Article translated and formulated by Ms. Ra’ana Khan
note of reference: Program Al-Murshad, Urdu Bayan of
Al-Sheikh Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan,
dated 2nd May 2014, topic “Dua”
note of reference: Program Al-Murshad, Urdu Bayan of
Al-Sheikh Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan,
dated 2nd May 2014, topic “Dua”
Dua (supplication) is an instinctive need of an individual. He inherently understands that there is this unseen Force or Power, Which helps him, takes care of him, looks after him or that he instinctively desires, this thing within him that there should be such a One.
Now as for those, who are non-Muslims, they replace this with some other thing; some idol on imaginary being or fictitious character. Conversely a Muslim is informed about Allāh right from their birth. Thus a Muslim wants to share with Allāh and call out to Him; when he needs help in something or it is getting beyond his control or is a cause of pain for him, he can thereby talk regarding it, to Allāh. The Quran itself states concerning this: in the Surah al-Baqarah;
‘Accordingly when My slaves ask you about Me; so indeed I am close; (and) whenever someone calls upon Me, I accept the prayer of the supplicant; Hence they too should obey My Commands and bring Faith upon Me, so that they may attain guidance.’ (2:186)
Three points have been covered here: Firstly, “Oh My beloved if someone were to ask concerning Me…” Meaning to say, that if someone were to ask concerning our Creator, our Lord, the One Who fulfils our needs, the One Who helps us, where is He? Thus let him know; ‘I am close! I am closer to him than his very self. He is not as close to his own being as I am.’
Even the science of today in a manner affirms this. There are about 10 trillion cells in every single body. Every cell is giving birth and dying; cells do not even live up to 6 months, in about 6 months all cells are replaced afresh. Which goes to imply that trillions of deaths take place within our bodies on a daily basis, likewise, trillions of births occur within us as well. Hence the Being that is destroying and creating all of these cells within us is far closer to us then our own beings.
‘When you call upon Me, when you supplicate to Me, then I am already there within you. I am not far! However, it is imperative that you obey Me as well, hear Me too! Listen also, to what I have to say. If you thereby abide by it, thereupon your belief in Me will become absolute (perfected). Thereafter the tide will be yours, you will be successful, good will come unto you.’
Allāh thus determined its source to be; Faith upon Allāh, acceptance of the extreme closeness of His Being. Thereafter, using the preferred method of worship, polish (cleanse) the subtle-heart within, hence that it may behold Allāh. Worship Me; meaning that uphold the difference between Halaal (the permissible as per the Commandments of Allāh) and Haraam (the forbidden as per the Commandments of Allāh), be obedient to Me. Refrain from lying; steer your life towards the truth. At the prescribed times of worship, perform worships with sincerity. Likewise during the determined working hours work efficiently. During the scheduled hours for labour, labour diligently. During the hours specified for sleep, rest peacefully. The time table which has been appropriated through nature, adapt yourself accordingly. Consequently your supplications will be accepted (manifested).
Thus, basically the supplications are fulfilled if one adheres to the ways determined by Him (Allāh), accordingly, implementing them in our practical lives. Hence the prayers would be answered, “Is that the condition?” one wonders! The fact of the matter is that conditions cannot be placed upon Allāh! (The mentioned earlier) is the elaborated procedure; these are the etiquette (manners). However, if He (Allāh) Wills to accept anyone's supplication, no conditions can be placed upon Him. What one needs to bear in mind is that there is one thing, which is known as the procedure or etiquette of doing a task. Similarly there is another thing, known as the protocol.
For instance if one goes to a Ruler, there is a process that one has to follow; one submits an application (request) to the clerk. Thereupon he forwards it to the next concerned. Subsequently it shall reach the respective office or concerned department. On the other hand if the Ruler opened the window and called one to directly bring forth one’s request. That would not be a part of the procedure; it is just a provided chance, a rare opportunity that has been granted.
