In heaven, there were two deeds which the Lord did not like: that of Satan and that of Adam (as). However, the Lord grants many opportunities for forgiveness and for reinstatement in His mercy because He is not unjust. Thus, man has differentiated himself from Satan, the accursed one. Satan’s reaction, long after his refusal to pay homage to Adam (as), was full of pride and arrogance. “The Lord said: O Iblis! What prevented you from prostrating yourself before The One whom I fashioned with My Hand? Satan replied: I am more worthy than him. Thou created me from fire and Thou created him from clay. The Lord then said: Get thee hence for Thou art accursed.” (38: 75). Since then, Satan has been accursed.
Whereas, Adam (as) has, on his side, since his descent from Paradise, never ceased to implore Allah Ta’ala to forgive him. “Adam (as) learnt from his Lord some words, and his Lord did forgive him.” (2: 37). According to Tafseers (commentaries and interpretations), the well-known du’a through which Adam (as) sought forgiveness is as follows: “Rabbanaa Zwalamnaa anfousanaa wa illam taghfir lanaa wa tarHamnaa lanakounanna minal khasireen.” The anecdote of Adam (as) reveals that his plea for forgiveness was not granted until he learnt a masnoon du’a. When he used that du’a to seek forgiveness, it was then that his plea was granted. Hence, this shows the importance of using masnoon du’as taught by Allah Ta’ala Himself or by His prophets (saw) when invoking the Lord.
Indeed the best du’as are those found in the Qur’an and those taught by the Prophet Muhammad (saw). The Prophet (saw) has stated: “Whoever does not make du’as incurs Allah’s wrath.” (Tirmizi)
One can make du’a in any language, but the formulas of masnoon du’as in Arabic remain the most effective ones (like the forgiveness of Adam (as)). However, the etiquette of du’as must be observed scrupulously. That is, seeking (forgiveness) with determination, calling upon Allah with His praises and sending salams upon the Prophet (saw) from start to finish. It is recommended to seal one’s du’as by mentioning ‘Ameen’ thrice at the end.
It is said that all du’as are accepted: either granted as soon as they are formulated, or some calamity is removed from the invoker or rewards are kept in his favours for the Day of Judgment. The du’a of worship (ibadah) is simple and no condition is attached to it, except that it is prohibited to recite it in the toilet.
Once, a companion complained to the Prophet (saw) that a scorpion had stung him. The Prophet (saw), in reply, said: “Had you recited the following du’a the night before: “A’ouzou bi kalimaatil laahit taammati min sharri maa khalaq.”(Muslim), you would have been spared this trouble.”
Apart from the abovementioned du’a, there are hundreds of du’as which provide protection from sorcery, magic and other evils.