Etiquette of making dua
Is it permissible to make dua or have an intention like this: “Ya Allah, I am praying salah to you, and in return I want ‘such-and-such’ in Jannah.” Or like: “Ya Allah, I am doing this good deed because I want such-and-such in Jannah.” Answer: ﺑﺴﻢ اﷲ اﻟﺮﺣﻤﻦ اﻟﺮﺣﯿﻢ In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful A believer’s primary motive when doing any good deed should be to attain the pleasure of Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ even though it is okay to desire Paradise and its bounties. Bear in mind, when one acquires the pleasure of Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ, then he will certainly acquire Paradise and its enjoyments. Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ says, “...and the pleasure of your Lord is the greatest...” (Surah Tawbah: v. 72) Allamah Alousi (اﷲ رﺣﻤﻪ) mentions in Ruhul M’aani: “And it (the pleasure of Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ) is the greatest because it is the starting point for entry to the everlasting abode and attainment of every fortune and honor. It is the ultimate goal of the lovers of Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ and the utmost desire of those yearning for Him.” (Ruhul M’aani: v. 10, p. 456 [Maktaba Rasheedia]) Moulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Sahib (اﷲ رﺣﻤﻪ) illustrates in his book Reformation of Character (p. 30-31 [Nur Publications]) what a believer’s intention should be when carrying out good deeds: Whatever work of din we do, we should intend it only for the pleasure of Allah. There should be no worldly aims underlying it, nor should it be for ostentation and show - i.e., people have to see me, to recognize me as a pious person, etc. To illustrate this point of having something contrary to a completely sincere intention, we need to reflect on, for example, fasting, wudu' (ablution), and alms. We do not fast to lighten our stomach and make it feel better, because prior to that it was in pain and suffered from loss of appetite; similarly, we do not make a fresh wudū (ablution) to attain coolness and escape from the heat; nor, do we give alms to a beggar so that a calamity maybe removed from us. Rather, we do these things for the pleasure of Allah. When a person does any act of worship, he should cleanse his heart of every objective besides the pleasure of Allah. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, "Whoever does an action for show, then on the Day of Judgment, Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ will expose his faults." He has also said, "Even a small amount of showing off is a form of shirk (polytheism)."
A believer’s dua should be performed with complete humility, displaying his weakness and dependence upon Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ. On the basis thereof, it is advised that you word your dua in the following manner: “O Allah, please grant me Paradise by virtue of this good deed or Salah I have performed.”
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammad Ahsan Osmani Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah Darul Ifta Birmingham