Accordingly, the procedure determined is that one must bring Faith upon Allāh, recognise His closeness, thereupon become obedient to Him. ‘My dearest, you want that I should listen to you, but first at least you too should adhere to Me. I am the Lord; when you being a creation of Mine, do not obey Me, I have no need to comply to your wishes. By fulfilling your supplication, I am to bestow a Favour upon you. However, you through your obedience will only be paying back your dues, as you are My creation. So the least you can do is listen to (obey) Me too. Thereupon Our relationship will be strengthened, consequently you will receive the Light of Faith, thus affirming your belief. Thereupon I will fulfil (manifest) your supplications. Furthermore you will greatly benefit thereof.’
Another point that comes to mind regarding supplications is that supplications are usually made in order to succeed in something However success is of many forms; for instance, someone should hope to come into money so he thereby makes such a supplication, ‘I should have a luxurious car.’ Hence he supplicates for it. ‘I should have a huge house.’ thus he supplicates such. Do such supplications hold any importance or significance? Should one even submit these? Well the answer to that is a simple one; whatever your heart desires, you are allowed to request from Allāh. However, the Bestower is Supremely Kind, such that, when one supplicates with absolute Faith and belief, He has promised to accept the supplication, although in a manner He deems fit or appropriate (details have been provided, relating the three ways in which the acceptance of the supplication is manifested).
Details can be determined from the Ahadith of the Prophet (Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam) concerning this. That we ask for a thing, which is harmful for us; e.g. perhaps we ask for wealth, however, if it is granted we might go astray. Allāh is ever so kind that He does not Grant us that but instead replaces it with something else, which is of benefit to us. Similar to a child asking his mother for a knife, she would refrain from giving it to him, instead handing him another beautiful toy. The child is ignorant, he is only attracted by the shimmer, he does not realise that it would in fact cut his hand. Nevertheless, the mother knows, hence she does what she believes to be safest for the child or for the child’s betterment.
At times we ask for something and we promptly get it, as is. Sometimes we do not receive it immediately, but after some delay, it is granted to us. It is His Own discretion. However, if none of these options come about, thereupon Allāh accumulates those supplications with Himself. There is a saying of the Prophet (Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam) informing us that on the Judgement Day, when a person's deeds will be weighed. There will be some people such that the angels will declare that they have laid out his good and bad deeds on the scale. It will then be asserted that, 'No all have not been placed, as some of them are preserved with Me.' Thereupon those supplications, which we were not manifested within the Realm of the World, those will then be placed with his good deeds. Furthermore, the Prophet (Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam) stated that many an individual whose supplications were granted within the Realm of the World, will then regret that ’Alas! If only my prayers had not been answered there, then I would have benefited from them now, as they would have been placed in my good deeds.’ The crux of this is that supplications, never go to waste.
Thus a supplication never goes to waste, it is stored away, if not manifested within the span of this worldly life, thereby on the Day of Judgement, it will weigh heavy (in the scale of goodness). Or something in its place is granted within the Realm of this World.
Here another question arises, e.g. if there is a thief, who goes to commit robbery and supplicates that may he succeed; would such a prayer be stored away? The answer to this is an obvious ‘No!’ On such a supplication he shall receive a punishment, as it is blasphemous to supplicate against the Commandments of Allāh. To pray in order to achieve success to commit a sin, is blasphemy! The way if you submitted a request to the court which was against the law it would tantamount to the contempt of Court.
Another thought that commonly arises is that can dua (supplication) alter Fate. What one needs to bear in mind is that Fate is in fact another matter altogether, because dua (supplication), in itself is a part of Fate. How can ‘dua’ alter Fate when it is in fact ‘Fate’ in itself? It is already determined within Fate, that when such and such person makes a certain supplication, thereupon it will be rewarded such.
