Dua: 13 ways to have prayers accepted and answered this Ramadan

Abdur Rahman, UK
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Du‘a’, ‘supplication’, or ‘prayer’ are terms that hold profound significance in Islam. ‘Du‘a’ literally means ‘calling out,’ a personal plea or appeal to Allah, coming straight from the heart of a believer. It’s a conversation where one opens their heart to their Creator, expressing their desires, fears, and hopes and seeking His guidance and assistance. It serves as a means to connect directly with Allah, to thank Him, to ask of Him, and to draw closer to Him, especially so during Ramadan – a time when the reward for sincere devotion is believed to be multiplied.

Allah the Exalted tells us in the Holy Quran:

وَاِذَا سَاَلَکَ عِبَادِيۡ عَنِّيۡ فَاِنِّيۡ قَرِيۡبٌ ؕ اُجِيۡبُ دَعۡوَةَ الدَّاعِ اِذَا دَعَانِ ۙ فَلۡيَسۡتَجِيۡبُوۡا لِيۡ وَلۡيُؤۡمِنُوۡا بِيۡ لَعَلَّہُمۡ يَرۡشُدُوۡنَ

“When My servants enquire from thee concerning Me, O Prophet, tell them I am close. I respond to the call of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So should they respond to Me and have firm faith in Me, that they may be rightly guided.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.187) This verse is a promise of closeness from Allah that Ramadan makes all the more tangible.

Ramadan is this incredible time when every sincere whisper in prayer feels like it’s got a direct line to Allah. It feels like Allah is right there, ready to listen, to understand, and to respond. Ramadan is all about seizing this chance, with open hearts and hopeful spirits, to have those real, raw conversations with Allah, where we pour out everything and find peace in His presence.

The big question is, ‘How’! In what manner should a person engage in du’a in hopes of greater acceptance? What conditions should be met for a prayer to be accepted and answered? Below, we try to elucidate some of those conditions and methods, inspired by two Friday sermons (of 21 and 28 July 1916) by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, published in the 29 July and 8 August 1916 issues of Al Fazl.

Understanding Allah’s Sovereignty

Firstly, it’s crucial to grasp a fundamental truth in this regard: Allah, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, holds the keys to all our prayers. He isn’t bound by our demands or timelines. This isn’t about a cosmic vending machine; it’s about a relationship, a dialogue with the One Who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Allah is the King of all kings. For someone to harbour the notion that Allah must accept all my prayers, and not reject a single one for Him to be deemed God would be akin to believing that they are the master and God, the attendant; they, the owner, and He, the slave, God-forbid.

Moreover, Allah’s response to our prayers isn’t a test of His power or willingness to help but a reflection of what’s best for us, even when it’s hard to see.

Imagine you’re asking for something with all your heart, and it feels like it’s just not happening. Here’s where faith steps in, reminding us that Allah hears every whisper, every silent tear, and He responds – sometimes in ways we hadn’t imagined, sometimes later than we hoped, and sometimes by withholding for a greater good we might not yet understand. It’s about trusting that, no matter what, He’s got us, and His plan is always for the best. True submission isn’t in making demands; it’s in surrendering to the wisdom of the Almighty, acknowledging that He is the Master over all affairs, and finding solace in His perfect timing and judgement.

1. Listen to Allah, and He will listen to you

Now, if we’re looking to make our prayers hit home, the first step is really about us – our actions, our sincerity, and our effort to live in a way that pleases Allah. It’s like keeping the soil fertile for the seeds of our prayers to take root. Those moments when you’re fully aligned, doing good, and staying away from what dims your spirit – that’s when your prayers get this extra shine because you’re moving in harmony with what Allah wants for you and from you.

This doesn’t mean absolute perfection; rather, it’s about striving, about making those daily choices that reflect our love and reverence for Allah. It’s about stepping in rhythm with His will, and being responsive to His call. When Allah says, “Respond to Me (فَلۡيَسۡتَجِيۡبُوۡا لِيۡ),” it means that if we want Allah to listen to us, we need to listen to Him. In the above-mentioned verse, Allah isn’t just assuring us of His nearness; He’s setting the terms of engagement. It’s about reciprocity – tuning in to His commands and shaping our lives around His decrees. That’s when our prayers transcend beyond mere words, soaring high and resonating with the Divine.

2. Have absolute conviction in Allah’s powers

At the heart of prayers is this unshakeable belief that Allah can, Allah hears, and Allah responds. It’s about having the full conviction that when you raise your hands in prayer, you’re not just speaking into the void. You’re connecting with the One who created the stars, the One who brings life into being, and the One who has been guiding humanity since the dawn of time.

Yet, here’s where many falter – in the depths of their hearts, some harbour uncertainties. They pray, but beneath the surface, there’s a whisper questioning Allah’s ability to answer or a shadow cast by their own perceived unworthiness. “How could Allah possibly respond to me?” they wonder, allowing these doubts to dilute their supplications.

