Manner of Making Du’a (31 important tips)
Any Muslim who supplicates Allah with a supplication that does not contain any sin or cutting off of family relations, Allah will give him one of three things for it:
1. Either He will speedily answer his du’a
2. or He will save it for him until the Hereafter
3. or He will avert something bad from him equal to the value of his du’a.
1. Faithfulness to Allah
2. To start with thanking Allah and praising Him and then giving salat on the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) and ending the du’a with the same
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said:’When one of you has prayed, then let him begin with praising Allah and Glorifying Him, then let him pray upon the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam). After that, he may make any du’a that he wishes'[Ahmad, abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, – sahih, narrated by Fadalah ibn Ubayd]
3. To ask Allah by His Names and Attributes
Allah Ta’ala says,”And to Allah belongs the beautiful names, so invoke Him by them.”[7:180]
Buraidah reported that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) heard a man saying, ‘O Allah! I ask You, I bear witness that there is no god but You, the One, the As-Samad (the One upon Whom all creatures depend). He begets not, nor was He begotten; and there is none like unto Him.’ The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,’You have asked Allah by His Greatest Name. When one asks Him by this name, He gives, what one desires, and when supplicated by this name He answers.’
[reported by abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi, who regard it a sound hadith]
Ibn Mas’ud (radiAllahu anhu) said, ‘Allah does not accept du’a from the conceited, the one who flaunts and the one who is not serious, (He accepts only) from a person who praises and asks from his heart.’
4. Raising One’s Hands
Abu Musa al-Ash’ari narrated:’The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) made the du’a, and I saw him raise his hands, until I could see the whiteness of his armpits’
[Sahih al-Bukhari #4323]
Ibn Umar narrated:’The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) raised his hands and said:’O Allah! I ask your protection for what Khalid had done!'[Sahih al-Bukhari #4339]
Salman al-Farsi narrated that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said:’Indeed, Allah is Shy and Beneficent. His is Shy when His servant raises his hands to Him (in a du’a) to return them empty, disappointed!’
[Ahmad, abu Dawud #1488, at-Tirmidhi #3556, ibn Majah #3865 and others]
Ibn ‘Abbas is reported as saying, “When asking for something from Allah, you should raise your hands opposite to your shoulders; when asking for forgiveness you should point with one finger; and when making an earnest supplication you should spread out both your hands.”[abu Dawud]
5. Face the Qiblah when making du’a.
It has been narrated that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) would face the qiblah when making du’a.Abdullah ibn Zayd (radiAllahu anhu) narrated:’The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) left (Madinah) to this prayer, seeking rain. So he made a du’a, and asked for rain, then he faced the qiblah and turned his cloak inside-out'[Sahih al-Bukhari #6343, Muslim #894 and others]
In another narration, it is reported that when the Quraish tormented the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), he ‘faced the Ka’bah and made a du’a against them..’
[Sahih al-Bukhari #3960 and others]
6. Performing Wudu.
One of the etiquettes of du’a is that a person is in a state of wudu when making du’a.Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (radiAllahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), after the battle of Hunayn, called for water, performed wudu, then raised his hands and said:’O Allah! Forgive Ubayd ibn Amir!’
[Sahih al-Bukhari #4323, Muslim #2498]
7. Trust in Allah and have Yaqeen (certainty) that it will be answered
One must be certain that Allah does whatever He wishes, whenever He wishes. Allah tells us in the Qur’an: “And there is nothing, but with Us are the stores thereof. And We do not send it down except with a known measure”[Qur’an 15:21].
In a Hadith Qudsi narrated by Abu Dharr, Allah revealed through the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam),’O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request from Me, and were I to give everyone what they requested, that would not decrease what I have anymore than a needle decreases the sea if put into it'[Muslim].
Anas ibn Malik (radiAllahu anhu) narrates that the prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,’When one of you makes a du’a, then let him be firm and determined in his du’a, and let him not say, ‘O Allah! If You will, then please forgive me’, for there is noone who can force Allah to do anything’.[Sahih al-Bukhari #6339, Muslim #2678, Ahmad and others]
Therefore, what is desired is that a person be firm in his du’a asking from Allah in a determined manner, i.e. not stating ‘O Allah! please forgive me inshaAllah’The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: ‘Ask Allah with certainty that He will answer your prayers, and know that Allah will not accept the supplication from an absent heart.'[at-Tirmidhi]
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) also said, ‘When you ask Allah, ask with confidence.’
