Some Effective Factors in the Acceptance of Supplications/ The Effect of Salawat in Fulfillment of Wishes
Speaking about the importance of supplication (dua), Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani said that disseminating superstitions and lies is one of the negative aspects of public supplication ceremonies. He explained some of the effective factors in the acceptance of supplication and the reason that some wishes are not granted and do not get actualized without supplication.
Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani, lecturer at the postgraduate level of jurisprudence and legal theories, speaking to Mehr reporter elaborated on the role of supplication in providing peace of mind and spiritual comfort to the individual. "One who communicates with God, the All-Knowledgeable, the Wise and the Most Compassionate, enjoys peace and comfort in a true sense because he feels he is being supported by an infinite and eternal power. In fact, supplication is a relation established by a servant with God," he said.
"God has eternal knowledge of His servants' affairs and there is nothing hidden to Him. However, supplication is an instrument that draws the divine attention. When a person engages in supplication, he directs his attention to God which makes him worthy of receiving God's favor and blessings that are endless and perpetual," he added.
Why are some supplications not answered?
Referring to the Quranic verses ادعونی استجب لکم" " (Call on to Me, I answer you.), head of the Porch of Wisdom Institute emphasized that we have been commanded to supplicate and invoke God and if we invoke Him, He has fixed the reward for the sufferer. He has promised to answer the supplications. If something does not get answered or fulfilled, it is because the capacity that has to be available for this purpose has not been created because it does not get materialized without supplication. Where there is supplication, the capacity is also made available.
"Of course, the extent of the effect of supplication and the degree of comfort depend on the knowledge which a person may have of God, the Exalted. The more a person has knowledge of God, the greater would be the effect of his prayers and supplications. Moreover, concentration during supplication is very important and effective in the acceptance of supplications. It is very essential for the person who engages in a supplication to know who he is talking to," Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani added.
Speaking about the effect of supplication on self-confidence, Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani said that self-confidence is different in the Islamic culture as compared to other cultures. Self-confidence in other cultures is an emphasis on the individual's personality whereas self-confidence in the Islamic culture is trust in God and consigning one's matters to Him. "There is no doubt that a man acquires self-confidence only when he considers himself to be a servant of God and obedient to his Creator. If he ever commits a sin or if he is negligent, he tries to make up for them with apologies, repentance and seeking divine forgiveness. That is why the result of self-confidence in the Islamic culture is avoidance from sins and furtherance of attention to one's religious and moral duties. As a consequence of that, one finds peace of mind and spiritual comfort, something which is never comparable with anything else. Peace of mind and self-confidence make a man as firm and steadfast against hardships and difficulties as a mountain," Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani said.
The Importance of Supplication according to Ahlul-Bait (a.s)/ The Effects of Salawat on Supplication
In regards to the importance of supplication according to the Ahlul-Bait (a.s), he said that there are different narrations about supplication that are in line with what the Quran has said about it. Supplication is an instruction from God Who has guaranteed its acceptance. In the culture Ahlul-Bait (a.s), there are certain guidelines that can help in the acceptance of a supplication one of which is emphasis on collective praying.
"Emphasis has been laid in the culture of Ahlul-Bait (a.s) upon wishful praying for one another. It has also narrated that when you ask God to grant you two things of which one is granted, the supplication for the other thing shall also be answered. One of the supplications that is definitely answered is "salawat" on the Prophet (s) and his household. Salawat is a supplication by itself. It is for the same reason that it has been greatly emphasized that one should combine his supplication with salawat so that God, the Gracious, may answer the other supplication also," Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani added.
"Of course, there are certain manners and etiquettes for supplication that have been mentioned in the traditions. However, the person who engages himself in supplication should know who he is talking to and what his wishes are. His wishes should not be against the divine will nor should it be misguidance and ignorance," he reiterated.
Ayatollah Hadavi added that one of the important collections among the teachings of the Ahlul-Bait (a.s) is the supplications which they have left for us. It is necessary to improve our knowledge and understanding of the manner of engaging in supplication. Similarly, Sahifa Sajjadiyah which is a collection of knowledge and as described by Imam Khomeini (r.a) is next to the Quran having lofty epistemic concepts.
Emphasis upon Ahlul-Bait's Method of Supplicating
Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani stated it has been narrated that when we recite Sura-e Hamd, the first part of the chapter deals with our relation with God. After glorifying and praising God, we consign ourselves to Him. Thus, we say "Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help." It is mentioned in the traditions that when a servant recites this verse of Sura-e Hamd, God orders the angels to give His servant what he wishes. The ensuing verses are supplications for the servant himself. Thus, he says, "Show us the straight way". This is a supplication which is accepted.
Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani stressed on the necessity of getting acquaintance with the Ahlul-Bait's culture in regards to supplication. "The Ahlul-Bait's teachings concerning supplication are not exclusively related to narrations that independently deal with supplication. In fact, the Ahlul-Bait's supplication method is a method which we should get used to. Their method consists of the loftiest and deepest concepts," he reiterated.
He further said that the supplication gatherings are the gatherings of zikr (remembrance of God). Such gatherings are gatherings for thinking also. These gatherings should promote understanding and knowledge of God and should help increase people's awareness about religious truths. It is very important for these gatherings to be held in the attendance of religious scholars, those who have accurate understanding of religious truths, so that they may be able to explain the truths to people. It is very good to increase our knowledge of religion in the supplication gatherings. Any increase in knowledge would also increase the effects of supplication.
Some Effective Causes in the Acceptance of Supplications
Speaking about some of the negative aspects of supplication ceremonies, Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani said that one of the negative aspects of these ceremonies is the propagation of superstitious and false ideas on the part of some exploiters. If these supplication ceremonies are combined with some traditions and etiquettes that are not acceptable to the Ahlul-Bait (a.s), then we can say that the supplication has derailed from its right track. The Iranian society is a religious society. Sometimes, this very enthusiasm or eagerness towards the religion is misused by some exploiters and extortionists. They misuse people's feelings and emotions in order to attain their own personal ends. If people are aware of these negative aspects, they can better avail themselves of the effects and benefits of supplication and also guard themselves against those negative aspects.
Referring to some effective factors in the acceptance of supplications, Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani said that the time of supplication is a key factor. "Although supplication is not restricted to a special time and place, it is accepted more quickly at special times. Supplication at night is more effective than it is at day time. The phrase "maqam mahmud" (praised position) in the Quran indicates that supplication at night is more effective than it is at day time," he said.
"Perhaps, the reason is that night, as termed by the Quran, is a time for peace and tranquility of the mind which actually paves the way for spiritual relation with God. It is for the same reason that supplication at night, waking up before dawn and staying awake are very effective for spiritual growth. Additionally, the holy month of Ramadhan is a valuable time and the month of divine banquet. All human beings at all times are the guests of the Lord. However, some people in the month of Ramadhan are specially invited. They should not be negligent of supplication at this time. 
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