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Istikharah prayer : when. how, what to say. and other related matters.

Posted by (Group Owner) on Jan. 10, 2012 at 10:51 PM
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Assalamu alaikum dear sisters..

I was asked about Salat al-istikhaarah, I tried to look for it on here.. I thought we had a  post about it.. but since I did not find one.. I thought I would post a new one, and link it to one of the sticky posts.. this is a very detailed description of what, how and when.. may it be of benefit

( slight modification of font and color)  

*** edited to add :

You do not have to memorise the dua.. if you dont know it by heart you can read it from a piece of paper according to the scholars ( ibn baaz, permanent committee) but it is better if you know it by heart 

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Praise be to Allaah.

 

Istikhaarah prayer is a Sunnah which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prescribed for anyone who wants to do an action but is hesitant about it. Discussion of Istikhaarah prayer covers eight points:

1- Definition

2- Ruling

3- The wisdom behind prescribing it

4- Reasons for it

5- When Istikhaarah should be started

6- Consulting people before praying istikhaarah

7- What should be recited in istikhaarah

8- When should the du’aa’ be recited?

1 – Definition

Istikhaarah in Arabic means seeking guidance to make a decision concerning something.It is said in Arabic Istakhir Allaaha yakhir laka (Seek guidance from Allaah and He will guide you (to the right decision)). In sharee’ah terminology, Istikhaarah means seeking guidance (to the right decision), i.e., seeking guidance as to what Allaah knows is the best and most appropriate choice, by means of prayer or the du’aa’ narrated concerning Istikhaarah.

2 – Ruling

The scholars are unanimously agreed that Istikhaarah is Sunnah. The evidence that it is prescribed is the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari from Jaabir (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 matters, just as he used to teach them soorahs from the Qur’aan. He said: ‘If any one of you is deliberating about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say: Allaahumma inni astakheeruka bi ‘ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa as’aluka min fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa ta’lamu wa laa a’lam, wa anta ‘allaam al-ghuyoob. Allaahumma fa in kunta ta’lamu haadha’l-amra (then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li fi ‘aajil amri wa aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allaahumma wa in kunta ta’lamu annahu sharrun li fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri (or: fi ‘aajili amri wa aajilihi) fasrifni ‘anhu [wasrafhu ‘anni] waqdur li al-khayr haythu kaana thumma radini 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).”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari in several places in his Saheeh (1166).

3 – The wisdom behind prescribing it:

The reason why Istikhaarah is prescribed is that it is submission to the command of Allaah and a practical demonstration that one has no power and no strength of one’s own. It means turning to Allaah and seeking to combine the goodness of this world and of the Hereafter. In order to achieve that, one has to knock at the door of the King, Allaah, may He be glorified, and there is nothing more beneficial in this regard than salaah (prayer) and du’aa’ (supplication), because they involve venerating Allaah, praising Him and expressing one’s need for Him. Then after praying istikhaarah one should do that which one feels is best.

4 – Reasons for it:

In what circumstances should one pray istikhaarah? The four madhhabs are agreed that istikhaarah is prescribed in cases where a person does not know the right decision to make. In matters where it is known whether a thing is good or bad, such as acts of worship, doing good deeds, sins or evil actions, there is no need to pray istikhaarah in these cases.But if a person wants to find out the right time to do something, such as whether to do Hajj this year, because there is the possibility of encountering an enemy or some tribulation, or whether to go with a certain person or not, then he may pray istikhaarah with regard to such decisions. But there is no room for Istikhaarah when it comes to things that are obligatory, haraam or makrooh. Rather Istikhaarah has to do with things that are recommended or permissible. Istikhaarah is not ordinarily required with regard to things that are recommended, rather it should be done in cases where there is a conflict, i.e., when a person has a choice of two things and must decide which one to start with or which one not to do. With regard to permissible things, he may pray Istikhaarah as a regular matter.

5 – When should he start praying Istikhaarah?

The person who wants to pray Istikhaarah should have an open mind, and not have decided on a specific course of action. The phrase “If any one of you is deliberatingindicates that Istikhaarah should be prayed when one starts to think of the matter, when through the blessing of prayer and du’aa’ what is good will become clear to him, in contrast to when the idea has taken root and his resolve to do it is firm, in which case his inclination will sway him,and there is the fear that wisdom may not prevail because he is inclined to do that which he has already decided to do. It may be that which is meant by deliberation here is resolve, because a passing thought does not matter. And a person should not pray istikhaarah except when he has decided to do something but does not have a strong inclination towards it. Otherwise, if a person were to pray Istikhaarah for every thought that crosses his mind, he would never stop and he would waste all his time doing that.

