The main purpose of this book is to share with the reader the often overlooked, yet essential conditions and requirements of making dua, of turning to Allah in sincere supplication. As human beings we are wholly dependent on Allah, and in constant need of His help, whether we realize this or not. There is an established path and connection to Allah, Aqim al Salat. This is the relationship with our Rab, our Creator, and dua is an integral part of it.
As human beings we find ourselves between two realities, the reality of material existence and that of spiritual being. This book, in a small way, intends to bring us to a deeper, more profound connection with Allah in our daily lives, integrating these two realities, especially when we are reaching out to Allah in our dua. Shaykh Taner Ansari shares a story from an early experience that clearly illustrates the point.
"Allah knows everything I do, Allah sees me, Allah takes care of me, so why should I make any dua? For a while, I did not make any dua. Then, I was not yet a sufi. Then I realized, when you do not make dua, what are you saying? You are saying you are not needy; you do not need Allah's help. So, I said, 'I have to make dua because I am not in that situation.' But what are you going to ask Allah? That is the other thing: what to ask?
Finally Allah says in Qur'an-i Karim [Generous Qur'an], '…ask Allah of His bounty.' (4:32)
"You have to make dua. When Allah says do, you have to do. And so, dua is a personal relationship with Allah. What are you saying when you make dua? You are accepting that you are the needy and Allah is not, and He is The Giver. You are acknowledging that Allah is God and you are not. So, just the concept of dua is la ilaha illallah [there is no other higher power than Allah]. You are confirming and acknowledging la ilaha illallah by making dua. Through these connections, you have to acknowledge Allah's Omnipotence, and Allah's Power, the whole thing, the whole package." "And when My devotees ask you about Me, I am most certainly near. I respond to the callers when they call Me. So let them hear My call (also) and let them believe in Me, so they may have an opportunity to grow in maturity." (2:186)
Calling on our Rab, and turning to Him in need and even when not in need, is the medium of intimacy in the heart of a mu'min [believer]. It is our heart connection, rabita. Allah gives us the connection, but do we know how it works? Do we even know our Creator, Allah?
"O you who believe, be patient and persevere and surpass others in patience and perseverance, and make
rabita [purposeful heartfelt, spiritual connection], keep your connection and have taqwa [self-vigilance], so that you may reach salvation." (3:200)
We see from this simple, yet profound example how Shaykh Taner Ansari came to the realization of understanding the importance of dua for himself.