Class04-Sunnahs of Dua

Class 4
‘Sunnahs of Dua’

Allaah loves to be asked, and He encourages that in all things. He is angry with the one who does not ask of Him and He encourages His slaves to ask of Him.

There are a number of manners and etiquette procedures that accompany the performance of du a . This so that the du a is accepted.

Sunnahs of Dua

1. Having good Expectations and certain faith that Allaah will respond
Having certain faith that Allaah will respond, and focusing with proper presence of mind, because the Prophet ﷺ said: Call upon Allaah when you are certain of a response, and remember that Allaah will not answer a du’aa’ that comes from a negligent and heedless heart. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3479.

This hadith means that we should firmly believe that Allah is not going to leave our dua unanswered, for He is the Most Beneficent. Therefore, whenever a worshipper asks Allah with sincerity, hoping for Allah’s mercy, and fulfilling the etiquette and manners of dua, he should be certain that his du a will be responded to.

Abu Hurayrah narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah, all Glory and Praise be to Him, has said, ‘Whatever My servant assumes of Me, that is how I will treat him, and I am with him when he remembers Me”. (Ahmad, Abu Dawood)

So if a person only expects good from Allah, and is certain that Allah will not destroy his hopes and desires, then Allah will fulfil his expectations. On the other hand, if he is not certain of the response of Allah, and he feels that he will not be responded to, then he will be treated the way that he feels.

One of the common terms used by people who seek waseela from Saints or dead people is “We feel Allah will not listen to us” or “He doesn’t respond to our Duas” so this belief that Allah will respond is very important which helps us stay away from any form of Shirk.

2. Praising Allah before the Du a, and Praying upon the Prophet
This because the person who is making the du a is asking for forgiveness, mercy and sustenance from his Creator, so it behoves the worshipper to start his du a with the praise and glorification of Allah, all Glory and Praise be to Him, such that this praise is befitting His status.

Al-Tirmidhi (3476) narrated that Fadaalah ibn ‘Ubayd (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: Whilst the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ was sitting, a man came in and prayed and said, “O Allaah, forgive me and have mercy on me.” The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said, “You have been too hasty, O worshipper. When you have prayed and are sitting, praise Allaah as He deserves to be praised, and send blessings upon me, then call upon Him.” (Authenticated by Albani)

According to another version (3477): When one of you prays, let him start with praise of Allaah, then let him send blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ, then let him ask whatever he likes after that.” Then another man prayed after that, and he praised Allaah and sent blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ said:O worshipper, ask and you will be answered.”

3. We should ask of Allaah by His most beautiful names
One of the best ways to praise Allah is by using His Greatest Name. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names[al-A’raaf 7:180]

The examples of this were given in the previous chapter and this will again be discussed in the upcoming chapter about Tawassul.

4. Sending blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ

As stated in the hadith mentioned under praising Allah, the Sunnah is to Praise Allah and send blessings on the Prophet ﷺ and then make Dua.

The Prophet ﷺ also said: Every du’aa’ is kept back until you send blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ.” Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Awsat, 1/220.

5. Raising the hands

Amongst the etiquette of du a that is known by all Muslims, young or old, is that of raising one’s hands while making dua. Abu Dawood (1488) narrated that Salmaan al Farsi (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: Your Lord, may He be blessed and exalted, is Kind and Most Generous, and He is too kind to let His slave, if he raises his hands to Him, bring them back empty.”

SubhaanAllah! The Lord of the Creation feels Shy when one of His servants lifts his hands up to Him to make dua. Verily, hearts are filled with love and awe at the Generosity and Beneficence of Allah.

The palm of the hand should be raised heavenwards, in the manner of a humble beggar who hopes to be given something. Abu Dawood (1486) narrated from Maalik ibn Yasaar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: “When you ask of Allaah, ask of Him with the palms of your hands, not with the backs of them.”

