What is Istikhara?

What is Istikhara?: A Comprehensive Guide​

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What is Istikhara?: A Comprehensive Guide

You’ve likely come across the term Istikhara before and may have heard various perspectives on it within society. Istikhara is a valuable tool for muslims, enabling them to safeguard themselves from potential setbacks in their endeavors. In this article, Insha’Allah, we will delve deep into the concept of Istikhara, gaining a profound understanding of its significance.

Definition of Istikhara, its reality within the Islamic context, and its profound significance

Istikhara is an act that not only shields individuals from tangible losses but also draws them nearer to Allah by adhering to the Sunnah. Regardless of a person’s wisdom, intelligence, or experience, the potential for error in their judgments and thoughts always exists. They might perceive beneficial things as harmful or vice versa. In this context, Allah has provided guidance in the Noble Quran:

Translation: “It could be that you dislike something when it is good for you, and it could be that you like something when it is bad for you. Allah knows, and you do not know.” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 216)

The essence of Istikhara lies in seeking goodness and blessings in our daily lives. It involves turning to Allah in all permissible matters, beseeching Him for guidance, blessings, and goodness in those matters.

It’s crucial to dispel the misconception that Istikhara provides immediate knowledge or information about a particular issue. Throughout this series, we will thoroughly address various misconceptions stemming from this misunderstanding. Istikhara is a prescribed Sunnah act, and its method and supplication have been transmitted in the narrations from the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Jabir ibn Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) instructed us to perform Istikhara in every matter, just as he used to teach us chapters of the Quran. He (peace be upon him) emphasized, “Whenever any of you intends to do something, let them pray two Rak’aa of prayer.”

Subsequently, the supplication of Istikhara was taught (which will be covered in detail in coming sections, InshaAllah).

(Sunan Tirmidhi, Book of Istikhara Prayer, Hadith 480)

This Hadith emphasizes a key point: the honorable companions equated the teaching of Istikhara with the method by which the Quran was imparted to them. Consequently, grasping its importance becomes a straightforward task.

Likewise, another Hadith conveys:

Translation: “Finding contentment in Allah’s decree is the joy of a human being, neglecting Istikhara is the misfortune of a human being, and harboring discontentment with Allah’s decree is the misfortune of a human being.” (Hadith No. 2151, Sunan Tirmidhi)

Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) wisely stated:

“A person who seeks goodness from Allah, seeks advice from others, and steadfastly abides by their decision will never find themselves in a situation of regret.” (Al-Kalam al-Tayyib, page 71)

Numerous Ahadith affirm that an individual who maintains a close connection with Allah, consistently seeks goodness and blessings from their Lord in every circumstance, and implores for success and prosperity in all their endeavors will never be forsaken by Allah. Instead, He orchestrates their affairs and bestows blessings upon their sustenance, lifespan, wealth, and family. A defining trait of a true believer is their instinct to turn to Almighty Allah in every situation, beseeching goodness and blessings. Consequently, even their misguided endeavors are rectified, leading them to experience nothing but goodness and divine favor.

Purpose and wisdom of Istikhara

The purpose of performing the Sunnah Istikhara is clear:
it allows an individual to fulfill their responsibility in a matter they have undertaken while humbly referring themselves to the boundless knowledge and power of Allah. Think of it as a way to lighten the burden of responsibility.
So, what is Istikhara? It’s a way to present one’s request before Allah, who is unmatched in His mercy and generosity. His kindness knows no bounds, and His knowledge is all-encompassing.
Whatever situation is beneficial for a person, Allah grants them success in it, and there is no need for a specific dream. Whatever is in their favor will happen, whether or not they perceive its goodness or it comes according to their knowledge. At that moment, they find peace and tranquility because what unfolds is ultimately for their benefit. This is the intended outcome of the prescribed Istikhara. Therefore, this guidance has been prescribed for the entire Ummah until the Day of Judgment.

