Could you please explain the verse: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer):” (Surah Ghafir, 60)

Details of the Question
Could you please explain the verse: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer):” (Surah Ghafir, 60)
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi explains this subject as follows:

If you say: We frequently offer supplications, but they are not accepted. But the verse is general, it states that every supplication is answered.

The Answer:

To answer is one thing, to accept is something quite different. Every supplication is answered, but its being accepted and exactly what was sought being given is dependent on Almighty God’s wisdom. For example, if a sick child calls the doctor, saying: “Doctor! Doctor!”, and he replies: “Here I am, what do you want?”, and the child says: “Give me that medicine!”, the doctor will either give him exactly what he asks for or something better and more beneficial for him. Or knowing that medicine is harmful for his illness, he will give him nothing.

Thus, since Almighty God is all-present and all-seeing, He responds to the supplications of His servants. Through His presence and response, He transforms the desolation of loneliness and solitude into familiarity. But He does this, not in accordance with man’s capricious and importunate demands, but in accordance with the requirements of dominical wisdom; He gives either what is sought or what is better than it, or He gives nothing at all. (The Words-Twenty-Third Word)

Besides there are glorious hadiths on this subject as a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says as follows:

 “Your prayers are answered, unless you hasten, However, there are some who hasten by saying, 'I prayed, but no answer came.” Another riwayah of Muslim: “Unless a believer demands to have sin or breaks the Silat-Ur-Rahim-(Keeping Family Ties/establishing them) his/her prayers are accepted.” Again a riwayah from Tirmidhi: “Anyone who prays to Allah (SWT), He will answer them. This will be either in this world or in the hereafter or as long as he/she prays, his/her sins will be erased on condition that he/she does not demand to have sin and want to break the Silat-Ur-Rahim or hasten to see the results of his prayers”. (Tirmidhi, Daawat 145)

As it is understood from the hadith given; A person’s prayers are accepted as long as he/she does not demand things that are considered haram or sin.

Allah stated: Call on me so that I will answer your prayers. Since both supplication and worshipping have been mentioned, it is necessary to interpret supplication as worshipping or to interpret worshipping as supplication; tafsir scholars explained it in two ways. The first one is this: As it is stated in many places in the Quran, supplication is used in the sense of worshipping; so it means worship me and I will reward you. According to the interpretation reported from Ibn Abbas, Dahhak and Mujahid, asking is not carried out by the tongue but by the deeds. The following explanation would be suitable for this meaning: Those who turn away from worshipping, that is, who do not want to worship me due to their conceit will definitely enter Hell in a despicable and humiliated form. The second one is as follows: “Call on Me; I will answer you” means ask from me; that is what is reported from Suddi and what is understood at first glance. However, according to this interpretation, it is necessary to interpret supplication as worshipping. The fine point in expressing it in two ways is to state that worshipping necessitates supplication and supplication necessitates worshipping; on the other hand, supplication is like the bone marrow of worshipping; worshipping is one of the conditions of the acceptance of the prayer.

This command of supplication is very important. Here, the expression of man’s free will and the rejection of force are present. Whether it means worshipping or supplication, asking is commanded for both of them; asking was laid as a condition for the grant of Allah. It was such a condition that since the lack of the condition necessitates the lack of the thing that is stipulated, the threat of entering Hell is mentioned for abandoning it. Then, the command is used for obligation; as for the issue of answering the supplication, it depends on asking as it is stated in the following verse:  “Nay― On Him would ye call, and if it be his Will He would remove (the distress) which occasioned your call upon Him…” (al-Anam, 6/41)  That is, what is understood from it is that the hypothesis of the condition is not universal but ignored. It depends on some conditions as it is expressed by the following verse: “To Him mount up (all) Words of Purity: it is He Who exalts each Deed of Righteousness.” (Fatir 35/10) Therefore, it is mentioned together with worshipping here. The following is reported from Ka’b in Kashshaf: “Allah gave three properties to this ummah; he did not give them to anybody except the prophets He sent from His place. Allah said to every prophet, “You are my witness over people” and He said the following to this ummah: “That ye might be witnesses over the nations” (al-Baqara, 2/143)

Allah said, “there is no difficulty to you “as it is expressed by this verse: “There can be no difficulty to the Prophet in what Allah has indicated to him as a duty” (al-Ahzab, 33/38); He said the following to this ummah: “Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty” (al-Maida, 5/6) Allah said, “Pray me; I will answer you.” He said to this ummah: “Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer)” (Ghafir, 40/60)

 “Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer)” also means this: Call me so that I will answer you. That is, ask me from me, I will answer you; you will find me. He who finds me finds everything because the following is stated in the Quran: “Verily, when He intends a thing, His command is "Be" and it is!” (Yasin, 36/82), which is the prayer that is never rejected. In some resources, the following is stated: “He who demands me finds me.” Those who keep away from worshipping me, that is, who are too conceited to demand me through prayer will be kept away from me and will be despicable and humiliated in the hell of deprivation. (Hak dini Kur'an dili)  

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