Monday, 16 April 2007

Istikharah - A Brief Introduction

It is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an:

"Seek Allah's help with patience and Solat and truly it is indeed hard except for the humble minded." (Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayat 45)

Huzaifah RA says that whenever Rasulullah SAW happened to face any difficulties, he would at once resort to Solat.

For any important matter which arises, Allah SWT has given this Ummah the mechanism of Istikharah as a way to arrive at solution. In this day and age, Istikharah is commonly observed for choosing a partner in marriage, although the truth is - it can be performed before starting any intended work - be it journey, business etc.

Istikharah is an appeal to Allah to give guidance of the better between two choices, when an individual is hesitant and cannot make up his/her decision of choosing either of the two. This decision can also be that between a "yes" and a "no" to a certain decision.

The purpose behind Istikharah has been widely mistaken by people. It is to seek help and guidance from Allah SWT in the achievement of any intended work. It is not for the purpose of acquiring information or a report.

It is merely a supplication to enable one to make the right decision. Through Istikharah a servant requests a beneficial outcome from Allah SWT, and should the intended be harmful, the servant requests that Allah will create such causes that will prevent him from carrying out his intention.

The person doing Istikharah could have a dream which is glad tidings for him/her, but it is not necessary to have a dream or spiritual inspiration, or even an inclination in the heart towards any of the two alternatives. One should choose one of the alternatives and act upon it considering it appropriate. To believe that it is necessary to have a dream or spiritual inspiration or feeling in the heart is incorrect because there is no evidence in the Shari'ah to support this claim. Thus, Istikharah is a means to acquire the beneficial and not to seek information.

After Istikhaaah the intended will be easy to accomplish which will be for the welfare of the world and the Hereafter, although it might seem less beneficial or even harmful at first sight. From this we know that to ask someone to perform Istikharah for oneself is incorrect unless we ask them to supplicate for us.

Contradictory to common belief, it is not essential to perform Istikharah before retiring to bed and thereafter refrain from communicating with anyone, since this too has not been fixed in the Hadith.

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