Allah, in His infinite wisdom, addresses this directly with “وَليُومِنُوْا بِي” – underscoring the necessity of full conviction in His omnipotence and mercy. This isn’t just about believing in His existence but in His boundless capability and power to answer our prayers. The Holy Prophetsa said that Allah states, أنا عند ظن عبدي بي “I am as My slave thinks I am.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 7405) At another place, he admonished, ادْعُوا اللّٰهَ وَأَنْتُمْ مُوقِنُونَ بِالإِجَابَةِ “Supplicate to Allah with unwavering certainty of (His) response.” (Jami‘ at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 3479)

Thus, for prayers to ascend and for that spiritual connection to be unclouded, one must shake off the whispers of despair and unworthiness and embrace the full conviction that Allah is indeed near, listening, and more than able to transform our conditions. It’s this unshakeable faith, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges or personal shortcomings, that lifts our supplications to a level where they become deserving of acceptance. Otherwise, why should the All-Powerful God listen to our prayers when we do not even believe that He can and will?

3. Never ever give up

Here’s something about prayers that’s both challenging and beautiful: the call to keep at it, even when the answers seem to take their time. Allah loves the steadfast, the coming back to Him again and again, not out of despair but out of unwavering hope and trust. It’s like knocking on the door of mercy, knowing it will open at the right time, in the right way.

This persistence isn’t about nagging or desperation. It’s a testament to our faith, a way of saying, “I believe in Your wisdom and Your timing, even when I can’t see the way forward.”

It’s common, however, for many to start their prayers with hope but soon find their hearts clouded with impatience or discontent. They might feel as though they’re merely going through the motions, sifting through dust with their pleas, convinced that nothing will come of it. Yet, here’s a piece of advice from the Promised Messiahas for those moments of doubt: within that very dust lie untold blessings. The process itself, the steadfast supplication, begins to align our hearts with our words, bringing our ultimate objectives into sharp relief. There comes a moment when the heart, in its full submission and patience, aligns perfectly with the tongue’s pleas, and that’s when objectives are not just sought but found. (Al Hakam, Vol. 4, No. 31, 24 August 1903, p. 3)

4. Help Allah’s creation and He will help you

One of the most profound ways to elevate the power of our prayers is by turning our attention and efforts towards easing the pain and suffering of others. This isn’t merely about performing an act of charity in the conventional sense; it’s about tapping into a profound connection that Allah has with His creation. Just as a parent feels gratitude towards anyone who saves their child, Allah, whose love for His creation far exceeds our understanding, holds in high regard those who show compassion and mercy towards others. The Holy Prophetsa said:

الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمُ الرَّحْمٰنُ ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ الرَّحِمُ

“The merciful are shown mercy by Ar-Rahman, the Gracious God. Be merciful on the earth, and you will be shown mercy from the One Who is above the heavens.” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-birri wa s-silati ‘an rasulillahisa, Hadith 1924)

Therefore, when we seek the acceptance of our prayers, especially for significant matters, actively seeking out and alleviating the suffering of others can act as a powerful catalyst for Divine favour.

5. Praise Allah before praying

Take your time before diving into your du‘a: Start by praising Allah and invoking salawat on the Holy Prophetsa. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 3477) This practice of starting our prayers with praise [tahmid] is exemplified by Surah al-Fatiha. This Surah opens with the glorification of Allah and recognising His major attributes before moving to a plea for guidance, demonstrating the natural way of asking from Him.

Furthermore, the Quran teaches us to call upon Allah by His beautiful attributes. (Surah al-A‘raf, Ch.7: V.181) By asking in this manner, we open ourselves to witnessing the manifestation of these divine attributes in our lives. Allah responds to the humble supplicant in ways that affirm His attributes, showing the believer that He indeed is as He has described Himself in His attributes.

6. Invoke blessings upon the Holy Prophetsa

Invoking blessings upon the Holy Prophetsa holds a unique significance. Uttering salawat, sending peace and blessings upon the Prophetsa, isn’t just a ritual; it’s a bridge of light connecting us to the Holy Prophetsa, inviting his intercession and drawing down Allah’s blessings upon us.

The Holy Prophetsa also taught us that, while you are praying to Allah, also remember that your prayers will remain suspended between heaven and earth until you send salawat upon him. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 486)

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa states:

“Everyone should keep in mind that in order to win the pleasure of Allah, to attain His love, and to have our prayers find acceptance with Allah, we need the intermediation of the Holy Prophetsa. The best way to do that – as we are told in the hadith – is to invoke Allah’s blessings upon him. The Promised Messiahas has also admonished that durud should be recited abundantly.” (Conditions of Bai’at and Responsibilities of an Ahmadi, p. 61)

7. Purify yourself and your surroundings before du‘a

The act of purification, through practices like wudu or the cleansing of our attire and surroundings, serves as a preparation, readying us inside and out for a mulaqat, an audience with the Most High. It not only underscores our respect for the sacred act of du‘a but also our deep yearning for Allah’s grace.