Hazrat Shah Waliullah Dehlvi (may Allah have mercy on him) mentioned two wisdoms of Istikhara in his renowned book “Hujjatullah al-Baligha”:

The first wisdom is that during the time of ignorance (pre-Islamic era), it was a custom to seek divination using arrows. These arrows were kept near the Kaaba. Some arrows had (My Lord has commanded me) written on them, some had (My Lord has prohibited me), and some were without any markings. The person seeking divination would shake the arrows and then draw one. If the arrow with “God Commandment” came out, they would proceed with the task, if the arrow with “God Prohibition” came out, they would abandon the task, and if the arrow without any markings came out, they would repeat the process of seeking divination. However, the prohibition of this practice was revealed through Surah Al-Ma’idah, verse 3. This prohibition has two reasons:

a. It is a baseless act and merely a coincidence. Whenever one puts their hand in the bag, some arrow will definitely come out.

b. Seeking divination in this way is an accusation and a false imputation on Allah. Allah has not given any command or prohibition in this manner. Accusing Allah is prohibited.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) replaced this practice with the teaching of Istikhara. The wisdom behind it is that when a person seeks guidance from their Lord, turns their matter to their Creator, and becomes eager to know the will of Allah, they prostrate themselves at the doorstep of Allah and have a humble heart. Allah for surely assist His servant. It opens the door to blessings from Allah and reveals the secret of the matter. Hence, Istikhara is not merely a coincidence; rather, it has a strong foundation.

The second wisdom is that through Istikhara, a person becomes angelic in nature. The one who performs Istikhara removes their personal opinion and submits to the will of Allah. They bow their head completely towards Allah. In this, they resemble the angels who manage divine inspiration. When they receive inspiration, they make every effort to convey it to the divine caller. They are not self-centered.

Sunnah and correct method of performing Istikhara

According to the Sunnah, the straightforward, simple, and easy method of Istikhara is to perform two Rak’ahs of optional prayer with the intention of Istikhara at any time during the day or night (excluding the Makrooh times for offering Nafli prayers)

Make the intention that this matter or issue is before you, and whatever path is better for you, Allah should make a decision about it. After completing the prayer, recite the recommended supplication of Istikhara taught by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This supplication is quite remarkable. Only Allah’s Prophets can make such a supplication, and it is beyond the capability of anyone else. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not leave any aspect of life without including it in this supplication. Even if a person exerts all their effort, they cannot make a supplication as comprehensive as the one taught by the noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). If someone doesn’t remember the supplication, they can refer to a book and recite it. If reciting the supplication in Arabic becomes difficult, they can also recite it in their own language.

Just remember that the essential words of the supplication are what matter. Here is the supplication of Istikhara:

Istikhara Dua in Arabic
Istikhara Dua in Arabic

“O Allah, I seek Your guidance by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have no power. You know, I do not know, and You are the Knower of the unseen.

O Allah, if You know that this matter [mention your matter here] is good for me in my religion, my livelihood, and the consequences of my affairs, both in this world and the Hereafter, then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me.

And if You know that this matter is bad for me in my religion, my livelihood, and the consequences of my affairs, both in this world and the Hereafter, then turn it away from me and turn me away from it. And decree for me the good wherever it may be, and make me content with it.”

This is the prescribed method of Istikhara. Besides this, any additional conditions that people may have imposed have no religious significance. We will discuss those conditions in the coming sections, insha’Allah.

Remember, even women in the state of menstruation or postnatal bleeding can perform Istikhara. Such women, due to the restrictions of Islamic commandments for those days due to childbirth or weakness, may not be able to offer the two Rak’ahs of prayer for Istikhara. However, they can still make the recommended supplication and ask Allah for guidance and goodness, as prayer is not obligatory for them in this case. But supplication can be made in all circumstances.

How many times should Istikhara be performed?
And how can we recognize the outcome of Istikhara and receive guidance?

