Friday, October 2, 2009

Solah Istikharah


In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.

Basically human being is determines by what is already written and Allah’s Wills. Thus we should turn to Allāh for His Guidance and help. And Allāh promise he would respond to the call of His servant according to his Will.

According to scholars Allah’s Qadhā’ it is divided into two kinds: the first one that is not to be changed at all. The second is that it may be changed through supplication. And both are in Allah's knowledge only. 

Thus , it is clear that du`ā’ (supplication) may change, according to Allah's will, what is already written for the human being. But it is quite important to understand that our choices are not always good ones. Some of our choices may lead us to a tragic end, although we think that they will make our lives happier. That's why we were taught by our Prophet, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), to perform Istikharah (a Solah and then supplication for guidance and knowledge in making a decision). 

We need Allah’s guidance all through our lives’ paths. When performing the Istikharah Prayer, we are seeking Allah, the All-Knowing to grants guidance and knowledge to us. 

Allah Almighty also opened another door of supplication for us in Solat Al-Hajah (Prayer for need). He wants us to be as close to Him as possible; that's why He supplies us with one offer after another to let us feel His unlimited mercy and love. 

Istikharah means to ask Allāh to guide you to the path best for you concerning an affair with two halal options. In matters that are wajib (obligatory), haram (forbidden) or makruh (disliked) there is no need to pray Istikharah. Salātul-Istikharah should only be used for matters that are mubah (allowed) or in matters that are mustahabb (liked or encouraged), in which there is a decision to be made as to which one should be given priority.

Many wrong notions exist concerning Istikharah. Many Muslims will pray, read the du'a, and run to bed expecting to see a dream showing them their future wife, what her favourite colour is, and some other weird fantasy. That is not the purpose of this solat.

The results of an istikharah can take many forms. Basically, you go by your feelings, whether you now feel more favourable or not. Also, you may notice events have changed, either for or against you. Note that you must follow the results of an istikharah, because not doing so is tantamount to rejecting Allāh's guidance once you've asked for it. Also, you should firstly clear your mind, not have your mind already decided, and then afterwards follow the results willingly.

It is a sunnah that, if one must choose between permissible alternatives, one may pray two non-obligatory raka’at, even if they are of the sunnah prayers or a prayer for entering the mosque (Tahiyatul Masjid), and so on, during any time of the day or night, and to recite therein whatever one wishes of the Qur'an after reciting al-Fātihah. Then one praises Allāh and sends salutations to the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) and recites the supplication in the Hadith below.

The description of Solāt-ul- Istikharah was narrated by Jabir ibn 'Abdallāh al-Salami (radiyallāhu`anhu) who said:

"The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to teach his companions to make Istikharah in all things, just as he used to teach them surahs from the Qur'ān.

He (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: 'If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two raka'ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say:

'O Allāh, 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 Allāh, 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."

The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) added that then the person should mention his need.

[Recorded by al-Bukhari]

Salatul-Istikharah is just two raka’at of a non-obligatory prayer, observed at anytime during the day, with a specific du`ā’ (supplication) at the end. While reciting the du`ā’, you should be thinking about the situation you want to be advised about with pure intentions and from the bottom of your heart. And Allāh says that whenever he guides a heart aright it can never be misguided. Afterwards, you should 'have a good feeling' about one of your options. Whatever option you feel is best right after you say the dua should be your decision. If you're still in doubt, you can repeat.

Imam An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh) held that "...after performing the Istikharah, a person must do what he is wholeheartedly inclined to do and feels good about doing and should not insist on doing what he had desired to do before making the Istikharah. And if his feelings change, he should leave what he had intended to do, otherwise he is not completely leaving the choice to Allāh, and would not be honest in seeking aid from Allāh's power and knowledge. Sincerity in seeking Allāh's choice, means that one should completely leave what he himself had desired or determined."

Some people mistakenly wait for a dream to give a clear sign as to what decision to make, but this is not true, and often times it never really happens. In fact, dreams may lead you away from what Allāh wants you to do, as Shaytān might try to deceive you in your dreams.

Salatul-Istikharah is for everybody. It's a way for all of us to implore Allāh for divine guidance and mercy. It is yet another invaluable resource from Allāh to keep us on the straight and narrow Sirat al-Mustaqim. The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) told all Muslims about Istikharah, not just the scholars. Despite this gift, too many of us take the advice of our friends and parents, or accept the norms of our society and act without ever wondering what Allāh wants us to do. We must stop looking to the dunya for guidance. We must begin to consult Allāh.

I cannot provide a better conclusion than saying that you must put your trust in Allāh. You must have trust in His concern for us, and His ability to help us. Allāh says:

"Put your trust in Allāh, certainly, Allâh loves those who put their trust (in Him)."

[Surah Al-Imran, 3: 159]

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[Via Islamic Network]

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