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Dua (Supplication) (part 3 of 4): Why dua remains unanswered

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Description: How to supplicate in a way that is more likely to be accepted.

  • By Aisha Stacey (© 2010 IslamReligion.com)
  • Published on 27 Dec 2010
  • Last modified on 10 Nov 2013
  • Printed: 12182
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As believers we know that God is above the heavens, above His creation yet He is unrestrained by any of physical dimensions.   God is close, very close, to those who believe in Him and He answers their every call.   God knows all of our secrets, dreams, and wishes, nothing is hidden from Him.   God is with His creation by His knowledge and power.   Why then do some dua’s (supplications) remain unanswered?

A mighty question indeed and even the first Muslims were concerned with the answer.  Abu Hurairah, one of the Prophets closest companions said that he heard the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, say “A person’s duas will be answered so long as he does not pray for something sinful or for the breaking of family ties.”[1]  From this we learn that if the dua is inappropriate or one is asking for something sinful God will not respond.

If the person making dua communicates with God in an arrogant manner, perhaps complaining or raising his voice in anger or petulance God may not respond.  Another reason for God not responding to dua is when the supplicant begs God for help or comfort yet he has surrounded himself with unlawful wealth, food, or clothing.  One cannot continuously engage in sinful behaviour and activities without even a second of remorse yet at the same time expect God to answer his duas and requests.

Prophet Muhammad told his companions that “God is far removed from every imperfection and only accepts that which is lawful.  God commanded the pious to follow the same commandments as He gave to the Messengers. 

“O (you) Messengers!  Eat of the Tayyibaat [all kinds (lawful foods which God 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.” (Quran 23:51)

“O you who believe!  Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with.” (Quran 2:172)

Thereafter Prophet Muhammad mentioned a man who had travelled on a long journey, he was dishevelled and covered in dust and stretched his hands towards heaven “O Lord, O Lord”, but his food was unlawful and his drink was unlawful so how was his dua to be accepted?”[2]

The man described here had some of the characteristics that make dua more likely to be accepted.  These were mentioned at the end of the second article addressing this topic.  It can be deduced that on account of this man not living his life within the lawful limits his dua was not accepted.

Another important point to remember is not to be hasty.A supplicant must never give up, he must never say, “I pray and pray, I make dua after dua but God does not hear me, He does not respond!”   Just when a person feels like giving up he must make more dua, ask God again, and again for more and more.  There is no power or strength except with God alone.  There is no solution or outcome except from God.   When supplicating to God a person must be both resolute and sincere.

The dua of any one of you will be answered so long as he is not impatient and says, ‘I made dua but it was not answered.[3]

Let not any one of you say, ‘O God, forgive me if You will, O God have mercy on me if You will. Let him be resolute in the matter, whilst knowing that no one can compel God to do anything.[4]

It is also important to understand that a response to a dua may not be exactly what you expect.  God may respond and fulfill the desire of a person immediately.  Sometimes duas are answered very quickly.  However sometimes God responds in a different way, He might keep some evil away from the supplicant, or He will reward him with something good but not exactly what the supplicant asked for.  It is important to remember that God knows what the future holds and we do not.

“... it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. God knows but you do not know.” (Quran 2:216)

Sometimes God will save his response to a dua until the Day of Resurrection when a person will be most in need of it. 

Dua has unlimited power, it can change many things and it is an important act of worship that we must never lose faith in.  Making dua demonstrates our great need for God and it recognises that He is able to do all things.  He gives and He withholds but when we trust God completely we know that His decree is just and wise.

Make dua and be patient, for God will answer, in the best possible way, at the best possible time.  Never give up hope, never stop asking, and ask for more and more and more.  Ask for good in this world and in the hereafter.  Dua is the weapon of the believer.

“So We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers (who believe in the Oneness of Allah, abstain from evil and work righteousness).” (Quran 21:88)

“And He answers (the supplication of) those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and gives them increase of His Bounty. And as for the disbelievers, theirs will be a severe torment.” (Quran 42:26)



Footnotes:

[1] Saheeh Muslim

[2] Ibid

[3] Saheeh Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim

[4] Ibid

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