Dua – The Tool For Asking What You Want... - Nouman Ali Khan
How to AskDua
Dua is defined as any invocation or prayer addressed to Allah. It is the essence of ibadah or worship. Dua should be the first and the last resort of the believer, as it is at its core a conversation with Allah. Perspectives on the ideal timing, presentation, and phrasing of dua can vary widely among the faithful, but there is universal agreement that you must approach dua with humility, clarity, submission, and certainty that Allah will respond.
Choosing When to Make Dua
Offer dua to start or finish prayer (salah), or during it.Different traditions within Islam have varying opinions upon the proper or best time to make dua. Some believers, for instance, contend that it is most appropriate to invoke dua during prostration in prayer (sajdah).
- Others find it appropriate to offer dua at any point during prayer, including opening or closing prayer with it.
- It is always appropriate to perform wudu (ritual washing) and face qibla (toward the Kaaba in Mecca) during salah.
Wait until you are focused and not distracted.No matter when you deem it most appropriate to make dua, it is essential that you put yourself in the proper frame of mind. Eliminate all distractions and maintain a singular focus on offering dua. Remember that you are conversing directly with Allah.
- Losing focus could be seen as an insult to Allah, and brings the sincerity of your offers and requests into doubt.
Embrace humility, submission, and certainty.Invoking dua is not about making demands, bargaining, or assuming that you know what is best for you. Rather, it is an opportunity to submit yourself to the will of Allah with gratefulness and certainty. Make dua when you have full confidence that you will be heard and responded to.
- As a believer, you can rest assured that Allah never fails to respond to dua. However, you must accept that the response may differ from what you (pridefully) assume is best for you.
Make dua when you’re happy, sad, or confused.It is very appropriate to offer dua when you are filled with joy and gratitude for the many blessings in your life. It is equally appropriate to do so when you are facing great difficulties and need help and guidance. In any case, always embrace the certainty that you will be heard and that you are never forgotten.
- So long as you can summon up the requisite focus, humility, and submission, there’s never a wrong time to ask dua.
Phrasing Your Invocation
Don’t simply recite duas that you don’t understand.Differences of opinion exist about whether dua should be made only in Arabic, or if it’s fine to use your native language. However, no matter the language you use, make sure you fully comprehend what you’re saying. Otherwise, you’re not having a true conversation with Allah.
- For instance, some people recite well-known duas in Arabic without having any idea what the words mean. Instead, if you’re using Arabic even though it’s not your first language, draw from translations so you know what your dua means.
- Those in favor of making dua in any language, not just Arabic, point out that Allah created all languages and therefore always understands you.
Speak concisely, directly, and with humility.You may be tempted to think that a dua should be full of big, complicated words and flowery, highfalutin phrasing. However, the opposite is true. You should use language that is plain, clear, and free of excess wording or other ostentation. Essentially, you should just get to the point of the matter.
- Excessive or intentionally rhyming prose can distract you and detract from the clarity of your message. Speak in plain language instead.
- Repeating the entire dua multiple times—3 is a common recommendation—is, however, a good way to sharpen your focus and demonstrate your persistence.
- Use a normal speaking tone—don’t whisper as if you are embarrassed to be overheard, and don’t shout as though you are showing off.
- Crying is perfectly normal when making dua, but don’t manufacture tears for the sake of appearances. Be genuine in your emotion.
Invoke the name of Allah to start each dua.There are different ways to do this based on the language used and differing traditions within Islam, but most duas start with some form of “O Allah.” It’s important to invoke Allah’s beautiful name at the beginning to make it clear that you are making a direct entreaty.
- It is never appropriate to direct a dua toward anyone other than Allah. It is not possible, nor is it necessary, for anyone living or dead to intercede on your behalf.
Recite the Prophet’s duas as well as your own.If you're having trouble coming up with the right words to express yourself, it's always appropriate to recite duas spoken by other wise believers, especially the Prophet Muhammad. Duas offered by the Prophet are found in the Quran and the Hadith (the collection of his sayings). The Prophet was given the gift of profound clarity and concision, so these duas are ideally phrased and focused.
- That said, make sure you can fully understand and embrace the duas you recite, whether they come from the Prophet or another respected source. Choose duas that are fully appropriate to the feelings and desires you wish to convey.
