Dua (supplication) is the essence of worship. (Anas, may Allah be pleased with him related that the Prophet said this as reported in Tirmidhi).
The Prophet said: Duas of three persons are not refused: a fasting man when breaking the fast, a just ruler, and an oppressed person, Allah's blessings be upon him. (Abu Huraira in Tirmidhi).
No one makes a Dua without Allah giving him what he asks for, or keeping away from him a similar amount of evil, provided he does not ask for something sinful, or for breaking family ties (Jabir related this as the Prophet saying: Tirmidhi).
For a number of non-Arabic speaking Muslims, Duas are sometimes perceived as the good Arabic words Imams utter after prayers. They usually resort to simply repeating "Ameen" after everyone else, without understanding what they are asking Allah for.
Other non-Arabic speaking Muslims may try to memorize some of the major Duas in Arabic and can and do understand what's being said.
But one thing that's often forgotten about Dua is that it's direct communication with Allah. And Allah is multilingual. He actually created and knows all languages, whether it's the specific dialect of your village back home of the street talk of urban America.
Allah also knows what's hidden in the deep recesses of our hearts. Those feelings of pain, anguish, resentment, love, hatred, bitterness, longing, etc. that we so successfully hide from everyone else, including our closest family members and friends.
So why not let it all out. Why not let Allah be your "therapist". Let your prayer mat be your "couch" while you reveal and ask the One who is in control, Who knows you better than you know yourself, for all that you want in these next ten days and especially, nights, of Ramadan.
There are Duas that are definitely part of the Sunnah which you can and should use during Laylatul Qadr.
For example in this Hadith: It is narrated from Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said: I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the Night of Qadr what should I say?.' He said: 'Say: O Allah you are embodiment of forgiveness and you love to pardon so pardon me.' [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi]
However, Dua cannot be done in a distracted manner, as the Prophet has said in a Hadith narrated by Abu Huraira: Make Dua and be assured of being answered, and know that Allah does not answer a Dua from a careless heart which is not concentrating (Tirmidhi).
Here are some examples of personal, relevant Duas you can make in these remaining days of Ramadan, Insha Allah (God willing):
- Oh Allah, please forgive me for all of the bad that I've done, and I continue to do. You are so Merciful and kind, please forgive me, and help me stay away from all that's wrong. It's so hard for me, and I'm so weak but You are the Strong. Please increase me in sincerity.
- Oh Allah, I beg You, please guide my parents and my sister toward You. Do not let them die without realizing who their Lord is. Let them see the truth and help them resist the pressure of friends who try to turn them away from You.
- Oh Allah, bless those fine human beings with your bounties whose kind heart reaches out to their Christian neighbors in Pakistan and Muslim neighbors in America.
- Oh Allah, please guide my neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Curtis, toward You. They are such decent, good people, and they are so good to us. They have never opposed us in our Deen, and You have seen how they have been so open to us. Please guide them to the right path.
- Oh Allah, make every single aspect of my life be for You and in service of Your Creation. Please remove all false intentions that I have.
- Oh Allah, save humanity from being its own enemy. Protect Your creation from oppression. Save the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Kashmir,and Chechnya from internal and external oppressors and give them justice. Protect us all from violence, fear and danger, You are our Protector.
- Ya Allah, let me love You as You deserved to be loved, and let me fear You as You deserve to be feared, and let me leave this world serving Your creation for Your sake.
- Oh Allah, increase me in knowledge, but let this knowledge be with sincerity, not seeking fame, glory, status, material wealth. Let this knowledge serve Your cause in a way that You accept, and let it benefit humanity.
- Oh Allah, please guide my children and all children. They are surrounded by so much temptation and Haram (forbidden things). Protect them my Lord from all of the evil influences that are around them. Give them friends who will strengthen their faith and help them stay on the Straight Path.