Hands Should be kept together without a Gap between them

There are three different types of motions that are narrated from the Companions.

The first type is to point with one’s forefinger, without necessarily lifting one’s hands. This action is done when one asks for forgiveness, or makes a general Dhikr (remembrance of Allah), or while making a du a during the Khutbah (sermon) , or during the tashahhud.

The second type is to raise one’s hands to the level of one’s shoulders, with the palms facing up. This is done for regular du as that one makes at any time.

The last type of action is only done in extremely severe circumstances, such as asking for rain after a drought, or seeking protection from an imminent enemy attack. In this case, the hands are stretched forth towards the sky, without joining the two palms together. When this is done, a person’s armpits become exposed due to the severity of the stretching.

This is affirmed by the narration of Ibn ‘Abbas, who said: “The asking (of any dua should be accompanied by) raising your hands to the level of your shoulder, or around that level. The seeking of forgiveness {istighfar) (should be accompanied by) pointing with one finger (i.e. the forefinger). Petitioning (is done by) stretching forth your hands totally (above the head, such that the armpits are exposed)”. (Abu Dawood)

6. Facing the Qiblah

The Qiblah is a blessed direction to face, and through it Allah has caused the Muslims to unite all over the world.

It has been authentically narrated that the Prophet ﷺ would face the qiblah when making du a. Abdullah ibn Zayd narrated: “The Prophet ﷺ left (Madinah) to this prayer place, seeking rain. So he made a du a, and asked for rain, then he faced the Qiblah and turned his cloak inside-out”. Imam al-Bukhari put this hadith in a Chapter entitled, “Making dua facing the Qiblah,” showing that it forms the etiquette of dua.

7. Performing Wudu

One of the etiquettes ofdua is that a person be in a state of wudu while making du a. This is confirmed in the hadith of Abu Musa al-Ashari in which he stated that the Prophet ﷺ, after the Battle of Hunayn, called for water, performed wudu amd then raised his hands and said: O Allah! Forgive Ubayd ibn Amir!” (Bukhari)

8. To Cry

One of the ways in which sincerity is shown in dua 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 help and aid.

9. Beseeching, humility, and not out loud

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

  • Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret[al-A’raaf 7:55]
  • And remember your Lord within yourself, humbly and with fear and without loudness in words in the mornings and in the afternoons[al-A’raaf 7:20]
  • Likewise, Allah has described the Prophet Zakariyya and his wife as: “Verily, they used to hasten to do good deeds, and they used to make dua & to Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us”.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah delved into the wisdom of making du’a silently, and mentioned a number of benefits to this:

  1. It is a sign of strong iman. as the person demonstrates that he firmly believes that Allah can hear even the quietest of prayers and thoughts.
  2. It is a sign of respect and manners in front of Allah. For, just as it is considered improper for the servant to raise his voice in front of his master. Since Allah can hear the most silent of prayers, it is not befitting that a person make du a in a loud voice.
  3. It is a means of achieving humility and humbleness, which is the essence of worship.
  4. It is a means of achieving sincerity, since others will not notice him.
  5. It aids the heart in concentrating on the dua since raising one’s voice loudly distracts one from one’s thoughts.
  6. It shows the closeness that the true believer feels to his Creator.
  7. It aids a person in continuing the dua and not breaking off. This because it is easier on the tongue and body, for it does not wear out or tire a person, in contrast to one who makes a dua loudly.

10. Doing good deeds and asking Allah by one’s good deeds

Qasim bin `Abd said: ʺI said to Anas bin Malik: ʹO Abu Hamzah pray to Allah for us.ʹ He said: ʹDu’a is elevated by good deeds.ʹʺ

Bukhari and Muslim relate the hadîth of the Prophet ﷺ 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.

11. Acknowledging One’s Sins

This was discussed in yesterday’s class. Part of the etiquette of du a is to acknowledge one’s shortcomings and sins in front of one’s Creator This is also a means of properly worshipping Allah.

