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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Du‘a’ is not merely an act of worship

The contention that the word du‘a’ is used only in two senses is not practically tenable because its eight different applications have already been discussed. If we interpret du‘a’ as simply an act of worship, and the act of begging for help is also merged into the act of worship, then the entire society will be pushed down into the quagmire of disbelief and (God forbid) even the prophets will not be immune to this downward slide. Therefore, it should be clearly recognised that du‘a’ (calling) is not synonymous with worship in all contexts. If we do not acknowledge this difference between their contextual meanings, it will amount to opening Pandora’s box of disbelief, as no one will remain untainted by its rampant proliferation. The Qur’anic verse itself is a witness to the fact that the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself also called non-God for help, and the Qur’an itself is according permission to call one another for help. If, as a supposition, we interpret da‘a, yad‘u, tad‘u, nad‘u as worship or as an act of beseeching help in every context of situation indiscriminately, which is regarded by some people as an auxiliary form of worship, then it will be quite problematic to offer a sound explanation of the following Qur’anic verses:
  1. And, O my people, what is this that I call you to the (path of) salvation and you call me to hell?[24]
  2. He said: O my Lord! I call my people night and day (to the right religion) but my call only increased their flight (from the religion).[25]
  3. And Allah calls (people) to the home of peace (Paradise).[26]
  4. Call (the adopted sons) by the names of their fathers: that is just in the sight of God.[27]
  5. Then, let him call (for help) his comrades. We shall also, call (our) soldiers soon.[28]
  6. Then they will call on them, and they will not listen to them.[29]
  7. When we shall call together all factions of human beings with their leaders.[30]
  8. And if you call them to guidance.[31]

    [24]. Qur’an (Ghafir, the Forgiving) 40:41.
    [25]. Qur’an (Nuh, Noah) 71:5-6.
    [26]. Qur’an (Yunus, Jonah) 10:25.
    [27]. Qur’an (al-Ahzab, the Confederates) 33:5.
    [28]. Qur’an (al-‘Alaq, the Hanging mass) 96:17-8.
    [29]. Qur’an (al-Kahf, the Cave) 18:52.
    [30]. Qur’an (al-Isra’, the Night journey) 17:71.
    [31]. Qur’an (al-Kahf, the Cave) 18:57.