Praise be to Allah.
To have your supplications ( Du`a ) accepted, certain conditions need to be met; you should:
- Call upon no one except Allah . The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If you ask, then ask of Allah (only), and if you seek help, then seek the help of Allah.” (Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, 2516; classed as authentic by Al-Albani in Sahih Al-Jami’).
This is what is meant by the verse (interpretation of the meaning):
“And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah.” [Al-Jinn 72:18]
This is the most important condition of Du`a, without which no Du`a will be accepted and no good deed taken up. There are some people who ask (i.e., supplicate) the dead and regard them as intermediaries between them and Allah. They claim that these righteous people will bring them closer to Allah and intercede for them with Him, and they claim that their sins are so great that they have no status before Allah, and that is why they set up these intermediaries and pray to them instead of Allah. However, Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me - indeed I am near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor).” [Al-Baqarah 2:186]
- Seek to draw close to Allah through one of the ways that are prescribed in Shari`ah.
- Avoid seeking a quick response , for this is one of the problems that may prevent the Du`a from being accepted. A Hadith states: “One of you may be answered so long as he is not hasty and says, ‘I said Du`a but I got no response.’” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 6340; Muslim, 2735)
In Sahih Muslim (2736) it says: “A man’s (Du`a) may be answered so long as it does not involve sin, severing the ties of kinship, or hastening.” It was said: “O Messenger of Allah, what does hastening mean?” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When he says, ‘I made Du`a and I made Du`a but I did not see any response,’ so he gets discouraged and stops making Du`a.”
- Your Du`a should not involve sin or severing of the ties of kinship , as stated in the Hadith quoted above: “A man’s (Du`as) may be answered so long as he does not involve sin or severing the ties of kinship …”
- Think positively of Allah . The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah, may He be exalted, says: ‘I am as My slave thinks I am.’” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 7405; Muslim, 4675). According to the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah: “Make Du`a to Allah with unwavering certainty of (His) response.” (Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi; classed as sound by Al-Albani in Sahih Al-Jami’, 245).If you think well of your Lord (i.e., expects the best from Him), Allah will bestow His bounty upon you and give you in abundance.
- Be focused and mindful of the greatness of the One upon Whom you are calling. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Know that Allah does not answer a Du`a from a distracted heart.” (Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, 3479; classed as sound by Al-Albani in Saheeh Al-Jami’, 245)
- Ensure that your food comes from lawful sources. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, Allah accepts only from the pious”[Al-Ma’idah 5:27]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated that a response was unlikely for one who obtains his food, drinks and clothing from prohibited sources. In the Hadith it says: [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)] mentioned the man who undertakes a lengthy journey and is dishevelled and covered with dust, and he stretches his hands towards heaven saying, ‘O Lord, O Lord,’ when his food is unlawful (bought with ill-gotten money), his drink is unlawful, his clothes are unlawful. He was nourished with what is unlawful, so how can he be granted a response?] (Narrated by Muslim, 1015)
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “Thus eating from ill-gotten sources saps the strength of the Du`a and weakens it.”
- Avoid aggression in Du`a , for Allah does not like aggression in Du`a. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He likes not the aggressors.” [Al-A’raf 7:55]
- Do not let Du`a distract you from an obligatory duty such as an obligatory prayer that is now due, and you should not neglect parents’ rights on the basis of Du`a. This is indicated by the story of Jurayj, when he did not answer his mother’s call and turned instead to his prayer. She prayed against him and Allah tested him sorely.
Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The scholars said: This indicates that what he should have done is to answer her, because he was offering a supererogatory prayer, continuation of which was voluntary, not obligatory, whereas answering his mother and honouring her was obligatory and disobeying her was prohibited.” (Sahih Muslim bi Sharh Al-Nawawi, 16/82)
For more information, please see Kitab Al-Du`a by Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al-Hamad.
And Allah knows best.