In a narration, Hazrat Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to him:

“O Anas! When you intend to do something, seek guidance from Allah regarding it by performing Istikhara seven times. Then, after that, follow what your heart inclines to, meaning, whatever Allah puts in your heart as a result of Istikhara, choose that as it is better for you.” (Mazahir-e-Haq, Istikhara ki Namaz o Dua, Al-Fasl al-Awwal, Vol. 1, p. 717, Dar-ul-Isha’at, Karachi)

Scholars suggest that it is better to perform Istikhara continuously with dedication for three to seven days. If there is still indecisiveness or doubt afterward, continue the practice of Istikhara until there is an inclination towards any particular direction. During this time, it is essential to understand that there is no fixed duration for performing Istikhara.

The only effect of Istikhara is that it resolves the hesitation and doubt regarding whether to choose one option over the other. The recommended actions of Istikhara provide two benefits:

  1. To attain certainty regarding a particular matter.

  2. Facilitating the availability of means and causes for that benefit.

However, seeing a dream is not necessary during Istikhara.

(Islah-e-Inqilab Ummat)

The acceptance of Istikhara is indicated by the certainty in a particular direction. After achieving that certainty, one should proceed with the action or decision.

If, even after performing Istikhara multiple times, there is no certainty or inclination towards any side, one should seek consultation in addition to Istikhara. Consultation means seeking advice from an expert or relevant person. However, Istikhara does not necessarily guarantee complete certainty. Some individuals say that after performing Istikhara, the inclination of the heart becomes one-sided. In that case, one should act according to the inclination. It often happens that a person considers one path to be excellent, but suddenly, obstacles arise, and Allah redirects them. Therefore, after Istikhara, Allah creates circumstances that are in the person’s best interest, even though they were unaware of it beforehand. Sometimes, a person may consider a certain path to be very good, but uncertainties arise, or the means disappear after Istikhara. In such situations, one should remain assured and have faith in Allah that it is better for them. Our desires may be different, but Allah knows better about our welfare. Having this mindset will, InshaAllah, bring peace. If the heart does not incline towards any particular side, then based on the available means, make the decision that brings goodness. Even if, Allah forbid, some harm occurs after Istikhara, believe that due to the blessings of Istikhara, Allah saved you from a greater loss. By reflecting on the supplication of Istikhara, it becomes evident that it emphasizes matters related to faith first and worldly matters later, as the real purpose of a Muslim is the religion, and the world is ultimately dependent on the religion.

Is there a possibility of harm even after performing Istikhara?
And if harm does occur despite Istikhara, what purpose does Istikhara serve?

Scholars emphasize that at times, a person seeks Istikhara from Allah and They pray that the task which is better for them may come to pass, and Allah, in His wisdom, chooses that very task for them, the one that is indeed in their best interest. However, apparently that task does not make sense to the person, so they become dissatisfied with their Lord, saying that “I had asked Allah Almighty to find me a good way, but the path I have come across does not seem good to me. It brings me discomfort and distress.”

However, after some time, when the outcome becomes apparent, they realize that, in reality, Allah Almighty had chosen the decision that was better for them. Previously, they were unaware, thinking that they had suffered injustice and harm.

The fundamental point is that the correctness of Allah’s decisions is sometimes evident in this world and sometimes in the hereafter.

Now, when the matter has unfolded, there are times when it seems from an apparent perspective that the outcome is not favorable, contrary to one’s desires and expectations.

At this point, a person may express their dissatisfaction with Allah, saying, “O Allah! I had sought your guidance through Istikhara, but the outcome appears to go against my wishes and doesn’t seem favorable outwardly.

At this point, wise elders have advised, O naive one! You are contemplating with your limited understanding that this decision is not in your favor. But the One who possesses knowledge of the entire cosmic order knows what was better for you in your situation, and what was not. What He decreed was indeed better for you. Sometimes, in this worldly life, you may come to realize what was better for you in your circumstances. However, at times, you may never fully comprehend it throughout your entire earthly existence. It is when you reach the Hereafter that you will ultimately understand that this very outcome was indeed better for you.

