Often times we are at a loss for words. We can babble all day long, but when it comes to making du’a we don’t know what to say. We are lost and therefore don’t make the best of our prayer time. The irony however is that we do not analyze our own shortcoming, but rather blame it on being short on time. i.e. we give ourselves the excuse “we don’t have time to make du’a”. Later we complain that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala doesn’t answer our prayers. How ironic!
Then there are those who do not run through or skip their du’as but do dhikr throughout the day. The problem here is that at times they choose words that are not proven by Qur’an or Sunnah. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in Surah al-Baqarah ayah 239,
فَاذْكُرُواْ اللَّهَ كَمَا عَلَّمَكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُواْ تَعْلَمُونَ
What’s our source of learning the words of Allah?
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “I leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray.”
He was known as the walking Qur’an as stated by his wife Aisha, radhiAllahu ‘anha. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala had created him such that he was a visual message of what Qur’an spoke about. He had embodied the laws of Allah and the practical message of Islam.
One of his greatest traits is that he was given the ability to speak more in a few words. His speech was not verbose and therefore people loved sitting in his company listening to his talks. He not only brought us the message of Islam but also taught us the best words to make du’a with.
Aisha radhiAllahu ‘anha reported, “The Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam liked comprehensive supplication (or Al-Jawami – i.e. supplications with very few words but comprehensive in meanings), and discarded others.” [Abu Dawud]
Saad ibn Abu Waqqas heard his son praying, “O Allah, I ask You for Paradise and its blessings and its pleasure, and for such-and-such, and such-and-such. I seek refuge in You from Hell, from its chains, from its collars, and from such-and-such, and from such-and-such.” At this Saad said, “You have asked Allah for a lot of good, and sought His refuge from a lot of evil. I heard Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, ‘There will be people who will exaggerate in supplication. For you, it is sufficient to say, ‘O Allah, I seek from You all the good, whether I know it or I do not know it, and I seek Your refuge from all the evil, whether I know it or I do not know it.’“ [Related by Ahmad and Nasa’i].
Taking benefit from our Prophet’s teachings, let’s learn some words that we must repetitively utter on these last ten blessed nights of the blessed month of the year.
Du’a for Seeking Forgiveness:
The first and foremost thing is seeking forgiveness from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in the month of Ramadan. It is because once during a visit by Angel Jibreel alayhi salaam said to the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Whoever enters the month of Ramadan and is not forgiven, then may Allah distance him.” The Prophet said aameen to this.
Aisha radhiAllahu anha said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied say,
اللْهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
Allaahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee
‘O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.'” [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi]
Du’a for Seeking All Goodness and Refuge from All Kinds of Evil:
Abu Umamah radhiAllahu anhu reported: The Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made many supplications which we did not memorize. We said to him: “O Messenger of Allah! You have made many supplications of which we do not remember anything.”
He said, “Shall I tell you a comprehensive prayer? Say:
اللهم إني أسألك من خير ما سألك منه نبيك محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، وأعوذ بك من شر ما استعاذ منه نبيك محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، وأنت المستعان، وعليك البلاغ، ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله
Allahumma inni as’aluka min khairi ma sa’alaka minhu nabiyyuka Muhammadun sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam. Wa `a`udhu bika min sharri mas-ta`adha minhu nabiyyuka Muhammadun sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam. Wa Antal-Musta`anu, wa `alaikal-balaghu, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah
O Allah, I beg to You the good which Your Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) begged of You; and I seek refuge in You from the evil where from Your Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) sought refuge. You are the One from Whom help is sought and Your is the responsibility to communicate (the truth). There is no power or strength except with Allah the Exalted, the Great.'” [At-Tirmidhi]
Du’a for Seeking Goodness in the Present and Future:
Another comprehensive du’a taught to Aisha by the Messenger ﷺ is,
اللَّهُمَّ اِنِّى اَسْئَلُكَ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ كُلِّه عَاجِله وَ اجِلِه مَا عَلِمْتُ مِنْهُ وَ مَا لَمْ اَعْلَمْ
Allahumma inni as’aluka min al khairi kullihi ‘ajilihi wa ajilihi, ma ‘alimtu minhu wa ma lam a’alam
“O Allah! I ask You for all the good which is in the present or in the future, which I know and which I do not know.”
NOTE: In some du’a books we will find the words that say, “O Allah! I seek refuge from all the evil which is in the present or in the future which I know and which I do not know.”
Subhan’Allah! Such meaningful and complete du’as our Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has taught us. He has taught us not only to make du’a for our dunya, but for our akhirah as well (by asking for goodness in the present and future and seeking refuge from evil in the present and future, we are making du’a for both dunya and akhirah). O Allah, how I long to meet him and You! There are a lot of du’as in the masnoon du’a books, if you don’t have a copy you may read them here.
Make du’a for yourself, for your family, your friends, all the oppressed people that you know and those in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burma, Kashmir, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria and other places you may not know about. Pray for the brothers seeking halal earning. Pray for the sisters who face domestic violence, for those seeking a righteous spouse and those waiting for a baby to bless their lives. Pray for everyone, but first begin with yourself. To each du’a that you make for your brother or sister in their absence, the angels say aameen for you as well.
May we all make the very best of these blessed nights, Ameen.