Q. 3 Allaah says: “And your Lord says: Call upon Me and I will respond to your supplication.”
So why is it that a person’s du’â (supplication) is sometimes un-answered?
A.3 The honourable Shaykh answered by saying:
“All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the worlds. The Salâh (prayers) and Salâm (peace) of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammad; and upon his Family and Companions. I ask Allaah for the ability to be correct in belief, speech and actions, for myself and for my brothers. Allaah says: “And your Lord says: call upon Me and I will respond to your call. Verily those who are too arrogant to worship Me will enter Hell in humiliation.” The questioner stated that he did indeed invoke Allaah -the Mighty and Majestic – but was not answered by Allaah. So he is in doubt with respect to this noble verse, in which Allaah promises to answer the one who supplicates to Him, and Allaah – the One free from all imperfections – never breaks His promise. The clarification of this is that there exists certain conditions that must be fulfilled, in order for
supplications to be answered. These conditions are: –
Firstly: Sincerity to Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic. That is to say, one must be sincere in his supplication, so he turns to Allaah – the One free from all imperfections – with an attentive heart, being truthful in his turning to Him, knowing that Allaah -the Most Perfect, the Most High – is capable of answering his supplication and hoping to be answered.
Secondly: During supplication, the caller should feel that he is in great need of Allaah – the Most Perfect, the Most High – in-fact in dire need; and that only Allaah alone answers the supplication of the one in distress and the One who removes evil.
Thirdly: The caller should refrain from unlawful (harâm) matters, since this acts as a barrier between the caller and his supplication being answered – as has been established in the authentic hadeeth, from the Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam who said: “Indeed Allaah – the Most High – is good and accepts only that which is good. Allaah has ordered the Believers to do that which He commanded the Messengers. Allaah – the Most High – has said: “O you Messengers! Eat of the good things and do righteous actions.”  And He – the Most High – says: “O you who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided.”  Then he mentioned (the case of a man) who, having journeyed far is disheveled and dusty and who spreads out his hands to the sky (saying: O Lord! O Lord! – Whilst his food is unlawful, his drink unlawful and he is nourished unlawfully. So how can he be answered!” [1
So the Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam explained the unlikelihood that this person’s supplication would be answered, even after fulfilling the apparent factors which aid the supplication being answered; which are: – One: Raising ones’ hands towards the sky – meaning to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, since He
is above the skies, above His ‘Arsh (throne). Extending the hands out towards Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – is amongst the causes of response; as is shown in the hadeeth related by Imâm Ahmad in his Musnad: “Indeed your Lord is Alive, Most generous. His feels shy that when his servant raises his hands towards Him, calling upon Him, that He should rebuff him empty, having nothing.” 
Two: This man called upon Allaah – the Most High – using the name Rabb (Lord). Seeking the means of approach (tawassul) to Allaah with this name is also regarded as one of the causes of response to the supplication because the Rabb is the Creator, the Owner, the Governer of all affairs – so the reign of the Heavens and the earth are in His Hands. Due to this, you will find that most of the supplications made in the Generous Qur’aan are by this name: “Our Lord! We have heard the call of one calling us to faith: ‘Believe you in the Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins, and remit from us our evil deeds, and take to Yourself our souls in the company of the righteous. Our Lord! Grant us what You did promise unto us through Your Messengers, and do not disgrace us on the Day of Judgement, for You never break Your promise. And their Lord has accepted of them, and answered them: Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female … ”
So seeking the means of approach to Allaah – the Most High – by this name is one of the causes of response to the supplication. Three: This man was a traveller, and journeying is often a cause for response to the supplication, because a person feels more in need of Allaah -the Mighty and Majestic – when travelling, than when a person is resident with his family. He was dusty and dishevelled, seeming
very insignificant in himself, as if the most important thing to him was to retreat to Allaah and to call upon Him – in any condition he may be – whether dusty and dishevelled, or in ease and opulence. Being dusty and dishevelled is also instrumental, like in the hadeeth attributed to the Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam: “Allaah descends to the lowest heaven, in the evening on the day of ’Arafah, boasting to the angels about those standing at ’Arafah; and says: They come to me dusty and dishevelled from all directions.” 
However, these factors did not bring about anything, because his food, drink, clothing and nourishment were all unlawful. So the Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam remarked: “So how can it be answered!”
Therefore, if these conditions are not satisfied, then the question of being answered will seem distant. However, if they are satisfied and the one supplicating is still not answered, then this is due to a wisdom which Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – knows and the supplicating one does not know what this wisdom is; and maybe that you like a thing and it is bad for you. Thus, when these conditions are fulfilled and the one supplicating is not answered, then either he has been protected from an evil which is greater than what he has asked for, or Allaah stores it for him, until the Day of Resurrection, and he then gets a greater reward. This is so, because the one calling – invoked Allaah, fulfilled the conditions and was not answered or was saved from a greater evil – is in the position of having carried out the causes and being prevented from being answered and therefore has a two-fold reward. Once for supplicating, and another for his trial of not being answered. So that which is greater and more complete is stored for him with Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic.
Also of importance is that the one supplicating should not express that he is not being answered, for this action in itself is a reason for the supplication not being answered – as the Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam said: “A servant’s prayer continues to be answered as long as he does not ask for anything sinful or breaking ties of relations, as long as he does not become impatient.” It was said: How does one become impatient O Messenger of Allaah? He said: He says: “I have supplicated, I have supplicated, but it has not been answered. Thereby becoming despondent and abandon supplicating.”  So it is not befitting that the one supplicating should become impatient about being answered, then become disappointed and despondent, thereby abandoning supplication. Rather, one should beseech Allaah, since every supplication you make to Allaah is an act of worship, which brings you closer to Him and increases your reward.
So my brother, you should take to supplication in all affairs, be it general or specific, in difficulty or in ease. And if it were that supplication was only a means of worshipping Allaah – the One free from all imperfections, the Most High – then it would still be befitting that a person strives in this. And with Allaah lies the success and ability.” 
1. Related by al-Bukhârî (no.3461) from ’Abdullâh ibn ’Amr radiallâhu ’anhu.
2. Sûrah Nahl 16:116-117
3. Sûrah Yûsuf 12:108
4. As-Sahwatul-Islaamiyyah (pp.75-76) of Shaykh lbn al-’Uthaymîn.
5. Hasan: Related by Abû Dâwûd (no.3641), and Ibn Majah (no.223), from Abûd-Darda
radiallâhu ’anhu. It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albânî in his checking to Sharhus-Sunnah
6. As-Sahwatul-Islaamiyyah (pp.76-77) of Shaykh Ibn al-’Uthaymîn.
7. Sûrah Ghâfir 40:60
8. Sûrah Mumin 23:51
9. Sûrah Baqarah 2:172
Fatawaa on Giving Daw’ah
10. Sahîh: Related by Muslim (no.1015) from Abû Hurayrah radiallâhu ’anhu.
11. Sahîh: Related by Ahmad (5/438), Abû Dâwûd (no.1488) and others. It has been
authenticated by al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajar in Fathul-Bârî (11/143).
12. Sûrah Âl-’Imrân 3:193-195.
13. Related by Ibn Hibbân (no.1006), Ibn Abî Ya’lâ (no.2071 and others – and the hadeeth
contains some weakness as al-Haythamî indicated in al-Majma’ (2/253).
14. Sahîh: Related by Muslim – from Abû Hurayrah.
15. From Majû’ Fatâwa war-Rasâ’il (no.155) of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Sâlih al-’Uthaymîn –