In a narration, it is mentioned that a person who seeks guidance through Istikhara in their affairs will never face failure and the individual who seeks advice and counsel in their matters will never have to encounter shame or regret, pondering why they did or did not do a particular task.

In this narration, the statement that one who performs Istikhara will not be unsuccessful, means that those who seek guidance through Istikhara will indeed achieve success in practical outcomes. Even if, at some point, the thought crosses their mind that the task they pursued did not seem favorable, they will still attain success as long as they continue to seek guidance through Istikhara from Allah.

Similarly, the person who seeks advice and acts upon it will never regret their decisions. This is because, if, Allah forbid, the task does not go as planned, they will find solace in the fact that they did not make the decision solely based on their own desires and opinions but sought counsel from friends and elders. Now, they leave the ultimate decision to Allah, accepting whatever choice He decrees.

That’s why Islam provides us with valuable guidance when it comes to making decisions. It advises that whenever there is uncertainty or a decision to be made, one should perform two actions: Istikhara and consulting with experts of that matter or field.

Some common misconceptions and mistakes related to Istikhara

Mufti Rashid Ahmed, may Allah have mercy on him, stated that:

Now, consider how (Istikhara) is a relatively simple matter, but Satan has attached many misconceptions to it:

  1. The first misconception is that after performing two Rak’ats of prayer, you should go to sleep without speaking to anyone; sleep is essential; otherwise, Istikhara will be ineffective.
  2. The second misconception is that you should lie down on your right side.
  3. The third is that you should lie facing the Qibla.
  4. The fourth misconception is that after lying down, you should wait for a dream; a dream will appear during Istikhara.
  5. The fifth misconception is that if a specific color appears in a dream, the decision is favorable, but if another color appears, it is not.
  6. The sixth misconception is that in this dream, a wise and elderly person will come, and you should wait for them to come in the dream and reveal everything. However, the question to ponder is, how will you know who this wise person is? If it’s actually a demon appearing as an elderly person in the dream, how will you differentiate between them?

Remember that none of these points are established through authentic Ahadith. These are merely claims made in books without proper verification. May Allah have mercy on those who wrote these without proper research. (خطبات الرشید)

Remember that while it is recommended to sleep in a state of ablution, facing the Qibla, and on the right side for proper etiquette of sleep, it is not necessary to perform Istikhara with these specific conditions before going to sleep.

Istikhara can be performed at any time during the day and night, as long as it is not during the Makrooh timings for Nawafil.

Can we perform Istikhara through someone else?

People make a mistake in the matter of Istikhara, and it is necessary to correct it.

The mistake is that many people, instead of performing Istikhara themselves, ask others to do it for them, and they say, ‘Please do Istikhara for us,’ as if Istikhara is like drawing lots.

And this has happened because people have misunderstood Istikhara, thinking that it brings some news or inspiration about what to do.

Just as in the times of ignorance, lots were drawn to make decisions, Similarly, nowadays, Istikhara is being performed on seeds of a prayer bead like in Jahiliyah. This method is completely wrong, and it has reached such an extent that Nowadays, it has become a common practice among the public to perform Istikhara on television and radio. Whereas Istikhara is about seeking goodness and blessings from Allah in one’s affairs, not about finding out news.

The guidance from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is that if someone has a decision to make, they should perform Istikhara themselves. There is no evidence to support having someone else do it for you. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was present in this world, no one was more devoted to religion than the companions, and there was no one better than the Prophet in performing Istikhara. However, nowhere is it mentioned that any companion went to the Prophet and asked him to perform Istikhara on their behalf. The authentic method is that the person concerned should perform Istikhara themselves.

