If you get the chance to meet a King, a country’s president or a head of state, and had the opportunity to ask him whatever you may desire, how will you be prepared to meet him? Take a moment to answer this question. You will probably begin with taking a shower, dressing up with the best of your clothes, probably even buy a new attire just for the occasion, you will make sure that you choose the best of your words, to say the least! At the back of your mind, your excitement is almost out of control, because you know you’re meeting the man who will grant you what you desire from this world. Why else did he agree to meet you at the first place?
Alright, let’s get back to reality. What if you are to meet the King of all Kings, surely whatever you wish for will come true, but the question is, have you sought the proper etiquette of asking Allah for what you need? Have you ever wondered why your supplications are not answered? Perhaps, you think that you are too sinful or feel that Allah will not grant you what you asked for?
There are certain etiquette that need to be observed when one seeks Allah’s help and assistance in granting them what they need and desire. Some of those etiquette’s are spiritual, others are practical, and of course ritual.
“Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him” (An-Naml, 27:62).
Omar bin Al-Khattab said, “I do not bear the concern of the answer, but I bear the concern of the supplication, whenever I am inspired with a supplication, I am certain of the answer”. 1
If we raise our hands to supplicate, but in our hearts, if we suspect that Allah will not answer our prayers, then this is what we shall receive. Another reason for not receiving what you asked Allah for is lacking patience.
The Messenger of Allah said: “The supplication of the servant is granted in case he does not supplicate for sin or for severing the ties of blood, or he does not become impatient. It was said: Allah’s Messenger, what does:” If he does not grow impatient” imply? He said: That he should say like this: I supplicated and I supplicated but I did not find it being responded. and thus he becomes frustrated and abandons supplication.” 2
Committing sins without seeking repentance from Allah can prevent our supplications from being answering. This is why it is recommended that we turn to Allah with sincere repentance and seek His forgiveness before we ask Him anything.
Once, the Messenger of Allah heard a man supplicating to Allah, he said, “This man has been hasty.” He then called him and said to him and others, “When one of you prays, he should begin with the praise of his Lord, Sublime and Mighty, and his exultation, and then send prayers (in one narration: he should send prayers) on the Prophet, and then supplicate as he wishes. 3
Another practical etiquette that we need to consider when supplicating to Allah is to be eloquent and artistic in our supplications, seeking the Sunnah of the messenger in beautifying our speech with Allah,
The prophet said, “I have been given words which are concise” 4
Also, seeking Allah’s beautiful names in its allocation of the supplication is a part of beautifying ones supplication, so for instance, when seeking Allah’s mercy towards something, then it’s best to seek Him through His names “Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem”.
It is significantly important to seek supplications within certain ritual practices as part of the proper etiquette that result in the acceptance and response towards our supplications, such as preceding supplications with any acts of obedience towards Allah. Ritualistic etiquette could be listed, but not limited, to the below list: 5
– Facing the Qiblah when supplicating
– Seeking the best times for answering supplications, such as in sujood, between the Athan and Iqamah, in Tahajjud and so on.
– Doing a charitable act before supplicating.
– Bringing cheerfulness to a fellow Muslim.
– Doing ablution before supplicating.
The Prophet said: “There is no Muslim who offers supplication in which there is no sin or severing of ties of kinship, but Allah will give him one of three things in return for it: either what he asked for will be hastened for him, or (reward) will be stored up for him in the Hereafter or an equivalent evil will be diverted from him.” 6