Pursuit of lawful means of Livelihood:
Ibn 'Abbas reported, "Once, when I recited the verses of the Qur'an, 'O you people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good' (2.168) in the presence of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas got up and said, 'O Messenger of Allah! Ask Allah to make me one whose supplication is heard.' At this the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, 'O Sa'd, consume lawful things and your supplications will be heard, and by Him in Whose hands is the soul of Muhammad, when a man puts into his stomach a morsel of what is forbidden his prayers are not accepted for forty days, and a servant of Allah whose body is nourished by usury or by what is forbidden becomes more deserving of the Hell fire." (Al-Hafiz b. Marduwiyah)
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "O people, Allah is Good and He, therefore, accepts only that which is good. And Allah commanded the believers as He commanded the Messengers by saying, 'O Messengers, eat of the good things, and do good deeds; verily I am aware of what you do,' Qur'an 23.51 and He said: 'O those who believe, eat of the good things that We gave you'." Qur'an 2.172 The Prophet, peace be upon him, then made mention of a person who travels widely, his hair dishevelled, and covered with dust. "He lifts his hands and makes supplication, 'O Lord, O Lord,' but his diet is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, and his clothes are unlawful, and his nourishment is unlawful. How then can his supplication be accepted?" (Muslim and Ahmad)
Facing the Qiblah while making a Supplication:
The Prophet (peace be upon him went out and prayed for rain and faced the qiblah.
Supplicating at the most Opportune Times and Locations:
These are, for instance, the day of 'Arafah, month of Ramadan, Friday, the last part of the night, at dawn, during prostration, at the time of rainfall, between the adhan and iqamah, at the time of encounter of armies, at times of panic, and when one's heart is soft and tender.
Abu Umamah reported, "The Prophet, peace be upon him, was asked, 'What supplication finds the greatest acceptance?' He answered: 'A prayer offered in the middle of the latter part of the night and after the prescribed Prayers'.' (Reported by Tirmidhi with a sound chain of authorities)
Abu Hurairah reported, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "The servant is nearest to his Lord when he is prostrating to Him, so make supplication in this state." (Muslim) There are very many hadith found in various books on this subject.
Raising One's hands to one's shoulders:
Ibn 'Abbas is reported as saying, "When asking for something from Allah, you should raise your hands opposite to your shoulders; when asking for forgiveness you should point with one finger; and when making an earnest supplication you should spread out both your hands." This is reported by Abu Daw'ud.
Malik b. Yassar reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Supplicate Allah with the palms of your hands, and do not supplicate Him with their backs upwards."
Salman reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Your Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted One, is Modest and Generous, and He loathes to turn away His servant empty-handed when he raises his hands to Him in supplication."
Starting the Supplication with Allah's Praise and Blessings on His Prophet:
Fudalah b. 'Ubaid reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, heard a man supplicating during prayer. He did not glorify Allah, nor did he invoke blessings on the Prophet. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "He has been hasty." Then he called the man and said either to him, or to someone else, "When any one of you prays, he should begin by glorifying and praising his Lord and then he should invoke blessings on the Prophet, peace be upon him, and after that he should supplicate Allah for anything he wishes."
Supplicating with attention and humility, in a voice neither loud nor low:
Allah says: "Neither say your prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between." Qur'an 17.110 And "Call on your Lord with humility and in private, for Allah does not love those who go beyond bounds." Qur'an 7.55
Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari reported, "Once the people raised their voices in supplication. At this the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, 'Be easy on yourselves. You are not calling upon someone deaf or absent. Y ou are calling upon one Who is All-seeing and All-hearing. He is nearer to you than the neck of your mount. O Abdallah b. Qais, shall I tell you a word that is one of the treasures of Paradise? It is: "There is no power nor any might except with the permission of Allah''.' (Muslim and Bukhari)
Abdallah b. 'Umar reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Hearts are like vessels, some more attentive and capacious than others. When you supplicate Allah you should be certain of being answered, and know that Allah does not answer a supplication that comes from a careless and inattentive heart." (Ahmad)
Supplications without a sin or breaking blood ties:
Ahmad records that Abu Sa'id reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Any Muslim who makes a supplication containing nothing that is sinful and nothing that involves breaking ties of blood relationships, will be given for it by Allah one of these three things: He may accept his request, or assign its reward for him in the next world, or turn away from him an equivalent amount of evil." Those who heard it said, "We would, then, make many supplications." The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied, "Allah is more than ready to answer what you ask."
Avoiding hastiness for acceptance of supplication:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Your supplication will be answered if you are not impatient, and if you do not say, 'I supplicated but my supplication was not heard'." (Malik)
Supplicating with confidence in its acceptance:
Abu Hurairah also reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "None of you should say, 'O Allah, forgive me if You wish, (or) O Allah, have mercy on me if you wish.' Rather you should be firm in your request, for (Allah does whatever He wishes) and no one can force Him to do otherwise."
Choosing comprehensive words for supplication:
The Prophet, peace be upon him, loved comprehensive supplications but used other supplications as well. The Qur'anic supplication, "Our Lord, give us good in this world, and give us good in the hereafter," is just such a comprehensive supplication.
A man came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said, "O Messenger of Allah, which is the best supplication?" The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Supplicate to your Lord for forgiveness and security in this world and in the Hereafter." He came again the next day, and then again on the following (third) day and asked him the same thing. The Prophet, peace be upon him, gave him the same answer, and then said, "If you are given forgiveness and security in this world and in the Hereafter you have attained success." Another version says: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, 'No supplication made by a person is better than asking "O Allah, I ask You for security in this world and in the Hereafter"'." (Ibn Majah)
Avoid Supplicating Against (Cursing) Yourself, your Family, or Property:
Jabir reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Do not supplicate against your own selves, your children, your servants, or your property, lest you should supplicate at a time when supplications are accepted."
Repeating a supplication three times:
Abdallah b. Mas'ud reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, loved to repeat his supplication three times, and pray for forgiveness three times." (Abu Daw'ud)
When supplicating for someone begin with yourself:
The Qur'an says that the believers pray, "Our Lord, forgive us and our brethren in faith who have preceded us in faith." Ubayy b. Ka'b reported, "When someone requested the Prophet, peace be upon him, to pray for him, he used to begin by supplicating for his own self." (Reported by Tirmidhi with a sound chain of authorities)
Supplication of a father, of one who is fasting, a traveller, and of a person who is wronged:
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "The supplications of three persons are accepted, and there is no doubt concerning their acceptance: the supplication of a father, of a traveller, and of one who is wronged.' (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Daw'ud, and Tirmidhi, with a sound chain of transmitters)
The Prophet, peace be upon him, also said, "The supplications of three persons are not rejected: the supplication of a fasting person at the time of breaking fast, of a just ruler, and of a person who is wronged. Allah causes their supplications to rise above the clouds, and gates of heaven are opened for them, and God says, 'By My Majesty, I will help you, even it be after a while'." (Reported by Tirmidhi with a sound chain of authorities)
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