Why my dua is not answered even though Allah said Call on Me and I will answer you [Quran 40:60]?
Someone asked the same question to imam Jafar al-Sadiq:
Why do I call upon Allah but I don’t see any answer?
He replied: Because you ask one you don’t know.
Dua (personal invocation, supplication, or request) affected my life both negatively and positively.
One of the reasons that kept me away from Allah is dua.
When I was most in need, He didn’t answer me.
He turned his back to me and left me in my misery.
This is at least, how I felt about it at that time.
In fact, I did receive an answer, but not one of my likings.
I came to Allah with a sense of entitlement. I asked for something and I wanted what I asked for immediately.
Without surprise, my arrogance made my life more miserable than it was.
I see at least three reasons for my failure:
1-Ignorance of Allah
2-Didn’t know how to call out to Him
3-Didn’t know how dua works
On the other hand, dua is what brought me back to Allah.
What was overwhelming became easy to vanquish.
I had strength where I used to show weakness.
Energy replaced lethargy.
All the blessings I’ve enjoyed to this day started with the dua of the distressed.
The Dua of the Distressed
The dua of the distressed is not exclusive to Muslims.
Anyone who is in an emergency situation turns to God, whether they believe in God or not.
“Who is it that answers the distressed when they call upon Him? Who removes their suffering? Who makes you successors in the earth? Is it another god beside God? Little notice you take.” [Quran 27:62]
They are distressed the ones facing difficulties and troubles.
They are so hopeless that there’s only one way out: Allah.
And whenever they call Him, He responds and alleviates the harm.
The prayer of Yunus (i.e. Jonah) is a great reminder in this matter.
Imam Jaffar al-Sadiq said about it:
I am amazed by one who is distressed but does not remember the words of the Most Glorious: “[Yunus prayer] There is no God but You, glory be to You, indeed I am from those who have done wrong.” [Quran 21:87]
For I have heard what Allah has said right after that:
“So We responded to him and saved him from the distress. And so do We save the believers.” [Quran 21:88]
Despair set the stage for the cure.
Making the dua of the distressed is a powerful spiritual experience. And that’s why it’s answered.
It’s a true moment of total submission to Allah.
We hand the commands to Allah and put all our trust in Him:
“O Allah, I hope for Your mercy. Do not leave me to myself even for a blink of an eye. Correct all of my affairs for me. There is none worthy of worship except You.” [Fortress of the Muslim]
The Story of a Distressed Man
Dr. Brown graduated from two Ivy League universities (Brown and Cornwell). He is also a retired U.S. Air Force officer.
He tried hard to be a Christian but it didn’t work out. So he became an atheist.
In 1990, his second daughter was born with coarctation of the aorta— a critical narrowing in the major artery from the heart.
This narrowing means the body receives less oxygen-rich blood.
As a doctor, he understood what it meant.
It’s an open-heart surgery with a low chance of long-term survival.
This is the first time in his life he felt having no control.
He felt helpless seeing his child turning dark blue.
So he went to the prayer room and did the prayer of the skeptic:
“Oh God, if you’re there, I don’t know if you’re there or not, but if you are, I need help.”
At that moment, he made a simple promise to God:
“If you save the life of my child and then guide me to the religion that is most pleasing to You, I would follow it.”
After 15 minutes spent in the praying room, he went back to the intensive care unit.
The doctors looked perplexed. His daughter was ok. She didn’t need medication or surgery.
He understood it was a divine miracle.
They had cardiac ultrasounds taken before and after the prayer. One shows the problem and the other had nothing.
As God honored His part of the deal, Dr. Brown had to fulfill his part.
He spent the next few years searching until he came across Islam and accepted it.
Getting Our Dua Answered
Popular YouTube videos guarantee that some duas are accepted.
But what they don’t say is that dua is more than just repeating the words.
Take the dua of Yunus (AS). The Prophet (PBUH) said about it:
“The supplication of Dhun-Nun (Prophet Yunus) when he supplicated, while in the belly of the whale was:
“There is no God but You, glory be to You, indeed I am from those who have done wrong. “
So indeed, no Muslim man supplicates with it for anything, ever, except Allah responds to him.” [Tirmidhi]
It seems clear. You just make the dua and your prayer will be accepted.
But the Prophet (PBUH) also said:
“Call on Allah while having full conviction that He will answer, and realize that Allah does not answer the dua that proceeds from a heedless, inattentive heart.” [Tirmidhi]
Dua is more than just repeating the words. It’s an attitude of the heart.
Dr. Brown didn’t have a secret formula. But his heart was totally in his prayer.
“Allah will find a way out for those who are mindful of Him, and will provide for them from an unexpected source; Allah will be enough for those who put their trust in Him. Allah achieves His purpose; Allah has set a due measure for everything.” [Quran 65:3]
If there’s a secret for answered dua, the first one would be God-awareness.
The second one would be reliance on Him (For more on reliance, check my article on tawakkul).
Difficult times are an opportunity to show humility.
When it’s combined with God-consciousness and reliance, unexpected doors open up.
Having our dua answered is a profound spiritual experience.
And it’s available to everyone.
What Are We Asking For?
“Your Lord says: Call on Me and I Will answer you.” [Quran 40:60]
But not all duas are good to be answered.
“Yet man prays for harm, just as he prays for good: man is ever hasty.” [Quran 17:11]
It’s a human thing. We want something so badly that we don’t see life without it.
We don’t realize we’re calling for harm.
“You may dislike something although it is good for you, or like something although it is bad for you: God knows and you do not.” [Quran 2:216]
Humility is accepting that Allah knows best.
The assumption that we know better not only makes our dua useless, but we close the door for something better.
Once we accept our lack of knowledge, all we can do is showing patience.
Being in rush prevents a dua from being answered.
As the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The servant will be answered so long as his dua does not entail sin or severing of family ties, and so long as he is not hasty.
It was said, ‘What does being hasty mean?’
He said, ‘When he says, ‘I made dua, and I made dua, yet I have not seen any response,’ so he gets frustrated and stops making dua.’” [Sahih Muslim]
Not all duas are answered immediately.
Some are answered later or under another form.
Once we trust Allah, we need to accept whatever it’s coming.
So if you ask me: What is the world’s most underused valuable resource?
I would reply: Dua.
As life is a test, everyone will have to face difficult times.
We’ll always be in need of something: subsistence, strength, health, guidance, safety…
Ultimately, learning about dua is learning about Allah.
Learning that help is never far:
“[Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be rightly guided.” [Quran 2:186]
Hope is never dead:
“Truly where there is hardship there is also ease.” [Quran 94:6]
Dreams are always possible:
“Call on Me and I will answer you.” [Quran 40:60]
If you have Allah on your side, who else do you really need?
Article posted the 18 October 2021
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