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15 April 2021

The Etiquette and Sunnah of Making Du'a

Safa Faruqui
The Etiquette and Sunnah of Making Du'a

The Prophet (saw) said, 'Du'a is worship itself'. Then the Prophet (saw) recited this verse, 'Your Lord says: "Call upon Me and I will respond to you. Verily, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell in humiliation" [The Noble Qur'an, 40:60]'. [Tirmidhi]

As we maximise our worship this Ramadan, du'a is an essential action which we definitely can't miss out on. This article is a comprehensive guide to making du'a, including the etiquette of preparing for du'a, what your du'a should include and what our attitude towards du'a should be.!

May Allah (swt) accept your du'as and ours, amin!

How should we prepare for du'a?

Alhamdulillah, you can call upon Allah at any time. You can make du'a as soon as you wake up or as you are falling asleep, in public or in private, as a deliberate decision or an instinctive reaction to difficulty. You can also make du'a in any language and for any want or need (as long as you are not asking for something sinful or wishing harm on others).

However, there is a beautiful etiquette (adab) to making du'a which will mentally and spiritually prepare you for this significant worship, in sha Allah.

1: Perform wudu

It is NOT compulsory to perform wudu before making du'a. However, performing wudu is a way of purifying yourself and getting into the correct mindset for speaking to Allah.

Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw), after the battle of Hunain, called for water, performed wudu, then raised his hands and said: ‘O Allah! Forgive Ubaid Abi Amir!’ [Bukhari]

2: Face the Qiblah

Again, it is NOT compulsory to face the Qiblah while making du'a. However, the Prophet (saw) would sometimes do so, as described in the below narration:

Abdullah bin Zaid (ra) reported, 'Allah's Messenger (saw) went out to this Musalla (praying place) to offer the prayer of Istisqa (a prayer for rain). He invoked Allah for rain and then faced the Qiblah and turned his cloak inside out…' [Bukhari]

3: Raise your hands

SubhanAllah, raising our hands in du'a is a Sunnah with such a beautiful meaning behind it! We encourage you to remember the following hadith every time you physically raise your hands:

The Prophet (saw) said, 'Indeed your Lord - Blessed and Almighty is He - is Shy and Most Generous. He is shy when His servant raises his hands to Him (in du'a) to turn them away empty'. [Abu Dawud]

4: Call upon Allah in a low voice

Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari (ra) said, 'We were in the company of the Prophet (saw) on a journey, and whenever we ascended a high place, we used to say Takbir (in a loud voice). The Prophet (saw) said, "O people! Be kind to yourselves, for you are not calling upon a deaf or an absent one, but you are supplicating the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing"'. [Bukhari]

The above hadith is a beautiful reminder that, when you are making a private du'a, Allah is always close to us and there is no need to be loud! As Allah says: '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'. [The Noble Qur'an, 7: 205]

This not only applies to our private rooms, but also if we are making du'a in a masjid - it's better not to disturb those around us. There are many times when we get emotional and start crying - and the Prophet (saw) used to cry during du'a! - but while we are speaking, we should be sure to maintain a low tone.

To summarise: the best way to prepare for du'a is to make wudu, face the Qiblah, raise your hands and call upon your Lord in a low voice.

What should we include in our du'a?

As well as preparing for du'a, there is also a correct etiquette for what we should say after raising our hands. This is NOT compulsory, but again, it is highly recommended! Naturally, we should try to call upon Allah in a manner that is pleasing to Him, as taught to us by our Prophet (saw).

1: Begin with praise

Don't rush into your du'a without first praising Allah and then sending prayers upon our beloved Prophet (saw):

The Prophet (saw) said, 'When any one of you have performed Salah (prayer) and wants to supplicate, let him begin with praising His Lord (swt) and glorifying Him, then send prayers upon the Prophet (saw). Then he may supplicate for whatever he wishes'. [Tirmidhi]

2: Invoke Allah by His Names

Allah says, 'And to Allah belong the Beautiful Names, so invoke Him by them'. [The Noble Qur'an, 7:180]

There are SO many Names which you can call upon Allah by - but the above are some of the most commonly used ones. Remember to select the most relevant Name to your du'a. If you are asking for forgiveness, you could use Al-Ghafur; if you are asking for help with a problem, you could use Al-Wakil.

You can invoke Allah by His Names in a few ways, which we have illustrated below:

  • 'Ya Allah, you are Al-'Afuww; you love to forgive, so forgive me'.
  • 'Ya 'Afuww, you love to forgive, so forgive me'.  
  • 'Ya Allah, you are the Most Forgiving of all forgivers, so forgive me'.

If you want to invoke one of these Names directly (O 'Afuww / Ya 'Afuww), then you don't need to pronounce the two letters before the hyphen.

