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Istikharah - Prayer For Seeking Guidance

How to pray Istikhara? The description of Salaat al-Istikhaarah was reported by Jaabir ibn Abd-Allaah al-Salami (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 things, just as he used to teach them soorahs from the Quraan. He said: If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rakahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say: Allaahumma inni astakheeruka bi ilmika wastaqdiruka bi qudratika wa asaluka min fadlikal azeem, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa talamu wa laa alam, wa anta allaam al-ghuyoob. Allaahumma in kunta talamu anna haadhal amr khayrul li fi deeni wa maaashi wa aaqibati amri, faqdirhu li wa yassirhu li, thumma baarik li fih. Wa in kunta talamu anna hadhal amr, sharrulli fi deeni wa maaashi wa aaqibati amri, fasrifhu anni wasrifni anhu waqdir lil-khayra haythu kaana thumma adini 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. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 6841; similar reports are also recorded by al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaai, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad). Ibn Hijr (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, commenting on this hadeeth: Istikhaarah is a word which means asking Allaah to help one make a choice, meaning choosing the best of two things where one needs to choose one of them. Concerning the phrase The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach us to make istikhaarah in all things, Ibn Abi Jamrah said: It is a general phrase which refers to something specific. With regard to matters that are waajib (obligatory) or mustahabb (liked or encouraged), there is no need for istikhaarah to decide whether to do them, and with regard to matters that are haraam (forbidden) or makrooh (disliked), there is no need for istikhaarah to decide whether to avoid them. The issue of istikhaarah is confined to matters that are mubaah (allowed), or in mustahabb matters when there is a decision to be made as to which one should be given priority. I say: it refers to both great and small matters, and probably an insignificant issue could form the groundwork for a big issue. The phrase If any one of you is concerned appears in the

version narrated by Ibn Masood as: if any one of you wants to do something Let him pray two rakahs of non-obligatory prayer. This is mentioned to make it clear that it does not mean fajr prayer, for example. Al-Nawawi said in al-Adhkaar: He can pray istikaarah after two rakahs of regular sunnah prayer done at zuhr for example, or after two rakahs of any naafil prayers whether they are regularly performed or not It seems to be the case that if he made the intention to pray istikhaarah at the same time as intending to pray that particular prayer, this is fine, but not if he did not have this intention. Ibn Abi Jamrah said: The wisdom behind putting the salaat before the duaa is that istikhaarah is intended to combine the goodness of this world with the goodness of the next. A person needs to knock at the door of the King (Allaah), and there is nothing more effective for this than prayer, because it contains glorification and praise of Allaah, and expresses ones need for Him at all times. The phrase then let him say would seem to imply that the duaa should be said after finishing the prayer, and the word thumma (then) probably means after reciting all the words of the salaat and before saying salaam. The phrase O Allaah, I seek Your guidance by virtue of Your knowledge is explaining because You know best. Similarly, by virtue of Your power most likely means seeking Your help. I seek ability (astaqdiruka) means I ask You to give me the power or ability (qudrah) to do whatever is being asked for, or it probably means I ask You to decree (tuqaddir) this for me. So it may mean making it easy. I ask You of Your great bounty refers to the fact that Allaah gives out of His great generosity, but no one has the right to His blessings. This is the opinion of Ahl al-Sunnah. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know not refers to the fact that power and knowledge belong to Allaah alone, and the slave has no share of them except what Allaah decrees for him. O Allaah, if in Your knowledge this matter According to one report, he should mention it by name. It is apparent from the context that he should state it, but it is probably sufficient to be thinking of the matter whilst making this duaa. Then ordain it for me means make it happen for me or it may mean make it easy for me. Then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it means so that my heart will no longer feel attached to it after it has been turned away. Make me pleased with it means make me content with it, so that I will never regret asking for it or be sorry that it happened, because I do not know how it will turn out, even if at the time of asking I am pleased with it. The secret is that ones heart should not be attached to the matter in question, because that will result in a person becoming restless. Being pleased with something means that ones heart is content with the decree of Allaah. (Summarized from the commentary of al-Haafiz Ibn Hijr (may Allaah have mercy on him) on the hadeeth in Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Dawaat and Kitaab al-Tawheed.).

The Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafais and Hanbalis stated that the duaa 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-Mawsooah al-Fiqhiyyah, part 3, p. 241. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Fataawa al-Kubra: Part 2, p. 265 Question concerning Duaa al-Istikhaarah: should this duaa be recited during salaah (prayer) or after saying the salaam? The answer is that it is permissible to recite the duaa of istikhaarah before or after the salaam, whether you are praying salaat al-istikhaarah or another prayer. Reciting duaa before the salaam is preferable, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite a lot of duaa before the salaam, and the worshipper before saying the salaam still in a state of prayer, so it is better to recite the duaa then. When is the proper time for Du`a Al-Istikharah (supplication for guidance); before or after Taslim (salutation of peace ending the Prayer)? A: Du`a Al-Istikharah should be said after Taslim. May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions! Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta http://alifta.net/Fatawa/FatawaChapters.aspx?View=Page&PageID=2603&PageNo=1&BookID= 7 Fatwa no. 8864 Q14: When performing Du`a Al-Istikharah (supplication for guidance) in regard to an action or a need, is it conditional to have memorized the Du`a reported from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or is it possible to read it from a book after finishing Salah (Prayer)? After performing the Du`a, how can it be known or felt that Allah (may He be Praised and Exalted) is guiding the supplicant to do or to abandon something? Please, advise. A: Whether you memorize the Du`a Al-Istikharah or read it from a book, it is accepted as the matter is flexible. What you should do is to strive to prepare your heart and attain Khushu` (the heart being attuned to the act of worship), and be sincere in the Du`a. Afterwards, it is permissible to consult ( Part No : 8, Page No: 162) reliable and experienced people. When you feel that your heart feels at ease with one of the two possibilities, this is the sign that this is what Allah has chosen for you.

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his Companions! Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta From the book of Shiekh Mashoor AL Salman Clarified Ruling Of Mistakes in Salat Pages 381 [63] Mistakes done in Saltul Istikhrah: When doing Saltul Istikhrah, one does not have to do anything but to perform Salt and recite the affirmed du in a manner similar to any other du in order to fulfill what one intends to do or leaves it. Accordingly, scholars affirmed that [after performing this Salt] one should start doing the thing he finds his heart inclined to and should not depend on seeing a dream nor should one ask others to perform it on his behalf; it is just a kind of du in which a muslim asks for Allhs ) help to guide him to that which is good. Once a( muslims heart is willing to tread a certain path which turns to be successful, he would certainly feel satisfied and happy. If not, he would know that goodness is not in the path he chose and would also feel satisfied and thank Allh ) for it.(1)( [1/63] A common mistake: Some people believe that Saltul Istikhrah is not valid unless others do it on their behalf and it should be followed by a dream. This is indeed a sheer extremism that Allh )) never enjoined nor did His prophets (( Sunnah preach. This extremism was born out from exaggeration -that should be avoided- )which led to abandoning one of the greatest of the prophets ( Sunnan and hence the loss of rewards and blessings. O, dear muslim brother, ask for Allhs )( ) will surely guide you to thatguidance in all your affairs and He ( ) made asking for his help so easy; just recite thewhich is good.He ( du after performing any [two Rakahs] Nfilah Salt or perform two Rakahs especially for this purpose and surely you will be granted more rewards and blessings. (1) There is disagreement amongst scholars regarding repeating Saltul Istikhrah in case one could not decide which way to tread nor was his heart pleased with either doing what he intended to do or abandoning it. There is not, however, any affirmed proof that states the legality of repeating it. See: Naylul Awtr (vol. 3 / p. 90). Chapter Seven And never do what other people usually do of extremism or asking others to do it on their behalf; just take hold of )the prophets ( Sunnah and you will surely be guided and succeed in this world and in the Hereafter. Indeed, how fortune he is who performs it and participate in its revivification amongst muslims.(1)

