Supplication and Its Manners, Times, Conditions and Mistakes
By Abdulaziz Addweesh
In the name of Allah, The most Beneficent, The most Merciful.
Praise is to Allah whom we ask for help and forgiveness. We seek the protection of Allah from the evil of ourselves and the sins of our deeds. Whom Allah guides no one can misguide and whom Allah does not guide will never find a guide. And I testify that there is no God but Allah the One with no partner, and Mohammed is his Slave and Messenger, (SAW ) (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, meaning: may the peace and blessings of Allah be with him)
The subject of Supplication is very important. Every Muslim must know how to supplicate the way that Allah has directed us. I found it very important to write about this subject to guide our brothers in Islam to perform this kind of worship the correct way. I also ask Allah (SWT) (Subhanahu wa ta’ala, meaning: the Glorious and Most Exalted) to guide me to do good deeds and May Peace and Blessings be upon the Prophet, his Family, Companions and all of his followers to the Day of Judgment.
Proofs Of Supplication From Qur’an
All mighty Allah (SWT) said :
“And when My slaves ask you (O Mohammed) 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 to the right path.” (Qur'an 2:186)
The Prophet (SAW) was asked by some of his companions: “Is Allah near so we invoke him or is he far so we call him? so Allah revealed this verse, - Allah (SWT) is near He can hear the supplicant anytime anywhere and respond to him if the supplicant invokes Allah (SWT) with a sincere heart and avoid interdictions of supplication.
Allah (SWT) also said:
“Invoke your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) with humility and in secret, He likes not the aggressors.” (Qur'an 7:55)
Supplication is of two kinds. One is worship and the other is a request. So He commands to be invoked with humility which is insisting in request and continuously in worship and “secretly” not loud to avoid “Ryea” (showing off)
Allah (SWT) also said:
“And your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) said: “Invoke Me (i.e. believe in My Oneness) (and ask Me for anything) I will respond to your (invocation) Verily! Those who scorn My worship (i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness ) they will surely enter hell in humiliation!” (Qur'an 40:60)
Allah (SWT) said:
“Invoke Me, I will respond to you” , so from His mercy for His slaves He has promised to respond to their invocations but for those who do not invoke Him, He has promised punishment because invocation of Allah (SWT) is an act of worship and refusing to invoke Him ( disbelieving in Him or having doubt in His ability to answer the invocation) is refusal to worship Him.
Proofs Of Supplication From Sunnah
Narrated An-Numan bin Bashir (Ra) (Radhiallahu anhu, meaning: may Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet (SAW) said: “Verily, Supplication is worship.” (AI-Arbaa (The four) and AI-Tirmdhi, graded it Sahih (sound))
Narrated Anas (Ra): The Prophet (SAW) said: “Supplication is the Pith (essence) of worship.” (At-Tirmidhi with a full chain of narrators)
Narrated Abu Hurairah (Ra): The Prophet (SAW) said: “Nothing is more honorable (most liked ) before Allah (SWT) than Supplication .” (At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim graded it Sahih)
From all the, Hadiths above we see that Supplication is a type of worship and it is honorable to Allah or liked by Allah (SWT).
Manners of Supplication
1. Supplication should start with, “Bismillah…In the name of Allah, Praise is to Allah, and Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger of Allah and should end with (Peace and Blessing be upon the Messenger of Allah).”
