root of the word du'a is da'a, which means to
call. You can only call if there is inherently within you, an
energy which will bring about an answer. From where the question
comes, the answer will come. The caller is calling upon one
entity. He is able to call because he has an energy within him,
in the form of life which is the source of desire of the
direction of the call. What you are calling upon is rooted in
what enables you to call.
With experience, a person realizes, that you can only call on
what you know is realizable. It is the development of the
faculty of the intellect or reason.
In Arabic the word is 'aql,
meaning tethering. 'Aql is the faculty of reason which
can be developed if there is a tethering, if there is an 'iqal.
It is part of the nomadic culture to make the camel sit down,
otherwise, you cannot subdue him, you cannot put things on his
back. The 'iqal is that rope which they put around the
front legs of the camel.
If a person moves in this
direction, he will realize that he cannot make a supplication,
he cannot ask for anything unless it is realizable. A foolish
man will ask for the impossible. It is romanticism, drunkenness,
or poison. A point is reached in which the supplication becomes
so personal, so subjective, so inward, that all it can do is
elevate, open and light up the inner recesses of one's heart.
That is the ultimate du'a. A du'a is not made to
improve the outer unless it continues into the improvement of
the inner. If an ordinary person makes a sincere supplication
for a better house, his intention will then be to acquire a
better house. That intention in time will find a way of becoming
grossified, manifesting outwardly in his acquiring the knowledge
to earn a house. If the expectation is not incongruous with the
laws that govern existence then it is realizable by the person.
By his expectation, he will uncover for himself the means to the
acquisition of what he has been asking for. On this the Qur`an
is very clear. There must be a means for these things to occur.
Maryam, alayha salam,
had to shake the palm. The dates would not drop without that. We
must do something for our rizq (sustenance) to come to
us. It is maximum efficiency when you know precisely how to do
it and when to do it.
Realizing one's expectations
begins in a gross way and moves to the subtle. There is nothing
wrong with that. If you want a companion and you have an idea as
to what sort of a companion you want, you will start searching
for that person until you find a match. This is the promise of
nature. We are brought up in this life to be fulfilled, yet we
are already fulfilled. We have created in ourselves
un-fulfillment. We go on and on trying to fill the potholes that
we dig in our own hearts.
Supplication begins grossly and
ends up in silence before fajr (dawn prayer) at the end
We all want the right
environment in which we can function well. We all want safety in
order to reflect and examine cause and effect in our little
laboratories in this life. We all want outer protection in order
to move inwardly to discover the meaning behind what is
manifested. Du'a begins with the outside demand. We want
an ambience in which the temperature does not fluctuate too
The more you satisfy the grosser needs of
a human being, the more he may move towards the subtler
elements, until a point is reached at which language stops, and
there occurs the awakening of the recognition that there is no
two. That is the ultimate fulfillment.
He is then encouraged to return to life with the full confidence
that his so-called self is only a secondary existence.
We are all biologically animals
in time, but you can have real enjoyment, which is nothing other
than service waiting for the next opportunity to do something
useful for others. If we do not we will be digging holes that
can only give us lack of fulfillment. If fulfillment is not our
real nature, why are we seeking it? If happiness is not our
reality, why do we want it? If peace is not our real nature, why
do we seek it? If interrelationships and the knowledge of
interrelationships of everything is not already implanted within
our sub-genetic levels of heritage, why do we seek to understand
creation in the small and large? These are all inherent within
us. They must be, otherwise we would not unify with them.
A man who seeks Allah makes
demands upon nature. He says, "I want a better situation so that
I may contemplate and find out." But often he stops at that.
Once the house is obtained, it becomes the object of worship.
You often find that people are free before they acquire
possessions but once they have a little piece of the world they
become fixated upon it.
The heritage of Ja'fari Islam is
founded on du'a because it unifies us in wanting to
improve our source which causes us to act. It causes the
improvement of our basic motives. It lifts higher and higher.
One recognizes the limitations that are imposed intrinsically in the various systems. Once
those limitations are recognized there are no disappointments.
There is only an appointment for us to exist over a period of
time. It is up to us to make full use of our appointment. It is
an interview into which we must enter, leaving behind those
things that are created by us and given importance by us. They
differ from one man to another and from one day to another.
caught in the time flux, yet rooted in the timeless. That is why
we reflect the love of timelessness, but in a perverted way. We
seek foods that give us longer life, not knowing that the cause
and the source of life is beyond time, so the question of length
of time is irrelevant.
This is what real supplication
does. It helps the gross, the ordinary, the illiterate man gets
a better plow, a piece of land, or a wife. It also helps the man
of deeper intellect reach the point beyond which there is no
point. That is the 'sirat al-mustaqim.' It is a line,
which if looked at from its point of beginning, becomes an
infinite number of points superimposed upon each other but
experienced as one point, which is the Reality. It is a point
beyond which there is no other point. And that point is man. Man
is the point of it. He is the proof of it. He contains the
meaning of his own cause and effect.
Allah, subhana wa ta'ala
heavens and earth do not contain Me, but the heart of a believer
contains Me. He also
says in a hadith qudsi:
I was an unknown
treasure and I wanted to be known, so I created.
That is how
duality occurs. The confusion of
the two begins and ends in the fusion into
[Added November 16, 2003]