By Abu Yusuf Ismail
If I told you that I could give you whatever you wished and allowed you to have one week’s time to decide what you wanted, would you plan for it? I believe you would.
We plan for the things that are important in life, for the things we want most. From job interviews, to choosing spouses, to picking out furniture for the house, we plan for things that are important.
So what about our du`a’ (supplication)?
Is not our du`a’ a way to receive what we ask for? Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) is the One that provides everything in our lives and asking Him is the most important thing we can do, but how often do we actually plan for it? Du`a’ too often becomes only a spur of the moment thing rather than a comprehensive list of things we wish for the most.
With Ramadan upon us, now is the best time to really put our minds to what we wish to ask the Creator of the heavens and the earth. I would like to share some ways to do so most effectively from my own personal experience.
Others have playlists, Muslims have praylists
For the past 4 years, before the beginning of every Ramadan, I have made a special, organized, and comprehensive list of du`a’. The list would consist of 8 to 10 things that I desired the most, both in dunya (world) and in the akhirah (Hereafter). Every day of Ramadan, I would pray for them at the times that du`a’ are most likely to be accepted. I call these my praylists.
As Muslims, we make du`a’ to Allah (swt) everyday. We make du`a’ right when we wake up, before every meal, every time we raise our hands and recite Surah Fatiha, and so much more. Why then make a special list of du`a’? Developing a praylist helps one focus and reflect.
Focusing on a specific list of du`a’ helps remind oneself of his/her needs and ambitions. By listing and repeating the items on the list, every single day, it not only assures that one does not forget all his wishes but it reinforces the pursuit of each one. For example, if I have always wanted to improve my tajweed (recitation of the Qur’an), by asking for help from Allah to do so everyday encourages me to put my words into practice.
Reflection of du`a’s allows one to appreciate what Allah (swt) has granted them. I can personally attest to this. There have been items on my past praylists that have been answered in ways that I could never imagine. It’s incredible. I look back and cannot believe I have received so many of the things I asked so desperately for. Allah (swt) truly does not leave the hands of a believer empty when raised to Him.
The time is now
Now that Ramadan is upon us again, I am excited to develop another praylist for the blessed month and I would love to encourage you all to do the same.
As an incentive, I remind myself and others, that our Prophet ﷺ (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything” (Tirmidhi). Why make Him mad?
Here are effective ways to plan your du`a’ to make the best out of your praylist:
1. Write it all down
- Take some time to actually write out your praylist. Do so in a format which is most accessible for you to review. You can write them on a small piece of paper to place in your wallet or purse, or if you’re like me, you can type them into your phone’s notes application.
- There shouldn’t be any limit on the size of the list, as long as it is manageable. If the list is so long that it becomes a burden to repeat more than once a day, it’s then best to shorten it.
- If you are weary of writing out your praylist because you wish to keep some or all of the items private, you should still write it out but then only list keywords that remind you of each item.
2. Ask anything & everything that is good
- When choosing your items, imagine that Allah is asking you to ask Him for anything and everything you’ve ever wanted! Imagine the possibilities. From self improvement, to material things, to bettering relationships in your life, write down everything you want to ask Allah with no limitations other then keeping each item halal. Remember, you’re asking Al-Mujeeb! The One Who Responds and is the Supreme Answerer.
- Learn Prophetic and Qur’anic du`a’s to include as well.
- Organize items in your praylist into different categories. I use the categories: dunya, akhirah, `ibadah (worship), the ummah (Muslim community), and relationships. Once each item is sorted, you’ll notice that some categories may be lacking than others. Adjust and add du`a’s where necessary. This will ensure that your praylist is all encompassing of your needs.
4. Make du`a’ when they are most likely answered
- These times include right before breaking the fast, during your salah (prayer) in sujood (prostration), after the obligatory prayers, Qiyam ul-layl (night prayer), and the last 10 nights. At the least, everyday of Ramadan, I always make sure to make du`a’ before breaking my fast during iftaar.
5. Remember the etiquettes of du`a’
- There is a right and proper way to make du`a’. Remember that we must praise Allah (swt) first, ask for peace and blessings upon our Prophet ﷺ and then make our du`a’.
So go on, take some time to think of what things you want the most. This time next year, you’ll be surprised how many items on your list Allah has directly or indirectly granted you insha’Allah (God-willing).
If you have any tips you’d like to share, please provide them in the comments.
I pray we all have a meaningful and successful Ramadan full of barakah (blessings). May Allah (swt) preserve us all to reap the benefits of such a Holy month and bring us closer to Him. May He give us all strength, knowledge, patience and humility. Ameen.