One wonders thus, that if it is a part of Fate that such and such person, will implore such and such supplication, at which he shall be rewarded such; thereupon all this, one begins to speculate ‘where do we stand? When everything seems to be happening automatically?’ This is when we need to realise that ‘No! It is not automatic. It is not automatic at all!’ In fact this is a delicate concept which needs to be understood, that regardless of ‘Fate’ everything is not automatic. Allāh informed man of all the various means or ways and also gave him the ability or capacity; i.e. if he wishes to steal he may do so, as he has been given the ability. If he wishes to murder he may do so, as it is within his capacity. If he wishes not to do either, it too is his choice. Hence, 'to do or not to do,' is a decision left unto him. While commanding him not to commit evil and in fact indulge in goodness or piety. Nevertheless, after giving the Command, the choice has been left entirely to man. Now do you wish to act piously or if you wish to indulge in evil, go ahead then and see for yourselves, what you get from committing wrong!
‘Without doubt, We also showed him the way; if he thus wants he can be grateful, if he wants he can be ungrateful’ (76:3)
Thus, man only has the power to make a decision, whether he wants to go towards goodness or head towards evil. This is the only power given to man, besides this, what other power or control does he truly have? Can he come to exist as per his own free will or die on his own accord? Can he make is eyes or nose himself? Can he become ill out of choice and regain his health from his free will? Can he become rich or poor at his own decision or whim? No! None of it! All these decisions are determined by Fate, the only power or control he has, is to make a choice whether; whichever direction he wishes to head towards, he may do so, it is entirely his prerogative. Effectively, the end result will be determined accordingly.
Another thought that has been voiced is that the person who heads towards piety and becomes of the obedient, his desires seemingly fade away; hence does he no longer have the need to supplicate? Well, as far as, supplications are concerned, neither do desires ever fade away nor does the need to supplicate ever vanish. In every step one needs both of these things. Even while drinking water; with every sip we need to supplicate for it can go into our windpipe instead of a throat. In fact, when eating as well, with every morsel we take in; it can give us health as well as become a cause of the ailment. Whatever work one is about to do, the result of it can be good or bad, thereby we need to supplicate with each step, in fact with every breath; as each coming breath too can seize.
The decision is entirely mine; that there are two paths, one leads towards goodness, while the other leads to evil. Thereafter either I will head towards the good or simply tread the evil path. Some of us mix it up though; sometimes doing good, whereas sometimes committing evil.
Another question that may come to mind is; if I am already treading the path of goodness, where will I need to make the supplication; "Oh Lord! Make me traverse the path to goodness.” Where does this supplication fit in? Over here, the thing that needs to be understood is that the feelings intensity or Stations (grades) on the path of goodness or nearness to Allāh have no limits. Although you may be acting piously yet you can do better and even better and better still, there are no limits to this. The epitome of goodness amongst the creations, are the Prophets (Alayhi Salam) and they too supplicate. Basically the feelings and stages are infinite and thus never ending; so is the case of evil, there is no limit to the evil one can commit. It is thus never ending; A person may fall so low, yet falling lower, lower, and still lower.
A question was been sent forth by a man, who claimed that since the past 20 years he had been making a supplication, which had still not been fulfilled. Evidently, now he had come to a point of harbouring false notions pertaining to whether in fact Allāh did exist or not? Unfortunately, he is drawing the wrong conclusion from this. The conclusion that he has derived is incorrect. My friend! If you have been making a supplication for 20 years, why do you not realise it such; that look at your inconspicuous self and the Grandeur of the Lord. Irrespective of that for 20 years He has allowed for you to communicate with Him, for 20 years. That in itself is an (abundant) immense blessing upon you! The Lord, the Creator of the Universe, has been putting up with you and bearing with you for the past 20 years; is this a lesser blessing of any kind? Look, there are different perspectives; there you are asking for something, while it is quite possible that Allāh has already blessed you with something better. Furthermore, how is it of any less of value that since the past 20 years you have had the honour of communicating with Allāh? Effectively, He in His Graciousness listens to you; neither does He take away your speech, nor remove you from his court, nor ask you to refrain. This in itself is a Supreme Reward.
