Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: I have read that we can make supplications while in of prostration in the obligatory prayers. Does this mean we can ask and say anything we need from our Lord or should we confine to those supplications which are in arabic and more so taught to us by our Prophet?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum
Generally, supplicating in prostration is highly emphasized. The Prophet (God bless him) not only supplicated in prostration but also identified this moment as one wherein supplications are accepted. Abu Huraryah narrated that the Prophet (God bless him) said, “The closest a slave is to his Lord is while he is in a state of prostration, so increase you supplications [therein].” [Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasa‘i]
In the obligatory prayers, scholars of the Hanafi school state that the basis is to limit oneself to what is established as the regular practice of the Prophet (God bless him), namely sufficing with subhan rabbi al-a‘la three, five, or seven times. The many narrations mentioning the Prophet (God bless him) supplicating in prostration are understood by these scholars as relating to supererogatory (nafl) prayers.
However, as Ibn Abidin states, if one is praying alone, it would be fine to supplicate in prostration even during the obligatory prayers. This is if one is not leading others. If he is, he should avoid prolonging his prostration with supplications since it may burden those following him.
What Can I Supplicate For?
As for the question of what you may supplicate for, the basic rule is that it would be permitted to supplicate with what has come in the Qur’an and sunna. And since the supplications in the Qur’an and sunna are all-encompassing and tremendous in their meaning, it is best to understand and use them.
If it is not specifically established in these two sources, it would be permitted only if it is not something that one can normally ask from people. Thus, one cannot say, “O God, grant me a car” or “O God, feed me.” This would invalidate the prayer.
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[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.