People often think that because they are sinners, their Istikhara might not be effective. As a result, they sometimes prefer to have a pious or knowledgeable person, or a respected individual perform Istikhara on their behalf, believing it will be more effective. However, this belief is incorrect.

Those who have a task at hand should perform Istikhara themselves, whether they are virtuous or sinful. Seeking Istikhara from someone else is not a requirement. Even the wording of the supplication clearly indicates this. Although doing Istikhara on behalf of someone else is not considered prohibited, but it is not preferred and in accordance with the Sunnah.

Regarding this matter, some people say, “We are sinners! How can we perform Istikhara?”

Remember, no matter how much of a sinner a person may be, they are still a servant of Allah. When a person turns to Allah and asks, they will receive an answer. To doubt Allah whose command is, “ادعونی استجب لکم“ meaning, “Call on Me, I will answer your prayer“, is baseless. This is because even Satan, when he was expelled from Heaven and was in a miserable state, made a supplication, and Allah accepted his supplication. Allah accepts the supplication of even Satan, then why won’t he listen to us?

When someone performs Istikhara following the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Allah for sure will listen to them. All supplications are heard in the presence of Allah. However, it is essential to avoid sins to increase the chances of one’s supplication being accepted promptly.

It is incorrect and wrong to think that sinners cannot perform Istikhara for two reasons:

  1. The first reason is that avoiding sins is within your control. When you commit a sin, sincerely repent, and you will be cleansed from your sins. You will no longer be a sinner and will be counted among the righteous. Allah’s mercy is vast, and through repentance, He forgives. Recognize and value this mercy of Allah and refrain from committing sins in the future.
  2. The second reason is that in Islam, there is no condition imposed for performing Istikhara that it cannot be done by a sinner. Anyone, whether a pious person or a sinner, can perform Istikhara. Adding a condition that Islam does not specify is not appropriate. So, there is no reason to impose such a condition on yourself when it comes to Istikhara.

In Islam, the command is only that whoever has a need should perform Istikhara, whether they are sinful or virtuous. However, people say that Istikhara is the work of the elders, and some elders have also started to believe that yes, it is correct to say that Istikhara is our responsibility; it’s not for the common people. Instead of guiding the common people when they make a mistake, they themselves have joined in the error. Remember, this is an incorrect practice, and rectifying this mistake is an obligation.

Seven fundamental misconceptions and shortcomings related to Istikhara

Istikhara is not only for significant matters!

Many people mistakenly believe that Istikhara is only for extremely important or major decisions, and it should only be performed when a person is faced with two options or is in doubt about a particular matter.

As a result, nowadays, people are fortunate enough to practice the Sunnah of Istikhara only on a few occasions in their lives, such as when seeking marriage or making a business decision. It’s as if we seek goodness and blessings only in these rare, handpicked moments but in all other aspects of our daily lives, we are self-sufficient and self-reliant, not seeking Allah’s guidance and blessings.

Understand this well: Istikhara is not limited to important or major matters. Whether the task is small or large, we should seek goodness and blessings from Allah in all our endeavors.

Similarly, it is not necessary to have doubts or uncertainties in a matter to perform Istikhara. Even when you are certain about a task and there is only one clear path, you should still seek Allah’s guidance and blessings through Istikhara.

Our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم taught the companions to seek Allah’s guidance in every matter, which means to ask for goodness and blessings from Allah in all aspects of life.

There is no specific time for Istikhara!

Some people believe that Istikhara should always be performed before sleeping at night or after the Isha prayer. However, there is no such strict requirement.

You can perform Istikhara at any time whenever the opportunity arises. There are no restrictions on performing it at night or during the day, while awake or before sleep.

The only condition is that it should not be performed during the Makrooh timings for prayers.

It’s not necessary for a dream to occur after performing Istikhara.

Commonly, people believe that after performing Istikhara, they might see a dream, and within that dream, they receive guidance on whether to proceed with a particular task or not. Some even expect that an angel will visit them, or they will have a divine revelation after Istikhara.

