Thank you for this question.
There are a number of concerns we should have when we make our du'a. First, it is important to realize that du'a should not be made without making a reasonable effort to achieve the desired thing itself through practical action. Secondly, we must think carefully about what we ask for, and not ask for things that are actually harmful for us in any way. We may not know what will, and will not, be harmful. So if God doesn't answer our prayers for what we ask, then it should not be seen as something indicating that Allah is not being generous towards us. We should rather look at it with the attitude of: Allah knows best what is best for me. So the fact that He keeps this from me may be the best thing to happen!
As Muslims, we have obligations towards Allah, towards the rest of creation and towards ourselves. Therefore, we must make sure we fulfill those obligations. How can we ask Allah for anything if we are deficient in our obligations towards Him?
In Arabic, the word du`a means: calling or supplication. There are some beautiful verses revealed in the Qur’an concerning supplicating to Allah:
When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.
Surah 2 Verse 186
Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for God loveth not those who trespass beyond bounds.
Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing (in your hearts): for the Mercy of God is (always) near to those who do good.
Surah 7 Verses 55 - 56
In these verses we notice:
And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!"
Surah 40 Verse 60
- We supplicate to Allah with hope, extreme humility and extreme urgency.
- We only depend on Allah and ask our needs from Him, nobody else.
- Allah is near and He answers our calls and supplications.
The verse 2:186 in particular, shows that if you desperately need the help of Allah, then call Him and He is near (listening to you) and say: ‘O Allah, You have said in Your book: "I am near and I answer to those who call Me."O Allah, Your words are true, Your book is true, Your promise is true, so, I am calling You. Please answer my call.’
But remember, Allah said in the same verse:
This means that Allah asks you to obey Him and have faith in Him, so that He may guide you rightly. So ask yourself: ‘Do I obey Him?’ That is, do you do all the obligatory actions on a Muslim: pray five times, fast, earn rizq halal (lawful earned money), eat halal food, avoid backbiting etc. Do you really try to follow His orders in all ways of life? For if we don’t pray regularly how can we expect Allah to listen to us?
...Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.
How to make du`a:
In fact, you can do this, asking God for sustenance (rizq) or any other halal thing. That is for Allah is The Hearer and The Giver. Also, you can try to depict certain timings and situations, which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recommended to be the best, in which Allah accepts du`a.
- Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that du`a is a kind of worship. Therefore, with full concentration of your heart and with complete sincerity spread your hands in front of Allah and beg Him, cry in sincerity and humility. This is the style Allah loves very much. The destiny of those who are arrogant and do not submit to God is the Hell-fire. (see above quote 4:60)
- In an authentic hadith Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
‘For any one among you, if the door of acceptance of du`a is opened, then the doors of His Mercy are also opened. The best du`a Allah likes is the one in which the caller asks for the goodness of this world and the goodness of the next world.’
This comes from a verse in the Qur'an and is perhaps the most suited du'a for your circumstances:
..."Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the Fire!"
Surah 2 Verse 201
- If we want Allah to listen to our du`a when we are in distress, then we must make sure we call Him, when we are in happiness and comfort as well.
- We should avoid haram (forbidden) means or source of earnings, eating and drinking etc.
- It is better before asking Allah, that we do something good. This could be in the form of sadaqa (charity), offer nafl salat (voluntary prayers, in accordance to sunnah), and then mention our good deeds to Allah.
- In this case, we clean and purify ourselves by wudhu’ (ritual ablution), then facing the qiblah (direction of Ka`bah in Makkah) we offer two raka`ats for the salat of hajah (prayers asking for your need, in accordance to sunnah).
- After which, we should remain sitting and praise and glorify Allah much.
- Begin and end your du`a by sending peace and blessings of Allah to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
- Open the hands and lift them shoulder high.
- Ask like a beggar, for everyone is a beggar, only Allah is the Giver.
- Adopt an extremely humble and respectful attitude, when supplicating, suitable for God’s Grace, Majesty and Glory.
- Call Him with His Beautiful Names and Attributes.
- Admit your sins and mistakes in front of Allah and repent.
- Use the du`as of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and appeal through them, as our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) has not left out any human need from his teaching.
- In your du`a, begin with yourself, then your parents and then the rest of the Muslim ummah (nation).
- Ask Allah with full conviction and trust in Him that He will answer your call.
- Use extreme concentration and urgency in calling Him.
- Ask many times for the same purpose. Keep on repeating specific du`as.
- Ask Allah even for trifling things.
- Praise and Glorify Allah and when you finish your supplication, say: ameen.
- Wipe your face with both hands after completing the du`a.
- Wait patiently (sabr) for acceptance and do not despair if the answer seems to you to take a long time in being fulfilled. On the contrary, repeat this whole thing many times. It is in itself a kind of worship in itself, which will be rewarded by Allah and also your patience and repetition signifies your sincerity.
Some times which were recommended for making du'a:
- At the time of adhan (call for prayers)
- Between the iqama and takbir (at the start of the prayers)
- After every fard salat (the five obligatory prayers)
- During sujud (prostration)
- When one is traveling
- When it is raining
- Late at night, during the last one third of the night
- On the Night of Power (laylatu al-Qadr)
- The Day of `Arafat (during hajj).
- During the whole month of Ramadan, particularly when breaking the fast.
- During Fridays prayers, at time of khutbah
Finally, the most important thing is the sincerity and patience of the servant. This is along with his being happy, thankful and content with whatever God destines him to have.
Such an attitude is the sign of a good mo’men (sincere believer). This sincerity is held in the heart, witnessed by the tongue and proven by actions.
Asking Allah for something, such as asking for Him to give you a means of provisions through a job, needs to be done together with all the actions necessary. This means both in terms of living by God's laws and in terms of the practical actions needed to achieve the goal.
Influence of Du'a on Qadar
How my Du'a Could Come True
Du'a: Worship and Resort of the Helplessl