- Oh Allah, guide me to seek my knowledge of You and this blessed Deen (religion) from those who are sincere, who possess the correct Islamic knowledge, who are moderate and gentle, who are not harsh or impatient with me, and who understand where I'm coming from, my situation as a Muslim in this country, living in this world today.
- Oh Allah, please help me stay away from Haram in achieving the best of this world.
- Oh Allah, don't let me ever turn away from You, no matter how many trials and difficulties You test me with. Let these difficulties serve to make me a stronger Muslim and more sincere to You.
- Oh Allah, bless our scholars and leaders who are striving to establish Islam in this world on the balanced path of Your beloved Prophet.
- Oh Allah, bless all of those who have taught me about You and Islam, from little Marya at the Islamic school, who taught me the importance of being patient with little kids, to Shaykh Ikram, who, despite his harshness, taught me the importance of speaking the Truth, no matter how much others dislike it.
- Oh Allah, give me the ability to forgive all those who have hurt me in word and deed, especially my brother ......, who has ignored every attempt I have made to reconcile with him. And please Oh Allah, join our hearts.
- Oh Allah, please get me out of this horrible debt that is burdening me. Please give me means that are Halal (Islamically permissible) to get out of this as soon as possible, so that I can face You on the Day of Judgment free of all debts.
- Oh Allah, open a way for my son to marry as soon as possible. Let him marry a sister who is sincere and devoted to You and who is compatible with him.
- Oh Allah, open a way for my daughter Salma to marry as soon as possible. Let her marry a brother who is sincere and devoted to You and who is compatible with her.
- Oh Allah, please grant my friend Ali and his wife Shaheen healthy children. They so badly want children and they Insha Allah would make such great Muslim parents. Please grant them children who will grow up to be a source of Mercy for them.
- Oh Allah, help orphans and poor wherever they are, but especially right now in Afghanistan. Give me the means and ability to do whatever I can for them.
- Oh Allah, guide and protect our teenagers who need Your Help and Guidance from all of the temptations of sex, drugs, alcohol and all of the other Harams in our society.
- Oh Allah, cleanse my heart of the sicknesses of arrogance and pride and let me die as one of the sincere, humble Muslims.
- Oh Allah, all of my brothers and sisters who are suffering for Your sake through torture, violence, in jails, etc., around the world please forgive their sins and grant them Paradise.
- Oh Allah, I have been so impatient and angry in my behavior, please give me patience and help me control my anger for Your sake.
- Oh Allah, open a way for me to make Hajj as soon as possible, so that I can fulfill my obligation to You.
- Oh Allah, give my sister Lisa patience with her cancer. She is in so much pain because of her treatments. Please give her patience and let her sickness be a way for her sins to be forgiven.
- Oh Allah, bless brothers Ali, Mike and Manzoor, who are always at our Masjid working on repairs, cleaning bathrooms or keeping the place clean after everyone else has left a mess.
- Oh Allah, lift the veils from the eyes of those who have been deceived into seeing Islam as something bad because of ignorance and media stereotypes.
- Oh Allah, bring all humans closer to You and each other. Please do not make us Muslims a test for them with our misrepresentation of Islam because of our bad behavior.
- Oh Allah, help me stop my bad habits of eating and talking too much.
- Oh Allah, please help me give up smoking this year. It's so hard to give up smoking after all of these years, but only You can make it easy.
These duas are being written just as guidelines. No names are real. Please adopt, modify, and write your own Duas. If you like. share those with others in our forums. The point is to get into talking to our Lord directly, in our style, in our language. While talking to Him with our forehead on His earth in Sajdah (prostration), we may reach a point where our words and minds may give way to a reflective heart which may help us talk to our Lord. It is Sajdah (the position of prostration in prayer) where a servants talks to his Lord.
Please don't say that Allah knows what you need. Yes, He does. But He also loves to hear from you. Consider this Hadith: Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything (Tirmidhi).
Photo Attribution - Quinn Mattingly - http://www.flickr.com/photos/terminalnomadphotograhy/2366127354/