1. Humble yourself in front of Allah (ʿazza wa jall), fearing His punishment and hoping for His reward. This is the essence and purpose of du‘ā’. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) says: ‘Supplicate to your Lord humbly and secretly…and supplicate to Him in fear and hope.’ (7:55-6)
2. Have yaqīn (firm conviction) that Allah (ʿazza wa jall) will answer your du‘ā’. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Make du‘ā’ to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) whilst you are certain of a response, because Allah (ʿazza wa jall) does not accept a du‘ā’ from a heedless, distracted heart.” (Tirmidhī)
3. Be persistent. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Verily your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him, He becomes shy to return them empty.” (Tirmidhī) Whoever keeps knocking on the door will eventually have it opened for him.
4. Do not be impatient. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The du‘ā’ of every one of you is accepted as long as he does not grow impatient and says: ‘I made du‘ā’ but it was not accepted.’” (Muslim)
5. Supplicate with du‘ās from the Qur’ān and the Sunnah. Although it is permissible to choose your own words according to your needs, the du‘ās from the Qur’ān and Sunnah are unmatched in their style, prose and completeness.
6. Avoid sinning and consuming harām. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ talked about a man beseeching Allah (ʿazza wa jall), saying: ‘O Lord! O Lord!’ but “his food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and he was nourished with unlawful; so how will his du‘ā’ be accepted?!” (Muslim)
7. Make abundant du‘ā’ in times of ease. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Remember Allah during times of ease and He will remember you during times of hardship.” (Ahmad)
8. Prepare properly. Perform wuḍū, face the qiblah and raise your hands. These are not necessary for du‘ā’ but are praiseworthy nonetheless.
9. Be ambitious and ask for everything. Do not limit your supplications to just small matters in difficult times. Nothing is too big for the One being asked and nothing is too small for the one asking Him.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “When one of you asks for something from Allah, then let him be plentiful (in what he asks for), for indeed he is asking his Lord.” (Ibn Hibbān)
In another ḥadīth, he told us: “When you ask Allah, ask for al-Firdaws (the highest level of Jannah).” (Tirmidhī)
10. Do not become despondent. Even after prolonged supplications and patience, you must not think that your du‘ā’ has been rejected. Remain optimistic and ignore the demoralising whispers of shaytān. “Allah (ʿazza wa jall) says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am and I am with him when he remembers Me.’” (Bukhārī)
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “No Muslim makes du‘ā’ which does not entail a sin or the severing of ties of kinship without Allah (ʿazza wa jall) giving him one of three:
1. He fulfils his du‘ā’ immediately.
2. He stores it for him in the hereafter.
3. He averts from him a similar evil.”
The Companions (radiy Allāhū ‘anhum) said: “If that is so, we will make du‘ā’ even more.” He ﷺ replied: “Allah will respond even more.” (Aḥmad)