It is not that we have forgotten dua completely; we refer to it regularly. But, our ideas and practice regarding dua have become distorted. Often it is reduced to the level of a ritual. Generally it is considered when all our efforts have failed — an act of last resort. It is belittled through actions and sometimes even with words. Is it any wonder that today mostly a mention of dua is meant to indicate the hopelessness of a situation?
What a tragedy, for dua is the most potent weapon of a believer. It can change fate, while no action of ours ever can. It is the essence of ibadah or worship. With it we can never fail; without it we can never succeed. In the proper scheme of things, dua should be the first and the last resort of the believer, with all his plans and actions coming in between.
We should ask for all of our needs: those related to this world as well as those related to the Hereafter. Those who only concentrate on the former are, in effect, announcing that they don’t care for their life in the permanent abode. They should blame nobody but themselves for the total ruin in that world that Qur’an assures us awaits them. Those who only concentrate on the later are also showing lack of balance, for we need Allah’s help to lead a good life here as well.
It was narrated that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) entered upon me what I was praying, and he wanted something, but I took too long, so he said: “O `A’ishah, you should recite general and comprehensive du’a’s.” When I had finished, I said: O Messenger of Allah, what is general and comprehensive du’a’? He said: “Say: O Allah, I ask You for all goodness, now and later on, that which I know and that which I do not know; I seek refuge in You from all evil, now and later on, that which I know and that which I do not know. I ask you for Paradise and the words and deeds that will bring me closer to it, and I seek refuge in You from Hell and from the words and deeds that would bring me closer to it. I ask You for that which Muhammad asked You for, and seek refuge in You from that from which Muhammad sought refuge; whatever You decreed for me, make its consequences good.” Narrated by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (639).
We should make dua not only for ourselves but also for our parents, brothers and sisters, spouses and children, relatives and friends, teachers and other benefactors, and destitute and struggling Muslims everywhere. We should pray for them for the good in this world as well as in the Hereafter. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The dua of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side. Whenever he makes a beneficial dua for his brother the appointed angel says, ‘Aameen. And may you also be blessed with the same.‘” [Sahih Muslim]
Compiled From: “The Power of Dua” – Khalid Baig and al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (A Code for Everyday Living: The Example of the Early Muslims – UK Islamic Academy) (2005)