The seven types of people whose duas are never rejected
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله تعالى عنه قَالَ رَسُولُ الله صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم: ‘ثَلاَثَةٌ لا تُرَدُّ دَعْوَتُهُمْ: الصائِمُ حِينَ يُفْطِرُ، وَالإمَامُ العَادِلُ، وَدَعْوَةُ المَظْلُومِ يَرْفَعُهَا الله فَوْقَ الغَمَام وَيَفْتَحُ لَهَا أَبْوَابَ السمَاءِ، ويَقُولُ الرَبُ: وَعِزَّتِي لأنصُرَنَّكَ وَلَوْ بَعْدَ حِينٍ’. رواه الترمذي و ابن ماجه وابن خزيمة وقَالَ الشيخ أحمد شاكر: صحيح.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
‘There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just ruler, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.’ (Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
We see from this hadith the first three types of people whose dua is never rejected – the fasting person when he is breaking his fast, the just ruler, and the oppressed person.
1. The one who is fasting
Anyone fasting has the opportunity, on breaking their fast, to make an un-rejected dua. There are still conditions the dua should fulfil, for instance, the dua has to be for something permissible; it can’t be outside the shariah, which is haram. Such a dua will not be answered by Allah Almighty.
This is a gift to everyone who is fasting. It is an unrejected dua, so invest in it.
Iftar time – Golden opportunity.
Iftar time is the time for acceptance, so don’t be busy with cooking. Prepare beforehand. When the time comes for iftar sit down and focus and make dua. This is a special blessed time for acceptance.
Are some duas rejected?
Which duas are not accepted? What are the conditions for acceptance? A present heart. Allah does not accept the dua of a heart which is not focused, or ghaafil (heedless).
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
Call upon Allah while being certain of being answered, and know that Allah does not respond to a supplication from the heart of one heedless and distracted. (Tirmidhi)
We have to be aware what we are asking for, and what we are saying. We should not make an autopilot dua. We need to be fully present and then Allah will answer our duas.
In addition, duas for anything that is haram, or causes harm to someone will not be responded to, even if the person asking is from one of the categories of people whose dua is not rejected.
2. The just ruler
Anyone in the position of authority, such as a leader or imam or parent and so on who is just has an accepted dua. Anyone who is an oppressor – will not have their dua accepted.
Why do we need this condition?
The supplication of the just ruler is accepted because of the righteousness of the supplicant, his humility and the expression of his need, when he is supplicating whole-heartedly and begs.
Allah Almighty responds because the ruler controlled his desire to flex his muscles – he was in a position of power and leadership, he had the grip on people’s provisions and situations and could act unjustly, but he refrained and acted justly. Therefore if he makes dua, his dua is accepted.
3. Dawat al mazloom – the supplication of the oppressed
The one who is oppressed has no one to turn to but Allah Almighty. Regardless of their religion, as long as they are oppressed, Allah will accept his dua.
Their dua could be for something good, such as for their oppressor to be guided, or it could be for revenge and punishment. Allah will accept it either way.
The hadith shows beautifully how this dua is raised to the sky, and Allah Himself, ( or through His Angels) lifts it beyond the clouds, and with the gates of heaven flung open wide for it. This is a window to the unseen. If we weren’t told this we would not know this.
The fact the gates of heaven are wide open tells us that the dua travels fast. There are no gates to knock on. And Allah Almighty says,
By My Might, I will aid you. Even if it takes a while.
Oppression is one of the worse actions. In the holy hadith, on the authority of Abu Dharr al-Ghifari (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from his Lord, that He said:
O My servants! I have forbidden dhulm (oppression) for Myself, and I have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. (Muslim)
أَمَّن يُجيبُ المُضطَرَّ إِذا دَعاهُ وَيَكشِفُ السّوءَ وَيَجعَلُكُم خُلَفاءَ الأَرضِ ۗ أَءِلٰهٌ مَعَ اللَّهِ ۚ قَليلًا ما تَذَكَّرونَ
Or, who answers the one in need when he prays to Him, and relieves adversity, and makes you successors on earth? Is there another god with God? How hardly you pay attention. (27:62)
وَلا تَحسَبَنَّ اللَّهَ غٰفِلًا عَمّا يَعمَلُ الظّٰلِمونَ ۚ إِنَّما يُؤَخِّرُهُم لِيَومٍ تَشخَصُ فيهِ الأَبصٰرُ
Do not ever think that God is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only defers them until a Day when the sights stare. (14:42)
If someone is upset, to the extent He is harmed, he may raise his hands and make supplication to get his rights back, get revenge, or for his oppressor to be guided, though this is unlikely.
Yet this is what happened when the Prophet (peace be on him) went to Taif, and was pelted with stones and called names. Bleeding and humiliated, on his way back, he stopped to have rest, Jibril came down with another angel, who was the angel of the mountains, and said that the angel could crush the people of Taif between the mountains, but he said I would rather that Allah guided his people. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
The worst was the day of Aqaba when I presented myself to Ibn Abd Yalail ibn Abd Kulal and he did not respond to what I intended. I departed, overwhelmed with excessive sorrow, and I could not relax until I found myself at a tree where I lifted my head towards the sky to see a cloud shading me. I looked up and saw Jibril in it. He called me saying:
Allah has heard your people’s saying to you and how they have replied, and Allah has sent the Angel of the Mountains to you that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people. The Angel of the Mountains greeted me and he said: O Muhammad, order what you wish, and if you like, I will let the mountains fall on them.’