Another thing that one wonders is if it can be determined if a supplication has been accepted. As mentioned earlier, there is no compulsion upon Allāh for the acceptance of any supplication. The shaytan supplicated that ‘since you have made me accursed, thereby grant me eternal life.’ Allāh did not grant him eternal life, however, he allowed him life until the Doomsday. Allāh made an amendment in the dua; shaytan's supplication held the trickery that he should be absolved of death altogether. However, Allāh asserted that, 'No! Death shall come upon all creation, however, you will die after all the rest of the creation has been met with death.' Thus He also granted shaytan's supplication as well. Nevertheless, it is entirely His Will, upto His Discretion. On the other hand, there is a fine point to this as well. The shaytan refused to obey the Command, he never denied the (existence) Being of Allāh. Thereafter, this is what he requested, ‘You are my Lord, it is fine that I have turned accursed. Albeit my mistake, that I have been banished from Your Court. Nevertheless now grant me eternal life.’ As he still knew, that He (Allāh) is the Source of all Life. That was something he was well aware of. Thereupon, he still insists that, ‘I fear Allāh, Who is the Lord of the entire Universe.’ He fears His (Allāh's) Omnipotence and His Grasp. Nevertheless, this fear does not compel him to His obedience, accordingly he is adamant to remain disobedient; meaning to say that he has the fear of retribution, basically the fear of the punishment that he is to receive, yet his arrogance keeps him from becoming obedient.
Effectively, another point to ponder, in reference to the shaytan is that he refused to prostrate before man and thus it became his fate to stumble forth from pillar to post running astray. Yet today there is many a person who does not help man as is his due! Shaytan did not realise man's worth and thus defied the Command, for which he was punished. Today as well there are many people who do not give man is due. One does ponder, which category do they fall into? Now just observe, in reference to the topic ‘supplication’, the shaytan made a supplication which was accepted but with amendment. Nevertheless, if you study the result, what was it? Basically if the shaytan had not been given respite and allowed such a long life, subsequently he would not have been able to commit as many sins. He continues to amass more evil until the Doomsday; when he continues to mislead numerous amounts of people towards the wrong path, then he too shall bear the brunt of it (by being held responsible as well for the evil doings of them all, on the Day of Judgment). Hence, the other thing that needs to be focused upon, is that the person supplicating, what is the nature of his relationship with Allāh, as he shall get a response accordingly. Shaytan’s relationship was with evil thus when he got leave it was only to accumulate more evil. That supplication will not bring him any benefit. On the Doomsday he will come to know that 'by this I have caused myself utter destruction'.
Regarding supplication another aspect may come to mind. We observe that some company or organisation or industry has an owner or manager. He knows well who to place in what capacity depending upon the person's credibility or his calibre, and thus delegates the tasks or job or work accordingly. Allāh is the Supreme Manager; thereupon, we attempt to supplicate to Him (i.e. make suggestions or tell Him what and how we want something.) The thing is that by supplicating we do not mean to cause impedance in Allāh's system. The point of supplicating is to share what one is feeling with our Creator, to share those with Allāh. That does not essentially mean that it would alter the program of nature. The point is that whatever one feels; leaving aside whether one’s feelings are weak or if they are good, whether they are silly like oneself or uninformed, the point to note is that Whom is one in conversation with? So the honour of being in conversation with our Lord is the actual essence and pleasure of supplicating. That whatever an individual has been feeling, he has personally informed his Lord, of it, albeit He is already better aware of it than us. Nevertheless, we want to share the state of our heart, (it is human nature) man wants to talk of it and make his desires known. Thus Allāh has granted us that permission, and given us that leave. He listens to what we have to say; is that of any less value on its own? Hence, there is no limit to supplications. However, we cannot alter the course of nature thereby. Thus wherever a change comes about, it too is already ordained such in the Fate. The way man has been given a choice i.e. that if he goes on such and such a path, he will be bitten by a poisonous snake. However, if he alters his course taking another route he shall pass through safely. Similarly, man (only) has the choice to take either route, if he takes one path he is bound to get killed and robbed by bandits, whereas if he takes the other path he shall safely pass through. Likewise, is the case with one's actions if he does such and such he shall get punished, if he does the alternate then he shall get rewarded.