2. Supplication should be performed secretly and with a present (sincere) heart. Allah (SWT) said: “Invoke your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) with humility and in secret, He likes not the aggressors.” (Qur'an 7:55)
3. Supplicate Allah (SWT) with humility and express your need of Allah (SWT). He said: “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.” (Qur'an 21:90)
4. Insist to Allah (SWT) in your supplication by repeating it many times.
5. Invoke Allah (SWT) by His Names and Attributes. He said: “And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them.” (Qur'an 7:180)
6. Supplicate Allah (SWT) by mentioning the righteous deeds you have done. Narrated Abdullah bin Umar (Ra), that he heard Allah’s Messenger (SAW), saying “Three men, amongst those who became before you set out until night came and they reached a cave, so they entered it. A rock slithered down from a mountain and blocked the entrance of the cave. They said: “Nothing will save you from this except that you supplicate to Allah (SWT) by mentioning the righteous deeds you have done, etc.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
7. Admit your sins during your supplication. Allah (SWT) said: “Dhan-Nun (Jonah), when he went off in anger, and imagined that We shall not punish him. But he cried through the darkness (saying): La ilaha illa Anta (none has the ,right to be worshiped but You) Glorified be You, Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.” (Qur'an 21:87)
8. Repeat each sentence of your supplication three times. From the long Hadith narrated by Ibn Masaud (Ra), and when the Prophet (SAW) finished his Salat, he raised his voice and supplicated on them and when he supplicated, he supplicated three times....” (Muslim)
9. Face the Qiblah (Mecca) during your supplication. Narrated Abdullah bin Zaid (Ra): “Allah’s Messenger (SAW) went out to his praying place to offer the Salat of Istisqa (rain) He invoked Allah (SWT) for rain and then faced Al-Qiblah and turned his upper garment inside out.” (Bukhari)
10. Raise your hands while supplicating Allah (SWT) as in the Hadith of Abu Musa (Ra): when the Prophet (SAW) had finished from the battle of Hunain, he said “the Prophet (SAW) asked for water, performed ablution and then raised his hands saying 'O Allah forgive Ubaid Abi Amir.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
11. Be in the state of Purity during your supplication. (See the previous Hadith)
12. When making supplication for others, start with yourself first then include others. Allah (SWT) said about Noah (AS) “My Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) forgive me and my parents and him who enters my home as a believer, and all the believing men and women..” (Qur'an 71:28)
13. Do not be aggressive when you are supplicating Allah (SWT) such as asking Him to make you a prophet and you know there will not be a prophet after Mohammed (SAW) or make you live for ever and you know every one will die.
14. Remember to include your parents in your supplication (if they are Muslims only or they died on Islam but if they are alive and they are non believers, you can not supplicate Allah (SWT) to have mercy on them or forgive their sins, you are only allowed to ask Allah (SWT) to guide them to the right path “Islam” )
15. Be patient. Do not expect an immediate response from Allah (SWT) although this could happen. But if it does not, then you should be patient and continue supplicating Allah (SWT) until you see the results. Narrated Abu Hurairah (Ra): Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “The invocation of anyone of you is responded to by Allah (SWT) if he does not show impatience by saying; 'I invoked Allah (SWT) but my request has not been granted.’” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Times of Supplication
There are certain times supplication is more likely to be accepted by Allah (SWT) as the Prophet (SAW) said. These times are:
1. The Last Third Of The Night:
Abu Huraira (Ra) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: In the last third of every night our Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) (Allah (SWT)) descends to the lowermost heaven and says; “Who is calling Me, so that I may answer him? Who is asking Me so that may I grant him? Who is seeking forgiveness from Me so that I may forgive him?.” (Bukhari)
2. Late at night, when people are sleeping and busy with worldly pleasures Allah (SWT) gives the believers an opportunity, or an answer hour if they can fight sleep and invoke Allah (SWT) for whatever they need.