However, it’s essential to understand that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has provided a prescribed method for Istikhara, and it does not involve any specific dream or supernatural occurrence.

After performing Istikhara, sometimes people may have dreams related to their situation, and sometimes they may not. The key is to observe the inclination and contentment of one’s heart after Istikhara, as discussed in detail in previous sections.

Istikhara is not a means to predict past or future events.

It’s important to remember that the purpose of Istikhara is to eliminate doubt and hesitation in making a decision, not to foretell specific events in the past or future.

Some people claim that through Istikhara, they can discover past or future incidents. However, this purpose of Istikhara is not mentioned in Islamic teachings. Instead, it is solely a means to resolve uncertainty and doubts about whether to proceed with a particular task or not.

Believing that Istikhara can reveal specific events or outcomes is not in accordance with its intended use within the framework of Islamic teachings.

Using Istikhara to determine the identity or whereabouts of a thief is not permissible (halal) and is also not beneficial.

It should be understood that Istikhara is meant for Mubaah matters, which are actions that are neither rewarded nor sinful, and for which the choice of doing or not doing holds equal weight in terms of Islamic rulings. In such matters, Istikhara is recommended.

However, in obligatory matters such as Faraiz, Wajibaat or Sunan Muakkidah, there is no need for Istikhara.

Similarly, Istikhara should not be performed for actions that have been declared forbidden (haram) or prohibited by Allah and His Messenger. For example, it is not appropriate for someone to seek Istikhara about whether they should pray or not. Fasting or not fasting? In such matters, Istikhara is not needed because this is an obligation decreed by Allah.

Similarly, if someone seeks Istikhara regarding whether to consume alcohol, accept or decline bribery, or get involved in Interest based transactions, Istikhara should not be performed for these forbidden (haram) actions, as they are clearly prohibited. Istikhara is meant for permissible matters.

When it comes to earning a halal livelihood, there is no need for Istikhara because it is a religious obligation. However, the Istikhara should be performed whether to seek employment for earning a halal livelihood or engage in business, such as choosing between trading in clothing or food items. For such decisions, Istikhara is needed.

Similarly, if you intend to go for Hajj, you should perform Istikhara not to decide whether to go or not, but to seek guidance on when to go, such as on which specific day.

How to perform Istikhara in situations where time is limited, and quick decisions are needed?

The detailed method of Sunnah Istikhara has been explained in the third section of this article. However, it should be noted that the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم recommended a brief form of Istikhara as well, for situations where time is limited and quick decisions are required, so as not to deprive oneself of Istikhara.

Previously, the recommended method of Istikhara was presented, However it is applicable when a person has the time and opportunity to perform Istikhara. During such times, one should perform two Rak’ahs of Nafl and then make the prescribed supplication for Istikhara.

But there are situations where a person needs to make a quick decision without the luxury of performing two Rak’ahs and making the detailed Istikhara supplication. In such cases, Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم provided a concise prayer, which is as follows:

اَللّٰہُمَّ خِرْ لِیْ وَاخْتَرْ لِیْ․ (کنز العمال)

“O Allah! Facilitate for me the choice of the right path.”

Another such prayer mentioned by the Holy Prophet is:

اَللّٰہُمَّ اہْدِنِیْ وَسَدِّدْنِیْ․(صحیح مسلم)

“O Allah! Guide me to the right path and keep me on the straight path.”

Similarly one more supplication is:

اَللّٰہُمَ اَلْہِمْنِیْ رُشْدِیْ․

“O Allah! Inspire onto my heart the correct path.”

“In case you remember any of these supplications, recite it immediately. And if you can’t recall the supplication in Arabic, then pray in your own language,

‘Ya Allah! I am facing this dilemma; please show me the right path.’

If you are unable to express it verbally, speak to Allah from your heart, saying: ‘Ya Allah! This difficulty and trouble have arisen.’ ‘Guide me to the correct path that aligns with Your will and is best for me.’

Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib (may Allah have mercy on him) had a lifelong practice that whenever a situation arose where an immediate decision was required and there were more than one options to choose from, he would close his eyes for a few moments, Now, for someone not familiar with his habit, it wouldn’t be apparent that he was closing his eyes for a specific purpose. But in reality, he would close his eyes briefly and turn his heart towards Allah, silently praying, ‘O Allah! I am facing this dilemma, I don’t know what decision to make. Please put in my heart what is better in Your sight.’ It was just a short and concise form of Istikhara.”

Dr. Abdul Hai Arifi (may Allah have mercy on him) used to emphasize that a person who turns to Allah before embarking on any task, seeking His help, Allah indeed assists them. This is because you have no idea what you might achieve in a single moment, meaning that in that one moment, you establish a connection with Allah, solidify your relationship with Him, asked for goodness from Him, and seek the right path for yourself, the result is that on one hand, you find the right path, and on the other hand, you earn rewards for establishing a relationship with Allah and also receive rewards for supplication, because Allah greatly appreciates when a person turns to Him at such moments and grants specific rewards and blessings, hence, it is advisable for a person to develop the habit of turning to Allah, From morning till evening, countless situations arise where a person has to decide whether to do a particular task or not. At such times, immediately turn to Allah for a moment, saying, ‘O Allah! Put in my heart what is in accordance with Your pleasure.’

Additional benefits and wisdom related to Istikhara

  1. Allah Almighty has created human beings and has bestowed upon them countless external and internal blessings. This indicates that the Lord of the Worlds is benevolent towards human beings and loves them. It also suggests that Allah Almighty desires that people remain connected with their Creator at all times and establish a relationship with Him through various means. Istikhara is a practical interpretation of this relationship.

  2. Istikhara, where a Muslim seeks goodness and blessings, also serves as a lesson in the Oneness of God. Through it, every Muslim can easily understand that the choice to endure adversity, create goodness and betterment lies solely and exclusively with the true Owner who created mankind, protected them, and bestowed countless blessings upon them, as none among the creation possesses such power and determination.

  3. Muslims firmly believe that if Allah wishes to bring benefit, no one can prevent it, and if He wishes to bring harm, no one can protect from it.

  4. The wisdom behind Istikhara is to make it easy and possible for people to obtain benefit, and to remove harm and loss from them. This is a fundamental objective and spirit of the Islamic faith.

  5. Sometimes, due to various reasons, a person may not have the courage to make a decision, and they cannot reach a conclusion amidst confusion and distress. In such situations, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has instructed us to perform Istikhara, where a person prays two Rakaahs of prayer and asks Allah for guidance and relief from the troubling circumstances. We can confidently say that Istikhara provides immense comfort and reassurance to Muslims.

  6. When a person is unsure about what to do and what not to do, they turn to their Lord for special guidance, seeking good and benefit for themselves. When they do so, Allah opens the doors of success and improvement for them, and their difficulties are resolved.

  7. According to some scholars, when a person has received four things, they cannot be deprived of four other things.

    1. One who is abundantly blessed with gratitude for the favors they have received cannot be stopped from receiving even more blessings.
    2. Someone who has been granted the gift of repentance is immune to the disgrace of rejection.
    3. Whoever has been blessed with the gift of Istikhara cannot be deprived of goodness.
    4. The one who seeks advice from the best of people cannot be steered away from the right path.

  8. The one who performs Istikhara seeks Allah’s guidance in choosing a particular course of action, and then seeks to be content with Allah’s decision. Allah, in His wisdom, provides the means for making the right choice, and then He keeps the person content with it. It’s as if through Istikhara, a Muslim finds inner peace, escapes mental distress and anxiety, and remains assured that they are acting in accordance with Allah’s will. (Ihya Ulum al-Din, 181/2)

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