We are all humans at the end of the day, and we all feel miserable at some point or other. We feel sad when we lose a loved one, or when we fail in exams, or when we get the sack at work. Other times, people make us feel dejected, by mockery, scorn or even jealousy. Sometimes, what stings the most is our own thinking that our (duaas) supplications are unanswered, and perhaps this is the most dispiriting of all.
Yet we should not lose hope, for Allah says, “Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” (Holy Qur’an 12:87)
Allah reminds us that He is The Responsive, “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.” (Holy Qur’an 2:186)
So how then, can we ever feel disparaged?
Rather we must come to know our Lord, learn about Him, and His Beautiful Attributes, and we must realize our errors. We must analyze ourselves and our supplications. Are we exerting our efforts in our duaas; trying our best to ask in accordance with the Sunnah?
1) The duaa is weak: Meaning that one asks for something impermissible or inappropriate. Or perhaps he exhibits bad manners towards Allah. Or perhaps he asks Allah in a manner that is not acceptable such associating partners to Him.
Abu Hurayrah narrated, “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A person’s duaa will continue to be answered so long as he does not pray for something sinful or for the breaking of family ties.” (Muslim)
2) The person is weak: This is another instance of bad manners towards Allah. Maybe the one invoking does not truly believe in Allah’s ability to fulfill the duaa. Or the person does not display humility in his duaa, nor need. Rather he rushes his duaa, simply vocalizing memorized words, with no emotion. Or perhaps, he over exercises fake emotions, crying loudly or shouting.
3) Sins: sins obscure the path of duaa, so ensure you seek Allah’s forgiveness, and repent sincerely to Him
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Call upon Allah when you are certain of a response, and remember that Allah will not answer a duaa that comes from a negligent and heedless heart.” (At-Tirmidhi)
So be conscious of what you are asking, and ensure you focus on your duaas. Implore Allah with humility and presence of mind.
5) Consuming haram: Whether it is wealth or food and drink because the Messenger mentioned the case of “a man who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty, and who spreads out his hands to the sky saying “O Lord! O Lord!” while his food is haram (unlawful), his drink is haram, his clothing is haram, and he has been nourished with haram, so how can [his supplication] be answered?” (Muslim)
6) Hastening: Whilst we know Allah is fully capable of giving an immediate response to our duaa, we should not become impatient when the response takes time.
7) Setting conditions, such as saying “If you will,” “Inshallah” and other similar statements. Rather the person should be firm and confident.
8) Did you send salutation upon the Prophet?
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Every duaa is kept back until you send blessings upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) (At-Tabarani)
9) Allah loves to see you invoking Him: Perhaps the answer is near at hand, but Allah loves to see you imploring Him. Perhaps you would not invoke Allah if you did not have this need, so Allah keeps you in this condition.
Be aware, that perhaps through your supplications to Allah is saving you from something evil, or Allah stores something better for you in the Hereafter.
To conclude, there are many reasons why your duaa may be unanswered. One should contemplate his shortcomings, and seek to rectify and improve himself. Nonetheless, Allah knows when it is best to answer your dua and how is best. Is He not the Knower of all things? Is He not Wise in all His decisions? We should submit to his decree, without feeling hopeless or pessimistic. Rather we uphold hope, and continue to trust that Allah will answer our duas, and thus should continue to invoke Allah repeating our supplications, praising and exalting Him alone.