However, the point under discussion here was that when He thinks for our betterment, then how does it make sense for us to be telling Him what to do for us? True, we supplicate, which is something we do from our level of understanding. It pertains to our own depth of intellect. So those who reach this realisation that whatever Allāh does (for us) is for our own betterment; they would be very few, such, in number. Who are content with His Decisions; they are a numbered people. To reach this realisation; that 'if illness has befallen me, then this too was essential for me thus it is for my betterment as such.' It is not the calibre of every man, whereas over here we are speaking in general terms concerning the masses, talking of the common man. Everyone cannot reach this superior level of human understanding. This is a very high state of submission. That one should have the conviction that my Lord desires only what is beneficial to me. Thereupon, even if one is met with pain, one goes on to recognise it such; that He is my Doctor and He has thus operated upon me (for my betterment). If He hadn't done so then perhaps it would have caused more destruction. Hence, only a rare few reach this state, whereas over here we are discussing the common man, the people like us, the people at our level.
There is a Russian scientist, he has been researching snowflakes; these are very minute crystals which form a snowflake. They are so tiny that they cannot be seen without the aid of a microscope. Subsequently, because it ice, if a tiny crystal is separated from the snowflake, before you can even speak, it melts. So first he created such a thing or such a matter or liquid, with which he could separate the tiny particle and place it upon the glass without having it melt. Thereafter he took the most minuscule particle of ice. There are trillions of which in a snowflake. Thereupon he took photographs of it from a microscope, he took detailed images from his microscope. You would be surprised that the detailed image of each particle or cell is different. Each dot of ice has a different formation. Effectively it is so different and so beautiful, that when I saw those images, I don't think that I have ever seen a jeweller make such beautiful jewellery. Each particle is so exquisitely beautiful as if a Jeweller has proportioned jewellery with such extraordinary beauty.
Just observe that from the beginning of time to date, such a numerous number of humans have passed and not one is exactly like the other. Although they constitute of the same nose, the same two eyes, the same ears, similar heights and physique, yet each person is completely different. If you study the animals you will find each other different. If you look at sheep they seem the same to a common person, but to the shepherd they are all separate and he can recognise each individually. Likewise, each plant is different, one is not exactly like the other. Each landscape is different. In fact I have travelled the world and I have noticed something very strange, which I often relate. Whichever country you go to; the mountains, the earth or clay, the houses, they will be pretty much the same and not multicoloured, wherever you may roam you will find this visual uniformity. However, when you come to Pakistan you notice a multitude of colours in one mountain. For example within a single mountain one finds numerous layers; one layer is blue, one layer is red, while another layer is white therein. Such mountains are nowhere to be found in this world other than in Pakistan. In any area if you cover the distance of 5 miles, you find a difference; in the language (or dialect), the construction of the houses and the thought patterns of the people. The colourfulness of nature in Pakistan is something I have not witnessed anywhere else in the world.
Coming back to the context of the topic, is it not strange, that the One who is such a Magnificent Artist, thereupon we are giving Him advice? Especially, when He is so absolutely near unto us; just observe that if in one man there are more than 10 trillion cells. Accordingly, the population of the world is 6 billion. If in one human body there are 10 trillion cells. Every cell is giving birth and dying. A cell gives birth to its own type of cell and thereupon dies. This means that they are dying as well as getting re-formed. Effectively, in given a moment, billions of them die. Since their life span is not more than 6 months, ten trillion cells have to die within a span of 6 months. Henceforth one can multiply and divide them as per requirement and gauge for oneself how many die or live within a moment. One can do the math on the computer and confirm by themselves. Thus likewise, an equivalent amount are born. While we do not even feel a thing, we remain completely oblivious to it. Hence, the Being Who is so extremely close; to deny Him or not cooperate with Him, consequently we would have to bear the brunt of that.
