The Muslim Handbook

By: Dr. Mubarak Ali



Islam prescribes that a Muslim exercises certain discipline while supplicating to Allah during his hour of need. First, the servant must be humble and begin one’s request by praising and glorifying Allah and invoking salutations upon His Prophet (pbuh) before commencing the supplications. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) instructed:

When one of you supplicates, begin by praising and lauding allah. Then make prayers upon Prophet, and supplicate whatever you wish of Allah.

(Fidhalah ibn ‘Ubaid in Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and At-Trimidhi)

Another conduct of the supplicant is to strive constantly in the remembrance of Allah at all times in his life. Do not wait until you are in trouble or faced with a need, some difficulty or hardship before supplicating or remembering Allah. One must always remember Allah and supplicate in good times as well as in bad times alike. Allah is most pleased to respond to the request of his servant who remembers Him much all the time. The Quraan states:

If you remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to me and reject not Faith (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:152)

Moreover, the Messenger of Allah said:

Whoever wants Allah to answer his prayers during difficult times, should supplicate to him more and more in times of ease (At-Tirmidhi)

It is also important condition to exercise patience and perseverance. A Believer is not to become hasty, despondent or despair, however urgent, difficult or unbearable his situation or circumstances may be. The Quraan states:

Seek (Allah’s) help with patient perseverance and prayer. This is indeed hard except for the humble (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:45)

O you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for Allah is with those who patiently persevere (Surah Al-Buqarah, 2:153)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:

Your supplication will be heard if you are impatient, and if you do not say: ‘I supplicated but my supplication was not heard’ (Abu Hurairah in Ahmad).

When supplicating, it is highly recommended to use the most suitable attributes or names of Allah based on one’s circumstances or need. The Quraan encourages:

Say: Call upon Allah or Ar-Rahman (The Beneficient); by whatever name you call upon Him, (it is well); for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names (Surah Bani Isra’il, 17:110).

It is also advised not to render one’s supplication in a tone that is neither too loud nor low. The proper voice level is a middle course of modesty as suggested by the continuation of the preceding Quraanic verse as follows:

Neither say your prayer loudly, nor speak it in a low tone; but seek a way in between (Surah Bani Isra’il, 17:110).

As a further assurance and manner of appealing to your Lord, it is advisable to make private and secret supplications and be hopeful. Although public and congregational supplications have their merits, ask Allah directly yourself in your own private and persona; way. The Quraan establishes this manner of supplicating as follows:

Call on your Lord with humility and in private…but call on Him with fear and hope, for the Mercy of Allah is always near to those who do good (Surah Al-‘Araf, 7:55-56).

The supplicant knows his needs best and can entreat Allah better than other person. Thus, personal and secret supplications express more humility, intimacy and sincerity with Allah and are therefore more readily accepted. This was demonstrated by the Prophet Zachariah who was deeply saddened and moved by his condition without child. He supplicated fervently and secretly with humility to Allah and his prayers were answered (Surah Maryam, 19:2-7).

It is also recommended to supplicate with both hands raised to the level of the shoulders with palms wide open and spread out (Abu Dawud). The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) further assured:

Your Lord, the Blessed and Exalted One, is Modest and Generous, and He loathes to turn away His servant empty-handed when he raises his hands to Him in supplication (Salman in As-Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqh us-Sunnah: Funerals and Dhikr).

Although once is sufficient, it is recommended to face Ka’bah and repeat personal supplication three times. This is the authentic Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah:

The Prophet (pbuh) loved to repeat his supplications three times, and pray for forgiveness three times (‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud in Abu Dawud).  

Source: The Muslim Handbook (By Dr. Mubarak Ali)

(To Be Continued)