You must have often been through the phase in which you were caught in between making or not making a certain decision. It’s really confusing and messy. Good thing is, Islam provides a solution to skip the confusing and messy part and dive straight into feeling content and satisfied. Thats right! Find out how to do Istikhara the Sunnah Way and bring in Allah’s help in the decision making. He is the King and has Power over all things. NOTHING can go wrong once The Most Powerful decides on the betterment of a matter.

Although its common to hear such comments when you mention performing Istikhara.

“I am perfectly capable of knowing right from wrong. I don’t need to do Istikhara.”

“I am scared of Istikhara messing with my mind. I’ll just manage without.”

“I don’t really see a dream or feel anything special after Istikhara.”

It’s really sad because all these statements have stemmed from misconceptions. The Sunnah Method of Istikhara is so simple and pure and an amazing prayer for Muslims to cling to.

How to do Istikhara:

The Sunnah Way to Perform Istikhara is to pray two Rakah of Nafl (voluntary prayer) with the intention of performing Istikhara and read the following Dua:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمَكَ، وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ، فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلَا أَقْدِرُ، وَتَعْلَمُ، وَلَا أَعْلَمُ، وَأَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ- خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي- عَاجِلِهِ وَآجِلِهِ- فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ، وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي- عَاجِلِهِ وَآجِلِهِ- فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِيَ الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ أَرْضِنِي بِهِ

Translation:

“O Allah, verily I seek the better [of either choice] from You, by Your knowledge, and I seek ability from You, by Your power, and I ask You from Your immense bounty. For indeed You have power, and I am powerless; You have knowledge and I know not; You are the Knower of the unseen realms. O Allah, if You know that this matter is good for me with regard to my religion, my livelihood and the end of my affair then decree it for me, facilitate it for me, and grant me blessing in it. And if You know that this matter is not good for me with regard to my religion, my livelihood and the end of my affair then turn it away from me and me from it; and decree for me better than it, wherever it may be, and make me content with it.”

Misconceptions About Istikhara:

Istikharah has now been associated with plenty of misconceptions which leads the common folk to run away from it. Let’s recount those misconceptions one by one.

Istikhara Misconception #1:

Istikharah is a prayer offered only to make you decide one of many options. You should choose the option that Istikharah leads you to.

Correction:

Istikharah is basically seeking guidance from Allah whilst making a decision or going ahead with a plan. Even if something seems apparently good or better in one’s sight and they are leaning towards it, it is still Sunnah to perform Istikhara and seek goodness from Allah. Performing Istikharah will satisfy one’s heart in the matter and if the decision is not good for the individual, Allah will direct him towards another path better than the one he had chosen and make his heart content with it.

If you know you have an option better than the one you are already choosing, you would certainly go for it. Allah knows the best possible option for you so its best to turn to Him and ask Him for guidance.

Jaabir Bin Abdullah (RA) narrates that the Prophet (SAWS) used to teach his companions to perform the prayer of Istikharah for each and every matter just as he used to teach them the Surahs of the Quran.

Sahih Bukhari, Book 93, Hadith 487

In another Hadith it is stated that ‘He does not fail who makes Istikharah and he does not regret who makes Mashwarah (consultation).

Read more at https://askimam.org/public/question_detail/14994

Istikhara Misconception #2:

You have to see a dream after Istikharah and make your decision based on that dream.

Correction:

Istikharah is merely a prayer asking Allah for betterment on a decision. The Sunnah Method of Istikhara does not mention or hint any dream to be seen or any inspiration to be felt. Such an idea was not put forth by the Prophet (SAWS) as well in his teachings of the prayer. The Dua itself asks Allah (SWT) to put good in whatever the person is doing and turn him away from it if it does not entail any goodness. It does not ask for knowledge of the better decision to be put in his heart.

So next time you perform Istikharah, no need to complicate yourself with dreams. Just perform and be at ease because thats all you have to do. Istikharah is meant to make you content, not make you more confused!

Istikhara Misconception #3:

Istikhara is only offered while making big decisions.

Correction:

Istikharah can be performed on even the smallest of choices like what to wear and what to eat. As the Hadith previously mentioned that the Prophet (SAWS) taught his companions to perform Istikharah for every little matter.

Now if you are thinking that it will take way too long to make wudhu, offer two Rakah and read the Dua for a 5 minute task which you feel will have no big effect on you whatsoever then guess what!

You have another quick way to perform Istikhara which takes only a minute and is also proven by Sunnah. It is reported to be the practise of the Sahabah (RA) to recite the following words when they had to make a quick decision.

اللَّهُمَّ خِرْ لِيْ وَاخْتَرْ لِي

Translation:

O Allah (SWT) grant me a choice and choose for me.

Read this dua and continue on with what you planned to do. How great it is to know that The Most Powerful has your back!

Istikhara Misconception #4:

Istikhara is performed only at night before sleeping.

Correction:

The Hadith and Sunnah does not mention any specific timing to offer Istikharah. It could be done at any time whether it be day or night. It is certainly not restricted to night time nor before sleeping as dreams are not a requirement for its fulfilment.

However, one should keep in mind not to pray during the Makruh/disliked timings i.e during sunrise, midday and sunset.

Istikhara Misconception #5:

Ask another pious person to do Istikharah on your behalf and tell you the decision you should make.

Correction:

While it is permissible to have someone pray Istikharah on your behalf it is not proven by the Sunnah. The Hadith specifically mentions the Prophet (SAWS) directing the individual making the decision to pray Istikharah.

“If anyone of you is deliberating about a decision he has to make then let him pray two Rakahs…”

Istikhara is linked to the person himself and not anyone else. Thus, it is best to follow the Sunnah and take it on yourself to pray as you are the one seeking guidance and contentment of heart.

However, it is also the way of Sunnah to perform Istikharah and seek counsel about the matter from a wise, pious and knowledgeable person.

With everything cleared, why wouldn’t anyone imitate the Prophet(SAWS) and Sahabah (RA) by turning to Istikhara for every little decision in their lives! It’s amazingly beneficial, gives us reward and makes everything work in our favour!

You want to know more about Istikhara? Check out this book written by a Molana Ayub Jeena published by Madresa Arabia, Azadville, South Africa.

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