Along with supplication there is also something known as a ‘bad Dua’ (an ill-wish). The concept of this 'bad dua' is such or rather the truth about ‘bad dua' is, when someone is wrongfully depraved of his rights or that uncalled for wrong is inflicted upon someone. It does not essentially need the vocalising of a supplication. Moreover, the negative emotions that arise thereupon within the core of the heart of a person thereby wronged; the negativity one feels, the pain that is caused, the yearning or curse that escapes his heart. That is a bad dua, and one must do their utmost to avoid it.
It is said that a bad Dua is accepted promptly, however, this is not the case; it does not get accepted promptly. Sometimes a person has no right to feel those negative feelings, nevertheless he is sitting there cursing someone for no rhyme or reason while he has no right to do so. He has wrongfully determined that something is rightfully his and it has thus been snatched away. Who is deserving of a ‘Bad Dua’ or not, is at the discretion of Nature; only it can determine or differentiate concerning this matter, it is not something that can entirely be known to us.
Anyway, there is this option or room for bad Dua in Islam. In fact that is why it has been stated that do not cause anyone pain, do not usurp anyone’s rights. The feeling thereupon generated within his heart that ‘why was I divested of my right?’ This is especially true for those, who have no one in this world, to hear or contend for them. If one has no hopes pinned upon anyone. Thereupon, that person only speaks to Allāh. Hence, one must be wary of this, and attempt to ensure that one steers clear of oppressing or wronging anyone. Thus one must avoid it. Effectively, it has been strictly advised to avoid it. Furthermore, this is essential for character building, for one’s strength of character, that one does not essentially wrong anyone; that an individual does not usurp the rights of anyone, and does not cause anyone undue pain.
Basically dua or bad dua are both, this intense emotion or a plea that escapes your heart. It does not require words. Words or vocalisation is a mere honour that one is permitted to share in their own language, how they feel with Allāh. However, the essence of Dua, is that feeling that emotion within a person’s heart; essentially, that never goes to waste. Neither does dua nor bud dua ever go to waste.
A person may wonder if there is a proper procedure of making a dua? The way one sees that the sallah has a prescribed method. On the contrary, Dua does not in fact have any prescribed method, however Dua has its etiquette; that a person be clean, one should be purified. One should remember Allāh (engage in a Allāh's Remembrance), thus calling out to Him. He should recite the Durood Sharif (Send blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam), one should praise Allāh, glorify Him. Acknowledging Him such, "You are Supreme, You are Omnipotent." Thereafter, reciting Durood Sharif again.
The Eurodite assert; that Durood Sharif too in fact is a dua as well; that, ‘May Allāh send blessings upon the Prophet (Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam) and send blessings upon his family. This too is certainly a dua. Hence, they affirm that if one were to recite Durood Sharif in the beginning and the end of their dua, then there are more chances of its acceptance per se, because it does not befit Allāh that He should accept the supplication made in the beginning and the end whereas leave the one in the middle, unanswered. Thus the recitation of Durood Sharif itself becomes a reason for acceptance. As Durood Sharif is that dua, which is always accepted, it is never rejected; although it is a dua. This is the method or etiquette of making dua; all of the above mentioned are included in the etiquettes of making dua. However, the truth about dua is that is the feeling that arises from the depths of your heart.
A question I have been asked is that, ‘Dua; is the talk or speech of one’s heart, the talk of my own heart, so if I have to make Dua, then it entirely depends upon what state my heart or the feelings that arose from my heart. That is what I have to focus upon. However if, when I notice that a desire has arisen in my heart, thereupon, I decide to go to another person, whom I believe to be very pious and Holy, with the realisation that he is closer to Allāh than myself. Thereby, I make a request that kindly make dua on my behalf. Is this correct?’ I clarified to the person, that this is in fact a good thing, there is no harm in it. Although, dua is what escapes one’s heart; dua is, what arose from the depths of one’s heart, however if it became the source of taking one to someone who is close to Allāh, who has a greater connection with Him, thus that the good thing. It can only lead to further betterment, hence there is no harm in it. However, it is imperative that he should truly be a man of Allāh. He should not be sitting there to make money.
