95. Why does God sometimes not answer our prayers?

The Qur’an states:

ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ

“Call upon Me and I will answer you.”1

If a friend says to another: if you ever get in to any trouble, give me a call and I will be there to help you, that sentence is subject to terms and conditions such as:

1. The friendship is maintained.

2. That the phone number is not lost, and that it is correctly dialed.

3. When contact is made, unrelated matters and issues are not said and unrealistic expectations are not had while at the same time, you should be performing your own responsibilities.

4. Whatever is called for is really a problem, not an imaginary issue or groundless fear.

5. In order for the problem to be solved, do not wait for all the requirements to fall in to place.

6. In order for your own problem to be solved, it should not result in the beginning of another problem for yourself or others.

7. When portraying the problem, to be honest and truthful.

Have we maintained our friendship and worship of Allah SWT? The Qur’an states:

وَيَسْتَجِيبُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ

“And He answers those who believe and do righteous deeds.”2

Maintaining the relationship with Allah SWT.

Have we even got the right phone number to call? In our narrations, we have certain etiquettes for prayers:

Starting with the name of Allah SWT – بسم الله – having ablution and facing the Qibla, having presence of the heart, being in a holy place such as a mosque, and before starting our requests we should invoke the Lord with his attributes and divine names, saying ten times “Ya Allah” – يا الله- “Ya Rabb” – یا رب – stating some of the blessings that we have been granted, be thank full towards Allah SWT, sending our divine blessings to the Prophet SAWA and his pure progeny, confessing to our own shortcomings and seeking forgiveness, we than state our needs in between two divine blessings upon the Prophet SAWA and his pure progeny and then to remain hopeful.

Do we have unrealistic expectations in our prayers and have we fulfilled our own duties?

A university student has not studied and prays that he passes. They say that a student once came home and went straight in to his room and became busy with his prayers. He prayed that the Himalayas by placed in a particular country and that the lake of Urmia be placed in Neyshabour. The mother asked: What kind of a prayer is that? The student replied that he answered some questions incorrectly and was praying that the geographical locations of these places be changed so that he can get the marks in his test!

Are we praying at the right time and have we fulfilled the other conditions for prayers?

In Islam, advice for the best times for praying for our needs have been gifted to us, they are Thursday nights (the night before Friday), dawn, after our daily prayers, Friday at sunset, after the Friday sermon of Friday prayers, during rainfall, and while our tears are flowing.

Are our problems really problems or we imagining that they are problems?

Many problems are necessary for the normal functioning of the natural world and the lifting of those problems means the destruction of the natural law of the world. A poor man who has a house with a broken roof will hear the sounds of the rain falling upon his roof. In order to solve the poor man’s problem, either God has to stop the rain all together, or for it not rain on top of the man’s house, or for the rain to not penetrate through to the broken roof or any of those will mean that some divine law must be broken in order for it to occur.