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Du’a is a prayer of supplication or request. In contrast to the prescribed rituals of Islam, such as the daily prayers, the du’a is generally a spontaneous, unstructured, conversation with God. There are, however, prescribed supplications or du’a ma’thur that are considered particularly propitious because of their scriptural origins.

Whereas form is essential for the performance of the prescribed rituals, consciousness is central to du’a. And whereas every du’a is a form of prayer, only a prayer performed conscientiously becomes a du’a. The du’a is the very essence of worship because it venerates God, celebrates His sublime attributes, and puts trust in Him. Specific requests, however, are frowned upon: A du’a is considered most auspicious when framed broadly to seek protection from evil, solicit the good of this world, and salvation in the afterlife.

For the believer, supplications are always answered, but not in the form of a wish list. Human beings, it is said, lack the are denied, that which is essentially harmful to them. A du’a also serves as an incantation to ward off evil, or secure grace. A traveler, for instance, is encouraged to read: “In God’s name let its run be, and let its stopping be!”.

The Difference Between Du’a and Ziara[edit | edit source]

The Du’a (supplication) is the act of speaking to Allah while Ziara (visitation) is the act of speaking with the role-models and true examples of the faith sent by Allah. Nevertheless, ziara itself is a form of speaking with Allah since the individuals being addressed are the prophets and Imams who invite humanity to the worship of the true God and to struggle against the internal and external enemies. Thus, ziara is nothing more than speaking to Allah through the intermediaries which He himself has appointed in order for us to reach to perfection.

Within the Du’a thought by Ahl al-Bayt, there are four points seen: shedding tears and showing grief, expressing one’s needs, gaining a better understanding of the faith and beliefs, and the invitation to stand up and fight against the enemies- internal and external.

This is exactly the same thing which can be seen in Ziara as well, however, at the same time, we are calling upon and remembering those personalities who are the best and most perfect examples of these four characteristics. It means that Ahl al-Bayt are the ones whose tears which they shed in their prayers are the sincerest drops of grief; they are best able to express their needs to the Creator in the most elegant ways; their understanding of faith was the most complete and prefect; and lastly, they were the ultimate manifestation of those who stood up and fought against both their internal and external enemies- each on in his own way and method.

Imam Hussain’s Supplications[edit | edit source]

Al-ʿAsharat supplication

Supplication of Arafa

Supplication of ‘Alqama

Last Supplication of Imam Hussain

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Ghazali, Muhammad al-. Remembrance and Prayer: The Way of the Prophet Muhammad. Translated by Y. T. DeLorenzo. Beltsville, Md.: Amana Publications, 1996.
  • Nakamura, Kojiro. Invocations and Supplications: Book IX of the Revival of the Religious Sciences. Cambridge, U.K.: Islamic Texts Society, 1990.

Source[edit | edit source]

  • Muneer Goolam Fareed (2004). Encyclopedia of Islam and Muslim World. Edited by Richard C. Martin. USA: Macmillan; P: 691. ISBN 0-02-865912-0
  • Ali Asqhar Azizi Tehrani, Commentary of Ziarat Ashura; a brief commentary, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 25, 2014)