Du`a' (Supplication)

Effectively Planning Your Du`a’

By Abu Yusuf Ismail

If I told you that I could give you whatever you wished and allowed you to have one week’s time to decide what you wanted, would you plan for it? I believe you would.

We plan for the things that are important in life, for the things we want most. From  job interviews, to choosing spouses, to picking out furniture for the house, we plan for things that are important.

So what about our du`a’ (supplication)?

Is not our du`a’ a way to receive what we ask for? Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) is the One that provides everything in our lives and asking Him is the most important thing we can do, but how often do we actually plan for it? Du`a’ too often becomes only a spur of the moment thing rather than a comprehensive list of things we wish for the most.

With Ramadan upon us, now is the best time to really put our minds to what we wish to ask the Creator of the heavens and the earth. I would like to share some ways to do so most effectively from my own personal experience.

Others have playlists, Muslims have praylists

For the past 4 years, before the beginning of every Ramadan, I have made a special, organized, and comprehensive list of du`a’. The list would consist of 8 to 10 things that I desired the most, both in dunya (world) and in the akhirah (Hereafter). Every day of Ramadan, I would pray for them at the times that du`a’ are most likely to be accepted. I call these my praylists.

As Muslims, we make du`a’ to Allah (swt) everyday. We make du`a’ right when we wake up, before every meal, every time we raise our hands and recite Surah Fatiha, and so much more. Why then make a special list of du`a’? Developing a praylist helps one focus and reflect.

Focusing on a specific list of du`a’ helps remind oneself of his/her needs and ambitions. By listing and repeating the items on the list, every single day, it not only assures that one does not forget all his wishes but it reinforces the pursuit of each one. For example, if I have always wanted to improve my tajweed (recitation of the Qur’an), by asking for help from Allah to do so everyday encourages me to put my words into practice.

Reflection of du`a’s allows one to appreciate what Allah (swt) has granted them. I can personally attest to this. There have been items on my past praylists that have been answered in ways that I could never imagine. It’s incredible. I look back and cannot believe I have received so many of the things I asked so desperately for. Allah (swt) truly does not leave the hands of a believer empty when raised to Him.

The time is now

Now that Ramadan is upon us again, I am excited to develop another praylist for the blessed month and I would love to encourage you all to do the same.

As an incentive, I remind myself and others, that our Prophet ﷺ (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything” (Tirmidhi). Why make Him mad?

Here are effective ways to plan your du`a’ to make the best out of your praylist:

1. Write it all down

  • Take some time to actually write out your praylist. Do so in a format which is most accessible for you to review. You can write them on a small piece of paper to place in your wallet or purse, or if you’re like me, you can type them into your phone’s notes application.
  • There shouldn’t be any limit on the size of the list, as long as it is manageable. If the list is so long that it becomes a burden to repeat more than once a day, it’s then best to shorten it.
  • If you are weary of writing out your praylist because you wish to keep some or all of the items private, you should still write it out but then only list keywords that remind you of each item.

2. Ask anything & everything that is good

  • When choosing your items, imagine that Allah is asking you to ask Him for anything and everything you’ve ever wanted! Imagine the possibilities. From self improvement, to material things, to bettering relationships in your life, write down everything you want to ask Allah with no limitations other then keeping each item halal. Remember, you’re asking Al-Mujeeb! The One Who Responds and is the Supreme Answerer.
  • Learn Prophetic and Qur’anic du`a’s to include as well.

3. Organize

  • Organize items in your praylist into different categories. I use the categories: dunya, akhirah, `ibadah (worship), the ummah (Muslim community), and relationships. Once each item is sorted, you’ll notice that some categories may be lacking than others. Adjust and add du`a’s where necessary. This will ensure that your praylist is all encompassing of your needs.

4. Make du`a’ when they are most likely answered

  • These times include right before breaking the fast, during your salah (prayer) in sujood (prostration), after the obligatory prayers, Qiyam ul-layl (night prayer), and the last 10 nights. At the least, everyday of Ramadan, I always make sure to make du`a’ before breaking my fast during iftaar.

