Why is My Supplication Not Answered?
Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen
Therefore, if these conditions are not satisfied, then the question
concerning the Du’aa (supplication) being answered will seem distant.
[Q]: 'Allah says: ''And your Lord says: Call
upon Me and I will, respond to your supplication.'' [Soorah Ghaafir 40:60] So
why is it that a person's Du’aa (supplication) is sometimes unanswered?'
[A]: ''All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the Prayers and
Peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his Family and his
Companions. I ask Allah for the ability to be correct in belief, speech
and actions, for myself and for my brothers.
''And your Lord says: Call upon Me and I will respond to your supplication.
Verily those who are too arrogant to worship Me will, enter Hell in
humiliation.'' [Soorah Ghaafir 40:60]
The questioner stated that he did indeed make Du’aa (supplication) to Allah -
the Mighty and Majestic - but it was not answered by Allah. So he is in doubt
with respect to this noble aayah (verse), in which Allah promises to answer the
one who supplicates to Him, and indeed Allah - the Most Perfect - never breaks
So the clarification of this is that there are certain conditions that need to
be fulfilled in order for a supplication to be answered. These conditions
Firstly: Sincerity to Allah - the Mighty and Majestic. That is to say, one must
be sincere in his Du’aa (supplication), so he turns to Allah - the One free
from all imperfections with an attentive heart, being truthful in his turning
to Him, knowing that Allah - the Most Perfect, the Most High - is capable of
answering his Du’aa (supplication) and hoping that the Du’aa will be answered.
Secondly: During Du’aa, the caller should feel that he is in need of Allah -
the Most Perfect, the Most High – in fact in dire need; and that only Allah
alone answers the supplication of the one in distress and the One who removes
Thirdly: That the one making Du’aa should refrain from haraam (unlawful)
matters, as this acts as a barrier between the person and his Du’aa
(supplication) being answered - as has been established in the authentic
hadeeth, from the Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) who said: ''Indeed
Allah - the Most High -is good and accepts only that which is good. Allah has
ordered the Believers to do that which He commanded the Messengers. Allah - the
Most High -has said:
''O you Messengers! Eat of the good things and do righteous actions.''
[Sooratul-Mu'minoon 3:51 ]
And Allah - the Most High - says:
''O you who Believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you. ''
Then he mentioned (the case of) a man who, having journeyed far is dishevelled
and dusty and who spreads out his bands to the sky (saying): 'O Lord! O Lord,'
whilst his food is unlawful, his drink unlawful and he is nourished unlawfully.
So how can he be answered!'  So the Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam)
explained the un-likelihood that this person's Du’aa would be answered, even
after fulfilling the apparent factors which aid the Du’aa being answered. The apparent
[i]: Raising ones' hands towards the sky, meaning towards Allah - the Mighty
and Majestic - since Allah is above the heavens, above His 'Arsh (Throne).
Extending the hands out towards Allah -the Mighty and Majestic - is amongst the
causes of Du’aa being responded to, as is shown in the narration from the
Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) that he said: ''Indeed your Lord is
Alive, Most generous. He feels shy that when his servant raises his bands
towards Him, calling upon Him, that He should return him empty, having
[ii]: This man called upon Allah - the Most High - using the name Rabb
(Lord). Seeking tawassul (the means of nearness to Allah) with this name
is also regarded as one of the causes for Du’aa to be responded to, since the
Rabb is the Creator, the Owner, the Governor of all affairs - and the reigns of
the Heavens and the earth are in His Hands. Due to this, you will find
that most of the supplications made in the Noble Qur'aan are by this name:
''Our Lord! We have heard the call of one calling us to faith: 'Believe you in
the Lord,' and we have believed. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins, and remit from
us our evil deeds, and take to Yourself our souls in the company of the
righteous. Our Lord! Grant us what You did promise unto us through Your
Messengers, and do not disgrace us on the Day of judgement, for You never break
Your promise. And their Lord has accepted of them, and answered them: Never
will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, whether male or female.''