3. Between Adhan and Iqama:
Anas (Ra) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “A supplication made between the Adhan and Iqama is not rejected.” (An-Nasai and Ibn Hibban graded it sahih (sound))
4. An Hour On Friday:
Narrated Abu Huraira (Ra): Allah’s Messenger (SAW) talked about Friday and said: “There is an hour on Friday and if a Muslim gets it while offering Salat (prayer) and asks something from Allah (SWT), then Allah (SWT) will definitely meet his demand.” And he (the Prophet (SAW) pointed out the shortness of that time with his hands. (Bukhari)
Some said this hour is from the time the Imam (prayer’s leader) enters the mosque on Friday’s prayer until the prayer is over where others have said that it is the last hour of the day. (Note: when we say an hour here we do not mean the hour everyone knows (60 minutes) but an unspecified period of time because the time counters which we use today came after the Prophet (SAW) had died
5. While Drinking Zamzam Water:
Jaber (Ra) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “Zamzam water is for what it is drunk for.” (Ahmed and Ibn Majah)
This means that when you drink Zamzam water you may ask Allah (SWT) for anything you like to gain or benefit from this water such as healing from illness.... etc.
6. While Prostrating:
Abu Huraira (Ra) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW), said: “The nearest a slave can be to his Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) is when he is prostrating, so invoke (supplicate) Allah (SWT) much. (Muslim) When a Muslim is in his Salat (prayer) he is facing Allah (SWT) and when he prostrates he is the nearest he can be to Allah (SWT) so it is best to invoke Allah (SWT) at this time.
On The Day Of Arafa: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: The best supplication is the supplication on the day of Arafa. (At-Tirmidhi and Malik)
7. When Waking Up at Night: Narrated Ubada Bin As-Samit that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “Whomever wakes up at night and says La ilaha illallahu wahdahu la shrika lahu lahulmulku, wa lahul hamdu, wa huwa ala kulli shai'in qadir. Alhamdu lillahi, wa subhanallahi wa la ilaha illallahu, wallah akbir, wa la hawla wala quwata illa billah” (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah (SWT) He is the only one who has no partners. His is the kingdom and all the praises are for Allah (SWT) All the glories are for Allah(SWT) And none has the right to be worshipped but Allah (SWT) and Allah(SWT) is the most Great and there is neither might nor power except with Allah (SWT) and then says, Allahumma ighfir li (O Allah! Forgive me) or invokes Allah (SWT), he will be responded to and if he makes ablution and performs Salat (prayer), his Salat (prayer) will be accepted. (Bukhari)
8. At The End Of The Obligatory “Salat” :
Narrated Abu Omamah (Ra): that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) was asked, O Messenger of Allah, which supplication is heard (by Allah (SWT), he said the end of the night and at the end of the obligatory Salat (prayer) (At-Tirmidhi)
This time is after saying “At-tahyat” , and before making Tasleem (finishing prayer)
9. The Night Of “Qadr” (Decree):
This night is the greatest night of the year. This is the night which the almighty Allah (SWT) said about it, “The night of Al-Qadar (Decree) is better than a thousand month.” (Qur'an 97:3)
10. During The Rain:
Narrated Sahel Ibn Saad (Ra): that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: Two will not be rejected, Supplication after the Adhan (call of prayer) and at the time of the rain. (Al-Hakim and Abo Dawood)
The time of the rain is a time of mercy from Allah (SWT) so, one should take advantage of this time when Allah (SWT) is having mercy on His slaves.
11. At the Adhan: (See the previous paragraph)
12. The One Who Is Suffering Injustice:
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said to Moaad Ibn Jabal (Ra), Beware of the supplication of the unjustly treated, because there is no shelter or veil between it (the supplication of the one who is suffering injustice) and Allah (SWT) (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The One who is suffering injustice is heard by Allah (SWT) when he invokes Allah (SWT) to retain his rights from the unjust one. Allah (SWT) has sworn to help the one who is suffering from injustice sooner or later as the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said.
13. The Traveler:
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said; Three supplications will not be rejected (by Allah (SWT)), the supplication of the parent for his child, the supplication of the one who is fasting, and the supplication of the traveler,. (Al-Bayhaqi and approved by Al-Albani)
During travel supplication is heard by Allah (SWT) if the trip is for a good reason, but if the trip is for a bad intention or to perform illegal things (making sins) this will not apply to it.
14. The Fasting: (See the previous paragraph)
15. The Parents Supplication for His Child: (See the previous paragraph)
Conditions for Supplication
1. One must know that only Allah (SWT) can answer his supplication and He is the only one Who can bring good to him. Allah (SWT) said: “Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generation after generation. Is there any god with Allah? Little is that you remember” (27:62)
2. One must invoke Allah (SWT) alone and no others. Allah (SWT) said: “And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Him” (Qur'an 72:18)
3. One must be patient (see page 9)
4. One must think positively of Allah (SWT), must have faith in Him and believe that He has the ability to do anything He wants. Narrated Abu Hurairah (Ra): Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “Supplicate Allah with confidence He will answer you” (At-Tirmidhi)
Mistakes in Supplication
1. Invoking other than Allah (SWT) such as prophets, pious people, stone, idols ... etc this is Shirk (polytheism)
2. Wishing to die. Some people when they get sick, and they do not heal soon, or they have some personal problems they start wishing for death.
3. Asking Allah (SWT) to hurry or give his punishment in this life.
4. Asking Allah (SWT) to break the bond of kin-ship. (such as separating one from his parents)
5. Supplicating for sins to spread in the Islamic society.
6. The “Imam” (prayer’s leader) making supplication for himself without including the followers in his supplication. (during group prayer, At-taraweh in Ramadan)
7. Invoking Allah (SWT) to see if there is a response without a sense of genuine purpose.
8. Raising the voice during the supplication. It should be done secretly.
9. Saying Insha-Allah, (Allah willing) after the supplication. (Ex.: O' Allah forgive my sins if you will) Narrated Abu Huraira (Ra): the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “None of you should say: O' Allah forgive me if you wish, O' Allah be merciful to me if you wish, but he should always appeal to Allah (SWT) with determination, for nobody can force Allah (SWT) to do something against His will. (agreed upon)
10. Invoking Allah (SWT) aggressively, (asking Allah (SWT)) for impossible things such as asking Him to make you a prophet or immortality)
11. Asking Allah (SWT) to harm a Muslim.
12. Asking Allah (SWT) to have a Muslim commit a sin or die as a non believer.
Reasons for the Acceptance of Supplication
There are some reasons which cause the supplication to be accepted by Allah (SWT) They are:
Repentance to Allah (SWT): The almighty Allah (SWT) said “I said (to them): 'Ask forgiveness from your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) Verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance; And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers” (Qur'an 71:10,12)
Good income: The income must be halal (good) as the Messenger of Allah (SAW) was asked by one of His companions, How could I have my supplication responded to? The messenger of Allah (SAW) said; “Make your income good and your supplication will be responded to.”
Perform Supererogatory Deeds: Such as voluntary prayer and voluntary fasting.
Chose the preferred time for Supplication: (see above)
Reasons for the Rejection of Supplication
As there are reasons for acceptance of a supplication, there are also reasons for rejection of a supplication. Here are some reasons which will cause Allah (SWT) to reject the supplication:
Committing a lot of Sins
Having doubt in Allah (SWT)
Being Aggressive When Supplicating
What Happens When Supplication is Made?
When someone invokes Allah (SWT), one of the following will happen:
Allah (SWT) will respond to the supplicant and He will give him what he asked for.
Allah (SWT) will prevent the supplicant from being harmed.
Allah (SWT) will reward the supplicant with “Hasanat” (good reward) which will be kept for him on the Day Of Judgment.
Selected Supplications from the Qur’an
“Rabana atina fey ad-dunia hasanah wa fey al-akhairatty hasanah waqana addab annar.” (Our Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Hellfire) (Qur'an 2:201)
“Rabana atina men ladunka rahamah wa haia lana men amrina rashada.” (Our Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) bestow on us mercy from Yourself, and facilitate for us our affair in the right way) (Qur'an 18: 10)
“Rabana la tawakhidna in nasina ow akhttaana” (Our Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) punish us not if we forget or fall into error) (Qur'an 2:286)
“Rabana eghfer lana wa lee ekhwa nina aladhina sabaqowna bill eaman walla taga al fey qoolobana ghillan lil athina amanoo, Rabana ainka ra awaf on rahaim” (Our Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in faith, and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) you are indeed full of kindness, most merciful) (Qur'an 59:10)
Selected Supplications from Sunnah
The Prophet (SAW) said; “The best supplication for seeking forgiveness is to say, “Allahuma anta Rabi la ilaha illa anta, khalaqtani wa ana abduka, wa ana ala ahdika wa wa'dika mastata'tu A udhu bika min sharri ma sana'tu, abu'u laka bini'matika alaiya, wa abu'u bidhanbi faghfirli fa innahu la yaghfiru adh dhunuba illa anta.” (O Allah you are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You) The Prophet (SAW) added; “If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before evening he will be from the people of Paradise. And if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before morning, he will be from the people of Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)
The Prophet (SAW) said; “Oh people, repent unto Allah for I repent to Allah one hundred times every day.” (Muslim)
(Repenting to Allah by saying “Atubu illa Allah” , I repent to Allah)
The Prophet (SAW) said; “If a Muslim asks Allah (SWT) with the supplication of Prophet Yunus (Jonah), he will be responded to” (Ahmed)
The supplication is “La illaha illa anta subhanak ini kuntu mena ad-dalimean” Means There is no God but You; Glory be to You, Verily I was one of the transgressors.
The Prophet (SAW) heard someone Supplicating Allah (SWT) by these words, “Allahumma iny asa aluka bi'ani as-shadu anaka anta Allah la illaha ila anta al ahado assamad alathy lam yalid walam youlad walam yakun lahu kuffuan ahad” , (O Allah, I ask You by my testimony that You are Allah and that there is no God other than You. You are the Self Sufficient Who neither begets nor was begotten and to Whom there is none equal) Then the Prophet (SAW) said; “By Him whose my soul is in His hand, he has asked (the supplicant) Allah (SWT) by His supreme name. Allah will surely answer when one asks Him by His supreme name.” (Ahmed and Abu Dawud) (This means, when someone is supplicating Allah (SWT), he should ask Allah (SWT) with these words by saying the words above then say his supplication)
Narrated Ibn Abbas (Ra): The Prophet (SAW) used to invoke Allah (SWT) at the time of distress, saying, “La ilaha illa Allah'u alAdearn al-Halim, La illaha illa Allah RabbulArsh il Adeem La illaha illa Allah Rabbus-samawti wa Rabbul-ardi wa Rabbul-arshil Karim.” (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Majestic, the Most Forbearing. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) of the Tremendous Throne. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) of the heaven and the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) of the earth and the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) of the Honorable Throne) (Al-Bukhari)
Whenever the Prophet (SAW) paid a visit to a patient, or a patient was brought to him, he used to invoke Allah, saying, “Ethhib al-bass Rab-Annas eshfi wa anta a’s hafy la shifa'a illa shifa'oak shfa'an la yughadiru saqama.” (Take away the disease, O the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) of the people! Cure him as You are the One Who cures. There is no cure but Yours, a cure that leaves no disease) (Al-Bukhari)
Narrated Abu Huraira (Ra), Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Whoever says, ‘Subhan allahi Wa bihamdihi’ (I glorify Allah’s Praises) one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.” (Al-Bukhari)
The Prophet (SAW), made the following statement: “Allahuma iniy a’udhubika minalbukhli. Wa a’udhubika min an uradda ila ardhalil umor. Wa a’udhubika min fitnatid donya wa ‘adhabil qobor.” O Allah! I seek refuge with You from miserliness; and I seek refuge with You from cowardice; and I seek refuge with You from being sent back to geriatric old age; and I seek refuge with You from fitnah (trial) of this world; and I seek refuge with You from punishment in the grave.” (Al-Bukhari)