1. Weak Du`a:
When the du`a is weak in itself, because it involves something inappropriate, or involves bad manners towards Allah, may He be exalted, or it is inappropriate, which means asking Allah for something which it is not permitted to ask, e.g. when a man asks to live forever in this world, or he asks for a sin or something haram, or he prays that he will die, and so on.
Abu Huraira radhiAllahu `anhu reported that the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“A person’s du`a will continue to be answered so long as he does not pray for something sinful or for the breaking of family ties.” (Reported by Muslim)
2. Du`a of a Faint-Hearted Person:
When the person who is making du`a is weak in himself, because he is faint-hearted in his turning towards Allah. This may be either because of bad manners towards Allah, may He be exalted – such as raising his voice in du`a or making du`a in the manner of one who thinks he has no need of Allah; or because he pays too much attention to the wording and tries to come up with unnecessarily ornate phrases, without paying attention to the meaning; or because he tries too hard to weep or shout without really feeling it, or he goes to extremes in that.
3. Negligence or Unlawful Act:
The reason why his du`a is not answered may be because he has done something that Allah has forbidden, such as having unlawful wealth – whether it be food or drink or clothing or accommodation or transportation, or he has taken an unlawful job, or the stain of sin is still in his heart, or he is following bid`ah (innovation) in religion, or his heart has been overtaken by negligence.
4. Consuming Unlawful Wealth
This is one of the major reasons why du`as are not answered. Abu Huraira radhiAllahu `anhu reported that the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“O people, Allah is Good and only accepts that which is good. Allah commanded the pious to follow the same commandments as He gave to the Messengers.
He says: ‘O messengers, eat from the good foods and work righteousness. Indeed, I, of what you do, am Knowing.’ (Al-Mu’minun 51)
‘O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.’ (Al-Baqarah 172)
Then he mentioned a man who has traveled on a long journey and is disheveled and covered with dust; he stretches forth his hands to the heaven, (saying) “O Lord, O Lord”, but his food is haram (unlawful), his drink is haram, all his nourishment is haram, so how can his du`a be accepted?” (Reported by Muslim)
The man described by the Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam had some of the characteristics which help du`as to be answered – he was traveling and he was in need of Allah, may He be exalted and glorified – but the fact that he consumed haram wealth prevented his du`a from being answered. We ask Allah to keep us safe and sound.
5. Trying to Hasten the Response.
Abu Huraira radhiAllahu `anhu said: the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“The du`a of any one of you will be answered so long as he is not impatient and says, ‘I made du`a but it was not answered.’”
(Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
6. Making the Du`a Conditional:
Saying, “O Allah, forgive me if You will” or “O Allah, have mercy upon me if You will.” The person who makes du`a has to be resolute in his supplication, striving hard and earnestly repeating his du`a. The ProphetsallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“Let not any one of you say, ‘O Allah, forgive me if You will, O Allah, have mercy on me if You will.’ Let him be resolute in the matter, whilst knowing that no one can compel Allah to do anything.”
(Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
In order for du`a to be answered, it is not essential to adhere to all of these points and be free of all that could prevent one’s du`a from being answered. That is something which happens very rarely. But one has to try hard and strive towards achieving this.
Another important point is to realize that the response to the du`a may take different forms: either Allah will respond and fulfill the desire of the person who made the du`a, or He will ward off some evil from him because of the du`a, or He will make something good easy for him to attain because of it, or He will save it with Him for him on the Day of Resurrection when he will be most in need of it.
– Excerpted, with slight modifications.
Published with the permission of OnIslam.net. We express our gratitude to them for allowing us to re-publish their work at our blog. May Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala bless them for this generosity.