Du`a' (Supplication) Overcoming Hardships Spiritual Purification With the Divine

Why Aren’t My Prayers Being Answered?


Question: Why aren’t my prayers being answered?

Answer: May Allah reward you for asking such an honest question, and may He guide us towards the truth. Ameen.

I think what happens in this type of situation is that we mix up our means and our ends. When we make du`a’ for a good husband, for example, is that strong marriage a means or an end? I think many people take it as an end, which explains much of the disillusionment and disappointment that often follows (ironically in both cases: whether we get it or we don’t). Like everything in this dunya, marriage is only a means – a means to reach Allah. So if we pray for it and we don’t get it, perhaps Allah has chosen another means for us – perhaps through hardship, the purification it may cause and the sabr it builds, to bring us to that end: Allah. It may be, as only Allah knows best, that had He given us that amazing husband we made du`a’ for, it would have made us heedless and therefore not achieve our end at all.

Instead of seeing it like this, however, I think the problem is we are seeing things as just the opposite. The dunya (that great job, certain type of spouse, having a child, school, career, etc) is our end and *Allah* is the means that we use to get there. We use that means, through making du`a’, to achieve our end (whatever it is that we’re making du`a’ for), and then get disappointed when our means (Allah) didn’t come through for us. We throw our hands up in the air and say our du`a’ are not being answered. Our means just isn’t coming through for us!

But, Allah isn’t a means. He is the end. The ultimate objective of even du`a’ itself is to build our connection to Allah. Through du`a’ we become closer to Him. So, I think the problem is that our focus is wrong. That’s why I love the du`a’ of istikhara so much. It’s just perfect because it acknowledges that Allah only knows best, and then asks for Him to bring what is best and take away what is not best. The focus of that du`a’ is not that which you are asking for. The focus is what is best in this life and next. This is not to say that we cannot make du`a’ for things specifically that we want. On the contrary. Allah loves for us to ask of Him. But it means that once we ask, do our part to the utmost, and put our trust in Allah, we are pleased with what Allah chooses for us. And we realize that Allah answers all du`a’ – but not always in the form we expect. And that is simply because our knowledge is limited, and His is unlimited. In His infinite knowledge He may send us what He knows to be better for us in achieving the ultimate end: the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Wa Allahu `alam (and Allah knows best).

About the author

Yasmin Mogahed

Yasmin Mogahed

Yasmin Mogahed received her B.S. Degree in Psychology and her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After completing her graduate work, she taught Islamic Studies and served as the Sisters’ Youth Director for the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. She also worked as a writing instructor for Cardinal Stritch University, and a staff columnist for the Islam section of InFocus News. Currently she’s an independent media consultant and a writer for the Huffington Post, where she focuses most of her work on spiritual and personal development. Her written works, including a book chapter on the portrayal of Islam post-911, have appeared in print and online publications worldwide.


  • HEY,
    I think the problem is we are seeing things as just the opposite. The dunya (that great job, certain type of spouse, having a child, school, career, etc) is our end and *Allah* is the means that we use to get there. We use that means, through making du`a’, to achieve our end (whatever it is that we’re making du`a’ for), and then get disappointed when our means (Allah) didn’t come through for us. We throw our hands up in the air and say our du`a’ are not being answered. Our means just isn’t coming through for us!……..so…………Thank’s

  • Asalamu `alaykum,

    JazakiAllah khayran Sister Yasmin for an excellent explanation. You really hit the nail on the head as they say and got to the core of the issue. I know so many people who have asked this very same question and now inshAllah I can refer them to your wonderful explanation! 🙂

  • Asalaamu aleikum. I definitely, DEFINITELY needed to hear that. JazakAllahu khairan, sister for clearing up such a simple concept that we tend to forget quite often… which is to please Allah, and come closer to Him through all the means that He provides for us.
    This was really soothing to read. Barak Allahu feekum!

  • i asked to Allah a stalk flower, but Allah give me prickly cactus.
    i asked Allah to created me be butterfly, but Allah created me be caterpillar.
    i am sad and frustrated.
    But later i find beautiful cactus and find the catterpillar metamorphosed be butterfly, so beautiful.
    Allah the mercifull, Allah doesnt give us what we want, but Allah gives us what we need.

  • Great article, nicely articulated mashAllah.
    Alhamdulillah, making du’a is a true blessing that should be used as a means to strengthen our emaan, and truly believe that Allah does what is best, knows what is best. Many of us probably have examples of times we thought a certain situation couldn’t possibly be in our best interest, and soon enough Allah showed us otherwise. Alhamdulillah.

    Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not. (Al Baqarah:216)

  • shukran for this article,

    I despaired today that i thing i had prayed strongly for had not come to fruition. i looked up why allah had not answered my prayer and came across this site. Alhamdulialah a day ago i would not have thought to look up this site and read its religious content, today in my despair I did. Truly not having that for which i had asked brought me back to my religion in a way that recieving what i had asked for no doubt would not have. whist the upset and disappointment still lingers I know and am reminded that my religion is a thousand thounsand times more important

    Wa Allahu `alam

    Jazak’Allahu Khairan for your article sister

  • […] Why Aren’t My Prayers Being Answered? Question: Why aren’t my prayers being answered? Answer: May Allah reward you for asking such an honest question, and may He guide us towards the truth. Ameen. I think what happens in this type of situation is that we mix up our means and our ends. When we make du`a’ for a good husband, for […] […]

  • Assalam sister. Sukran for providing right perspective for dua of a Muslim. When we ask for something, we should pray to Allah to accept our prayer if it is ultimately good for us. If we don’t get that thing, then instead of being frustrated, we should believe that it is for our good as Allah knows the best. Jazak Allah Khairan.

  • Sometimestheduathat we utter from our tongues doesn’t match the dua that is in our heart. What do I mean by that? Say you are running late for work one morning and you make dua to Allah to allow you to get to work on time. Why do you want to get to work on time? Because you don’t want to get your boss mad. Why don’t you want to get your boss mad? So that he doesn’t fire you. Why don’t you want to get fired? Because if you get fired, then you won’t have a means to support yourself or your family. So what is the real worry that the person is praying to Allah about? Being able to support his family.

    Why do i mention this? Because Allah (SWT) accepts and answers the dua of the heart. The dua that you may utter after salah may not be matching the dua which is in your heart. So as Muslims, we need to strive to match what is in our heart with what is in our tongue and vice versa.

    And if it is not answered in this world, know that Allah (SWT) will answer it in the next, in a form that is a thousand times better than what you would have received in the dunya. Either that or your dua will serve as a road block for calamities which are supposed to befall on you.

    Forgive me if I said anything wrong. Hopefully it helps.

  • AA,SUBHANHALLAH!!! innahaa tazkirah….
    JazakiAllahu khairan katheeran for the apt REMINDER.One tends to forget at time of need.

  • What if I’m a young man surrounded by zina who cries and prays every night to Allah, for a way that pleases Allah to fulfill this desire–that I wish I never had to begin with–in a way that pleases Allah and keeps me on track in a time that I’m starting to lose hope and verging on going astray? Marriage is a means to keep me from straying, celibacy certainly isn’t. It is a means to keep me closer to Allah. What am I doing wrong?

  • salam brother in Islam,

    jazakkalahu kairan for this post, interesting perspective that made me look at the purpose of dua differently, so thank you for taking the time to give your view. May Allah (swt) grant you all good things in life, for me, for our parents, for all muslims in the world, and for all the believing men and women. Ameen

  • What about if you make duaas as a mean to achieve Allah’s pleasure (example: you want to marry a man/woman in order to be happy and you firmly want and suppose that it will make you closer to Allah), but He does not answer your duaa? What if you know that having what you want will very probably lead you Allah’s pleasure (because you ask for a pious spouse), but still your prayers are unanswered? Having a life without taste and happiness, and being constantly deprived can also make us weak and make it difficult to give love to Allah, and so, to please Him. We are weak. We are only human. How can we always be at the best of our imaan if our prayers keep on being unanswered? I ask myself this question everyday…

    • Dear Sis Samira,

      Allaah only wants from us to make intentions or choices, He is the One who creates our deeds, gives us inner strength and outer strength.

      Allaah guides whom He wills- He is the One who guides our heart and our actions.
      He will answer your intention and duas, at the Right time , the Best time — the time you can be truly honest about it…that this is Only from Allaah, From His continuous incomparable Favours, you & nothing else was capable of bringing it forth.
      It would be the moment when you can be Actually Sincere and Truly Grateful for it.

      Without falling and having weaknesses, we would not have learnt how to Completely Rely on Allaah alone.

      Without falling, we would not have known the sweetness of Rising, with the Help & power of Allaah.

      So keep purifying your intentions, make the best of intentions to do the best of deeds — & show your intentions to Allaah by making sincere dua

      Indeed, Allaah is the Best Responder, Our Wali (Guardian, Protecting Friend) in Dunya & Aakhirah.
      May He assist us in being truly sincere, grateful, patient and certain. Ameen.

