Why Supplications Are Not Answered Sometimes
Fatwa No: 418060

Question

Salam alaykom. I pray my prayers regularly and I have not missed my obligatory prayers for many years. I raise my children upon the Sunnah and keep ties with my family and try my best to keep away from sins alhamdulillah. But sometimes I have bad dreams, even though I have recited ayatul-kursi before bed. How is this possible when the ahaadith states that whoever recites Ayatul-kursi before bed Allah will send an angel to protect him til dawn?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The Athkaar (expressions of remembrance of Allah) that a Muslim recites throughout the day and night are supplications and means of protection that shield him against harm. They are a weapon for the Muslim, and in order for that weapon to be effective in defeating the enemy, some conditions must be fulfilled. Al-Munaawi,  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Faydh Al-Qadeer: "As long as the weapon is perfectly sharp and flawless, the arm using it is strong, and there is no impediment to its effectiveness, it will definitely cause damage to the enemy. If any of these three conditions is missing, the effect will be held back. So if the supplication itself is improper (and unacceptable), the supplicant recites it with an inattentive heart, or there is an impediment preventing it from being answered, the supplication will not be effective." [End of quote]

The Athkaar, then, are means to protect the slave of Allah, and these means may be ineffective due to the presence of an impediment. Al-Munaawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him also said: "Ineffectiveness may be due to the weakness of the heart and that it does not wholly turn to Allah while reciting the supplication. In this case, the supplication is like a loose flaccid bowstring shooting weak arrows. It may also be due to the existence of an impediment preventing it (the supplication) from being answered, such as the consumption of unlawful gains, injustice, the stain of sins enveloping the heart, and being overtaken by heedlessness and forgetfulness." [End of quote]

A medication that a patient takes is a means for recovery, but it may not be effective, and the patient may not be healed due to some impediment. Similarly, reciting Athkaar may be ineffective due to an impediment pertaining to the supplicant himself, which he might be unaware of, and the problem is not in the Athkaar being recited. Also, those Athkaar may actually be effective while the supplicant is unaware of that; they may relieve the calamity in its totality, and they may alleviate it. This is because the supplication has three standings with calamity. The supplication may be stronger than the calamity and thus wards it off. It may be weaker than the calamity and hence it is not able to overcome it, and, thus, the calamity befalls the slave of Allah, but the supplication might alleviate it. Third, the supplication and calamity might be of equal strength, so they struggle, and each prevents the effect of the other. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron.} [Quran 13:11] While interpreting this verse, Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him explained that "what is meant by “successive angels” is the angels whom Allah appoints to guard a person from before and from behind him. However, when the decree of Allah is to befall him, they withdraw from him.” [End of quote]

Reciting Athkaar protects the slave of Allah from the harm of the devils of the Jinn and mankind, but when the inevitable decree of Allah comes, then it takes effect. If a person comes out of his house and recites the prescribed supplication, saying, “Allaahumma inni a‘oothu bika an adhill aw udhall… (I seek refuge with You from leading (others) astray or being led astray…),” this is a supplication, but it is not necessarily answered by Allah. Allah may not give him exactly what he asked for, but He may repel from him unthinkable evils. Allah may also save the reward for him to benefit therefrom on the Day of Resurrection.

Allah Knows best.

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