Rooted deeply in Islamic tradition, this practice highlights the essential connection between physical cleanliness and our spiritual health. It illustrates how our physical state and environment not only shape our interactions with the world around us but also significantly impact our spiritual readiness for a deep and intimate communion with Allah.

8. Select the right time and place

The ambiance in which we pray can significantly affect the quality and focus of our supplications. Seeking out moments of solitude and tranquillity, where the hustle of worldly life fades into the background, allows our hearts to turn fully towards Allah. This is why the last third of the night, the time before breaking the fast, and the quiet of solitude are all moments ripe with spiritual potential. Fasting provides us with a great opportunity to wake up at that time for tahajjiud or qiyam al-layl as it is called.  In these times, our supplications, as Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra put it, become like arrows shot with precision, more likely to reach their mark. It’s about finding those pockets of peace in our day, those sanctuaries of silence, where our souls can speak without reservation to their Creator. Those are the times that infuse greater passion in our supplications, making them more worthy of being accepted.

Likewise, the place where we choose to pray can add an additional layer of spiritual significance to our supplications. Whether it’s a quiet corner in our home that we’ve dedicated to prayer and reflection, the local mosque, or any place purified by the memory of righteous actions and intentions, these spaces become sanctuaries for our souls. They, of course, include all the holy places of Islam, such as the Masjid al-Haram, Safa and Marwa, Bait-ud-Du‘a, etc. They are places where the veil between us and the Divine feels thinner, and our hearts are more receptive to the whispers of spiritual insight. The ahadith mention various occasions and places where there is a greater chance of the acceptance of prayer. One should seek those out.

9. Undertake a self-analysis and realise your desperation

Before we approach Allah in du‘a, embarking on a deep self-reflection to recognise and confront each and every one of our weaknesses is crucial. This process should be so intense that it feels as though our ego has been completely subdued, recognising our total ineffectiveness without Divine support. In this state of utter humility, akin to a child wholly reliant on their parents, we should then present our prayers. Just as parents tenderly care for their dependent child, Allah, in His infinite mercy, attends to the needs of His servants. Such profound humility before Allah, acknowledging our dependence on Him as a helpless baby depends on its guardians, is essential. This submission not only aligns us more closely with His will but significantly bolsters the likelihood of our prayers being answered.

10. Contemplate Allah’s blessings and His wrath

Our supplications gain depth and sincerity when we balance hope in Allah’s mercy with fear of His displeasure. Reflecting on the blessings Allah has showered upon us fills our hearts with gratitude, while being mindful of His punishment for our transgressions instils a healthy fear that guides our actions. This balance keeps our spiritual journey in perspective, motivating us to strive for what is pleasing to Allah and to steer clear of His wrath.

11. Be energetic in supplication

The state of our physical being when supplicating matters. Approaching Allah with alertness, a lively spirit, and with an engaged heart makes our supplication more impactful. It signifies our earnestness and our active yearning for Allah’s guidance and mercy. Just as we would prepare ourselves to meet someone of importance in this world, how much more so should we prepare when standing before the King of all kings?

The Holy Prophetsa warned:

واعلمُوا أنَّ اللّٰهَ لا يَستجيبُ دُعاءً من قلْبٍ غافِلٍ لَاهٍ

“And know that Allah does not respond to a supplication from the heart of one heedless and occupied by play.” (Jami‘ at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 3479)

12. Take a gradual approach in supplication

Rushing into our main requests in du‘a can sometimes feel abrupt, both for us and in the spiritual realm. Starting with smaller, more general prayers helps warm our hearts and builds a rhythm of supplication that gradually leads to the more significant, personal appeals. This approach not only helps in articulating our prayers more clearly but also mirrors the natural way in which conversations unfold, starting broad and then narrowing down to specifics.

13. Make such du‘as first, which Allah always accepts

Beginning our supplication session with du‘as that are universally recognised for their acceptance, such as those for the manifestation of God’s majesty, the continuous elevation of the ranks of our lord and master, the Holy Prophet Muhamamdsa and his progeny, and the victory of Islam Ahmadiyyat, sets a positive tone for our personal requests. It aligns our desires with the will of Allah and the good of the entire ummah, thereby elevating the likelihood of our subsequent, individual prayers being answered.


As we go through the spiritually charged atmosphere of Ramadan, it’s essential to recognise that du‘a is not merely a ritualistic utterance but a profound conversation with our Creator. The principles and practices we’ve explored are designed to deepen this conversation, making it more meaningful, focused, and, ultimately, more likely to be accepted. May Allah enable us to utilise these methods in the best possible manner and may he accept our prayers. Amin.

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