I have a few questions concerning du`a’ (supplication). What are the best times to make du`a’? I’ve been making du`a’ in the last hour of the night, and I’m encouraged to keep making it until Allah grants me my wish or gives me whatever He thinks is best for me.
However, as humans we tend to get tired, lose hope, and feel as if our du`a’ is not being accepted. Particularly when you really want something, it can be very hard to accept that what you want may not be good for you. Sometimes, when you don’t see the results or feel that your du`a’ is not being accepted, it can even make you want to stop making du`a’.
This battle is extremely frustrating, and I find myself losing hope at times. I feel as though Shaytan (Satan) is whispering negative thoughts in my head, causing me to complain and say unnecessary things. When I think about this, I despair at the idea of my sins mounting, and I feel as though these sins decrease the chance of my du`a’ being accepted. I don’t want this to continue as I can see that I’m only hurting myself, but I just lose hope.
Barak Allaahu feeki (may Allah bless you). I’m really glad that you have sent this email as it shows that you truly do care about your deen (way of life) and want to put your trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). I know this life can be extremely tough, but don’t lose hope. Allah has promised us that He will respond to our du`a’, especially when we are in distress. In Surat an-Naml, He says:
“Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth?” (Qur’an 27:62)
Allah has also promised that as long as we are not hasty, He will answer our du`a’. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺsaid “The du`a’ of any worshiper will continue to be responded to as long as he does not ask for a sin or breaking the ties of kinship, and as long as he is not hasty.” He was then asked what being hasty meant, and he replied, “A worshipper says ‘I have prayed and prayed, and I don’t see that it will be accepted,’ so he gives up hope of being answered and leaves du`a’.’”
I know that sometimes this is extremely hard. We really want to have our needs answered at the minute that we ask for something because we think that this will be best for us, but Allah knows the reality of it. He knows not only what is best for us but also when it is best for us. Ibn Al Qayyim said something that really touches my heart, and I constantly remember it when I myself am going through distressing times. Regarding someone who gives up hope in having their du`a’ answered, he said, “His example is like that of a person who planted a seed, then guarded it, and took care of it, and watered it, but when it delayed in (giving its fruit) and reaching perfection, he left it and did not take care of it anymore!” We just need to stick by our seed and wait for it to bloom.
As for recommended times to make du`a’, alhamdu lil Lah (praise be to Allah) Allah has blessed us and given us numerous opportunities throughout the day to make du`a’ and have it be more likely to be accepted; we just need to take advantage of those times. As you mentioned, one of these times is during the last third of the night. During this time, Allah Himself comes down to His servant and opens for us the doors of mercy and forgiveness. The Prophet ﷺ said, “The closest any worshipper can be to his Lord is during the last part of the night, so if you can be amongst those who remember Allah at that time, then do so.” Another time is when the adhaan (call to prayer) has been given. The Prophet ﷺ said, “When the prayer is called, the doors of the skies are opened, and the du`a’ is answered.” Alhamdu lil Lah Allah has blessed us with that opportunity five times a day! In addition to that, the du`a’ between the adhaan and theiqaamah (call to stand for prayer) is also looked upon highly. The Prophet ﷺ said, “The du`a’ between the adhaan and the iqaamah is not refused, therefore offer your du`a’ (at this time).”
Another great time to make du`a’ is during salah (prayer). We are closest to Allah during sujood (prostration), when we have our foreheads on the ground in humility. This is the position that is most beloved to Allah, and the Prophet ﷺ said, “The closest any worshipper can be to his Lord is while he is in prostration, so increase your du`a’ in it.” While in salah, after a person has finished their tashahhud (portion of the prayer in which you kneel in the 2nd and last units of prayer) and before he says tasleem (salutation at the end of prayer) to end his salah, he can also make du`a’ at this point for anything he wishes , as this is one of the times of response as well. Du`a’ after salah is also known to be one that is most likely to be accepted . The Prophet ﷺwas asked, “Which du`a’ is the most likely to be responded to?” He responded, “In the last part of the night, and after the obligatory prayers.” One of my favorite times to make du`a’ is actually when it starts to rain. The rain is a mercy of Allah, and the Prophet ﷺ said, “Two are the du`a’ that are never returned: the du`a’ made when the prayer is being called, and at the time of rainfall.”
Lastly sister, if your du`a’ is not being answered, I am positive that there is wisdom behind this. There are a few reasons that one might not have their du`a’ answered immediately. We have to realize that Allah is al-Hakim (the Most Wise). Often times we may desire something that is not the best for us, thus, when we don’t see results, we think that Allah is not responding to our du`a’ whereas He is actually saving us from a calamity. Additionally, there may be other wisdoms for the delay in this response for reasons that we may not know.
Sometimes when our hearts are deeply attached to something, we cannot see any reason why we shouldn’t have that thing—yet in reality it is not what is best for us. Allah says in the Qur’an,
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” (2:216)
To not have a du`a’ answered could, in fact, be one of the biggest blessings. Allah will give us that which we need, not simply that which we want. For example, say a sister really wants to marry a brother, and she makes du`a’ for this. Allah knows that in reality, this brother would make her life miserable, He may protect her from this hardship by not willing that the two get married. Hence, although her du`a’ was not answered in the way she wanted, Allah gave her a bigger blessing by saving her from something which would not be good for her. It was said that If we had perfect power like Allah to determine our destinies, and perfect vision like Allah to see the future and know what is best for us, we would chose exactly the same fate that Allah has chosen for us. A saying that beautifies this point further is:
He has not denied you, except to give you.
Another thing is that the du`a’ may have in fact been responded to, and we just don’t realize it. The acceptance of the du`a’ may be in a manner that is not obviously apparent. It is also possible that Allah will give us the reward of this du`a’ on the Day of judgment, and this reward will be more beloved to us on that Day than anything that could have been given to us in this life. It is also possible that Allah blesses us with something else that we did not ask for, but is better for us. And lastly, Allah may avert an evil that was destined for us because of the du`a’ that we made.
Whatever you do sister, do not lose hope. Sufyaan ibn Uyaynah said something that will forever be etched in my heart, and I hope that it can help you as well. He said, “Let none of you think that his du`a’ will not be answered because of (the sins) that he knows of himself. Indeed, Allah responded to the du`a’ of the worst of the creation, Iblis (the devil), may Allah curse him, when he said:
“He said, ‘My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.’ [Allah] said, ‘So indeed, you are of those reprieved.’” [Qur’an, 15:36-37]
If Iblis’ du`a’ can be answered, surely the du`a’ of a sinner has more precedence than his!