The Prophet said, ‘No, rather I hope that Allah will bring from their descendants people who will worship Allah alone without associating partners with him.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)
عن عائشة رضى الله عنها زَوْجَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم هَلْ أَتَى عَلَيْكَ يَوْمٌ كَانَ أَشَدَّ مِنْ يَوْمِ أُحُدٍ قَالَ لَقَدْ لَقِيتُ مِنْ قَوْمِكِ مَا لَقِيتُ وَكَانَ أَشَدُّ مَا لَقِيتُ مِنْهُمْ يَوْمَ الْعَقَبَةِ إِذْ عَرَضْتُ نَفْسِي عَلَى ابْنِ عَبْدِ يَالِيلَ بْنِ عَبْدِ كُلاَلٍ، فَلَمْ يُجِبْنِي إِلَى مَا أَرَدْتُ فَانْطَلَقْتُ وَأَنَا مَهْمُومٌ عَلَى وَجْهِي، فَلَمْ أَسْتَفِقْ إِلاَّ وَأَنَا بِقَرْنِ الثَّعَالِبِ فَرَفَعْتُ رَأْسِي، فَإِذَا أَنَا بِسَحَابَةٍ قَدْ أَظَلَّتْنِي فَنَظَرْتُ فَإِذَا فِيهَا جِبْرِيلُ فَنَادَانِي فَقَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ سَمِعَ قَوْلَ قَوْمِكَ لَكَ وَمَا رَدُّوا عَلَيْكَ، وَقَدْ بَعَثَ إِلَيْكَ مَلَكَ الْجِبَالِ لِتَأْمُرَهُ بِمَا شِئْتَ فِيهِمْ فَنَادَانِي مَلَكُ الْجِبَالِ، فَسَلَّمَ عَلَىَّ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ، فَقَالَ ذَلِكَ فِيمَا شِئْتَ إِنْ شِئْتَ أَنْ أُطْبِقَ عَلَيْهِمِ الأَخْشَبَيْنِ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَلْ أَرْجُو أَنْ يُخْرِجَ اللَّهُ مِنْ أَصْلاَبِهِمْ مَنْ يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ وَحْدَهُ لاَ يُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئًا. البخاري ومسلم.
In this scenario you can be angry and ask for what you want. If you are oppressed you have the right to ask. The Prophet (peace be on him) preferred to ask for something better, than just revenge. I am not saying punishment is not allowed, if they deserve it.
The Prophet (peace be on him) is telling us not to be oppressive and that if we are oppressed then we have the right to ask and Allah Almighty will accept your dua.
Even though the dua is accepted, this does not mean that the answer is seen within a few minutes, hours or days. Sometimes it takes time to see the response. Allah Almighty is clarifying that you will not necessarily see the dua answered straightway, as some scenarios, from His wisdom, take time ‘wa lau badaheen’, and sometimes a very long time. However when the time is right, Allah will make it happen. We ask Allah to respond quickly but whatever He destined will happen. We cannot force Him to do it in our time frame. It is up to Him. Without doubt, He will respond at the right time.
4. Dawat al Musafir – the traveller
The traveller is usually alone, away from their family and home and authority, network, connections. He can be vulnerable, or even in danger. Allah Almighty therefore gives this lifeline and confidence boost to the traveller, so he doesn’t feel lonely and weak, He will support Him. When you are conscious of the fact that Allah Almighty will be there for you.
If you are travelling make dua for yourself, your family and your friends and loved ones.
‘Umar when he was travelling once asked the Prophet (peace be on him) if he would like anything, and he replied:
‘Umar, ‘Do not forget us in your dua’, O my brother.’ (Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi. Weak)
When the Prophet (peace be on him) call him okhayy (little brother) Umar was delighted.
In another narration we have a similar narration, we learn of two other categories whose duas are not rejected – the traveller and the parent.
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
Three supplications are answered without doubt. The supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveller, and the supplication of the parent for his son.’ (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)
5. The dua of the parent
We have two versions of this hadith with a difference of wording in the narrations in Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi. In Abu Dawud it says ‘the supplication of the parent for his child, and the other ‘the supplication of the parent against his child.’ This is speedily accepted.
Be careful not to upset, or be rude or harsh to your parents. Allah mentioned in the Quran on many occasions, and be good to your parents bil walidaini ihsana and don’t say ‘uff’ to them.
Your Lord has ordained that you must not worship anything other than Him and that you must be kind to your parents. If either or both of your parents should become advanced in age, do not express to them words which show your slightest disappointment. Never yell at them but always speak to them with kindness. (17:23)
And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, ‘My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small’.(17:24)
Show them kindness. If they are upset with you, go and make up with them immediately. If they make dua against you it is answered very speedily. If they are happy with you, and they raise their hands and make beautiful duas for you.
