Etiquette of Du‘a
(By : Moulana Khalid Dhorat)
The correct manner of invoking Allah is:
1. Hamd and Salawat: To begin with exalting Allah and sending blessings upon the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Abdullah bin Mas’ood narrated, “I was praying while the Prophet, Abu Bakr and Omar were together. After I sat (in the last Tashahhud), I began with praising Allah then I said blessings upon the Prophet and then I prayed for myself. The Prophet, said, “Ask (and) you will be given. Ask (and) you will be given.” (Tirmithi)
2. Du’a at times of trouble and of pleasure: One must not make it a habit to remember Allah only at the time of trouble but he must constantly remember Allah in all circumstances. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “(Anyone who is pleased) that Allah responds to him at the time of trouble and distress, (should) increase Du’a at the time of calmness.” (Tirmithi).
3. Avoid Du’a against ones family, wealth and children: Jabir narrated a hadith about a man who cursed his animal. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Who is this who cursed his animal?” The man replied, “It is me O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Get down from it for a cursed one must not escort us. Do not pray against yourselves, do not pray against your children and do not pray against your wealth. It might coincide with a time when Allah answers what you asked for.” (Muslim)
4. Lower ones voice: Invoke Allah in a low tone as it is closer to sincerity: “Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He does not like the aggressors” (Qur’an 37:55). And He also tells us: “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.” (Qur’an 37:205).
5. Perseverance: We must attend to our Du’a with perseverance, repetition and persistence. Ibn Rajab suggests that we invoke Allah with His names and attributes as this is among the greatest means of having our Du’a accepted.
6. Repetition: It is preferable to repeat you Du’a three times as it is more likely to be answered. Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) cursed a few members of the Quraish thrice when they placed the abdominal contents of a camel on his back whilst in sajdah.
7. Confession: Confess your sins with sincere regret for your mistakes although Allah is aware of all your actions. It is also worthwhile to acknowledge all of Allah’s mercy bestowed upon you. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) taught his ummah the Sayyid-ul-Istighfar which acknowledges the favour of Allah upon oneself.
8. Face the Qiblah: One of the good manners when making Du’a is to face the Qiblah however, this is not compulsory. Abdullah bin Zaid narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) came to this place of worship to pray Istisqaa for rain so he invoked Allah and prayed for rain. Then he faced the Qiblah and overturned his gown (Bukhari).
9. Raise ones hands: It is a recommended practice to raise one’s hands in making Du’a as it was done by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) at different occasions. Abu Musa al-Ash’ari narrated, “The Prophet invoked and raised his hands and I saw the whiteness of his armpits.” (Bukhari)
10. Make wudhu: Although it is not compulsory, one is recommended to supplicate Allah while he is in a state of wudhu (ablution). When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) invoked Allah on behalf of Abi ’Amir he first performed wudhu. (Muslim)
11. Cry with the fear of Allah: Abdullah bin ’Umar narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) recited the verse in which Ibrahim alayhis-salaam is invoking Allah: “O my Lord, they [the idols] have indeed led astray many among mankind. But whoever follows me, he verily is of me. and whoever disobeys me, still you are indeed Most Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Ibrahim, 36). In another verse, Isa alayhis-salaam is invoking Allah: “If you punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, verily You-only You are the Almighty, the All-wise” (Al-Ma’idah, 118). And Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)then raised his hands and said, “Allahumma Ummati, Ummati (O Allah, my nation, my nation)’ and then he cried.
12. Make Du’a for oneself before making Du’a for others: It is Sunnah in Du’a to start with yourself prior to mentioning others as was collected by Tirmidhi in the narration of Ubay bin Ka’ab that if someone was mentioned to the Prophet, he would invoke Allah for him but would begin with himself. However, it was also narrated of Allah’s Messenger that, on certain occasions, he would not begin with himself.
13. Do not trangress in Du’a: When appealing to Allah in Du’a, we should not get into much detail by asking for the different rewards of Jannah. ‘Abdullah bin Mughaffal heard his son saying: “O Allah, I ask you for the white palace on the right of the Paradise if I were to enter it”. So he said, “Dear son, ask Allah for Paradise and seek refuge from the [Hell) fire for I have heard the Messenger of Allah saying, ‘there will come in this nation people who will transgress (or exceed) in ablution and Du’a.” (Abu Dawood).
14. Make Du’a for ones parents: It is good to mention one’s Muslim parents (dead or alive) in invocation for the great favour they owe us, a favour which can never be compensated. Allah said, “And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy and say, ‘My Rab, bestow on them Your mercy as they did raise me when I was young” (Qur’an 17:24)
15. Make Du’a for the believers: One is recommended to remember the Muslims and the Mu’mins around the globe in his invocation. Allah said “Ask forgiveness for your sin and also for the believing men and women” (Qur’an 47:19)
16. Ask Allah alone: Instead of complaining to people when struck by calamity, one must make it a habit to ask Allah alone for refuge. However, there is no harm to mention your problem to people and share their opinion. In the hadith narrated by Ibn ’Abbas, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said to him while he was riding behind him on the same mount, “Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask only Allah and if you seek help, seek help only from Allah. And know that if all the nations were to gather together to benefit you, they would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and if they gather together to harm you, they would harm you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages are dry.” (Tirmidhi).