How does one gain sincerity is dua? Is du’a best silent or out loud? Is it sufficient to repent for minor sins once? What is Yaqin (certainty)?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
How To Gain Sincerity in Supplicating
Regarding your first question, ‘How does one gain sincerity in supplication (du’a)?..” there are various means one can take to accomplish this. I’ll mention some as follows:
(1) Keeping in mind one’s desperate need of Allah’s assistance in all aspects of our life.
(2) Outwardly humbling one’s self. This can be done by sitting in the tashahhud style of sitting (like the end of the prayer), facing the Qibla, raising one’s hands that the palms face the sky, and holding parallel to one’s chest.
(3) Supplicating in a language one understands.
(4) Trying to bring one’s self to tears.
(5) Start by praising Allah, acknowledging and counting off His blessings upon one, and admitting to one’s deficiencies in showing gratitude for such blessings.
Supplicating Silently or Aloud
In essence, both supplicating silently and aloud are allowed, and one should choose that which is more effective in bringing one’s heart to a state of presence.
Otherwise, supplicating quietly is the basis. Allah Most High says, “Call on your Lord humbly and privately- He does not like those who transgress His bounds.” [Qur’an; 07:55]
Also, Remember your Lord inwardly with humility and reverence and in a moderate tone of voice, both morning and evening. And do not be one of the heedless.” [Qur’an; 07:205]
Is Repenting Once Sufficient?
If one sincerely repents, even once, for their sin, their sin is forgiven. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who repents is like one who has no sin.” [Ibn Majah]
The condition for one’s repentance to be sincere are as follows:
(1) One must have remorse for their sin
(2) One must desist from the sin
(3) One must resolve never to repeat the sin
[Nawawi, Riyadh al-Salihin]
Note that minor sins are expiated by good deeds and seeking general forgiveness from Allah, whereas the aforementioned repentance with its condition is obligatory for major sins. [Ghazali, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din]
What is Certitude (Yaqin)?
Imam ‘Abdullah bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad defines certitude in his work ‘The Book of Assistance’ as follows:
The word certitude (yaqin) is an expression of strong, deeply rooted faith to the extent that it’s like a firm mountain. At that point, no doubts can shake it nor any misgivings. Even the mere presence of doubt becomes impossible.
If whispers of doubt try to affect it from outside sources, the ear does not listen to it, and the heart pays it no mind, and Satan is not able to even come near to a person of such certitude; rather, he flees from them…”
Imam al-Haddad continues by giving three methods of cultivating this certitude.
(1) That the slave (of Allah) listen deeply with their heart and ears to the verses (of the Qur’an) and the narrations (of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and give him peace)) that show the majesty, perfection, and greatness of Allah, His oneness in regards to creating and commanding; and that show the truthfulness of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and give him peace), His miracles, and what occurred to all that turned away from Him…
(2) To examine with one’s eyes the greatness of the heavens and the Earth and to all the amazing creations Allah has spread throughout them.
(3) To act according to all that faith entails, outwardly and inwardly, and to persevere in doing so – to the furthest extent of one’s ability -for the Next Life.
[Haddad, Book of Assistance]
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.