Istikhaarah: Prayer Asking for Guidance

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Istikhaarah: Prayer Asking for Guidance

Post by Noor'e Sahar on Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:01 pm

Istikhaarah prayer is a Sunnah which the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) prescribed for anyone who wants to do an action but
is hesitant about it. Discussion of Istikhaarah prayer covers eight
points:



1- Definition

2- Ruling

3- The wisdom behind prescribing it

4- Reasons for it

5- When Istikhaarah should be started

6- Consulting people before praying istikhaarah

7- What should be recited in istikhaarah

8- When should the du’aa’ be recited?

1 – Definition


Istikhaarah in Arabic means seeking guidance to make a decision
concerning something. It is said in Arabic Istakhir Allaaha yakhir laka
(Seek guidance from Allaah and He will guide you (to the right
decision)). In sharee’ah terminology, Istikhaarah means seeking guidance
(to the right decision), i.e., seeking guidance as to what Allaah knows
is the best and most appropriate choice, by means of prayer or the
du’aa’ narrated concerning Istikhaarah.

2 – Ruling


The scholars are unanimously agreed that Istikhaarah is Sunnah. The
evidence that it is prescribed is the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari
from Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said:

“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
used to teach his companions to make istikhaarah in all matters, just as
he used to teach them soorahs from the Qur’aan. He said: ‘If any one of
you is deliberating about a decision he has to make, then let him pray
two rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say: Allaahumma inni
astakheeruka bi ‘ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa as’aluka min
fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa ta’lamu wa laa a’lam, wa
anta ‘allaam al-ghuyoob. Allaahumma fa in kunta ta’lamu haadha’l-amra
(then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li fi ‘aajil amri
wa aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa
yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allaahumma wa in kunta ta’lamu annahu
sharrun li fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri (or: fi ‘aajili amri
wa aajilihi) fasrifni ‘anhu [wasrafhu ‘anni] waqdur li al-khayr haythu
kaana thumma radini bihi (O Allaah, I seek Your guidance [in making a
choice] 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
none. And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O
Allaah, if in Your knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned
by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or: in
my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make
it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge it is bad
for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me
both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn
it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make
me pleased with it).”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari in several places in his Saheeh (1166).

3 – The wisdom behind prescribing it:


The reason why Istikhaarah is prescribed is that it is submission to the
command of Allaah and a practical demonstration that one has no power
and no strength of one’s own. It means turning to Allaah and seeking to
combine the goodness of this world and of the Hereafter. In order to
achieve that, one has to knock at the door of the King, Allaah, may He
be glorified, and there is nothing more beneficial in this regard than
salaah (prayer) and du’aa’ (supplication), because they involve
venerating Allaah, praising Him and expressing one’s need for Him. Then
after praying istikhaarah one should do that which one feels is best.

4 – Reasons for it:


In what circumstances should one pray istikhaarah? The four madhhabs are
agreed that istikhaarah is prescribed in cases where a person does not
know the right decision to make. In matters where it is known whether a
thing is good or bad, such as acts of worship, doing good deeds, sins or
evil actions, there is no need to pray istikhaarah in these cases. But
if a person wants to find out the right time to do something, such as
whether to do Hajj this year, because there is the possibility of
encountering an enemy or some tribulation, or whether to go with a
certain person or not, then he may pray istikhaarah with regard to such
decisions. But there is no room for Istikhaarah when it comes to things
that are obligatory, haraam or makrooh. Rather Istikhaarah has to do
with things that are recommended or permissible. Istikhaarah is not
ordinarily required with regard to things that are recommended, rather
it should be done in cases where there is a conflict, i.e., when a
person has a choice of two things and must decide which one to start
with or which one not to do. With regard to permissible things, he may
pray Istikhaarah as a regular matter.

5 – When should he start praying Istikhaarah?


The person who wants to pray Istikhaarah should have an open mind, and
not have decided on a specific course of action. The phrase “If any one
of you is deliberating” indicates that Istikhaarah should be prayed when
one starts to think of the matter, when through the blessing of prayer
and du’aa’ what is good will become clear to him, in contrast to when
the idea has taken root and his resolve to do it is firm, in which case
his inclination will sway him, and there is the fear that wisdom may not
prevail because he is inclined to do that which he has already decided
to do. It may be that which is meant by deliberation here is resolve,
because a passing thought does not matter. And a person should not pray
istikhaarah except when he has decided to do something but does not have
a strong inclination towards it. Otherwise, if a person were to pray
Istikhaarah for every thought that crosses his mind, he would never stop
and he would waste all his time doing that.

6 – Consulting others before praying istikhaarah


Al-Nawawi said: It is mustahabb, before praying istikhaarah, to consult
someone whom you knows is sincere, caring and has experience, and who is
trustworthy with regard to his religious commitment and knowledge.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and consult them in the affairs”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:159]

7 – What is to be recited in Salaat al-Istikhaarah


There are three opinions as to what should be recited in Salaat
al-Istikhaarah:

(a) The Hanafis, Maalikis and Shaafa’is said that it is mustahabb, after
reciting al-Faatihah, to recite Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafiroon in the first
rak’ah and Qul huwa Allaahu ahad in the second. Al-Nawawi said,
explaining the reason for that: It is appropriate to recite these in
prayer, to show sincerity and expressing your leaving your affairs to
Allaah. They said that it is also permissible to add other verses from
Qur’aan where the context refers to the idea of making a choice or
decision.

(b) Some of the Salaf said that in praying istikhaarah it is good to
add, after reciting al-Faatihah, the following verses in the first
rak’ah:

“And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses, no choice have
they (in any matter). Glorified is Allaah, and exalted above all that
they associate (as partners with Him).

And your Lord knows what their breasts conceal, and what they reveal.

And He is Allaah; Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be
worshipped but He), all praises and thanks be to Him (both) in the first
(i.e. in this world) and in the last (i.e. in the Hereafter). And for
Him is the Decision, and to Him shall you (all) be returned”

[al-Qasas 28:68 – interpretation of the meaning]

And the following verse in the second rak’ah:

“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allaah and His Messenger
have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their
decision. And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed
strayed into a plain error”

[al-Ahzaab 33:36 – interpretation of the meaning]

(c) The Hanbalis and some of the fuqaha’ did not say that any particular
verses are to be recited when praying Istikhaarah.

8 – When one should pray Istikhaarah


The Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis stated that the du’aa’
should be recited immediately after the prayer. This is in accordance
with what was stated in the hadeeth narrated from the Messenger of
Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). See al-Mawsoo’ah
al-Fiqhiyyah, part 3, p. 241.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Fataawa al-Kubra: Part 2, p. 265
Question concerning Du’aa’ al-Istikhaarah: should this du’aa’ be
recited during salaah (prayer) or after saying the salaam? The answer is
that it is permissible to recite the du’aa’ of istikhaarah before or
after the salaam, whether you are praying salaat al-istikhaarah or
another prayer. Reciting du’aa’ before the salaam is preferable, as the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite a lot
of du’aa’ before the salaam, and the worshipper before saying the
salaam still in a state of prayer, so it is better to recite the du’aa’
then.

And Allaah knows best

source: islamqa


Click HERE
to listen and learn the Dua of Istikhaara

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Noor'e Sahar

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