By Amina Ashraf
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” 2:186
We all need help. Some need financial help, others need educational help, and most people need mental help. But when you tell others about your issues, most people can’t do much but listen. They may even get annoyed and tired of hearing about your problems. But Allah is the opposite-He loves when we ask Him for things! He wants us to ask Him for help, and He even rewards us for it!
We know from the Prophet (S) that du’a is considered an act of worship (‘ibadah), so therefore it must only be done to Allah Alone. By making du’a to Allah, we show Him our weakness, humbleness, and need for Him. Plus, who else can give us anything other than the One Who Owns everything?
Islam is very simple, you don’t need to do anything fancy when making du’a like see a shooting star, throw away your change in a fountain, etc. Instead, we just have to follow the example of the Prophet (S). There are certain acts the Prophet (S) did when making du’a like facing the qiblah and being in a state of purity. He used to raise his hands to his shoulders and even all the way up if he was in dire need. When doing istighfar, he (S) would keep his right pointer finger raised. He also would repeat the du’a three times. There are some practices that have become common but are actually not from the sunnah like making du’a after every salah or wiping your face after the du’a [the Prophet (S) only wiped his face after saying the “Quls”].
Remember: don’t get too hasty. Before you start listing out everything you need, reflect on Who you’re asking. Before you start asking Allah for anything, you should start by praising Allah and praying for the Prophet (S). An example would be saying “SubhanAllah, Alhumdulilah, Allahu Akbar” and then “Allahumma sali ‘ala Muhammadin…” To increase your humility, you can admit your sins to Allah, but remember not to publicize your sins to anyone else. Another tip is to call on Allah by His Most Beautiful Names and Attributes and making du’a by listing some of your good deeds that you did for Allah Alone sincerely.
I didn’t even realize there were so many etiquettes involved with making du’a. I remember when I used to make du’a, I thought it would be selfish to start with myself, so I would make du’a for everyone else first. But actually, you’re supposed to make du’a for yourself first! The table below has a few do’s and don’ts with du’a:
Alhumdulilah we’re so blessed in Islam, because we have so much information! Not only do we know how to make du’a and ways to make du’a, but we also know the times and places they are more likely to be accepted. The best place to make du’a are the masjids, specifically Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. The best times for du’a to be accepted are listed in the table:
I think the most difficult part about understanding du’a is after you’re done. We usually expect our du’a to turn out EXACTLY how we asked, instantly. But I’m sure there have been many times where you’ve made du’a and been grateful that it wasn’t accepted. Alhumdulilah Allah is All-Knowing, and we don’t know what’s best for us.
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” 2:216
We have to remember to trust in Allah and be patient with His Decree, because once we start complaining about our du’a “not being accepted” or start saying things like “Allah won’t accept my du’a” or “Allah didn’t hear me” (Allah is All-Hearing!), then we’ve pretty much nullified our du’as.
So don’t worry, as long as you do your best and make du’a in the correct manner, there are four ways our du’a can be accepted. Either Allah will 1) respond and fulfill the desire of the person who made the dua, or 2) ward off some evil from him, or 3) make something good easy for him to attain, or 4) save it with Him (as a good deed) on the Day of Resurrection when he will be most in need of it. So alhumdulilah making du’a is always a win-win situation. Well, actually it’s more like a win-win-win-win situation.
And Allah knows best.
*Fortress of the Muslim has du’as from Quran and authentic sunnah. You can buy it online, get the app, or go to: http://www.islamawareness.net/Dua/Fortress/
**I compiled this information from notes I took in a class given by Sheikh Muhammad S. Adly and from what I read by Muhammad S. Al-Munajjid. I know it’s authentic, and I can provide references if anyone wishes.