A prayer is…
The interesting thing about du’a is that it gives individuals a chance to directly connect to their Creator, but if that medium was corrupt? I mean, what if we started improvising on the use of du’a with what we now think is important? After all, it is a well known fact that if not for the infinite needs that human beings have created for themselves for consumption, Allah (SWT) has provided everything to every creature, regardless. It is the greed, not the need, that is sometimes perceived by us as something lacking in our lives. Notoriously innovative that our species is, we then find inroads into an available tool and turn into a means for mundane conveyance. This ingenuity is even more compounded when some people in history become the sources of concoctions that then became du’as for our personal need, er, greed.
This is, of course, the most interesting period in the history of humankind that five different generations are working side by side in an unprecedented arrangement of society. Each generation is motivated by something or another, different from the other generation, posing both an opportunity and a challenge at workplaces. We have he Traditionalsist (born between 1928 and 1945) is driven by honesty, loyalty and respect. Then we have the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) who we are told are ambitious, loyal, work-centric and also cynical. Those born between 1965 and 1980 are the Generation X. They are mostly credited for bringing the concept of work-life balance. They like to work independently, believe in exercising choie and having good relations. This group is followed by the Millenials or Generation Y who were born after 1980. They are considered to be loyal as they follow opportunity and gain, and they believe in collaborative work as well as flexibility of work-life. More recently, there isnow a new classification of Generation Z (post mid-1990s) who are attracted to social rewards, mentorship and constant feedback, amongst other traits.
I am sure that each one of us must be trying to relate these concepts with our relevant brackets, but what is critical to note is that the overall world environment has been shifting on the basis of socio-political and economic lines, and it really depends on what group you fall under that you may still be searching for. Going by the above argument, it would then be pretty predictable that each person will be incorporating what he or she is looking for in their du’as, or at least reciting those du’as that relate to the need of their time.
But Allah (SWT)’s mercy is profound, and the teachings of the Ahlul Bayt (AS) guide us on how more important and significant it is to pray for life in the Hereafter as well, the permanent abode of all mortals. In trivialising du’as and tying them to belief systems that warrant taking an oath or a pledge of trade with the Mighty creator, reeks of a man-made conspiracy to deviate faithful servants from the right path.
The question at hand is ‘What is a du’a?’ To each, their own, but in essence A du’a is a whisper of our most earnest yearnings, our aspirations, an acknowledgment of His majesty, and a seeking of protection from unseen forces of the universe. It is much weighty in grandeur than what it has been turned to be, whether as a form of ritual practice or a means to barter an end.