5. Remember the etiquettes of du`a’

  • There is a right and proper way to make du`a’. Remember that we must praise Allah (swt) first, ask for peace and blessings upon our Prophet ﷺ and then make our du`a’.

So go on, take some time to think of what things you want the most. This time next year, you’ll be surprised how many items on your list Allah has directly or indirectly granted you insha’Allah (God-willing).

If you have any tips you’d like to share, please provide them in the comments.

I pray we all have a meaningful and successful Ramadan full of barakah (blessings). May Allah (swt) preserve us all to reap the benefits of such a Holy month and bring us closer to Him. May He give us all strength, knowledge, patience and humility. Ameen.

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  • Salaam

    Great article at a time when I really needed it. I always get confused as to what I should say in my Dua.
    I have heard that you cannot use english within obligatory prayers so my question is,
    I pray in arabic but when i got into sujood can I make my dua in english within my obligatory prayers?

      • during salah you can only make dua in arabic as salah can only be performed in arabic.
        duas at any other time may be performed in any other language inshAllah

        • Actually Hanna is right, you can make Dua in the language u are a native of, I believe Allah SWT don’t put any limitation at all as to what language we must or must not use. HE is the One who HEARS all. Allah is Great!

    • To the extent of my knowledge I believe that in obligatory prayers you’re not supposed to use languages other than Arabic, and also that it’s supposed to be a known du3aa, not one that you made up yourself. However in all other prayers any language and any du3aa is 100% acceptable. I would recommend perhaps learning a few du3aa’s in Arabic and memorizing them so that you can repeat them in the obligatory prayers, and then pray sunnah and make all your other du3aa’s then. And Allah knows best.

  • A friend gave me the following advice for Ramadan: 3×3.

    3 Things for yourself in the dunya and 3 for Akhira
    3 for your family and 3 for freinds (overall, or individual members)
    3 for your county/community and 3 for the world.

    Write all the other duaas on a paper and make them. However, keep a small summary of 3×3, which you make in your sujud, before the salam, between teh adhan and the iqama, and other times where the duaa is accepted.

    Along with 3×3, memorize some general duaas:
    O Allah I ask you for the best of this world…
    O Allah I ask you that you make all the decrees good for me…
    O Allah I ask you for that which brings me closer to Jannah by even a single word…
    * All of these duas are available in Hisnul Muslim and very comprehensive.

    I encourage memroizing and implement one small dua (or part of a long one) daily. The point isn’t to memorize the entire Hisnul Muslim, yet. Rather to develop a habit of memorizing, which requires discipline.

    Prophet SAW used to teach the sahaba the duaa just as he taught them a chapter of the Quran.

    JazakumuAllahu Khairan.

    • Salam. Maashaallah. I agree with the effectiveness of duas from the qur’an and hadith. I love the Hisbul Azam and decided to keep reading favourites everyday at different times despite that it’s for each day of the month. Never enough dua’s to say. It empowers one as Allah wishes, like no other way, just like solat comforts and qur’an enlightens.

  • I heard an Imam say that the sahaba used to make these lists every Ramadan, and they said almost everything was answered before the next Ramadan…

  • Really good article mashAllah! Duas are literally like a wish-list, and yet we tend to ignore them in our daily business. This was a very good reminder. Writing down your Dua ‘Wishlist’ is an awesome idea. I remember making a dua-list when I was younger, because sometimes I would forget certain duas I needed to make. So I would ‘check’ the list to make sure I had made all the duas after salaah! Lol. This is also useful when sometimes people ask us to make duas for them, and we say sure – yet we forget later. We can even jot them down in our iPhones and stuff if we don’t want people to accidentally come across a piece of paper with our ‘Dua-list’ 🙂

  • Another great way to make Dua is to learn, understand and use Allah’s names when asking for things. ask al-ghafoor ar-raheem to erase your sins. If anyone can grant you that thing, it’s the one who is al-a’laa, al-aziz, and al-wadood. And so on. Doing so will hopefully increase your love of Allah by understanding Him more, InshAllah. And
    Allah knows best.

