By Dr. Shadee Elmasry
There is *never* any utility to having doubt in your dua.
When you get a doubt in the middle of your dua, it is only from Shaytan (or self-defeating mental habits that Shaytan or other people already instilled within you). Shaytan wants to put a damper on your link with Allah, because dua is the weight-lifting of iman; Quran & dhikr is the protein.
Shaytan presents these doubts in different ways:
1. If one's iman is weak, he'll say, "It's impossible."
2. Or he will guilt you and say, "You have too many sins."
3. Or a false dichotomy: "There are people dying of hunger; pray for them instead of yourself."
4. If the person has some knowledge, Iblis dresses the doubt in religious garb, misusing the Quran: "Maybe it's not good for you since Allah says, 'A person prays for something bad, thinking it's good."
5. If the person is pious, Shaytan may say, "Don't get attached to the dunya."
6. Or he'll say, don't get your hopes up because if it doesn't happen, you'll be devastated.
7. He'll make you doubt yourself: maybe you'll get it but won't enjoy it. Maybe it's not all that you think it is.
8. Maybe this is a Divine trick, and Allah will answer me but it'll be bad for you.
In all cases, Iblis just wants one thing: that you put your hands down. Nothing burns him more than seeing a Muslim in a state of fervent dua.
Here are the responses to the above, and why we should never have doubt in dua:
1. Not only is everything possible for Allah, but it's also easy for Him too. Allah uses the word hayyin, which means something so paltry it's not even worth a discussion.
2. We ask while drawing in our mind the generosity of the Giver, not the purity of the asker. If sinlessness was a pre-condition, nobody would ever have the right to make dua.
3. False dichotomy because nothing stops you from making dua for them and for you. In fact, the adab is to think of the needy of the umma first, then our own desires second.
4."Maybe it's not good for me." Well, it also might be very good for you. How do you know? Leave that future guesswork aside; that is Allah's territory. What upon us is to make our best judgment and go forward without hesitating.
5. Nothing you get through Allah is ever bad no matter how materialistic it seems. If you recognize Allah as the giver, then you will be safe from its harms.
6. Does anyone think Allah will see you have hope in Him, and then let you down. Even if He answers you by another means, such as removing a calamity or redirecting your heart elsewhere, it will make you happy. The end result of fervent dua will for sure be happiness, one way or another.
7. You're not confident when it comes to the halal... but when you committed sins (and we've all done sins), you were very strong-willed. Why? Just compare your resolve. Why strong in the haram, but suddenly doubtful when it comes to the halal.
8. When Allah answers a genuine, sincere, pure-hearted prayer, He blesses it. It will make you happy and be good for your deen and dunya. Allah does not play tricks with the believers. His "makr" or plotting, is only directed at those who themselves are devious, and plot and scheme.
And most importantly, the Prophet ﷺ explicitly told us, "Make dua while you are certain of the answer." Lack of certainty, doubt, lack of hope...all reflect weak faith and weak iman, and hence have no place in our heart when we turn to Allah.