What is Istakhara? How to do it?

What is Istakhara?

The need for Istakhara: There are various periods and phases of life in which we need to take important decisions and these decision’s outcomes have a vast influence on our future. We should do Istakhara or Istikhara at those times.

Every Muslim should do Istakhara before picking professional studies, good career-oriented jobs, choice of a marriage proposal, to buy a house or car, shifting to some other city and moving towards another foreign land. 

Every Muslim prays to Allah or asks Allah in every matter for guidance. Honor, glory, and thanks to the Creator of the world (Allah) who never leaves his creatures in distress during crucial times. Allah provided us with full guidance and taught us a special prayer. This special prayer provides full guidance path in making decisions. Recommended: How to offer Tahajjud prayer?

How to do Istakhara?

This special prayer is called Salat Al-Istakhara. When a Muslim performs this special prayer, he asks Allah to guide him towards the right path or show a way which is better or good for him.

You just have to offer two rakat of Salat al Istakhara and read Istakhara dua at the end. After that ask Allah to guide you to the right decision in your own language.

Istakhara Dua

The prayer of Istakhara was reported in a Hadith described by Jabir Ibn Abdullah Al-Salami, who said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to teach his companions to make Istakhara in all things, just as he used to teach them Surahs from the Qur’an. He (peace be upon him) said: ‘If anyone of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rakahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say, Istakhara dua.” Sunan an-Nasa’i 3253

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What if Istakhara is against our will?

We also need to realize that Istakhara does not guarantee or approves the lack of tests, proceedings, hearings or trials in life. Istakhara is a dua and Allah replies to his followers which may come in any of the three ways as narrated in the Hadith.

“There is no Muslim who offers a dua in which there is no sin or termination of family relations. Allah will give him a response in any one of three ways either. Allah will reply his prayer soon, Allah will save it up for him in the eternity, or He will deflect an evil force away from him because of it (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3604d).

Allah says in the Quran: “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows while you know not.” (Quran 2:216)

So instead of approaching any legal advisor or qualified person, a Muslim should seek Allah’s guidance and follow His principles. The conclusion of Istakhara is recognized by being willing to do something and continuing to feel optimistic about it.

If the decision is good for him in both of the world’s perspective, the correct path will automatically open up but if it’s not correct for him, then the path will become full of hindrances and Allah will take him somewhere else.

The quality of Istakhara is that the Muslim who solicits the guidance of Allah will be pleased with Allah’s decision for him even if it distracts him from what he thought was good. Allah knows better as what is good or bad for His creature. Allah always guides His servants to the virtuous path.

Regrettably, many people nowadays refuse this beautiful Sunnah and avail baseless or prohibited ways to make significant decisions. Still, there are some who follow the Sunnah of praying Istakhara but also go with much misconceptions, myths, traditions and unreasonable assumptions to it. 

Is it fine to ask others to do Istakhara on our behalf?

People often ask some religious personalities to do Istakhara on behalf of them and then expect the results of Istakhara to be shown into their dreams, imagination, reflection, sign or color indication.

Although all of this is nothing besides acts of disbelief or ignorance, we need to highlight all these wrong customs, as it is a form of transformation to ask some other person to do Istakhara for you and get immediate results within few hours.

Istakhara is a beautiful dua which is gifted by Allah, the Almighty, and the most merciful. So every Muslim needs to do Istakhara himself at any time of the day and then administer the matter for which he prayed. If the concerned matter is good for him then Allah will make give it a direction and provide a path for him.

If the respective matter is not good for him, then Allah will change the direction and show the way which is best for him. We need to be confident and have full faith in Allah when doing Istakhara. It means we are asking guidance from Allah without any single doubt.

Once Istakhara is done, we need to continue asking guidance and constantly pray to Allah. Allah always knows better and does better for His creatures. Being a Muslim, we all need to rely on and have a complete, strong and firm belief in Allah in every walk of life. 

Source: Arab News

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.