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 fulfilling the basic deeds that are obligatory upon him.

12. Making du’a for others

The Prophet, ﷺ said: Whenever you make a supplication for another believer and he is not present, an angel will say ‘and same to you.’”

Abdallah ibn ʹAmr ibn al‐ʹAs reported that the Prophet ﷺ said: ʺThe supplication that gets the quickest answer is the one made by one Muslim for another in his absence.ʹʹ (Abu Dawʹud and Tirmidhi)

So it is encouraged for the Muslim to remember all of his brothers and sisters when he is making a dua, and to pray for the entire Muslim ummah. Of particular importance is that a person prays for his own parents (if they are alive, or if they died as Muslims).

13. To Beseech Allah Earnestly

Continued within the etiquette of dua is that a person implore Allah, and beseech Him. This sense of urgency is demonstrated in the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ.

14. Saying du’aa’s three times

Al-Bukhaari (240) and Muslim (1794) narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: and “…when he ﷺ made du’aa’ or asked of Allaah he would repeat it three times

15. To Pray with Concise Duas

‘Concise’ duas are those which are brief, yet contain many meanings, and ask for general benefits, and seek refuge in general evils. The Prophet ﷺ used to pray frequently with concise duas, and he was the one who had been given the most eloquent and concise of words. Many such duas have been preserved for us in the books of hadith & Duas.

16. Asking frequently

A person should ask his Lord for whatever he wants of the good things in this world and the Hereafter, and he should beseech Allaah in du’aa’, and not seek a hasty response, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The slave will receive a response so long as his du’aa’ does not involve sin or severing of family ties, and so long as he is not hasty.” It was said, “What does being hasty mean?” He said: When he says, ‘I made du’aa’ and I made du’aa’, and I have not seen any response,’ and he gets frustrated and stops making du’aa’.” Narrated by al-Bukahari, 6340; Muslim, 2735.

17. Asking Allah in times of ease

The Prophet ﷺ said: Whoever is pleased that Allah answers his prayers during hardships and difficulties let him make much supplication during times of ease.” (at‐Tirmidhi)

In other words, dua should be done at times of ease and hardship. Dua is one of the greatest acts of worship, and as such it should be performed at all times. Many people have a bad habit of only praying when a calamity befalls them, or when they wish for a particular good to occur. This goes against the attitude of a believer, for it shows that he only remembers Allah at times of need. The true believer always remembers Allah.

18. To Make Du a for all Matters

Another common mistake that many people fall into is that they only ask Allah for matters that are of great importance to them. However, Allah should be asked for every matter, large or small. This because everything occurs by Allah’s Will, so if Allah does not Will it, it will not occur, no matter how trivial the matter may be.

19. To Make Dua Plentifully

What is meant here is that a person should ask everything that he desires (as long as what he is asking 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. Can anything compare with the Generosity of al-Karim? For Allah is al-Mannan (the One Who Gives Continuously, without expecting anything in return), al-Barr (The Benefactor), al-Wahhab (The Ever-Bestower), al-Karim (The Ever-Generous), al-Akram (The Most Generous); in fact, all of His Names are an indication of His Perfection and Exaltedness. So when one asks such a deity, how can one not then ask abundantly? Do you not see when a beggar goes to one who is well known for his generosity, he asks more than when he goes to one that is not known to be such? Do you not see that such a beggar will not be satisfied with a little amount from a generous person, whereas he would be satisfied with this same amount from a miser? So then why is that you are miserly in your asking when you need your Creator far more than this beggar is in need of someone’s generosity?

20. Memorizing the Authentic Supplications and du’as of the Prophet ﷺ

The best of words and Duas are that of the Prophet ﷺ so we should try and memorise as many of those duas as possible.

May Allah make us amongst those who make a lot of Dua and implement the Sunnahs in it. May Allah accept the Duas of all Muslims.