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(Based on an article originally in Arabic that can be found here.)
1. Make your du`a (supplication) sincerely to Allah Most High, knowing that such a supplication is a beautiful act of devotion, one of the noblest acts of obedience to God, and of the best of means of getting close to Him. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) taught, “If you ask, ask Allah, and if you seek help, seek help from Allah.”[i]
2.Have patience and do not be hasty in your expectation of a response, for this is a lack of befitting etiquette (adab) with God. The Prophet (peace and blessings up upon him) taught, “Allah answers the supplications of each of you who is not hasty and says, ‘I asked but He did not respond.’”[ii]
Ibn al-Qayyim[iii] said, “One of the grave mistakes that prevents supplication from being effectual is for the servant to be hasty, and deem the response of their supplication to be too slow, and then falling into despair and abandoning their supplication. Such a person is like someone who plants and sows a seed, watering and caring for it, and when they fail to see it blossom quickly, abandons it.”
3. Seek Allah’s forgiveness for your sins and weaknesses and make a commitment to return to Him sincerely in repentance. The great companion of the Prophet Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “By means of your caution (war`) in what Allah has prohibited, He will answer your supplication.” Some of the Salaf used to say, “The response is not slow, but the path blocked by sins.”
4. Be vigilant about eating only the halal and do not allow anything to enter your stomach which is not from the permissible. Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, one of the noble companions of the Prophet, was known for having supplications that were always answered. He would say, “I never raised a morsel of food to my mouth except that I knew where it came from and its source.” This was the secret to his supplications.
5. Have a good opinion of God and be hopeful for His response. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Allah said, “I am as My servant thinks I am, and I am with Him when he remembers Me.”[iv]
6. Supplicate with a focused, present and aware heart, and reflect deeply on what you are saying. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Know that God does not answer the supplication of one whose heart is distracted and heedless of Him.”[v]
7. Do not transgress in supplicating, by asking for something that runs contrary to a prescription or command of the Shari`ah or against other matters we have been taught in sacred sources. For example, asking to be given the rank of a prophet, for eternal life, or assistance in committing a prohibited act are inappropriate supplications and amount to transgression.
8. Encourage good and prohibit wrong in your daily life. This has a direct connection with one’s supplication being answered as the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you must certainly command the good and forbid evil, or else a punishment from Him would soon be sent upon you, after which you would call upon Him yet your supplication would not be answered.”[vi]
9. Begin your supplication by first praising Allah (hamd), then sending prayers on the Prophet (peace be upon him); then continue with your needs and requests.
10. Supplicate facing the qiblah and choose your words well. There are no better supplications than those in the Book of Allah (the Quran) and the Prophetic tradition; they are most blessed.
11. Ask Allah as a seeker - humbled, lowered, and in dire need of your Lord and what He has. Speak with a tongue of humility, need, genuineness and honesty, realizing your true state before God, and not elaborate eloquence or artifice.
Ibn `Ataillah said,
If you seek Divine gifts, rectify your feeling of need; ‘Charity is only for the poor.’ (Quran 9:60)
Realize your attributes and Allah will assist you with His Attributes.
Realize your abasement; He will assist you with His Exaltedness.
Realize your inability; He will assist you with His power.
Realize your weakness; He will assist you with His strength.”
12. Choose the best times to supplicate, in which supplication is more likely to be answered, such as the Day of Arafah, the month of Ramadan and particularly its last ten nights, the day of Friday each week, the last hours of the night, and between adhan and iqama.
(Continued in the next post, inshaAllah!)