8. Persistence in du’a, not being hasty and abandoning du’a
One must be patient for ones Du’a to be accepted, as hastiness is one of the causes for its rejection or disapproval. We must attend to our Du’a with perseverance, repetition and persistence.
Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi waalam) said,The du’a of any worshipper will continue to be responded to, as long as he does not ask for a sin or breaking the ties of kinship, and as long as he is not hasty’.It was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, and what does it mean to be hasty? He responded,’A worshipper says, ‘I have prayed and prayed, and I don’t see that it will be accepted,’ so he gives up hope of being answered and leaves du’a’
[abu Hurairah narrated in Muslim in Sahih al-Jami #7705]
Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiAllahu anhu) said: “I do not carry the worry of acceptance but the worry of du’a. If I am inspired on how du’a is made, acceptance will accompany it.”
A’isha (radiAllahu anha) said: “No believer makes du’a 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.”Thus, don’t rush or be impatient. Allah dislikes that.
9. Abandonment of obligatory deeds
Just as doing good deeds is a reason for the acceptance of Du’a, similarly, abandoning good deeds is a reason for the rejection of Du’a.Hudaifah (radiAllahu anhu), narrated that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,’By Him, in whose hand is my soul, you should enjoin good and forbid evil or else it is likely that Allah will send a punishment upon you and then you will invoke Him and you will not be answered'[at-Tirmidhi]
So, for example, how could those who have constantly neglected and abandoned Fajr prayers in the Masjid expect that their Du’a will be answered?
10. Presence of the heart in the du’a
Make the du’a from your heart (even if you are reading the words, i.e., mean what you say)
The whole point of du’a is that a person calls out with a sincere heart to his Creator. This sincerity cannot be achieved if one calls out heedlessly, without earnestness.Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said,Make du’a to Allah in a state that you are certain that your du’a will be responded to, and know that Allah does not respond to a du’a that originates from a negligent, inattentive heart.
Abdullah ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said: “Hearts are like vessels, some more attentive and capacious than others. When you supplicate Allah you should be certain of being answered, and know that Allah does not answer a supplication that comes from a careless and inattentive heart.”[Ahmad]
11. Say du’a at times of trouble and of pleasure
One must not make it a habit to remember Allah only at the time of trouble but he must constantly remember Allah in all circumstances. Not to just say du’a in times of need only.
Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said,(Anyone who is pleased) that Allah responds to him at the time of trouble and distress, (should) increase Du’a at the time of calmness.[at-Tirmidhi]
12. Ask Allah alone
Instead of complaining to people when struck by calamity, one must make it a habit to ask Allah alone for refuge. However, there is no harm to mention your problem to people and share their opinions.The Prophets of Allah (alayhum salam), whenever they were in severe situations and extenuating circumstances, would turn to Allah, and show their need for Allah’s help.
When Ibrahim (alayhis salam), for example, left his wife and child in the middle of the desert, without any support or help, he prayed to Allah, describing their pitiful situation:”O our Lord! I have settled some of my family in a valley having no cultivation, near Your Sacred House – O our Lord! So that they may keep the prayer established, therefore incline some hearts of men towards them, and provide them fruits to eat – perhaps they may be thankful.”[Surah Ibrahim, 14: 37]
When Yaqub (alayhis salam) did not know the fate of his favourite son Yusuf (alayhis salam), and his oldest son stayed behind in Egypt, while Yusuf’s brother Benyamin was also taken captive, all he could cry out was,”I only complain of my distraction and anguish to Allah, and I know from Allah that which ye know not”[Surah Yusuf, 12: 86]
In the hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas (radiAllahu anhu), RasulAllah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said to him while he was riding behind him on the same mount,’Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask only Allah and if you seek help, seek help only from Allah. And know that if all the nations were to gather together to benefit you, they would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and if they gather together to harm you, they would harm you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages are dry.’
13. To Cry with the fear of Allah
One of the ways in which sincerity is shown in du’a is through crying. This brings about a feeling of humility in front of Allah, and shows the importance of one’s request. It displays the great need that the servant has from his Lord, and that he can never be without His Aid and Help.