  • To further enhance our supplication, we can also make mention our previous deeds done for the sake of Allah. For example, if we had once helped, for the sake of Allah’s pleasure, an animal in trouble – we can mention this in our du’a’ to ‘strengthen’ our request. Allah knows best…

    • Re: Zairul
      Please forgive my ignorance if this is something I am not aware of, but to me, that sounds like a “you owe me because..”. I mean, Allah KNOWS when you did something for the sake of Allah, He does not need to be “reminded”. And also, when doing something for the sake of Allah, shouldn’t you never expect something in return (except Allah’s blessing).. including having a duaa answered?
      Sorry if this comes off a bit rude, I don’t mean to be.. just trying to understand why you would say to bring up your good deeds. It doesn’t make sense to me, but I may just be unaware of something that you are aware of… if so, please enlighten me. JAK

      • salam brother. there is a hadith of the Prophet(saw) about three men from the banu israel who were trapped in a cave with a huge rock blocking the opening. so they each made dua to Allah (swt) reminding Him of a good deed they had each done purely for the sake of Allah(swt), and by the time the third person finished his dua, the rock was removed. so i guess theres no harm in this, wallahu a’lam

      • Assalamu Aleikkum, please search for the exact hadith regarding men stuck in cave. I will copy paste the following which I found, but would be better to get the hadith in exact form:

        Hadith of the people trapped in the cave. When they sought shelter in the cave from rain and intended to spend the night, a huge rock fell trapping them inside and they were unable to move it. So they said to one another, “Nothing will save you from this situation except supplicating to Allah by virtue of your righteous deeds,” and they did. One of them made Tawassul by being dutiful to his parents and the rock moved a little. The other made Tawassul by virtue of his abstinence from committing Zina. He had a cousin whom he loved so much and wanted to have sexual intercourse with but she refused. One year, when there was a famine and she was in need, she asked him for help. He agreed to help her provided she granted him his wish, and she yielded to him. Indeed, he gave her 120 Dinar (old Arab coin that equals 2.975 grams of gold), but when he was about to have intercourse with her, she said, “Fear Allah and do not deflower me unlawfully.” He feared Allah (Glorified be He) and moved away from her without committing Zina and left the gold with her. He said, “O Allah! If You know only I did that for Your Sake, remove the distress in which we are.” The rock moved aside a little

  • I’ve been doing this for a while. I have my list on my blackberry, so I can read the list whenever and wherever I want.

    Last Ramadan 2010, I prayed so hard for some things. They did not happen. This year, I am hesitating because I wonder if maybe the list is only answered in the Hereafter, when we die. Because Ramadan was so sad for me last year but I had so much HOPE that things would change, but then they didn’t (actually they got worse), I am more cautious this Ramadan.

    I will keep reading the list, though, “just in case”.

    • You know what, sometimes I also make dua for things I want, that I perceive as good yet the duas are not answered and I can feel what you are perhaps, feeling; frustrated and disappointed.

      However, the first things I do is evaluate myself… For instance, if I am eating haraam and drinking haraam and then making dua, then well I should correct that first b/c just how I wouldn’t expect someone to treat me nicely if I disrespect them, I shouldn’t expect Allah to listen to my dua if I am disobeying Him… Secondly, I have a friend who always reminds me that sometimes what we percieve as good may not be good for us b/c we lack wisdom and Allah is the All-Wise, the Knower of All Things. When I was looking for work after graduating, I made so much dua for every job I applied for but I never even got an interview. I would feel frustrated and lose hope a bit but try to reestablish my tawakkul in Allah. Eventually, after two months I got referred by a friend to a job at an agency that is 10 minute walking distance from my house Alhumdulillah and pays great! I felt great but also guilty b/c I realized Allah was testing me!
      And lastly, if the dua doesn’t materialize in the dunya, it maybe that Allah wants to reward us in the akhirah or is testing our faith in Him. You should read the Story of Ayyub (May Allah be pleased with him)… I love his story b/c it’s something that reminds me to increase my gratitude towards Allah…

    • Salaam Precious Star

      I too made so much du’aa last Ramadan for some things and they were not answered. In fact, I have been making the same du’aa for the last 5 years not only during Ramadan but every single day and it still hasn’t been answered. Has this made me lose hope in Allah (swt)? No. On the contrary, it actually made me much closer to Him. My du’aa not being answered made me increase in my acts of worship and become very cautious to not disobey Allah. I truly believe that if Allah had answered my prayer when I first asked him, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I would have never developed spiritually on my own had Allah not tested me by not answering my prayer.

