Praise be to Allaah.
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. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And your Lord said: “Invoke Me [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism) and ask Me for anything] I will respond to your (invocation)”
Du’aa’ is very important in Islam, so much so that the Prophet ﷺ said:
“Du’aa’ is worship.”
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3372; Abu Dawood, 1479; Ibn Maajah, 3828; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2590.
The etiquette of du’a:
1 – The one who is making du’aa’ should believe in Tawheed with regard to the divinity, Lordship, names and attributes of Allaah. His heart should be filled with Tawheed. In order for Allaah to respond to the du’aa’, it is essential that the person should be responding to his Lord by obeying Him and not disobeying Him. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright”
2 – Sincerity towards Allaah alone in making du’aa’. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allaah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him)”
Du’aa’ is worship, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, so sincerity (ikhlaas) is a condition of its being accepted.
3 – We should ask of Allaah by His most beautiful names. 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”
4 – We should praise Allaah as He deserves before we call upon Him. 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.”
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.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2765, 2767.
5 – Sending blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ said:
“Every du’aa’ is kept back until you send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).”
Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Awsat, 1/220; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4399.
6 – Facing towards the qiblah. Muslim (1763) narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: On the day of Badr, the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ looked at the mushrikeen, who were one thousand strong, and his companions numbered three hundred and nineteen. Then the Prophet of Allaah ﷺ turned to face the qiblah, then he stretched forth his hands and started to cry out to his Lord:
“O Allaah, grant me what You have promised me, O Allaah, give me what You have promised me. O Allaah, if this small band of Muslims perishes, You will not be worshipped on earth.”
He kept on crying out to his Lord, stretching forth his hands, facing towards the qiblah, until his cloak fell from his shoulders…
al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Sharh Muslim: This shows that it is mustahabb to face towards the qiblah when making du’aa’, and to raise the hands.
7 – Raising the hands. Abu Dawood (1488) narrated that Salmaan (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.”
Classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1320.
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.”
Classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1318.
Should the hands be held together when raising them or should there be a gap between them?
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) stated in al-Sharh al-Mumti’ (4/25) that they should be held together. What he said is: “As for separating them and holding them far apart from one another, there is no basis for that in the Sunnah or in the words of the scholars.”
8 – 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; classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2766.
9 – 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 ﷺ 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.
10. He should be firm in his du’aa’, because the Prophet ﷺ said:
“No one of you should say, ‘O Allaah, forgive me if You wish, O Allaah, have mercy on me if You wish’; he should be firm in his asking, for Allaah cannot be compelled.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6339; Muslim, 2679.
11 – Beseeching, humility, hope and fear. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret”
“Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us”
“And remember your Lord within yourself, humbly and with fear and without loudness in words in the mornings and in the afternoons”
12 – 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: “Whilst the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ was praying at the Ka’bah, Abu Jahl and his companions were sitting nearby. They had slaughtered a camel the previous day, and Abu Jahl said: “Which of you will go and get the abdominal contents of the camel of Banu So and so and put it on the back of Muhammad when he prostrates?” The worst of the people went and got it, and when the Prophet ﷺ prostrated, he placed it between his shoulders. They started laughing, leaning against one another. I was standing there watching, and if I had had any power, I would have lifted it from the back of the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ. The Prophetﷺ remained in prostration, not lifting his head, until someone went and told Faatimah. She came with Juwayriyah, and lifted it from him, then she turned to them and rebuked them. When the Prophet ﷺ had finished his prayer, he raised his voice and prayed against them – and when he made du’aa’ or asked of Allaah he would repeat it three times – and he said:
“O Allaah, punish Quraysh” three times.
When they heard his voice, they stopped laughing and were afraid because of his du’aa’. Then he said, “O Allaah, punish Abu Jahl ibn Hishaam, ‘Utbah ibn Rabee’ah, Shaybah ibn Rabee’ah, al-Waleed ibn ‘Uqbah, Umayyah ibn Khalaf and ‘Uqbah ibn Abu Mu’ayt,” and he mentioned the seventh but I cannot remember who it was. By the One Who sent Muhammad ﷺ with the truth, I saw those whom he had named slain on the day of Badr, then they were dragged and thrown into the well, the well of Badr.
13 – Ensuring that one’s food and clothing are good (i.e., halaal). Muslim (1015) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said:
“O people, Allaah is Good and does not accept anything but that which is good. Allaah enjoins upon the believers the same as He enjoined upon the Messengers. He says:
‘O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Tayyibaat [all kinds of Halaal (lawful) foods which Allaah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables, fruits)] and do righteous deeds. Verily, I am Well‑Acquainted with what you do’
‘O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with’
Then he mentioned a man who travels for a long distance and is disheveled and dusty, and he stretches forth his hands towards heaven saying, ‘O Lord, O Lord,’ but his food is haraam, his drink is haraam, his clothing is haraam, he has been nourished with haraam, so how can he be responded to?
Ibn Rajab (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Ensuring that one’s food, drink and clothing are halaal, and that one is nourished with halaal, is a means of having one’s du’aa’ answered. End quote.
14 – Saying du’aa’ silently and not out loud. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret”
And Allaah praised His slave Zakariyyah (peace be upon him) by saying (interpretation of the meaning):
“When he called to his Lord (Allaah) a call in secret”