How to supplicate and how NOT to supplicate…
Dua (supplication) is something that we need to do at all times.
[Unfortunately, some people just confine it to Ramadan and that is a disaster!]
Many of us don’t supplicate in the proper manner though.
What is the “proper manner”, you ask?
Well, the proper manner is the way of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) which is the moderate way.
The two improper manners of supplicating are the two extremes.
Let me explain.
1) Asking only for this world
This is a mistake, and unfortunately a very common one.
Why is it a mistake?
Because Allah says:
فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ
“But of mankind there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us (Your Bounties) in this world!” and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 200]
What’s the correct way?
Well, Allah mentions it in the next ayah (verse):
وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
“And of them there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!” [Al-Baqarah (2) : 201]
أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوا ۚ وَاللَّـهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ
“For them there will be allotted a share for what they have earned. And Allah is Swift at reckoning.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 202]
The hereafter is more important than the worldly life so how can we forget the former and remember the latter??
2) Asking only for the hereafter
This is also a mistake.
The following hadeeth tells us why:
أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عاد رجلا من المسلمين قد خفت فصار مثل الفرخ . فقال له رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ” هل كنت تدعو بشيء أو تسأله إياه ؟ ” قال : نعم . كنت أقول : اللهم ! ما كنت معاقبي به في الآخرة ، فعجله لي في الدنيا . فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ” سبحان الله ! لا تطيقه – أو لا تستطيعه – أفلا قلت : اللهم ! آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار ؟ ” قال ، فدعا الله له . فشفاه
Anas (radiallahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) visited a person from amongst the Muslims in order to inquire (about his health) who had grown feeble like the chicken.
Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: Did you supplicate for anything or beg of Him about that?
He said: Yes. I used to utter (these words): Impose punishment upon me earlier in this world, what Thou art going to impose upon me in the Hereafter.
Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: Subhan Allah, you have neither the power nor forbearance to take upon yourself (the burden of His Punishment). Why did you not say this: O Allah, grant us good in the world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of Fire. He (the Prophet) made this supplication (for him) and he was all right. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6501]
Notice that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) asked the man NOT to ask for punishment.
I’ve noticed that many people seem to have this tendency. They feel great shame at their previous misdeeds and then proceed to make supplications asking Allah to “postpone” all their rewards to the hereafter!
No! We should ask Allah to forgive our misdeeds, rather than asking to be punished for them.
The supplication mentioned above* is something that we need to use on a daily basis.
[*Both of them are the same except for the fact that one of them starts with Rabbana (our Lord) and another starts with Allahuma (O Allah).]
I mentioned the Prophet’s most frequent supplication** in an earlier post. Actually, another narration mentions that this supplication (i.e. asking for the good of this world and the hereafter) was his most frequent one:
سأل قتادة أنسا : أي دعوة كان يدعو بها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أكثر ؟ قال : كان أكثر دعوة يدعو بها يقول ” اللهم ! آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار ” . قال وكان أنس ، إذا أراد أن يدعو بدعوة ، دعا بها . فإذا أراد أن يدعو بدعاء ، دعا بها فيه .
Qatada asked Anas which supplication Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) frequently made. He said: The supplication that he (the Prophet) made very frequently is this: “O Allah, grant us the good in this world and the good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of Hell-Fire.” He (Qatada) said that whenever Anas had to supplicate he made this very supplication, and whenever he (intended) to make another supplication he (inserted) this very supplication in that. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6506]
[**And no, there’s no contradiction. One was Umm Salamah’s statement and the second was Anas ibn Malik’s. They both stated what they heard the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) saying the most.]
So, we should make sure to say it as much as we can as it is a very comprehensive supplication.
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ
Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!