      I do believe with all my heart that Allah (swt) will answer my prayer one day. If His plan is to give me what I asked for in the Hereafter, than Allah (swt) will at least make me accept my decree and feel happy with my situation. Either way, I will be satisfied inshaAllah. Know for sure that if you are still feeling upset about your situation, it means that your test is not over yet. Once your test is over, you will either have received what you asked for or be satisfied with out it.

      Allah (swt)promised us that after hardship, there is always ease. So please don’t lose hope and continue making du’aa and have hope in Allah. InshaAllah your prayer will be answered in a way you can’t even imagine.

      I will keep you in my prayers this Ramadan inshaAllah.

    • Assalamualaikum wbt…

      The word “just in case” may show that we might have minimum trust on Allah.

      Dear precious star, Allah know best.
      Do not give up. Keep on fighting/ put an effort/ keep on dua, keep on doing good deeds… Allah know best.

      Maybe it is time for you and mayself either, to muhasabah (to do checklist) on ourself, our ibadah, our niat(intention), source (haram or halal). This is all will have effect on our du’a as well/… Wallahualam…

    • If Allah (swt) does not answer your prayers in this world, he is increasing your patience. Maybe he knows something that is better for you. Remember that this life is a test and that Allah (swt) does things through his wisdom. Do not loose hope, Insha Allah, for all your difficulties, Allah (swt) will reward you in the hereafter and forgive your sins.

      No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick from a thorn but that Allah wipes out (some of) his sins for that. (Sahih Bukhaari)

    • i would really recommend u to listen to the lecture on hardships by yasmin mogahed. sometimes we get too obsessive about some worldly thing, may it be marriage, some job, exam, etc. So much so that it consumes us. I had this very problem myself.. and this obsession keeps u from being completely grateful to Allah. i wanted my own plans to materialize so bad that i would think about and stress over things all the time. Then i realised that i need to keep Allah before all my plans, and know that He knows best when and how things should happen for me. That helped me a lot.

    • Precious star,

      According to a hadith, supplications (Dua’a) are accepted by Allah in three different ways:

      1. You get what you asked for either immediately or “when” it will be best for you*
      2. Something bad that is supposed to happen to you will not happen.
      3. On the Judgement day (Qiyama) your unanswered supplications will come to you as rewards (good deeds).

      *For example you asked for a spouse, but you are not ready for marriage even if you think you are then Allah will wait until you are ready then, He will grant you your wish.

      Hang in there, and make your Dua’a on the times when it is more likely to be accepted like Tahajjud, fasting, travelling Ramadan, before breakfast during Ramadan, etc.

  • Wow. Great article. I have repeated my duas as you mentioned and found them answered by Allah in unimaginable ways.
    It’s time to get organized. Praylists for me.

  • Really great article, Jazak Allahu Khairan. I actually made a du’a list last year. And Alhamdulilah, Allah answered every single one of them, some were direct and some were indirect. Allahu Akbar, insha Allah am about making my du’a list for this ramadan, may Allah forgive us our sins, accept all our acts of ibadah, may We be among the inhabitants of aljannah, may Allah save us from the punishment of the grave, save us from Hellfire and may all our du’as be accepted. Ameeen

  • Re: Zairul
    Please forgive my ignorance if this is something I am not aware of, but to me, that sounds like a “you owe me because..”. I mean, Allah KNOWS when you did something for the sake of Allah, He does not need to be “reminded”. And also, when doing something for the sake of Allah, shouldn’t you never expect something in return (except Allah’s blessing).. including having a duaa answered?
    Sorry if this comes off a bit rude, I don’t mean to be.. just trying to understand why you would say to bring up your good deeds. It doesn’t make sense to me, but I may just be unaware of something that you are aware of… if so, please enlighten me. JAK

    • Is it possible to have a different perspective? Instead of thinking of it as “reminding” Allah or “You owe me because”, how about thinking of it as:

      “O Allah, Can you reward me for Deed ‘A’, ‘B’, or ‘C’ that I did for your sake right now by answering my dua?” I think of it as asking Allah if you can withdraw “money” (i.e. reward of your deed A, B, or C) from the akhirah savings account and use it up now for your dua.

