Why dua's don't always get fulfilled? I've been asking myself this question A LOT lately, particuarly since this year is now ending, and its been a year filled with joy followed by hurt and heartache. Here are my thoughts on the issue.
I think someone posted on here once, that muslims tend to think of dua's as magic spells -- we say our dua's and abracadabra God answers them and everything works out the way we wanted. I agree that muslim children have been taught to perceive dua's in that manner, and it follows us into adulthood. I have always had an enormous amount of faith in the power of dua. Maybe that is because my life's trials have been few, and when I have been tested God has come through for me. However, this year, after YEARS of waiting for a husband, I met a man who unfortunately was not muslim and I allowed myself to fall in love, hoping that he would accept Islam as he was good-hearted, intelligent, and cared about me deeply, and plus his father was muslim. I made the difficult decision to separate when I realized this wasn't possible, and I remain heartbroken. (for all you reading this who can't wait to pass judgement on me: it wasn't a physical relationship, he respected my islamic values).
After the heartbreak, my prayers to Allah have been endless. At this stage, it doesn't matter whether my love changes his mind and comes back to me; I just want the heartache to go away, and I want patience and healing. I pray for that day and night. I'm giving up a lot more than just the man I love...I turn 40 in a few days....I'm giving up my dream of getting married, having children, living my life with someone who will take care of me and cherish me. A bottomless pit cannot hold the sorrow that I feel. I've been praying for 10 years for a family of my own, and despite my efforts (yes, before you say anything, I did make many efforts, although I did not have the support of my family) no muslim man was ever interested in me.
Several months of constant praying, and my heartache, sorrow and grief remain. I am starting to lose hope in a sunrise! I think that God does hear me, though - of that, I have no doubt.
But I keep praying! At this painful, dark chapter of my life, I wonder if there is a purpose as to why God does not answer my prayers. I don't know what that purpose is. I believe that God listens to our prayers. I am not certain if prayers change destiny. I do believe that the act of making the prayer/dua brings comfort to our souls on a temporary basis, and who knows what the Hereafter will bring. Does that mean we look forward to death, when we (Insha'Allah) go to Paradise and all our desires will be fulfilled? That's a question I'm grappling with right now. Perhaps our dua's really are stored for the Hereafter, and in this life we just toil along. I don't wish to start 2011 looking forward to my death! Maybe there is a sunrise in my future. Maybe 2011 will bring hope and light again to my life....I don't know; at the moment there is only darkness. But unfortunately I am starting to conclude that it is unlikely that I will attain what I want.
Our somewhat naive belief in dua leads us to conclude that a miracle can happen any day. Close friends have reassurred me, in recent days, that something good is waiting for me around the corner. Well, I believe in miracles, but I also believe that they do not happen that often. My mother loves me dearly and prays for me every day, and makes so much dua for me! I am truly blessed in that regard. Will her dua's be answered? She has had a hard life, so part of me thinks that yes, God will answer her duas about me, because she loves me so much and just wants to see me happy and have my heartache disappear. But like me, my mom has been praying for over 10 years. She even prays that the man I love comes back to me, and that it all works out (Islamically, that is). When it comes to dua, the sky is the limit - God loves us and wants us to beg to him so he can be merciful in return -- but I wonder if He operates outside of reality. I really question that; south asian muslims in particular believe that God does operate outside of reality, but i"m not so sure. For the last 10 years, not a single man has been interested in me...there's always something...I'm not pretty enough, i'm not tall enough, I'm too educated, i'm too independent, I'm too shy, blah blah blah. I don't agree with any of the latter points (except the part about being independent, lol), but that is the reality I have faced from the muslim community (in person and online). Given my age of 40, and my current heartbreak, part of me feels that God is trying to tell me that my dua's WILL NOT be answered and that I am fighting my own destiny. Maybe this was the purpose of my heartache, for me to understand that the status quo over the last 10 years was what was destined for me but I was too arrogant to accept it.
So in this sense, when you make sincere heartfelt dua, without even knowing it you engage in some soul-searching of your own! Perhaps that is one of the purposes of Dua...and if you come to some conclusions about your own life during that process, then in essence your duas have been answered.
I just wish I knew why my prayers all these years were not granted, why the prayers I made when I met my beloved was not accepted (i.e. to make things right for us), and why my prayers since I lost him and entered this darkness have not been accepted. I ask myself these questions every day. I was always a nice, "good' girl, and I felt that I had a close relationship to God my entire life. So I never doubted that God would give me a family of my own, rather than force me to live my life alone and without people who care about me and love me. But I do keep praying nonetheless.
Anyway, these are just my musings over the concept and role of dua, triggered by the question above and other questions I was reading today in the same category. I hope they are of benefit to those readign this and those who want to use dua to make significant changes in their life. God is great.