[Soorah Aal-'lmraan 3:193-195]
So tawassul (seeking the means of nearness to Allah) by this name is one of the
causes for the Du’aa to be responded to.
[iii]: This man was a traveller, and journeying is often a cause for Du’aa to
be responded to, because a person feels more in need of Allah - the Mighty and
Majestic - when travelling, than when a person is resident with his family. He
was dusty and dishevelled, seeming very insignificant in himself, as if the
most important thing to him was to implore Allah and to call upon Him - in any
condition he may be - whether dusty and dishevelled, or in ease and oppulance.
Being dusty and dishevelled is also instrumental, like in the hadeeth
attributed to the Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) in which he said:
Indeed Allah boasts to the people of the Heaven about the people standing at
'Arafah, saying: ''Look at My servants who have come to Me dusty and
dishevelled.''  However, these factors did not bring about anything, because
his food, his nourishment and his clothing were all haraam (unlawful). So the
Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) remarked: ''So how can he be answered!''
Therefore, if these conditions are not satisfied, then the question concerning
the Du’aa (supplication) being answered will seem distant. However, if the
conditions are satisfied and the one supplicating is still not answered, then
this is due to a wisdom which Allah - the Mighty and Majestic - knows, and the
one supplicating does not know what this wisdom is; and maybe that you like a
thing and it is bad for you.
So when these conditions are fulfilled and the one supplicating is not
answered, then either he has been protected from an evil which is greater than
what he has asked for, or Allah stores it for him until the Day of
Resurrection, and he then gets a greater reward. This is so, because the one
who makes Du’aa - calling upon Allah alone, fulfilling the conditions and not
being answered, but rather being saved from a greater evil - is in the position
of having carried out the causes yet has been prevented from being answered,
and therefore has a two-fold reward. One reward for making Du’aa
(supplication), and another reward for bearing the trial of not being answered.
So that which is greater and more complete is stored for him with Allah - the
Mighty and Majestic.
Also of importance is that the one supplicating should not express
dissatisfaction if his Du’aa is apparently not being answered, for this action
in itself is a reason for the Du’aa not being answered - as the Prophet
(sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: ''A servants Du’aa continues to be
answered as long as be does not ask for anything sinful or breaking the ties of
relations, and as long as be does not become impatient.'' It was said: How does
one become impatient O Messenger of Allah? He said: ''He says: I have
supplicated, I have supplicated, yet it has not been answered.''  He
therefore becomes dispondant and abandons supplicating. So it is not befitting
that the one supplicating should become impatient about being answered, then
become disappointed and dispondant, and thereby abandon making Du’aa. Rather,
one should call upon Allah, since every Du’aa you make to Allah is an act of
worship, which brings you closer to Him and increases your reward.
So my brother, you should take to making Du’aa (supplication) in all affairs,
be it general or specific, in difficulty or in ease. And if it was that
supplication was only a means of worshipping Allah - the One free from all
imperfections, the Most High - then that would be sufficient. So it is more
befitting that a person strives in this - and with Allah lies the success and
 Majmoo'ul-Fataawaa war-Rasaa'il (no. 155)
 Related by Muslim (no. 1015) from Aboo Hurayrah (radiyAllahu 'anhu)
 Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (5/438) and Aboo Daawood (no. 1488). It was
authenticated by al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar in Fathul-Baaree (11/143).
 Saheeh: Related by Ibn Hibbaan (no. 1006), from 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Amr
(radiyAllahu 'anhu). It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaanee in
Saheehul-Jaami' (no. 1868).
 Related by al-Bukhaaree (11/140) and Muslim (no. 2735), from Aboo Hurayrah
"Indeed, there is a station higher than [both sabr and] ridâ, and that is
to show shukr (gratitude) to Allâh for the affliction, since this is the cause
of receiving excellence and bounties." 
- Shaykhul-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah