Dua in Islam
by Huma Ahmad of Jannah.org
Dua is defined as any invocation or prayer addressed to Allah (SWT).
In our times, we find many reasons why people do not make Dua; we forget, don't know how, or just do not think it will be answered. Fundamental to this is the loss of dependence and trust upon Allah. As Muslims there is something very wrong when we believe our Duas won't be answered. We do not turn to Allah in our times of need and instead put our trust, dependence and hopes on worldly things that we think will help us.
Although these temporal things are the means through which our Duas can be answered, the root of our being should be trained automatically to turn to Allah and not anything or anyone else. Through Dua, we strengthen our Imaan and our relationship with Allah, as well as heighten our awareness of cause and effect that can help inspire and motivate us to be closer to Islam in our lives.
We find many reassurances throughout the Quran for those who make Dua. Allah the Exalted, has said: "And your Lord says: Pray unto me: and I will hear your prayer" (Quran 40:60), "Call upon your Lord Humbly and in secret" (Quran 7:55), "When My servants question thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me" (Quran 2:186), "Is not He (best) who listens to the (soul) distressed when it calls on Him, and who relieves its suffering." (Quran 27:62)
Aisha radhiallaahu anha said, "No believer makes Dua and it is wasted. Either it is granted here in this world or deposited for him in the Hereafter as long as he does not get frustrated."
In fact, it is even wrong to never make Dua, "Whosoever does not supplicate to Allah, He will be angry with Him." [Saheeh Jaami`as-Sagheer #2414]
Conditions for acceptance of Dua
- A Hadith says "Ad-Du'aa Huwal-3ibaadah", which means, "Dua is worship." [Abu Dawud,at-Tirmidhi, Hasan Saheeh], Dua is Ibadah so calling upon anyone other than Allah in one's Dua is Shirk. This is an important condition of having one's Dua accepted; the Dua should be directed to Allah alone.
- A second condition would be sincerity or Hudoor alqalb, having the heart present.
- Also, one's food, drink, clothes and lifestyle should be Halal. One should avoid unlawful, impious or forbidden sources or means of livelihood.
- Fourth, one cannot ask for something sinful or Haram. Dua should not be made against family and property (i.e. to sever the ties of kinship).
- If one asks Allah to curse someone, it rises up to heaven and goes to the person if they are deserving, if not it returns to the person supplicating.
- Patience is another condition. This perseverance in making Dua is important. One should not say "Why hasn't Allah answered my Dua" or "I have prayed and prayed so many times, but the same was not accepted" and then become disappointed and give up praying. An example of this is like a person who planted a seed or a sapling, and kept looking after it and watering it and when its complete shape and height was slow in coming, they left it and forgot about it.
- Lastly one should have expectation, belief with certainty only Allah can answer the Dua. Understanding dependence on Allah and asking with absolute resolve and believing with certainty that one's Dua will be answered is a also a condition of acceptance. One should not say "O Allah do this...if you wish..." because one should appeal to Allah with determination, for nobody can force Allah to do something against his Will. If one fulfills these conditions, Allah will definitely answer the Dua, avert some equivalent evil or give better in the Hereafter.
We can and should make Dua in every condition, i.e. in hardship and in prosperity. There are also some special times to make Dua where it is more likely to be accepted.
Special times for dua:
- When one is oppressed
- Between the time of Athan and Iqama
- At the time of the call for prayer
- At the time of fighting when warriors are engaged with each other
- When it is raining
- When one is sick
- The last third of the night
- Ramadan (especially Lailatul Qadr)
- After the Fard part of prayer\
- When traveling
- When breaking fast
- In Sujood
- Fridays, some say on Friday after Asr prayer
- While drinking the water from the well of Zamzam
- At the start of prayer (Dua of Istiftah)
- When one begins the prayer, i.e. with "all praise be to Allah, the Pure and the Blessed one"
- While one recites al-Fatiha (which is a Dua)
- When Ameen is said in the prayer (also relating to Fatiha)
- At the time of raising the head after the Rukoo
- In the last part of the prayer after conveying blessings unto the Prophet (SAW)
- Before finishing the prayer (before Tasleem (saying the Salaam to the angels))
- At the end of Wudu
- On the day of Arafah
- On waking up from sleep
- At times of adversity
- Prayer after the death of a person
- Dua when someone's heart is filled with sincerity and when it is focused on Allah
- Dua of the parent against or for his children
- When the sun moves from its meridian but before the Dhuhr prayer
- The Dua of a Muslim for his brother without the latter's knowledge
- At the time the army advances to fight in the way of Allah.
Dua can be beautified and perfected by certain actions:
- Have Wudu, face Qibla, be neat and clean
- Raise both hands up to the shoulder with palms open facing up
- Use words of Allah and Muhammad (SAW)- i.e. Duas found in Quran and Hadith
- Ask by Asma alHusna- Allah's Beautiful Names
- Ask Allah by your good deeds
- Be insistent-repeat (i.e. 3x's)
- Glorify Allah and recite Durud for the Prophet (SAW) at both the beginning and end
- Show humility, entreaty, desire and fear while making Dua
- Repent and try to make amends where one has wronged
- Confess mistakes, shortcomings, and sins
- Keep voice between a whisper and speaking aloud
- Show the need for Allah's help and implore Him for release from weakness, hardship and tribulation.
- Seize the opportunity of time, situation and circumstance in which prayers are answered
- Avoid rhymed prose to keep concentration
- Crying when making Dua
- "The Dua of Dhun-Nun (Yunus) by which he invoked Allah from within the belly of the whale was: 'LAa ilaha illa Anta, Subhanaka innee kuntu min aDH-DHaalimeen.' ('There is no God but You, glory to You, I have been among the wrongdoers.') No Muslim ever makes Dua with it but Allah answers it." [at tirmidhi in his sunan, ahmad and hakim reported it and hakim declared it authentic and adh dhahabee agreed]
- End with "Alhamdulillah rabbil alameen." (Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds).
We should ask for Dunya things, but not just for the sake of Dunya itself and for Akhirah things. We should not ask for punishment to be brought forward in this world or for early death. We should not curse any particular human being or animal, abuse a Muslim for no reason, abuse dead people without cause and religious excuse, or abuse fever or the wind. We should not make Dua by saying we have been given rain by this or that star or what Allah willed, and so and so willed. We should not make Dua against family and property or for sinful acts and severing the bonds.
In the end there can be reasons why the Dua might not be answered such as not fulfilling conditions like some of the ones listed above or: Divine Wisdom, trying to hurry the response of one's Dua, Dua for what is sinful or the breaking off of relations, eating, drinking, or dressing from what is Haram, not being resolute in making Dua, abandoning the duty of enjoining what is good and shunning the evil, the dominance of unmindfulness, lust and vain desires, not being submissive during Salah, or committing particular sins (not divorcing a vile woman, giving a loan without a witness, and a man who gave his wealth to the foolish).
More information on Dua can be found in a book in English, a translation of Kitaab ud-Du`aa' by Shaykh al-`Awaa'ishah (published by Jam`iat Ihyaa Minhaaj al-Sunnah), the Book of Supplications in Al-Bukhari and Riyadh us Saleheen and Ajawab Alkafi by Imam Shams Adeen Mohamad bin AbiBakr Bin Qayem Ajawyzeyah. Jazakamullahu khairan to those who corrected and added to the above compilation. May Allah make us of those that oft turn to Him in Dua. Ameen.