The following etiquettes that must be followed when supplicating can be grounds for having the prayers responded to:
• A suppliant, upon supplicating, should raise the hands, turn them over, move them in a way indicating submission, deference, and humility,7 and pass them, upon completion, over the face, the head, and the chest.
• A suppliant should be attentive and sincerely beseeching.
• A suppliant should have full trust and hope in Almighty Allah.8
• A suppliant should pave the way to beseech for his/her personal requests by words of praise, thanks, and glorification of Almighty Allah.
• A suppliant should invoke blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household to supplicate for personal requests. In fact, a supplication is enshrouded until the suppliant invokes Almighty Allah’s blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household.9
• Just like beginning any supplication by invoking blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household, it is highly advisable to conclude the supplication with the same invocation.
In this respect, Imam Sadiq (A.S) is reported to have said: Whoever wishes a request to be granted by Almighty Allah, should begin his supplication by invoking blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household and conclude it with the same invocation, because Almighty Allah is too generous to respond to the two ends of a supplication and reject the center. He never rejects any invocations of His blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household.10
• A suppliant should weep or try to weep and shed some tears, be they as small as a fly’s head.11
• A suppliant should acknowledge and confess his/her sins and implore forgiveness.12
• A suppliant should beseech Almighty Allah in the name of the Holy Prophet and his Household (PBUH), by making them the intercessors for having his/her supplication responded.13
• A suppliant should call upon Almighty Allah by repeating such expressions like the following words ten times at least before submitting the request: O Allah! O my Sustainer! O my Lord! O All-beneficent! O All-merciful! O Most Merciful of all those who show mercy!
It is reported that whenever a faithful believer utters such expressions before mentioning his/her request, Almighty Allah will answer him/her, saying, “I am here to respond to you, My servant, pose your request.”14
• A suppliant should mention his/her requests by name and in detail.
Imam Sadiq (A.S) is reported to have said: Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, does know what His servant wants from Him; yet, He likes requests to be submitted verbally before Him. Therefore, when you supplicate Him, mention your requests by name.15
• A suppliant should be insistent in supplication and repeat it frequently. A tradition holds that Almighty Allah likes the insistence of those who entreat Him persistently.16
• A suppliant should pray to Almighty Allah confidentially when beseeching Him for private affairs. A tradition states that a confidential supplication is equal to seventy public ones.17
• While supplicating, a suppliant should surrender to Almighty Allah’s will by saying: Only that which Allah wills shall come to pass. There is neither might nor power save with Allah.
It is reported that when one adds these two phrases to one’s supplication, Almighty Allah will say, “This servant of Mine has yielded and surrendered to My decree. Therefore, (O angels) grant him his request.”18
• A suppliant should declare repentance, show piety, and abstain from violating the prohibitions of Almighty Allah.
In this connection, it is reported that Imam Sadiq (A.S) has said: Whoever wishes to have his supplication responded to should seek legal earnings only, for a single illegally-earned morsel that is raised to his mouth prevents response to his supplication for forty days.19
• For supplicating to Almighty Allah, it is advisable that four or forty persons gather and supplicate congregationally. When such a group gathers to supplicate collectively for an affair, response will be more attainable.20
Whenever a matter distressed him, Imam Baqir (A.S) used to bring together all his women and children. As he supplicated, they would say ‘Amen (so be it)’.21
Imam Sadiq (A.S) is reported to have said: The suppliant and the reciters of ‘Amen’ are partners (in the supplication and reward).22
• A suppliant is required to include as many persons as possible in his/her supplication and avoid supplicating for himself/herself exclusively. This is based on the following tradition that is reported from the Holy Prophet (PBUH): Whenever one of you supplicates, let him make his supplication general, because this makes the response more attainable.23
Other traditions have urged the supplicants to add the following prayer to their supplications, because this brings about a great reward: O Allah, (please) forgive the believing men and women and the Muslim men and women.24
• A suppliant should not exceed the limits in supplication and should not supplicate for things that are improper, unwarranted or aberrant.
In this respect, Imam Sadiq (A.S) is reported to have said: A wronged servant (of Allah) may keep on imprecating evil on the wronging party so excessively that he himself turns into a wrongdoer.25
• Before supplicating, a supplicant is required to give back all things that he has seized illegally from others and to please all those whom he has wronged. In this regard, a tradition holds that Almighty Allah says: By My Almightiness and Majesty I take this oath: I will never respond to the supplication of a wronged person with regard to the issue in which he has been wronged as long as he has wronged others in the same way.26
• A suppliant should be ceremonially pure and should have performed the ritual ablution (wudhu’) before supplicating.
• A suppliant should face the qiblah direction while supplicating.
• A suppliant should give alms before supplicating.
• A suppliant should have already supplicated Almighty Allah before the befalling of an ordeal.
• A faithful believer should ask his brothers-in-faith to supplicate for him, since the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said: Nothing is swifter in response than the supplication of an absent person to another absent one.27 It is also reported that Almighty Allah never rejects the supplication of a faithful believer for his brother-in-faith who does not know about it; rather, He, the Almighty, responds and decrees the same thing for the supplicant.28
Before mentioning one’s personal needs, a suppliant should supplicate for forty faithful believers. This is another sort of generalization in supplication, yet in a special method.29 More Motives
In addition to the aforementioned factors, there are more reasons that contribute to response of supplications related to the time, place, and condition of the suppliant.
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim
7. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:214, S. 5.
8. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:220, H. 1, 6, 7, and 9.
9. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:236, S. 10.
10. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:243, H. 26, as quoted from Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:494, H. 16.
11. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:224, S. 7.
12. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:227, S. 8.
13. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:244, S. 11.
14. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:257, S. 12.
15. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:197, H. 1, as quoted from Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:467, H. 2.
16. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:263, S. 14.
17. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:273, S. 16.
18. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:274, S. 17.
19. Sayyed al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:294, S. 24, as quoted from `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 90:357, H. 16.
20. Sayyed al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:298, S. 25.
21. – Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:487.
22. – Ibn Fahad al-Hilli, `Uddat al-Da`i, pp. 146.
23. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:301, S. 26.
24. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:314, S. 29.
25. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:325, S. 34.
26. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:345, S. 45.
27. – Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:510.
28. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:304, S. 9.
29. – Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami` Ahadith al-Shi`ah 15:317, S. 30.
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