  • Assalamu alaykum wr wb.

    I heard one of the reasons why our prayers aren’t being answered is because our nails aren’t being cut – they’re too long. Is this true?
    I can’t find anything supporting it atm.

  • People always make it about marriage, if someones prayers aren’t being answered they are SURELY praying about marriage.

    What about those of us who are praying that we can make the rent because we live below the poverty line? What about those who are sick with terminal illnesses and are praying to Allah swt for a healing and their condition just gets worse? What about those who are praying for their livelihood?

    What about the people who are praying to survive, and Allah swt doesn’t answer, what about THOSE prayers?

    Forget marriage, let’s talk about the real issues.

    • assalamu alaikkum,
      Death has been predestined by Allah while a child forms in the womb itself. So praying for long life in this world, doesnot make sense.As far as people living below the poverty line goes, we are supposed to help by giving zakah and sadakah, instead of hoarding money and spending excessively on ourselves. Thats the reason why allah has given more wealth to some and less wealth to some. Unfortunately some of the millionnaires have so much wealth to buy a nation but donot have the heart to give some in charity. Finally, any illness is an expiation of sin for a believer. So a person with any hardship/illness, in sha allah, allah will remove sins for the suffering the person goes through, make the believer pure so that he/she may enter jannah. THIS WORLD IS ONLY A TEST, TO SEE IF WE ARE TURNING TO ALLAH OR NOT. ANYTHING THATS GOOD IS ALSO A TEST ( ALLAH TESTS IF WE ARE THANKFUL OR NOT) AND ANYTHING THATS BAD IS ALSO A TEST( ALLAH TESTS IF WE ARE PATIENT AND ALLAH WILL EITHER REMOVE OUR SUFFERING IN THIS WORLD OR REWARD US BY ERASING OUR SINS AND MAY GRANT JANNAH)

    • What are u talking about marriage is a huge issue!

      People who are single and trying to lead good halal lives find it so so hard, being alone especially these days! Have u ever thought of that?

  • Aslaam 0 Alikum
    I have a question I have been praying to have a child for the past 10 years if I don’t have a child in this world will I be rewarded in the End
    Is it a punishment for me in duniya?
    Some one told me that prophet Mohamed (saw) was asked by a berran man that what if he is not grant me a child then what and Mohamad (saw) replied I will hold your hand and bring you to jenah
    Please guide me in this difficult time as I’m soo desperate and sad
    A lot of people say many things some say its a blessing that Allah is looking at you some say its your bad deeds that you don’t have a child

    • Sis Saira

      Just be patient. Allah is testing u and your spouse. My sister had a boy after 12 years naturally when all medical science failed. Inshallah you will be blessed with a child in this world. Just believe in Allah and stop being stubborn about asking Him for a child. Be thankful for His countless blessings. Many girls dont get a chance of getting married and if they do their husbands divorce them on small petty issues after 5 weeks etc. So just be thankful to Allah and He will grant you your wish.

  • Aoa !
    I was so upset with my thoughts about my prayers and dua’s that are unanswered .. Which lead me to this site .. My problem is I keep wondering that I pray regularly and make same Dua 5 times a day ( for a pious husband ) still I never get any response for my Dua from Allah .. Sometimes I am so dissappointed that I pray but don’t make Dua because I feel if I m asking anything wrong from Allah .. May Allah give me patience and Guide me ..Ameen

  • Jazakallah.At times even I think why are not my prayers being answered and get depressed.But later I came to know that when our prayers are not being answered we will get rewarded in aakhirat.This thought makes me think alhumdulillah.
    I request all to pray for my family,neighbours,relatives,friends,me and ummat!Allah bless us with maghferat and aafiyat.Summa ameen.
    Inbetween do pray for my marriage.We are looking proposals since long years.pray Allah that he bless us with sabar,respect and send soon proposal which is best for both of us and families for akhirat and dunya.

  • I have not had any friends for 18 years now. I live an isolated life with no family. I am married for 12 years to a dull, boring husband who has no social ability. I married him because I thought no else would want me, and because I had prayed to Allah, he must be the answer to my duas. I am so lonely, but my biggest issue is I cannot get the job I want for 10 years now. I have prayed, tried to change all my bad ways, asked forgiveness, thanked Allah, given charity. I have exerted myself phenomenally to fix my problems. I am fed up and now I believe that Islam feeds one fairy tales to explain things in different ways to appease the heart: its a test, Allah wants something better for you, Allah is protecting you from harm, your dua will be answered in next life, etc.No more, no point. Allah broke my heart.

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