[2/63] After doing Saltul Istikhrah, do whatever pleases your heart. Never do that which you intended to do before doing the Salt; you should abandon such an intention otherwise you would not be asking for Allhs ) guidance but your own desires - we seek( Allhs ) refuge from that. One should be sincere when asking( Allhs ) guidance, feeling free from ones own knowledge and power and attributing them to( Allh ) alone. Once one does that, he has been free from his own desires.(2)( Regretfully, many people are not well acknowledged with the legal Saltul Istikhrah; consequently, they invented many ways of doing it, none of which is affirmed in the Qurn nor the Sunnah, not even reported that any of the righteous Salaf to have done them. These forged ways are frequently practiced, and when ) used to practice, foulone preaches the legal one which the prophet ( tongues will soon severely whip his back and will be considered as an extremist renegade. Indeed, there is no power nor might but with Allh ). The following paragraphs present some of these forged ways of doing( Saltul Istikhrah: [3/63] Believing in setting a condition prior to doing Saltul Istikhrah; that is if the matter one wishes to do is good one would see a green or a white colour in ones dreams. And if the matter is evil one would see a red or a black colour. (1) Al-Madkhal (vol. 3 / p. 90) by Ibnil Hj, Hadyun Naby Fis Salawtil Khmssah (pp. 222-3) and Ad-Dnul Khlis (vol. 5 / pp. 245-) (2) Naylul Awtr (vol. 3 / p. 90) with little editing. Miscellaneous Mistakes - 385 [4/63] Using the rosary by the one who needs Allhs () guidance or others make it for him. One holds the rosary and then presents ones need secretly then gathers some of its beads in ones hand and counts them. If the number of the beads is an odd one, one would not fulfill what he had intended to do. If the number is an even one, one would consider this as a good sign and would do what he had born in his intention. Indeed, what is the difference between this way and that which the people of Jhiliyyah used to practice, i.e. the Tiyarah, which is totally prohibited in our Shar. [5/63] The cup way. A cup of coffee is made by a man or a woman for the one who needs the Istikhrah. The later drinks the cup of coffee offered to him, then tips it over and after a while gives it to the former to read it for him. The former looks inside the cup after the leftover has made different shapes and lines just like any liquid left over does. Then the reader starts making up different stories for the former and fills his head with legends!![6/63] Using necromancy [fortunetelling]. It is done by placing a cup full of water on a special persons hand which has special lines. This process is done on a certain day of the week. Then the fortune-teller starts humming with unrecognized words calling some of the Jinns in order to bring the thief [as is usually done or tell him about the robery]. [7/63] Using the sand. It is done by drawing disconnected lines on the sand, then they are counted in a special mathematical way known to those who practice this way. At the end, the fortune-teller gets to know the persons sign [of the zodiac] and picks out all the information about this sign from a certain book he brought for such a purpose. Then he tells the person about

the latters past and future events -as he claims. Those people with similar signs are told the same thing. [8/63] Using the palm. In this way the fortune-teller claims to have the ability of reading ones palm through diagnosing and analysing its lines and starts telling others about their future. Chapter Seven - 386 [9/63] Using the Mushaf. One opens the Mushaf randomly, if ones eyes fell on an Ayah that talks about mercy, he would do the thing he wishes, otherwise he wont. [10/63] Some people go to Shaikhs and righteous people to do the Istikhrah on their behalf which is a mistake!! No doubt that those of sound sense could easily realize that all these ways are part of the forbidden fortune telling believing in which is one of the grievous sins as the Ulamah strongly stated.(1) ) forbade it saying: The prophet (Whoever attends a fortune teller or a soothsayer and believes whatever he says [the former] has indeed disbelieved in that which was revealed on Muhammad ()) also said: .(2) He (Whoever attends a fortune teller, asks him about any thing and believes him, his Salt would not be accepted for forty days.(3) I wonder how could people seek such nonsense ) guidance??! It isand falsehood and get away from the prophets ( worth-mentioning here that some people violate the manner in which Salt is done such as: adding the du false statements or believing in the necessity of setting conditions before doing the Salt: such as doing it in matter one is confused about, reciting the du while doing Sujd et. Another mistake people make after doing Saltl Istikhrah is saying: We made Istikhrah and got no benefit or other (1) See: Al-Kbir, Grievous Sin (no. 41) (p. 141). (2) Narrated by: Ahmad in Al-Musnad (vol. 2 / pp. 408, 429, 476), Ab Dwd in AsSunnan (vol. 4 / p. 15) (no. 3904), Ad-Drim in As-Sunnan (vol. 1 / p. 259), At-Tirmith in Al-Jmi (vol. 1 / pp. 242-3) (no. 135), Ibn Mjah in As-Sunnan (vol. 1 / p. 209) (no. 639), Ibnil Jrd in Al-Muntaq (p. 58), Al-Hkim in Al- Mustadrak (vol. 1 / p. 8) and Al-Baihaq in As-Sunnan Al-Kubr (vol. 8 / p. 135). Al-Hkim considered the Hadth as authentic in his Al-Mustadrak with which Ath-Thahab agreed in his At-Takhls and Al-Kabir (p. 141) and so did Al- Irq in his Aml -as reported in Faydul Qadr (vol. 6 / p. 23). (3) Narrated by: Muslim in his Sahh (vol. 4 / p. 1751) (no. 2230). Miscellaneous Mistakes - 387 -

