The Universality of Calling on Allah

Prayer according to Islam is the life and soul of human existence and as the Holy Prophet said; ‘the marrow of Divine service.’ Not only the righteous servants are spoken of in the Quran as praying to Allah, but even unbelievers and idolaters are frequently mentioned as calling upon Allah when they find themselves in distress or adversity. It is distress that makes the latter realize their helplessness and turn their attention back to the true Source of all goodness and happiness. But when Allah has removed their distress and have shown them special Mercy, they forget themselves and attribute their relief to their own intellect.

The Quran says of such people:
When trouble toucheth a man, he crieth unto Us (in all postures) - lying down on his side, or sitting, or standing. But when We have solved his trouble, he passeth on his way as if he had never cried to Us for a trouble that touched him! Thus do the deeds of transgressors seem fair in their eyes!  (10:12)


Allah says in the Holy Quran :

When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them):
I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me:
Let them also, with a will,
Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way, (2:186)

The above verse clearly shows that Allah is close to us at all times and that He answers the call of all those who call upon Him provided we listen to His orders and we put our trust and faith in Him.

In this age of gross materialism, prayer may have no great charm. So absorbed is modern man in material pursuits that he may not find time to respond seriously and effectively to the genuine yearnings of his soul. Yet in the midst of this turmoil he sometimes finds himself in the grip of a terrible void and his soul reaches out to the Giver of all gifts and in search of spiritual peace and succour. It is in such mo¬ments of anguish that one finds solace and comfort in prayers. Prayer is indeed the natural urge of man. Without it man can only estrange himself from his true self and destroy his tenderest and noblest feelings.

The efficacy of prayer does not mean that every object for which a man prays to the Divine Being should be attained immediately. This is made clear by the Holy Quran itself :

Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere - Who say when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return”: - They are those on whom (descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance. (2:155-157)

It is the law of Allah that trials and hardships must be undergone even by the faithful, and they must be prepared to suffer every kind of loss. But just as the efficacy of medicine cannot be denied because it does not prove efficacious in all cases, so the efficacy cannot be denied on this ground. Besides, in invocation there is complete surrender and recognition of one's own utter helplessness on the one hand and the recognition of the Supremacy and Power of the One and Only, the Creator of the heavens and earth. This attitude of mind to which fervent expression is given is itself of inestimable value in stirring up the latent faculties of the soul and enabling and spiritualizing the life of man.

In resorting to prayer it does not mean that a man may dispense with striving and applying all practical means for the attainment of his object. Such a view is contrary to the Islamic doctrine of the efficacy of prayer. The fact is that there is an indissoluble connection between practical means and prayer.  The Holy Quran lays down the principle that we should strive hard for the attainment of our objects. It is not for us to sit back and merely to raise our hands and expect our invocations to be answered.

The Quran says: "Man shall have naught but what he strives for." (53:39)

And further: "Verily Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they (first) change that which is in their hearts." (13:11)


The following are MUSTAHAB times for the accept invocations by Allah and should therefore not be neglected:
- At the end of each FARD SALAAH.
- On Friday
- In the morning
- In the latter half of the night - at the time of TAHAJJUD SALAAH.
- In the month of Ramadhaan.
- On the Day of Arafat
- At the time of breaking fast.


When beseeching Allah we should observe the following :
- Invoke the help and mercy of Allah at the MUSTAHAB times given above.
- Seek the forgiveness of Allah before invocation and recite TASBIH, TAHLIL, TAHMID and SALAWAT.
- Invoke with a deep sense of humility, with unshakable confidence in the Divine Mercy, with unfaltering fail Might and Power, with a firm conviction that the prayer will be granted, and with the greatest consciousness of the meaning of the words used in the invocation.
- Raise both hands with the palms turned towards the face.


The prayers of the Prophets (may the blessings of upon them) portray the sublimest feelings and loftiest aspirations that have arisen in the hearts of the greatest servants of Allah from time to time and must surely be regarded as model expressions for all spiritually-minded persons. Generally we hunt for the words to express our feelings before the Almighty but with the invocations presented in the following pages we have the finest example for imitation and adaptation to suit our needs and desires. It is, of course, desirable that the feelings of the devotee must be in tune with the words uttered and for that matter, as much as possible, with the feelings of the personage who first uttered them and found acceptance thereby before Allah. These invoca¬tions should also enliven the dormant devoutness within us and bring to the surface of the mind some of the deep yearnings of our soul.

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