lost when a needle is dipped into the sea.”
Narrated by Abu Dharr al-Maqdisi.
I remind myself of all the duas that HAVE been answered rather than focusing on those that haven’t. I’ve chosen to overcome the feeling of embarrassment that comes with asking of anything and realising that when asking of Allah with humility, I am enriching my soul. I’ve made the choice to strip the layers I had borne which separated me from my Lord. I will INSHA’ALLAAH ask for more, because I need Him, only Him.
Dua is the essence of worship, and I worship My Lord.
About the author:
Meru is a mother of 2 with a background in IT currently working on her own personal development and is a community activist. She is pursuing a passion of writing and blogs on her Instagram page musingsofmeru.