Abdullah bin Umar narrated that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) recited the verse in which Ibrahim (alayhis salam) is invoking Allah:“O my Lord, they [the idols] have indeed led astray many among mankind. But whoever follows me, he verily is of me. and whoever disobeys me, still you are indeed Most Forgiving, Most Merciful”[Surah Ibrahim, 14: 36].
In another verse, Isa (alayhis salam) is invoking Allah:”If you punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, verily You-only You are the Almighty, the All-wise”
[Surah Ma’idah, 118].
And the prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) then raised his hands and said,’Allahumma! Ummati! Ummati! (O Allah! my ummah! my ummah!)’ and then he started crying – out of concern for his followers, just like Ibrahim and Isa (alayhum salam) were concerned for their followers.
[Muslim #202 and others]
14. Make Du’a for oneself before making Du’a for others
It is Sunnah in du’a to start with yourself prior to mentioning others. This is so for a number reasons. Firstly a person should desire all good for himself, so it does not make sense to pray for others and forget one’s self. Secondly, the fact that a person prays for himself shows what he is praying for is an important goal anf objective. In other words, this ensures that he desires that he his brothers what he desires for himself. Thirdly, it increases him in his sincerity in this du’a, for verily mankind is weak, so when he makes du’a only for his brother, it is possible that it will not be as sincere as when he makes du’a for himse;f and his brother.
Likewise, this principle is affirmed by the hadith, as was collected by at-Tirmidhi in the narration of Ubay bin Ka’ab (radiAllahu anhu) that if someone was mentioned to the Prophet, he would invoke Allah for him but would begin with himself. [Sahih at-Tirmidhi, abu Dauwd, an-Nasa’i, Sahih al-Jami #4723]
However, this was not the constant habit of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), for there are other narrations to show that sometimes he would not begin with himself, while still prying for another person.Thus, it is permissible to make du’a without mentioning one’s self, but in general it is recommended to do so.
15. Perform the Du’a in conformity with the Shari’ah
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,’Whoever innovates in this matter of ours, something which is not part of it, it will be rejected.’ If a person is sincere but is not following the Sunnah, his worship is rejected. Similarly, if a person is following the Sunnah but his work is not sincerely done for the sake of Allah, his worship is still rejected.
16. Make du’a in a moderately low voice
Invoke Allah in a low tone – not silent yet not completely out loud, as it is closer to sincerity:”Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He does not like the aggressors” [Surah A’raf, 37: 55]
And He also tells us:“And remember your Lord by your tongue and within yourself, humbly and with fear without loudness in words, in the morning and in the afternoon and be not of those who are neglectful.”
[Surah A’raf, 37: 205]
This principle is also mentioned in a hadith. Once, the sahabahs were travelling and loudly engaging in dhikr. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,’O people! Be gentle on yourselves, for you are not calling someone who is deaf or absent. Rather, you are calling the One Who hears everything, Ever-Close.'[Sahih al-Bukhari #6384]
17. To Repeat the Du’a three times
It is preferable to repeat you Du’a three times as it is more likely to be answered. It shows a sense of urgency in obtaining what is asked for. The act of repeating a du’a three times is narrated in many ahadith.One reported by ibn Mas’ud (radiAllahu anhu) states that when the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) finished his prayer, he raised his voice, and prayed against the leaders of the Quraish who had persecuted him – when they placed the abdominal contents of a camel on his back whilst in sajdah, and that whenever he made a du’a, he repeated it 3 times. So he then said, ‘O Allah! Upon you is (the retaliation) of the Quraish’ (3 times).
18. Do not make dua against oneself, ones family, wealth and children
That is, don’t say I wish that that person’s family be destroyed, or I pray that she loses all her money, or I wish his oldest son would fail or I wish that he would die.It is possible that a person, in a state of severe anger, curses and makes du’a against himself, his family and friends, or his wealth. This is definitely an act that does not befit a Muslim, and the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) warned against this.
Jabir narrated a hadith about a man who cursed his animal. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Who is this who cursed his animal?” The man replied, “It is me O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Get down from it for a cursed one must not escort us.Do not pray against yourselves, do not pray against your children and do not pray against your servants, and do not pray against your wealth, for it is possible that it might correspond to an hour/time during which all prayers are answered, and your du’a (prayer) will be answered’.[Muslim, abu Dawud]
No one wishes to inflict Allah’s curse and anger upon his loved ones, so we should be careful what we say in a state of anger, so as not to cause pain and grief not only upon our loved ones but also upon ourselves.
