Al-Munājāt (Supplication) (Arabic: المناجاة) is to talk secretly and express one's needs and gratitude before God. In the Qur'an, the concept of "supplication" is used in some forms such as "najayt-um" (ناجَیْتُم) (you conversed privately), "najwa-kum" (نَجْواکُم) (your private talk) and "nida'-an khafiyy-an" (نِداءً خَفیّا) (a secret cry); and in hadith collections, there are hadiths about the importance, manners and conditions of making supplication.
The difference between "du'a" and "supplication" is in the state of the worshiper when conversing with God. Making supplication in the dawn, calling God by the words compatible with the needs and the request of the supplicant and having a humble heart are considered among the conditions and manners of supplication.
Studying the Concept
"Munajat" (supplication) is referred to talking secretly to someone. Supplication is mostly used for talking secretly and expressing the needs and gratitude before God; and sometimes, it contains repentance from the sins. With regards to the Qur'an 9:78, al-Tabrisi interpreted "najwa" (نَجْوی), from which "munajat" is derived, as "distance" and said that in order for supplication, supplicants keep away from people.
The word "munajat" is not mentioned in the Qur'an, but its concept is mentioned in some forms such as "najwa-kum" (your private talk), "najayt-um" (you conversed privately), and "nida'-an khafiyy-an" (a secret cry). In hadith collections, there are hadiths and chapters about the importance, manners and conditions of making supplication, and also famous ones have been compiled.
The Difference Between "Du'a" and "Supplication"
The difference between "du'a" (prayer) and "munajat" is in the state of the worshiper when conversing with God; if the conversation is about admitting to the sins or the greatness of love, and the state in which the person is, matches better intimate and calm conversation, the word "supplication" is used for it. However, the word "du'a" means calling, inviting and openly asking someone for help.
Supplication requires observing some manners and fulfilling its conditions. In commentaries, the dawns are mentioned as the best of times for making supplication. These texts refer to verses of the Qur'an in which night is considered as more suitable time for getting closer to God. Among these verses, the mention can be made for Qur'an 7:142 about the supplication of Moses (a) to God in Mount Sinai at night, Qur'an 25:64 about the time of worshiping God and Quran 32:16.
Another manner of supplication is calling God with names and attributes which better match the suppliant's need and request; for example, when there is a need for God's forgiveness, God should be called with the attributes such as al-Ghaffar (الغَفّار) (the Forgiver), al-Sattar (السَتّار) (the Coverer) or al-Wahhab (الوَهّاب) (the Giver). Reciting supplication using the words and phrases taught by God or stated in Imams' (a) supplications is regarded among other manners of making supplication.
In the books of exegesis and Qur'anic sciences, different fruits are mentioned for making supplication from God; such as the effective role of supplication in acceptance of the repentance and immunity from the hell's punishment, making the spirit of sincerity in the supplicant, tenderness of the heart, the purity of the soul and the strength of spirit.
In the Qur'an, God has reported some supplications from the Prophets (a), angels and His righteous worshipers, most of which begin with the word "Rabba-na" (رَبَّنا) (O our Lord).
Story of Moses (a) in Mount Sinai and his forty-night supplication to God, Yunus's (a) supplication to God in the darkness of the sea and the belly of the fish, Joseph's (a) supplication to God in the difficulties he had, Abraham's (a) supplications in the middle of divine trials and David's (a) supplications in the Psalms are among the famous supplications of the Prophets (a) in the Qur'an. Verses 38, 193 and 194 of Qur'an 3 are among the famous supplications of the worshipers in the Qur'an.
Imams' (a) Supplications
Among the sayings transmitted from Imams (a), some of them have been mentioned as supplications. Al-Sha'baniyya Supplication, supplication of Imam Ali (a) in the Mosque of Kufa and Khamsa ashar supplication of Imam al-Sajjad (a) can be mentioned among famous munajats of Imams (a).
Among the mystics, some have become famous for having supplications, among the most important ones of which is the supplication of Khwaja 'Abd Allah al-Ansari.
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- Qur'an 58:12
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