      And Allah knows best.

      • and I also believe that since Allah’s Compassion, Mercy, Bounty, Blessings are all infinite, He could still give us the reward for that deed in the akhirah if He wanted despite us using it to make dua.

        That’s my understanding. May Allah forgive me for what was incorrectly said and increase my knowledge and understanding of Him. Ameen.

  • Assalamualaikum…

    for something that i realy want, i ask from Allah, for almost in single second/ minute that i could. not only after praying, and it doesn’t matter, when i walk, when i talk, while doing my assignment/ work, i keep on du’a silently in my heart. Keep on put trust on Allah…
    Alhamdulillah, some was answered, and some still not, and i will never give up because every du’a that i made, make me closer to Allah…. Insya Allah.

  • Thank you for this great article,Allah should reward you Here,and in HEREAFTER.For Few days I will make my dua’a list too.And few years ago,I had three wishes.And I was reading Qur’an,and in other book,I found text which explains which Surah in Qur’an make your wishes comes true,of course with Allah’s permission.And I read it about,for 7 times.And after 6,7 months,or 1 year,the wishes I had came true.So that is another proof that Islam is only Truth Faith,that Qur’an is Allah’s word,that Allah is only Lord and God,and that Mohammad is his Prophet.And BTW I am from Bosnia 😉
    You all have Sellam from me,and let Allah make our wishes come true 🙂

  • salam,

    Jazak’Allah khair. This is a beautiful reminder, to myself and i believe to others as well. A little thing i would like to add, a dua is more acceptable if it comes from a mother of one’s child. 🙂 . Therefore, be kind to our mothers and ask them to pray for our wellbeing in this life and hereafter. InsyaAllah.

  • Subjhaanallah jzkl for such n inspiring n motivational list, I needed sumthing like this bcos my list is endless. Now I can hav a system. Plz mke dua for me

  • Everything that is said here on this article is the exact thing I did 3 years ago, and Allah truly answered my prayers in a miracle way. There was a time, where I was desperately looking for a job. All that wait was well worth it, and Allah knew the right time for me. I believe in making a praylist, as it really helps you focus on yourself.

  • Assalaamu alaikum

    Has anybody ever experienced having their Duas answered in slow stages? I have been making dua for something in particular for a while now and it seemed recently on the surface that things were starting to go in the direction I wanted. I kept asking Allah to protect me from the tricks of Shaytan so he couldn’t create false hope within me. Now the thing I’ve been making dua for seems to have come to a halt (whether temporary or permanent, Allahu alam). My problem is that I don’t know whether keep on making this dua or if I was after all kidding myself that things were going in a particular direction but in fact what I was asking for was not fated for me. I’m afraid that if I stop asking for this thing that it will be as if I gave up on Allah after the slightest delay but if I keep asking for something that appears to not be going anywhere then I’m being stubborn and only setting myself up for disappointment. My heart tells me to keep asking but I don’t trust my feelings and I have asked Allah to remove the desire for this thing in me if it’s not going to come to fruition. Is Allah trying to show me gently that that which I’ve asked for isn’t suitable for me or is he testing my tawakkul and sabr? Obviously none of you can answer that question but I was wondering if you’ve experienced anything similar.

    • Salaam ‘alaykum Muslimah, just pray and hope for the best from Allah…your thoughts look familiar…and Allah knows your condition

  • Masha’Allah this is an answer to my duas! ive been lacking in my suppication for a time now and everytime i raise my hands in dua i think, “i have to improve the way i ask Allah”. This article is fantastic, with ramadan round the corner this is just what i need.
    JazakAllahukhair to the publishers.

  • Great article, jazakAllah kheir, inshAllah will act on the advice you shared.