At this another question arises, that how is one supposed to verify that this is in fact truly a man of Allāh and not someone sitting here to do business? Well when one interacts with somebody and has an exchange with someone thereby in time, this becomes evident. Unfortunately, we choose to turn a blind eye ourselves, otherwise when we engage with someone then we do you realise the truth regarding them; Whether this person does have the fear of Allāh in him or he is just sitting there making money from me and bettering his own worldly life. Thus usually one who charges money, he is not the right person or a true man of Allāh. Nevertheless, there is a point of difference to note here; there are people who of their own accord give money to the ones they revere (for a just cause or entrusting the man-of-Allāh with the distribution of their charity etc). However, if that man's eyes are set upon their money, he is certainly someone one should be wary of. We have witnessed ourselves such men of Allāh, such pious holy-men, that whether we extolled our efforts to care for them or we simply did not bother, either way it made no difference to them. We may believe it to be honourable for us, thus we would take a gift sometimes, nevertheless, the occasions that we did not take anything for them, it would not go to mean that we would not be heard today. Whereas there are some who are expectant that, 'oh today he is heading this way, he must be bringing something over for me.'
Another aspect within dua is, when we give a reference of someone (that out of consideration or for the regard or for the sake of such and such person, kindly grant acceptance to my supplication), what is the significance of this? Reference or intersession is a separate topic altogether, this does not only apply to duas alone but in fact with all other matters as well. Nevertheless, it is bound by limits or parameters; essentially a reference should be seen or understood as a 'reference' alone (it must never be taken as some form of compulsion or behest or mandatory of sorts).
It is mentioned in the Hadith that there were three men and it began to rain so they took shelter in a cave. This is mentioned in the ‘Bokhari Sharif’(Compilation of Authentic Ahadith). A boulder fell and closed the mouth of the cave. Thus the Prophet (Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam) elaborates; that they used all their might, nonetheless the boulder was too heavy and it would not budge. Furthermore, since the cave too was within a stone cliff, thus it could not be dug out; hence they had no way to leave. Thereupon, it was decided that each one would present a ‘good deed’ as reference, in the court of Allāh and request a dua on its behalf. The first one of them presented his good deed thereby supplicating hence the boulder budged a little. Thereupon, the second one presented his own good deed that 'oh Allāh I did this for You!' Thus the boulder shifted slightly more; however, not enough room was created for them to leave. The third presented something pertaining to his character, (it will become a long discussion hence I will not get into the details of it). Nevertheless he presented it, thereby supplicating that 'I did that for You, and if You have accepted that act of mine, thus accept my supplication.' At this the entire border was removed. Now if you observe, the deed or act, too is a creation, which they did give a reference of. Similarly, if one has a connection with pious person, or one is visiting a shrine, or a holy place or is in fact at the Roza-e-Athar (blessed resting place of the Prophet Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam). Thereupon, make a supplication 'oh Allāh You are the Gracious, as is Your Prophet (Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam), I am standing here at his blessed Grave. So kindly accept my supplication with this reference.' In essence, this is absolutely acceptable. On the contrary, if one called upon anyone other than Allāh to accept their supplication (no matter where they stood), that would be completely unacceptable and tantamount to ‘Shirk’(taking someone as partner to Allāh); which is not acceptable, under any circumstances whatsoever.
In conclusion, regarding dua, certainly to give reference in your dua or if your dua causes you to meet with a pious man, are both a matter of blessings and honour. The dua is essentially one which comes straight from your heart; effectively, that is the one that receives acceptance. Essentially, He is the Effectuator, causing all of this to effect. He is in fact closer to us than our own consciousness. If only we were to recognise this, thereby appreciating the honour of supplicating for what it truly is. Deriving utter pleasure from the mere act of communicating such with the Creator Himself; thus a greater half of the point and purpose of our supplication would be realised and manifested!