The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "There is nothing more dear to Allah than a servant making Dua to Him." With this in mind, we offer these easy ways to revive the practice of Dua in our lives.
1. Pray for one non-threatening situation daily
Let's say you're in the market for a new computer. Or your toddler is throwing his or her umpteenth tantrum today. Or you need to finish a brief report at work before the end of the day. In any of these three situations, we usually rely on ourselves or others. We'll ask friends and read reviews to find the best laptop. We seek advice from experienced parents or read parenting blogs about how to tame tantrums. We gulp down some more caffeine, skip lunch and finish the report on time.
In all of these situations, we forget that it is really Allah who helped us find that snazzy laptop, calm the child with cookies or complete the report on time. Everything is in His hands. Next time you're faced with a non-threatening situation among the many mundane ones that make up life everyday, consider making Dua first, then doing what you normally do.
2. Take just one minute after Salah to make Dua
Making time for Salah every day is something important many Muslims do, whether they work outside the home or not. But in the rush to squeeze in at least the Fard, Dua may be skipped over. Next time you pray during the weekdays, set a one-minute timer on your watch or cell phone and ask for just one thing. It could be to complete that unfinished report at work. It could be to cure an ill parent or relative. But ask with full concentration and your heart, deep with the conviction that Allah answers all prayers and has the power to do the impossible.
3. Make a Dua during moments of happiness
It may the sound of birds chirping during an unusually warm winter day. It could be the sudden cute attack you have on a child. Or it could be enjoying the company of a good friend. Use these moments of happiness to make just one Dua, thanking Allah for the blessing you're enjoying while perhaps asking for another.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said: "Whosoever desires that Allah answers his Duas in unfavorable and difficult conditions, he should make plentiful Dua in days of ease and comfort."
4. Start an online Dua circle
Tools like email and social networking sites like Facebook are effective ways to reach and stay in touch with many people quickly and cheaply. They are also ideal methods of reviving the practice of making Dua.
Start an online Dua circle by making a list of family and friends you feel close to. Send them an email or tag them in a note explaining that you are asking them nothing more than one minute of their time once a week to make a Dua for yourself or another person on the list. It could be for a sibling to do well on an upcoming exam. It could be for someone's surgery to be successful. Then, set a day and time when everyone will make Dua for that one minute for that shared item.
5. Start the practice of "bedtime Dua"
Bedtime stories are a staple in many households with kids. Make a short Dua part of the nightly routine too. And even if you don't or no longer have small kids, spend not more than five minutes to make a "bedtime Dua" before you sleep.
6. Learn the Sunnah duas
There are plenty of books and websites that offer information on the Duas the Prophet used to say in daily situations, from leaving his house, to traveling to looking for a lost item. Once a month, memorize one of these Duas and practice using them daily until they become a habit.
7. When you hear the wail of a siren, make Dua for those it's for
Making Dua for others in pain or trouble, even when we don't know them, makes us sensitive to others' difficulties and more empathetic in general. It also offers us a way to help someone who we may have no other way of assisting.
"Culmination of prayer - Flickr - Al Jazeera English" by Al Jazeera English - Culmination of prayer. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Culmination_of_prayer_-_Flickr_-_Al_Jazeera_English.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Culmination_of_prayer_-_Flickr_-_Al_Jazeera_English.jpg