19. Acknowledging One’s sins
Know your sins (faults) and seek forgiveness for them and know and acknowledge the benefits and blessings you have been given and thank Allah for them.
Part of the etiquette of du’a is to acknowledge one’s shortcomings and sins in front of one’s Creator, and expressing sincere regret for them. It is also worthwhile to acknowledge all of Allah’s mercy bestowed upon you.The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) taught his ummah the Sayyid al-Istighfar (the best du’a to ask for forgiveness) which acknowledges the favour of Allah upon oneself. The best du’a in which a person can ask for forgiveness contains a pure and sincere acknowledgement of one’s deficiencies and sins.The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, ‘The sayyid al-Istighfar is that a person says: O Allah! You are my Lord, there is no one worthy of worship except You. You created me, and I am Your slave. And I am (following) Your covenant and Promise as much as I can. I seek Your refuge in the evil that I have done. I acknowledge Your favours upon me, and I acknowledge my sins. So forgive me, since no one forgives sins except You!’So when one raises one’s hands to Allah, expecting a response from Him, one should also ponder over one’s own relationship with Allah, and the shortcomings that one possesses. in this way the person should recall his many sins, and feel his own humility – that is, he should remember that he is asking One whom he has disobeyed, and sinned against, and not fulfilled his rights upon Him. Let him taste his impudence when he asks Allah for more and more, without fuilfilling the basic deeds that are obligatory upon him.
20. To say ‘Ameen’
When a person is listening to another person make du’a, it is recommended that he say ‘Ameen’, which means O Allah! Please accept (this du’a).
It is stated that the phrase ‘Ameen’ is one of the specialities of this nation. This is inferred from the hadith in which the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,The Jews do not envy you for any matter as much as they envy you for Ameen, and for giving salams to one another.[Sahih al-Bukhari]
One is recommended to remember the Muslims and the Mu’mins around the globe in his invocation. Allah said “Ask forgiveness for your sin and also for the believing men and women” [Qur’an 47:19]
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) also said,Whoever seeks forgiveness for the believing men and women, then a good deed will be written for him for every single believing man and woman (that he prayer for)[al-Tabarani]
21. To make du’a for all matters
A common mistake that people fall into is that they only ask Allah Ta’ala for matters that are of great importance to them. However, we should make du’a for every matter, large or small. You want forgiveness? Ask Allah. You want a car? Ask Allah.
This is beacuse everything occurs by Allah Ta’ala’s Will, so if Allah does not Will it, it will not occur, no matter how trivial the matter may be.
This is why A’isha (radiAllahu anha) said, “Ask Allah for everything, even if it is only a shoe-lace, beacuse if Allah does not make it easy, then it will not be possible.”
[as reported in a hadith in at-Tirmidhi 4:292 and others]
22. Doing good deeds and asking Allah by one’s good deeds
Qasim bin Abd said: “I said to Anas bin Malik: ‘O Abu Hamzah pray to Allah for us.’ He said: ‘Du’a is elevated by good deeds.'”
Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim relate the hadith of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) of the story of three men, who each supplicated to Allah by (mentioning) a good deed they had done earlier in their lives.’Three persons of a people before you were on a journey when they were overtaken by a storm; therefore, they took shelter in a cave. A rock slipped down from the mountain and blocked the exit of the cave. One of them said, ‘The only way for deliverance is to beseech Allah and (to mention) some virtuous deed (he did purely for His sake).’One of the men mentioned a good deed which they had done for Allah, and supplicated, ‘O Lord! If I did this thing seeking only Thy pleasure, then do Thou relieve us of the distress wrought upon us by this rock.’The rock moved, but not enough to free the men. So, the other two made similar supplications while mentioning their good deeds until the rock moved enough to free them.[Sahih al-Bukhari, Muslim].
