MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS & ANSWERSQ. What is Istikhaarah and how should I perform it?
A. Istikhaarah means to supplicate for goodness from Allah Ta’ala. It is essentially a dua for guidance to do what is right. Salaatul Istikhaarah consists of two raka’ats Nafl Salaat to be performed at night, the last thing before going to bed. After the Salaat, dua is made, seeking Allah’s guidance in a matter in which one is in doubt–to do it or not. While one makes this Salaat and Dua, one has also to ponder in the matter and then adopt whichever course appears to be best. Insha’Allah, after having made the Istikhaarah, one will adopt the right course.
ADDENDUM – From Beheshti Zewar
1. When a person intends doing something, he should seek advice from Allah Ta’ala. This seeking of advice is called istikhaarah (asking for proper guidance from Allah Ta’ala). This has been greatly recommended in the Hadith. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Not seeking advice and proper guidance from Allah Ta’ala is a great misfortune and cause of bad luck.” If a person intends sending a proposal somewhere, marrying someone, travelling somewhere or intends doing anything else, and he does not do these things without making istikhaarah, then Insha Allah he will not regret doing what he did.
2. The method of offering istikhaarah salaat is as follows: first two rakaats of nafl salaat should be offered. Thereafter, the following dua should be made with full concentration:
when he reaches the underlined words (highlighted part), he should think of the thing for which he is making istikhaarah. Thereafter, he should sleep on a pure and clean bed with his face towards the qiblah in a state of wudu. Once he wakes up from his sleep, then whatever comes out strongly in his mind will be best for him. He should act according to that which comes to his mind.
3. If he has not made up his mind after the first day, and some doubt still persists, he should do the same the following day. In this way, he could continue doing this for seven days. Insha Allah, he will come to know of the advantage or disadvantage of that matter.
4. If a person intends going for hajj, he should not make istikhaarah as to whether he should go or not. Instead, he should make istikhaarah to decide as to whether he should go on a particular day or not.
Q. Please give some advice on Salaatul Istikhaarah.
A. Istikhaarah simply means to consult with and seek advice from Allah Ta’ala. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) encouraged the performance of Salaatul Istikhaarah whenever one wishes to embark on an important act . Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) also said that abstention from Istikhaarah is a sign of misfortune and wretchedness. Insha’Allah, by resorting to Istikhaarah there is greater probability of success in the contemplated venture.
Immediately after completing the Istikhaarah Salaat go to bed. Sleep on clean bedding, facing the Qiblah. A strong inclination at the time when the eyes open will be the best course of action to adopt. Sometimes the course of action may be conveyed in a dream. However, seeing a dream after Istikhaarah is not necessary. The manner of performing this Salaat is explained in detail in our kitaab, Kitaabus Salaat. If you don’t have this book, write for a copy.
Most people become perplexed because their Istikhaarah produces no effect or direction. They continue remaining in trepidation regarding the matter for which they had performed Istikhaarah. The reason for lack of effect and direction is the spiritual darkness and fog which nowadays generally cloud the mind and the heart. Clarity in the directive of Istikhaarah via the media of dreams and strong inclination is related to the spiritual realm. To achieve this clarity, the essential requisites are purity and clarity of the mind and heart. These requisites are the effects of Taqwa. Today Taqwa is an alien concept. Even Ulama nowadays frown on Taqwa.
The abundance of haraam in which people indulge completely overshadows the mind and heart. Instead of noor, the heart is clouded with zulmat (spiritual darkness). The deluge of haraam and mushtabah (doubtful) foods such as carrion chickens, carrion meat, processed foods and alcoholic juices and beverages which is down-loaded into the body, utterly blocks every spiritual faculty of the Rooh (Soul).
In addition to the avalanche of physical pollution by way of ingestion of haraam and mushtabah foods, is the preponderance of sin and disobedience. Utilizing the eyes, ears and limbs of the body for haraam acts; listening to music; viewing television; mingling with the opposite sex; harbouring animosity for a Muslim; indulgence in futility; abstention from the ways of the Sunnah; and, generally acting in ways which extinguish Taqwa, darken the Rooh completely.
When all spiritual faculties have been extinguished, blocked or jammed with this avalanche of rijs (filth), fisq (flagrant disobedience) and fujoor (immorality), one should not be surprised when one does not experience the effects of Istikhaarah.
However, despite this lamentable spiritual condition in which we are stagnated or in which we are retrogressing, Salaatul Istikhaarah should not be abandoned. Before engaging in Istikhaarah, repent for sins and recite Istighfaar in abundance. Perform the Salaat with the intention of fulfilling the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Then, Insha’Allah, even if there is no clear sign or directive, Allah Ta’ala will create the circumstances which will lead to the adoption of the correct course of action.
Q. I have performed Istikhaarah Namaaz seeking guidance on a particular matter, but I have not received any clear directive from my Istikhaarah. After performing the Istikhaarah Namaaz, I saw some blurry dreams with no clarity regarding the particular issue. Please advise.
A. The reality of Istikhaarah is to seek advice and guidance from Allah T a’ -Ala. While obtaining clear directive as an effect of Istikhaarah is a reality, there are also impediments which blur the ‘advice’ and ‘directive’ received from Allah Ta’ala. The ‘directive’ arrives in a dream or by inspiration or by way of a strong inclination towards the angle which should be adopted. These media of transmission are spiri*tual avenues. When the channels are strewn with impediments, transmission is impeded and even blocked. Even in the physical world, turbulence interferes with movement and transmission. Nowadays, the spiritual channels of even pious persons are blocked.
There is a preponderance of evil which contaminates and corrodes our spiritual faculties. Too much sin enters the soul via the tongue, eyes and ears. Almost everyone today is involved in much zina, especially zina of the eyes. We read magazines and filthy newspapers. Our eyes relish on the filth we see and read in these evil papers. Our eyes, ears and heart are spiritually soiled and destroyed with the filth we ingest daily from the television and the radio.
The voices of ghair mahrams, interaction with them, be it in some supposedly ‘lawful’ activities, the gheebat we speak, the futility in which we indulge, the injustices we commit, the rights of others we trample on, the malice and envy we harbour, the family ties which we sever for no valid Shar’i reason, the family ties which we retain in acts which are haraam and displeasing to Allah Ta’ala, etc., etc., etc., all clog our spiritual channels.
How then are we able to receive inspiration and directives with clarity via our spiritual channel? With all the spiritual contamination and corruption in which people indulge, they are expecting too much and displaying irrationalism when they expect to receive inspirational directives with a clarity enjoyed by the Auliya (selected friends of Allah) and Saaliheen (pious servants of Allah).
When making Istikhaarah, do it with the intention that it is a Masnoon (Sunnah) practice and the hope that Allah Ta’ala will channel you into the right direction. Reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of the contemplated act. Seek advice from pious and experienced persons regarding the matter. Then after having made Istikhaarah, make a sincere and fervent dua for Allah’s assistance and guidance. Then adopt the course which your intelligence says is the best.
Q. If a person makes Istikhaarah, is it necessary/compulsory/binding on him to act in accordance with the outcome of his Istikhaarah?
A. If there is an outcome with clarity – a clear direction inspired into one – then it is necessary to act accordingly. Necessary here will mean in relation to this worldly life, not in relation to Shar’i law. By ignoring the result of the Istikhaarah one can suffer worldly harm. There is, however, no sin committed if one ignores the direction of the Istikhaarah.
Q. A woman feels inclined to marry a certain man. Is it permissible for her to make Istikhaarah Namaaz for guidance in this matter?
A. It is permissible. When making Istikhaarah one is in reality seeking guidance from Allah Ta’ala in a matter in which one has no clarity. Istikhaarah Salaat should be made. Also make dua seeking guidance from Allah Ta’ala. Insha’Allah, the right decision will be inspired into the heart.
Q. Can one perform Istikhaarah Salaat during the day?
A. The Sunnah method is to perform Istikhaarah Salaat during the night time. Nafl Salaat performed during the day will not be termed Istikhaarah Salaat. One is, however, free to perform Nafl Salaat during the day and make dua.
Q. My brother has been very unjust to his wife. She is a good woman who takes care of our mother who is very difficult. Although my brother is a Haafiz, he is not a faithful husband. He does not respect his wife. He gave her Talaaq. He said that he made Istikhaarah before issuing Talaaq. Is it proper to make Istikhaarah for Talaaq?
A. While Istikhaarah is valid for deciding whether to issue Talaaq or not, it does not mitigate your brother’s unfaithfulness and not fulfilling the rights of his wife. He will be held responsible for his injustice and oppression by Allah Ta’ala.