    One big concern though, could you please delete the word ‘mad’ in reference to Allah may He be exalted, due to the inappropriate connotations and usages it carries, and instead use the word ‘angry’, which the prophet peace be upon him used. JazakAllah kheir.

  • Allahu Akbar
    Very good article. May Allah increase you in knowledge and understanding. May Allah accept our Prayers all together.

  • Assalamu Alaykum folks..! MaashaAllah..great to hear from you the praise we Give to Allah,SubhaanAllah! Here are a few hadeeths regarding duas!Hope it helps all,InshaAllah!
    The Prophet Salla Allahu alayhiwa sallam said:” Make Dua to Allah while you have yaqeen(certainity) that He will respond to you.(Hadith Abu Dawud)
    The Prophet Sall Allahu alayhiwa sallam said: ” When you seek Allah in prayer,be then sure that He will answer you.”(Tirmidhi 3401)
    Hadeeth narreted by Abu Hurayrah( Radi Allahu anhu) said the Messenger of Allah(Sall Allahu alayhiwa sallam) said: ”There is nothing that is nobler in the sight of Allah than Dua.” (Related by Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi)
    Never give up duas and never give up the Hope and Trust on Allah,InshaAllah! Do make duas on continual basis and untill you get it,InshaAllah! Remember do seek for Repentance a lot before asking for anything!Ask Him with shame and regret of the sins we did!
    ” Is not He (better than your gods) Who Responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him…” Quran 27:62
    ”….invoke Me(and Ask Me for anything) I will respond to your invocation.” Quran 40:60
    SubhaanaAllah…May Allah Answer all our Duas.Aameen!

  • I did exactly this last Ramadan… I made extensive lists and asked every day for every thing. I prayed all the Sunnah and Fard and Taraweeh prayers. I made hour-long Duas during the times when Duas are accepted. But none of my Dua’as came true? It’s been over a year, and this Ramadan has almost come to an end. Still none of the Duas (believe me I went above and beyond making Dua last Ramadan) have even come close to coming true. What more can I do? I Swear I’ve tried everything.

  • As-salam-wale-kum.

    I have a question regarding making dua. I hope someone can guide me in the right direction.

    I am praying to Allah to grant me some solace/ resolution in a particular area in my life, but mentioning this ‘area’ in my prayers brings tears to my eyes as I have gone through some rough times in its relation. I believe that whatever happens is for my good and I believe completely in Allah and me ready to wait fo my dua to be accepted, but what I wish to know is that should I keep praying about this till I get it or is it sufficient to pray to Allah, believe that I’ll get it if and when it is right for me, and then not include this ‘area of my life’ in my prayers henceforth, since as of now, I think that the pain is raw and mentioning it again and again in my prayers might not help me heal as quickly.
    Is it ok if I believe that I have let Allah know what I wish for and believe that I’ll get it when Allah thinks that it is right for me and also if it is good for me. Is it necessary to mention what I dearly wish fo each time I pray, coz I do pray nafils, do zikhr and also am planning to keep fasts, but I don’t want to continue mentioning what I want evey time I raise my hands to pray to Allah as I want the pain to subside but I do want Allah to know that I want this thing to be granted to me.
    I hope you people can guide me regarding this as I could not find anything relevant on the net.

  • In Islam I ask Allah to guide me on the right path and not the path that will lead me astray as seen in the first prayer of every Salat. Then to the Jews, Allah said in Psalm 139 “I know every thought before it is on your lips”. Then to what the Christians believe Jesus said in the Our Father request “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”. To me,as a revert from Christianity, you can be assured Allah hears all your prayers “the first time” and knows even what you are thinking “all the time”. Therefore He will accomplish what He has promised if you honestly desire for Him or His angels to keep you on the straight path to Him alone. He knows of all that is seen and unseen and His Truth is fact, so you have only but to trust it and be at peace (this is always the testy part)

    • Thank you for your response Tim. At times, we know things in our hearts but need the assurance from others and what is better than other helping believers.

  • assalamu alaikum.”why make Him mad?” u should change this.mad is something that go against Almighty Allah.when we remember Allah we should respect Him.

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