23. To make du’a plentifully
A person should ask for everything that he desires (as long as it is permissible), for he is asking the Most Generous of all those who are generous, and the Most Beneficent of all those who are beneficent.This is why our Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, When one of you wishes for something, then let him increase (his wishes), for verily he is asking his Lord, the Most Exhalted and High
[reported by Adh ibn Humayd in his Muntakhab 1:193]
He also (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,When one of you asks something (from Allah), then let him be plentiful (in what he asks for), for indeed he is asking his Lord [ibn Hibban #2403]
24. To make Du’a for all Muslims
Part of the completeness of one’s iman is that a person loves for his brother what he loves for himself. Therefore, just as he desires that he be guided to the truth, and be forgiven for his sins, so too should he desire the same for his fellow Muslims.
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an, “Ask forgiveness for your sin and also for the believing men and women”[Qur’an 47:19]
Abdallah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As reported that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: ‘The supplication that gets the quickest answer is the one made by one Muslim for another in his absence.”[abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi]
The Prophet, (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) also said,’Whenever you make a supplication for another believer and he is not present, an angel will say ‘and same to you.’’
25. Not to use rhymed prose when making du’a
This means is using excessive rhyming of words, and going out of their way to match word patterns in each sentance, since this does not befit the humility that should acompany du’a. However, if such rhyming is not excessive, then it is allowed.
Ibn Abbas, while giving his students advice, reported,’…And beware of poetry and rhyming in your du’a, for verily i encountered the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) and his Companions avoiding this'[Sahih al-Bukhari #6337]
26. Not to transgress when making du’a
When appealing to Allah Ta’ala in Du’a, we should not get into much detail by asking for the different rewards of Jannah, etc. Keep it simple. If a person is granted Jannah, he will be granted Jannah and all that is present in it.
It was reported of Abi Nu’mah that Abdullah bin Mughaffal heard his son saying (in invocation), ‘O Allah! I ask You for the white palace on the right of Paradise if I were to enter it.’ So he said, ‘Dear son, ask Allah (Ta’ala) for Paradise and seek refuge from the Hellfire for I have heard the Messenger of Allah saying, ‘There will come in this nation people who will transgress (or exceed) in ablution and Du’a.”[abu Dawud]
27. Not to make du’a for prohibited and impossible things
It is the height of transgression in du’a to demand from your Creator those things that He has prohibited for you, either in this life or in the life Hereafter. A person should realise his place and status in front of his Creator, and beward of exalting himself to where he thinks he can ask for that which he is prohibited from.
One should also avoid making du’a for pre-determinded things. For example, a woman should not make a du’a of being transformed into a man, or a tall person should not make Du’a thus: “O Allah! Make me short.” etc.
28. To make a Du’a that encompasses most of the needs of Deen and the dunya
One should make du’a for matters in both this world and the Hereafter.Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an’And there are men who say: “Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the Fire!” These will have a share of what they earned, and Allah is swift in Reckoning.'[surah al-Baqarah 2:201-202]
29. Not to make du’a against oneself and family
It is possible that a person, in a state of severe anger, curses and makes du’a against himself, his family and friends, or his wealth, etc. This is definitely an act that does not befit a Muslim, and the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) warned against this:Jabir narrated a hadith about a man who cursed his animal. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, “Who is this who cursed his animal?” The man replied, “It is me O Messenger of Allah.”The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, “Get down from it, for a cursed one must not escort us. Do not make Du’a against yourselves, do not make Du’a against your children and do not make Du’a against your wealth. It might coincide with a time when Allah answers what you asked for.”[Muslim, abu Dawud]
30. Not to consume Haram (unlawful) and keep to the Halal (lawful)
On the authority of Abu Hurairah, The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said:’Allah the Almighty is good and accepts only that which is good. Allah has commanded the faithful to do that which he commanded the messengers and the Almighty has said: ‘O Messengers! Eat of the good things and do right.’ And Allah the Almighty has said, ‘O you who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you.”Then he (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) mentioned [the case of] a man who having journeyed far was disheveled and dusty and spreads out his hands to the sky [saying] “O Lord! O Lord!” His (the traveler’s) food is unlawful, his drink unlawful, his clothing unlawful, and he is nourished unlawfully; so how can he be answered?![Muslim]
31. Not to ask for sin or break ties of kinship
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, ‘Any Muslim who supplicates to Allah in a Du’a which contains no sin or breaking of kinship, Allah will give him one of three things: either his Du’a will be immediately answered or, it will be saved for him in the hereafter, or it will turn away an equivalent amount of evil (from him)’.The companions said ‘…so we will ask for more.’ He replied, ‘Allah is more (generous).’