3: Ask for everything you need

It is extremely important to include everything you need and want while making du'a, without holding back. No desire is too much for Allah to grant it. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'When one of you calls upon Allah, let him hope for the greatest of things. Verily, nothing has any greatness over Allah'. [Ibn Hibban]

We have previously published an article about Prophet Sulaiman (as) who, when building Masjid Al-Aqsa, made three HUGE du'as which Allah answered:

SubhanAllah, we should all learn from the example of Sulaiman (as) and never put a limit on our du'as! (You can read the full story of this du'a here).

4: Make du'a for others

Don't miss out on making du'a for other people! The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'No Muslim servant supplicates for his brother behind his back but that an angel says, "And for you the same"'. [Muslim]

It is also important to make du'a for the Ummah in general, for example by saying, 'Our Lord, forgive all the believers'. As the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'Whoever seeks forgiveness for the believing men and women, Allah will record a good deed for him by each man and woman'. [Tabarani]

5: Conclude with 'Amin'

When you have finished supplicating Allah, say 'Amin' to seal your du'a:

As Abu Zuhayr reported, 'We went out one night with the Messenger of Allah (saw) and a man came to us who was earnestly supplicating to Allah for some matter. The Prophet stopped and listened to him, then he said, “It must be so if he seals it". A man among the people said, “With what does he seal it?” The Prophet said, “Amin, for if he ends it with amin, it will be so…"' [Abu Dawud]

After saying 'Amin', wipe your hands over your face, as it is Sunnah to do so: Umar Ibn al-Khattab (ra) said, 'When the Prophet (saw) raised his hands in supplication, he would not put them down until he wiped his face'. [Tirmidhi]

To summarise: your du'a should include praise for Allah and prayers for the Prophet (saw), invoking Allah by His Names, asking for every matter, big and small, making du'a for others and concluding with amin.

What should our attitude towards du'a be?

Firstly, we should absolutely not be reluctant or shy to ask for anything. Allah loves for us to turn to Him and supplicate Him, and He will never tire of fulfilling our needs or granting us forgiveness.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'Ask Allah for His favour. Verily, Allah Almighty loves to be asked and among the best acts of worship is to wait in expectation of relief'. [Tirmidhi]

Secondly, it is extremely important to trust in Allah and have certainty that He will answer our du'as.

The Prophet (saw) said, 'There is no Muslim who calls upon Allah, without sin or cutting family ties, but that Allah will give him one of three answers: He will quickly fulfil his supplication, He will store it for him in the Hereafter, or He will divert an evil from him similar to it'. They said, 'In that case we will ask for more'. The Prophet said, 'Allah has even more'. [Ahmad]

Therefore, while making du'a, we should not be hesitant or uncertain; and afterwards, we should not question whether or not Allah has answered our du'as.

Thirdly, we should be patient while waiting for an answer from Allah.

The Prophet said, 'The servant will continue to have his supplications answered as long as he does not ask for sin or cut family ties, and he is not impatient'. They said, 'O Messenger of Allah, what is its impatience?' The Prophet said, 'He says, "I have supplicated again and again, but I have not seen an answer". He becomes frustrated with that and gives up supplicating"'. [Bukhari]

SubhanAllah, we must always remember that Allah is Ash-Shakur (The Appreciative One) and Ar-Rahman (The Most Gracious or Compassionate); therefore, we can never have doubt that He hears our du'as and He will answer in the best way for us.

We would like to conclude with one final point: good deeds elevate our du'as. Allah says, 'To Him do good words go up and righteous action uplifts them'. [The Noble Qur'an, 35:10]

Just as Sulaiman (as) supplicated Allah while performing a good deed for His sake - rebuilding Masjid Al-Aqsa - we should also fill our days with good deeds while we supplicate Allah! From giving to those most in need to honouring His Blessed Masjid, there are so many ways we can show our sincerity to Allah and our desire to please Him. As we await His answer to our du'as, we should never become impatient - rather, we should increase our righteous actions for His sake!

Here is a brief summary of this article:

  • The best way to prepare for du'a is to make wudu, face the Qiblah, raise your hands and call upon your Lord in a low voice.
  • Our du'a should include praise for Allah and prayers for the Prophet (saw), invoking Allah by His Names, asking for every matter, big and small, making du'a for others and concluding with amin.
  • Our attitude towards du'a should be filled with sincerity, confidence, trust in Allah and patience in awaiting His answer, and good deeds elevate our du'as.

We hope this article was helpful to you. May Allah accept our du'as and make us from those who never abandon du'a, amin!

 

Muslim Hands is an award-winning charity, established in 1993 to help those needing emergency relief and tackling the root causes of poverty.

 


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Established in 1993, Muslim Hands is an aid agency and NGO helping those affected by poverty, conflict and natural disaster in over 20 countries worldwide.