- In addition to the Prophet’s duas, you can search online for duas that are suited to many life circumstances, and which are in English or other languages.
Deciding What to Ask for and Offer
Confess your shortcomings and repent for your sins.Some people mistakenly interpret dua as strictly an opportunity to make requests. However, it’s important to view dua as a conversation with Allah, which makes it a very appropriate time to unburden yourself and seek forgiveness.
- You might, for instance, ask forgiveness for treating a friend poorly, and then ask for the strength to overcome selfish impulses and treat others with care and respect.
- Whether you’re confessing or requesting, use concise, direct language, and remain focused, humble, and faithful.
Ask directly for the blessings you desire to receive.It’s great to make dua requests for general blessings like health or wisdom. That said, if you have a specific blessing in mind, spell it out plainly and ask for it. For example, you might say “O Allah, help me to perform well on the exam tomorrow that I have prepared for.”
- It is accepted among believers that all legitimate dua requests are answered by Allah, and that the answer will always be for the best, but that it may not be the answer you expected.
Ask for blessings upon others as well.You should always feel free to make dua requests for the health, welfare, and right-thinking of loved ones, friends, the faithful at large, and even your enemies. Making requests for the benefit of others displays humility and surrender to the will of Allah.
- You may find that when you request blessings for others, those same blessings will be showered upon you as well. For instance, if you regularly invoke dua for the benefit of a friend in ill health, you may find that both of you become blessed with improved health.
Do not make negative requests towards others or yourself.It is never appropriate to use dua to request that harm or misfortune befall others. For example, don’t request that your incompetent boss be fired, but rather ask that they be blessed with improved abilities.
- Likewise, don’t make negative requests directed toward yourself. For instance, do not ask for death if you are suffering, but instead ask for healing or for the strength to surrender yourself to Allah’s will and bear your burden.
QuestionCan I pray against non-Muslims?Top AnswererYou should not wish for harm or bad against any person, Muslim or non-Muslim. You should pray for them to be guided to Islam, but nothing harmful or spiteful.Thanks!
QuestionIs it acceptable to make dua for my parents who passed away?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. It is very important to make dua for those who passed away. All your duas will reach and benefit the dead ones.Thanks!
QuestionCan I say dua to improve my memory and concentration skills?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou may make dua for whatever you please, but the best thing for memory is to make Salawat: "Allahumma Salli ala Muhammadin wa Ala aleh Muhammadin wa sallim."Thanks!
QuestionCan I ask dua for my grandson and my children?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou may make dua for anyone, whether it's strangers on the street or your nearest family.Thanks!
QuestionCan I make dua in my own language and then send blessings to the prophet in Arabic?Top AnswererShaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said that it is permissible to make du’aa’ in Arabic and in languages other than Arabic. Allaah knows the intention of the supplicant and what he wants, no matter what language he speaks, because He hears all the voices in all different languages, asking for all kinds of needs.Thanks!
QuestionHow can a new Muslim learn to recite Dua?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHave a sheet of paper next to you while you ask dua to use as a guide until you feel more comfortable saying dua on your own. You can also ask your imam for advice.Thanks!
QuestionWhat does "repent and try to make amends" mean?Community AnswerIt means to return back to Allah and ask for forgiveness. No matter what you have done, no matter how much bad you have done, if you ask forgiveness from Allah, from the bottom of your heart sincerely, he will definitely 100% forgive you. As he says in the Quran "he is oft forgiving."Thanks!
QuestionIs there any Dua to help sharpen my memory?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere is a Dua to recite before studying, it will help you to learn easily. It is ''allah humma rabbi ziddni ilmi".Thanks!
QuestionWhy is Allah not answering my dua or my prayers?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou have to be patient, say the prayer/dua right, and be a proper Muslim. It may also be that you are asking for something that you are not meant to have in the first place.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I read if I want my kids to respect their parents or other older people?Top AnswererAny du'a will work, as the du'a of a parent for their child is surely accepted.Thanks!
What should I say if I want to meet someone again?
- Actually believe that Allah will answer you, don't just pray without believing.
- Don't just dream for Jannat. Work for it by helping people in need, loving and believing in Allah, and not listening to shaytan the devil.
- Do not make dua against family and property, or for sinful acts.
- Do not seek the intercession of the dead. You can only request things from the living and what is within their means.
Sources and Citations
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