We usually turn to someone we love when things get difficult. However, we also have the blessing of turning to the Best of Mankind, our Prophet, in testing times.
When trials beset us, or difficulties arise, we turn to our Lord, asking His help and intervention. We also tend to turn to those we trust, asking them to supplicate for us.
Allah Most High loves us to ask Him for ourselves as well as for others. He has given us the means to do so when He says;
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ
O you who believe, fear Allah and seek means of nearness to Him (Sura Ma’ida 5: 35)
The word al-wasila, translated as “means”, is a general term referring to different kinds of means. One means of enhancing the chances of receiving an answer to our supplications, for instance, is to make dua at the special times that Allah Most High has given us, such as the last third of the night, the last hour of the day of Jum’a, and at the time of breaking one’s fast, amongst others.
Another means is to ask righteous people and those drawn near to Allah to supplicate on our behalf. The most righteous, the most proximate, and the most beloved to Allah, is the Prophet himself, Allah bless him and give him peace. We ask Allah after every call to prayer to grant him al-wasila, which is often translated as intercession. He is our best means of nearness to Allah, our best intercessor on the Day of Reckoning, and also in times of tribulation and difficulty.
Uthman bin Hunaif narrated that a blind man came to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: “Supplicate to Allah to heal me.” He, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “If you wish I will supplicate for you, and if you wish, you can be patient, for that is better for you.” He said: “Then supplicate to Him.” He said: “So he ordered him to perform wudu’ and to make his wudu’ complete, and to supplicate with this supplication: ‘O Allah, I ask You and turn towards You by Your Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, the Prophet of Mercy. Indeed, I have turned to my Lord, by means of You, concerning this need of mine, so that it can be resolved, so O Allah accept his intercession for me.’” (Tirmidhi)
In another narration from Ibn Abi Khaythama, the following is added: “and if there is a need, do the like of that”. So the Prophet encouraged us to ask Allah, by means of him, Allah bless him and grant him peace, whenever we have a need.
If Allah tells us to seek means of nearness to Him, and there are several means of achieving this nearness, it makes sense to use as many means as we can. So the one who turns to his Lord at the special times allotted to him, and also, at those very times, calls upon his Lord’s most beloved to intercede for him, is striving doubly to seek means of nearness to Him, the Most High. And the one who seeks finds, and the one who asks receives.
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِي إِذَا دَعَانِ
“If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me”. (Surah Baqarah 2: 186) So let us turn to Him, seeking nearness to Him through His beloved, and not be deterred by the voices of those who seek to deny and prohibit this most blessed means of attaining closeness to our Lord.
Nurulain Wolhuter is a student in the Shari’ah course at Dar al Safa in Cape Town, South Africa. She relocated there from Birmingham, UK, in order to pursue her studies and hopes to return in the future to do daw’ah and share her knowledge.