Statements that indicate that one is not fully submitted to Allhs )( will. In his Al-Fawid (p. 174), Ibn Al-Qayyim said: The warm hearted father always does that which is best for his son; he would even cut one of his organs if necessary. And he would deprive him sometimes from money or desires if this is for his own good. Allh ) the All-wize and Most merciful who always showers( His creatures with mercy when afflicting them with misfortune for their own good. Only those with deep faith in Allh ) would understand and believe in this, unlike those who lack knowledge in( Allhs perfect names and attributes and resorted instead to their deficient minds, such would gain nothing at all. Those who believe deeply in Allh )( and His perfect knowledge would feel content in this world and in the hereafter when they would live in Paradise. This what truly means to believe in Allh ), and accept( Islm as ones religion and Muhammad as our messenger. Salat-ul-Istikharah Fatwa no. 14326 Q: Our Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us Salat-ul-Istikharah (Prayer for guidance); I hope that Your Eminence would point out to us the conditions concerning anyone who performs Istikharah in behalf of another person, if this is permissible. A: It is prescribed for every person to perform Salat-ul-Istikharah for themselves, and it is not permissible on part of a certain person to perform it in behalf of another. May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions! Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta http://alifta.net/Fatawa/FatawaChapters.aspx?View=Page&PageID=11384&PageNo=1&BookID =7 Q 1: If one performs Salat-ul-Istikharah (prayer for guidance) before proceeding with an important matter such as marriage, applying for a job, etc. then begins to comply with the direction of such Salah (Prayer), can one be afflicted by evil or any calamity after that? If so, what must be done in this case? A: Performing Salat-ul-Istikharah is enjoined for matters wherein a person is unclear. The aim of Salat-ul-Istikharah is to leave ones affairs to Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) and ask Him ( Part No : 6, Page No: 157)

to choose what is best for ones faith and worldly matters. However, if a person performs Salatul-Istikharah after which there is a negative result; it must be understood that this is for achieving a wisdom that Allah wills and that in the negative result there is real goodness. May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions! Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta http://alifta.net/Fatawa/FatawaChapters.aspx?View=Page&PageID=11385&PageNo=1&BookID =7 Q: First, is it permissible to intend to pray Salat-ul-Istikharah (prayer for guidance) after starting to pray the Sunnah Ratibah (supererogatory Prayer performed on a regular basis) or Nafila (supererogatory) Salah such as Tahiyyat-ul-Masjid (two-unit-Prayer to greet the mosque)? Or Should my intention be specifically for offering Salat-ul-Istikharah only? Second, is it permissible to raise the hands while performing Du`a (supplication)? Third, is it permissible for me to offer Salat-ul-Istikharah for more than one matter? Fourth, is it permissible for me to perform Du`a-ul-Istikharah (supplication for guidance) regarding the time of offering `Umrah (lesser pilgrimage), such as saying: O Allah, if You know that there is goodness in my going to perform `Umrah on that night, and then state a certain time; or is Istikharah itself not related to acts of obedience and their time of performance? Fifth, is it true concerning what people say that if a person offers Du`a-ul-Istikharah, they will see in a dream or feel inner relief or abhorrence towards the matter for which they made Istikharah; then act according to what they feel assured about. What is the benefit in knowing that ( Part No : 6, Page No: 158) all goodness is in acting according to what results from Istikharah? I ask Allah with His Most-High Names and Most Beautiful Attributes to bless you and admit you to Jannah (Paradise) with the Prophets, the Siddiqn (followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr As-Siddq may Allah be pleased with him), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions were! A: First, Salat-ul-Istikharah (prayer for guidance) should be independent, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If anyone of you intends to do something, they should offer a two-Rakah prayer other than the compulsory prayers

Second, It is permissible for you while offering Du`a-ul-Istikharah to raise the hands, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do so on passionately offering Du`a (supplication). Third, It is permissible for one to offer a single Istikharah for more than one matter. Fourth, As far as `Umrah is concerned, you should perform Istikharah concerning the time of performing it, not whether to perform it or not. Fifth, There is no validity to what is said that Istikharah is related to having a particular vision; rather, one should act upon the matter which ones heart is receptive to, and vice versa. This is the correct manner to either go ahead with a certain matter or not. May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions! Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta http://alifta.net/Fatawa/FatawaChapters.aspx?View=Page&PageID=11386&PageNo=1&BookID =7