Treat parents well
Allah Almighty asked us to be good to our parents and one of the biggest sins (kabair) is to treat them badly. In some scenarios, however, some parents abuse the power, honour and status that they have been given, and they bully and control their children. They blackmail them into doing what they want. If they are not being fair and asking for something that is not in line with shariah, their dua will not be accepted. There is no special treatment for parents who ask their children to do something haram. For instance buy them alcohol or they will make dua against them.
Yet even when they ask their children to do something haram, such as shirk, children have to be kind and gentle to them. As Allah said in Surah Ankabut:
And We have enjoined on man goodness to his parents, and if they contend with you that you should associate (others) with Me, of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them, to Me is your return, so I will inform you of what you did. (29:8)
Sometimes parents ask their son to divorce his wife without a valid reason. This is haram. If the daughter in law is not doing anything wrong, but the parents don’t like her, this is not their wife, this is their son’s wife. Of course it is better if they get on, but they should not insist on their son divorcing their spouse, unless she is nasty and a trouble maker and disrespectful. It is not reasonable to ask for something that is not allowed or acceptable.
Some parents insist that they child should obey by quoting the story of Ibrahim, who asked Ismail (peace be on them) to divorce his wife. However Ibrahim was a prophet, with all due respect, parents are not prophets. We should not use this as an example to control your son or his life. If the son wants to marry a wife who is practicing, with good character, and well-respected and has a good family, they cannot reject her on the basis that she is not from the same cultural background. Parents cannot use culture to dominate their children. How will they answer Allah on the Day of Judgement that they rejected a proposal because the person was not from the right city?
6. The dua of one who is good to his parents
The next category is those who are good to their parents. There are many hadith which highlight this, but one of the most beautiful examples is of a man called Owais Al Qarani, who lived in Yemen.
He yearned desperately to meet the Prophet (peace be on him) and learn from him, serve him, and even to go to battle under him. For any able Muslim man, living at the time of the Prophet, there could have been no greater dreams than these. However, as he looked after his mother, he could not leave her. Owais dutifully looking after her and did not get to make the trip to meet the Prophet (peace be on him).
Time passed and the Prophet (peace be on him) passed away as did Owais’s mother, yet the Prophet (peace be on him), though he had never met him, left instructions with his own companions who had lived with him and learned from to seek the dua of this man whom none of them had met. Why? Because his dua was so beloved to Allah as a result of his service to his mother.
In this hadith, the Prophet (peace be in him) described to his companions how they would recognise Owais when they finally met him, from the marks of leprosy that he has once had – a man so esteemed that the closest companions of the Prophet would seek out his invocations to Allah for forgiveness for themselves.
عن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله تعالى عنه قَالَ سمعت رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، يَقُولُ: «يَأْتِي عَلَيْكُمْ أُوَيْسُ بْنُ عَامِرٍ مَعَ أَمْدَادِ أَهْلِ الْيَمَنِ، مِنْ مُرَادٍ، ثُمَّ مِنْ قَرَنٍ، كَانَ بِهِ بَرَصٌ فَبَرَأَ مِنْهُ إِلَّا مَوْضِعَ دِرْهَمٍ، لَهُ وَالِدَةٌ هُوَ بِهَا بَرٌّ، لَوْ أَقْسَمَ عَلَى اللهِ لَأَبَرَّهُ، فَإِنِ اسْتَطَعْتَ أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرَ لَكَ فَافْعَلْ».
‘Umar May Allah be pleased with him said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say:
There would come to you Owais bin Amir with the reinforcement from the people of Yemen. (He would be) from Qaran, (the branch) of Murad. He had been suffering from leprosy from which he was cured but for a spot of a dirham. His treatment with his mother would have been excellent. If he were to take an oath in the name of Allah, He would honour that. And if it is possible for you, then do ask him to beg forgiveness for you (from your Lord). (Muslim)
7. The dua for another Muslim in his absence
The final person whose dua is not rejected is the one who makes dua for another. Abu-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘The supplication of a Muslim for his (Muslim) brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: ‘Ameen! May it be for you, too’. (Muslim)
We now have another person whose dua is always accepted, when someone makes a dua for something good for another person – Allah instructed the angels to make the same dua for you. If you have a good friend in their absence, and you ask Allah to look after them, forgive them, protect them and so on, the angels appointed to this task will say ameen to everything you say and say the same for you as well. It is a beautiful hadith and it shows the importance of true friendship, loyalty, sincerity and good relationships.
If we have wronged someone seek their forgiveness. We do not want to be an oppressor and suffer from their dua against us.
Make dua to Allah to lift our calamities and hardship from the ummah and bring us back to Him. And we ask Allah to make us from those He releases from hellfire in Ramadan and grants Jannah.
We ask Allah Almighty to make our supplications from those which He accepts. Ameen.
Delivered by Shaykh Haytham Tamim in his online Hadith Qudsi Class on 28th May 2020.
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