Why Hasn’t My Dua Been Answered?
// August 25th, 2011 // Blog
I was going through the archives on the blog, and found a long comment that I had posted in response to a question asked by a reader. The comments were about dua – specifically, about prayers that one may have made for a long time that have not yet been answered. As Ramadan is a month of dua, as well as Qur'an and fasting, I thought I would post my response here as a reminder to myself and others, inshā’Allāh.
i have a lot of questions about dua that i've had for a long time, that it seems like i've almost asked the whole world about but i could never get a satisfactory answer. when you want something badly, but you're told to let go, does that mean that you don't make dua for that thing anymore? some people say you just make a general dua, but that doesn't make sense to me. others say you make dua with all your heart but you leave it to God and you don't worry about it. but i can't help but keep praying and waiting for the response, and praying passionately does not equate to letting go in my mind.
anyways, i don't know if any of this makes sense, but i want to know dua miracle stories. i know anything is possible and i've been praying for a long time, but i just don't know when i should or how to stop making dua (if that makes any sense).
well, sorry for the long post, but a response would be greatly appreciated.
Wa 'alaykum salam wa rahmatullah
In terms of your questions, I'm sorry to hear of your worries. I suggest reading a book on the etiquette of Dua written by Sh. Yasir Qadhi. It may help to answer your queries.
I'm not sure what to advise without knowing the specifics, but one narration I find to be generally helpful is the manner in which Allāh, Al-Wahhab – the One who gives generously without limit or taking account – accepts the Dua of His slaves. I'm going to quote from memory now as I'm writing this reply via my iPod after Fajr! :)
Let's pretend I prayed for £1000. Basically, there are four ways which the Prophet, sallalahu 'alayhi wa salam, explained that Allāh may accept my Dua:
1) Allāh grants the person whatever they asked for. E.g., He grants me the £1000. Yey!
2) Allāh removes some harm from the person, equivalent to – or even greater than – what they asked for. E.g., Allāh saves me from a car crash that would have caused £2000 worth of damage!
3) Allāh grants me something else instead, of equal or greater value. E.g., Perhaps he may grant me good health so I can work for that £1000, and lots more besides. Who can put a price on good health? :)
4) Allāh keeps the Dua with Himself until the Day of Judgement where He will recompense His slave so generously for it, that the person will wish on that Day that all his prayers from dunya had ended the same way – I.e., that he never got what he asked for, and instead received the reward of Akhirah. How amazing, subhanAllah!
In summary, we ask Allāh for many things, some more fervently than others. Allāh, the Generous, loves to receive these duas, and no sincere Dua goes unanswered – however, He does not always respond in the way we expect, or even want Him to.
The thing is, much of what we want may actually be harmful for us – even the “good”, like wealth, health, marriage to a certain person, etc. But our sight is so limited, we just don't realise. Yet Allāh, al-Hakim, the most Wise, does know, and He does not oppress His slaves. Therefore He has chosen to answer duas in the alternative ways described above out of Love and Mercy for us. Just like a parent who denies their child every luxury, as they know it'll 'spoil' them!
So, I would not stop asking for whatever you're asking for, unless you know deep down that Allāh has denied you it for a good reason. Otherwise if you're confident this Dua is something that you really need, continue to ask Allāh for it with all sincerity and devotion. However, also know that He may be answering it in ways you just don't realize. If you're not sure what you're praying for is of benefit, why not ask Allāh using salatul-istikharah? :)
Other important points. Allāh sometimes delays granting His slave something that He prays for, simply because He loves that His slave turns to Him so sincerely! Again, no good Dua goes unrewarded, because such an act is considered as worship by Allāh.
Also, I recommend the etiquette book because it explains some very good points about how we should call upon Allāh, e.g., begin by praising Him, sending salawat upon His messenger, asking for forgiveness, and calling Him by His beautiful names. Also, the best times to make Dua, e.g., when one is fasting, last third of night, last hour of Jumuah, while travelling, etc.
In fact, our sins can serve as a barrier between us and Allāh. Frequent istighfaar removes that barrier. Sending salaam upon the Prophet is also beloved by Allāh, and is in itself one of the best Dua you can make. May Allāh send His peace and blessings upon the Prophet, his family & companions, āmīn!
SubhanAllah, I started off not really knowing what to write, and by Allāh's will have written an essay!
I pray you find the above advice of benefit. It certainly serves as a reminder to me too. May Allāh grant you the peace of mind you seek – āmīn.
I also find solace in this quote that has been attributed to Umar bin al Khattab, radiallahu anhu, but Allāh knows best:
“I am not worried about whether my du'a will be responded to, but rather I am worried about whether I will be able to make du'a or not. So if I have been guided by Allāh to make du'a, then (I know) that the response will come with it”