And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am near; I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way. (Qur’an 2:186)
A lot of people know that Muslims pray five times per day in a ritualistic manner that has prescribed sayings and actions which accompany it. However, there is another type of prayer that Muslims regularly engage in at any time of day and as much as they desire – that is Duaa, or supplications. These are the more familiar styles of prayers that Westerns from the Judeo-Christian tradition will be aware of: essentially, invoking Allah, The Most Gracious, to bring His Mercy or Bounty to fill some need on behalf of the person supplicating. Muslims can ask for anything they need and they can do so in any language. The Duaa does not take a specific form in a manner of speaking and is often where individuals find solace and expression in their religious practice. In fact, prayer in general has been linked to less anxiety, more hopefulness for the future and reduced levels of depression when practiced regularly.
Muslims who feel shy from Allah, or feel unworthy of His Mercy should take note: Duaa is considered the weapon of the believer and it can exemplify our humility towards our Creator. As Surah 35 aptly puts it, O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich, Worthy of All Praise. (Ayat 15) Duaa serves as recognition that nothing is attainable without Allah and that we are forever indebted to His Graciousness. One should also never despair of patience in receiving an answer from Allah about a particular request for Allah has stated in Surah Ghafir, And your Lord says: Call upon Me and I will respond to your supplication. (Ayat 60) A response doesn’t necessarily mean you will get what you want, but rather you will get what you need and what was written for you, whether or not you agree that it is best for you because Allah knows what is best for each of us beyond our capacity to know.
In the hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) further illuminated this concept by saying: And let not there be anyone who says: “… my Lord won’t answer my prayer, because of this and that.. or because of so and so..”. No! Indeed Allah is the Most Generous King. Is there anyone who met a king, and praised and glorified him, and then asked, yet the request was not granted? So what about Allah, the King of the Heavens and the Earth – who has total control over your life, your wealth and your future. Why would He not grant you your request? Indeed, our beloved Prophet had said: “Verily your Lord is the One modest and Generous, and when His servant raises his hands to Him in supplication, He is diffident (in some wordings, shy or hesitant) from returning them empty.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi – Hasan)