In the terminology of Islam, duʿāʾ (Arabic: دعاء‎, plural: ʾadʿiyah أدعية; also transliterated Doowa) literally meaning invocation, is an act of supplication. The term is derived from an Arabic word meaning to 'call out' or to 'summon', and Muslims regard this as a profound act of worship. This is when Muslims from all over connect with God and ask him for forgiveness and favors. The Islamic prophet Muhammad is reported to have said "Dua is the very essence of worship," while one of God's commands expressed through the Qur'an is for them to call out to Him:

And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer)!" — Qur'an, sura 40 (Ghafir), ayat 60

There is a special emphasis on du'a in Muslim spirituality and early Muslims took great care to record the supplications of Muhammad and transmit them to subsequent generations. These traditions precipitated new genres of literature in which prophetic supplications were gathered together in single volumes that were memorized and taught. Collections such as Imam al-Nawawi's Kitab al-adhkar and Shams al-Din al-Jazari's al-Hisn al-Hasin exemplify this literary trend and gained significant currency among Muslim devotees keen to learn how Muhammad supplicated to God.

However, Du'a literature is not restricted to prophetic supplications; many later Muslim scholars and sages composed their own supplications, often in elaborate rhyming prose that would be recited by their disciples. Popular du'as would include Jazuli's Dala'il al-Khayrat, which at its peak spread throughout the Muslim world, and Imam al-Shadhili's Hizb al-Bahr which also had widespread appeal. Du'a literature reaches its most lyrical form in the Munajat, or 'whispered intimate prayers' such as those of Ibn 'Ata Allah al-Iskandari. Among the shia schools, the Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya records du'as attributed to Ali and his grandson Zayn al-Abidin.

When the Messenger of God (peace be upon Him) saw a Muslim man who was sick and had grown feeble like a chicken, the Messenger of God said to him: “Did you pray for anything or ask for it?” He said: Yes, I used to say: O God, whatever punishment You would give me in the Hereafter, bring it forward in this world. The Messenger of God (peace be upon Him) said: “Subhaan Allaah! You cannot bear it. Why didn’t you say, O God, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the Fire?” Then he prayed to God for him, and He healed him. —Sahih Muslim, 35:6505 No one of you should wish for death because of some harm that has befallen him. If he must wish for it, then let him say: ‘O God, keep me alive so long as living is good for me, and cause me to die when death is good for me. — Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:75:362

Read more about Dua:  Types and Categories, The Pre-Conditions, Why Duas Are Not Answered, Other Optional Etiquette

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