Guidelines on how to make Dua
Once, a ten-year-old boy was praying feverishly in prostration, “O Allah, the Most Merciful, the Magnificent, Make Faisalabad [a small city of Pakistan] the capital of Pakistan, make Faisalabad the capital of Pakistan…” His mother overheard him and inquired, “Why would you pray so, my child?” The boy answered, “Well, Mother. We had a question on our final exam which asked, “What is the capital of Pakistan?” and I mistakenly put “Faisalabad” as my answer. Although, we cannot help but laugh at the naiveté of the innocent child, his trust in his supplication to Allah and his belief that his prayer will be heard is quite admirable; as a matter of fact, quite “ideal”.
Allah states in the Quran:
And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calleth on Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. (Sura al-Baqara, 186)
The art of making dua:
Making dua in the court of Allah is an art and has an etiquette which if considered, can result in the opening of many doors of Allah (swt)’s Bliss and Bounties. Some of the factors that help are listed below:
Praise Allah and call Him by His beautiful names and attributes before setting out to ask Him for favors. Indeed He is praiseworthy who never tires of hearing and fulfilling duas of all of His creatures. Allah states in the Quran:
“Call on Allah or call the All-Merciful, whichever you call upon, the Most beautiful names of His.” (Sura al-Isra, 110).
When you are praying, do not act as if you are enjoined the right to deserve whatever you are asking for. Make sure that you know that your Lord is the Most Gracious and you the Most Humble. Acknowledge your status before the Magnificent and do not be proud.
“Call your Lord humbly and secretly. He does not love those who transgress the boundaries.” (Sura al-Araf: 55)
Let Him decide:
If you are asking for something which you really like, always remember that whatever you are asking for may not be always in the best interest. Allah states in the Quran:
“It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you know not.”[Surah al-Baqara, 216] Always let Allah decide what is right for you and what is wrong for you instead of implying or imposing that you know better.
Make sure to spell out in clear words what you want exactly. It is true that Allah knows the secrets of the heart but He still wants you to pray and pray in an articulate manner. For example, all the sisters who want good husbands should not just suffice praying as such, “O Allah, give us a good husband.” Though it may sound out-of-the-world, but it is true that there are brothers who are good looking, rich and possess an excellent character. A sister may ask for all three with all her heart, and she will inshallah get her wish, but it will be better if she knows the order of the features that she wants in her husband, i.e., a good character must come first and foremost.
Believe in your dua:
The most critical factor in a dua being accepted or not, is the belief of the seeker in his or her supplication’s being accepted. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported, “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH), ‘The supplication of every one of His slaves will be granted as long as he does not get impatient and say, “I supplicated to my Rubb again and again but I do not think my prayer will be answered.”‘”
[Al-Bukhari, Muslim]. Also, Allah (swt) Himself states, “Do not despair of solace from Allah (swt). No one despairs of solace from Allah except for people who disbelieve.” [Sura Yusuf, 87] Therefore, it is imperative that we do not grow hopeless of Allah (swt)’s Mercy but keep on praying consistently and with patience.
Pray when happy and sad:
Allah (swt) states at numerous places that a human being only remembers Him in the times of distress but forgets Him when he has tears of joy in his eyes. We all know that we do not feel good when our friends remember us in the times of distress but abandon us in the time of need. Though Allah (swt)’s Rahma is infinite and His forgiveness is boundless, yet He expects us to keep on praying even when He has given us good times. Therefore, we should never forget our Lord when our heart’s joys know no bounds or when we are shouting in exhileration.
Remember others during prayers:
Allah (swt) says: “And ask forgiveness for your sins and also for the sin of believing men and women.” [Sura Muhammad, 19]
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The dua of a Muslim for his brothers in his absence is readily accepted, an angel is appointed to his side, whenever he makes a beneficial dua for his brother, the angel says, ‘Ameen’, and May you be blessed with the same”. [Sahih Muslim] So a great way of having a dua being accepted in your favor is to wish the same for your brother with all your heart and importune the Creater on his behalf. This way, not only will your dua be accepted, but you will become the cause of happiness of your brother as well.