6 – Consulting others before praying istikhaarah

Al-Nawawi said: It is mustahabb, before praying istikhaarah, to consult someone whom you knows is sincere, caring and has experience, and who is trustworthy with regard to his religious commitment and knowledge. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and consult them in the affairs”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:159]

7 – What is to be recited in Salaat al-Istikhaarah

There are three opinions as to what should be recited in Salaat al-Istikhaarah:

(a) The Hanafis, Maalikis and Shaafa’is said that it is mustahabb,after reciting al-Faatihah, to recite Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafiroon in the first rak’ah and Qul huwa Allaahu ahad in the second.Al-Nawawi said, explaining the reason for that: It is appropriate to recite these in prayer, to show sincerity and expressing your leaving your affairs to Allaah. They said that it is also permissible to add other verses from Qur’aan where the context refers to the idea of making a choice or decision.

(b) Some of the Salaf said that in praying istikhaarah it is good to add, after reciting al-Faatihah, the following verses in the first rak’ah:

“And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses, no choice have they (in any matter). Glorified is Allaah, and exalted above all that they associate (as partners with Him).And your Lord knows what their breasts conceal, and what they reveal.And He is Allaah; Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), all praises and thanks be to Him (both) in the first (i.e. in this world) and in the last (i.e. in the Hereafter). And for Him is the Decision, and to Him shall you (all) be returned”

[al-Qasas 28:68 – interpretation of the meaning]

And the following verse in the second rak’ah:

“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error”

[al-Ahzaab 33:36 – interpretation of the meaning]

(c) The Hanbalis and some of the fuqaha’ did not say that any particular verses are to be recited when praying Istikhaarah.

8 – When one should pray Istikhaarah

The Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis stated that the du’aa’ 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-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, part 3, p. 241.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Fataawa al-Kubra: Part 2, p. 265 Question concerning Du’aa’ al-Istikhaarah: should this du’aa’ be recited during salaah (prayer) or after saying the salaam? The answer is that it is permissible to recite the du’aa’ of istikhaarah before or after the salaam, whether you are praying salaat al-istikhaarah or another prayer. Reciting du’aa’ before the salaam is preferable, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite a lot of du’aa’ before the salaam, and the worshipper before saying the salaam still in a state of prayer, so it is better to recite the du’aa’ then.

And Allaah knows best


Islam Q&A
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Love and salaam (peace)

 (proud2bmom3 Muslim Moms-- Owner. 

by on Jan. 10, 2012 at 10:51 PM
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Replies (1-6):
muslimahpj Group Admin
by on Jan. 10, 2012 at 11:00 PM
1 mom liked this

Thanks for posting this.

proud2bmom3 Group Owner
by on Jan. 10, 2012 at 11:20 PM

Assalamu alaikum sisters.. in this fatwa we see that we can pray istikhaara for all matters, big and small.. no matter how insignificant they may seem. but please remember first ( as mentioned in the above post: they need to be in  allowed things. not haram. and not prescribed worships...etc)                   

 

 what situations are appropriate for istikhaarah? anything..

Q: We often hear about Salaat al-Istikhaarah, but we only do it in rare cases. Is this correct? I hope you can explain to us.

Praise be to Allaah.

 

Salaat al-Istikhaarah is a means of achieving true submission [‘uboodiyyah] to Allaah and focusing the Muslim’s heart on Allaah, and freeing him from feeling attached to other created beings.

Striving to achieve that in all vicissitudes of the heart and soul is the utmost submission, the perfection of putting one’s trust in Allaah. That is when the person feels his need of Allaah and finds joy and tranquillity in turning to the Creator, the Almighty, the Controller of affairs, so hardly anything happens to him, great or small, but he turns to Salaat al-Istikhaarah to seek guidance from Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted.

It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach his companions to pray istikhaarah in all things, just as he used to teach them soorahs from the Qur’aan Narrated by al-Bukhaari (6382).

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Baari (11/184):

The general meaning includes both major matters and insignificant ones. Perhaps an insignificant matter may result in something major. End quote.

Al-‘Ayni said in ‘Umdat al-Qaari (7/223):

The words “in all things” are indicative of its general meaning, and that a man should not regard anything as too insignificant because it is small and not pay attention to it, and thus not pray istikhaarah or pray for guidance concerning it. He may regard something as insignificant but doing it or not doing it may lead to great harm. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Let one of you ask his Lord even with regard to his shoelace.” End quote.

Thus it is clear that it is a mistake to limit istikhaarah to rare cases or few issues. Rather the Muslim should turn to Allaah and seek His guidance in all his affairs concerning which he is hesitant. Zaynab bint Jahsh (may Allaah be pleased with her) prayed istikhaarah when she received a proposal of marriage from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) commented on that by saying in Sharh Muslim (9/224):

This shows that it is mustahabb to pray istikhaarah for the one who is thinking about doing something, whether the matter is evidently good or not. This is in accordance with the hadeeth of Jaabir in Saheeh al-Bukhaari: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach us pray istikhaarah in all things.” And perhaps she prayed istikhaarah because she was afraid that she might fall short with regard to his rights (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). End quote.

It says in Liqaa’aat al-Baab il-Maftooh by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (no. 85/question 1):

Question:

Are the two rak’ahs of istikhaarah prescribed only with regard to matters where it is not obvious which is the right option, or should they be done concerning every matter one does, even if it is obviously good, such as becoming the imam of a mosque or proposing marriage to a righteous woman and the like? I hope you can clarify?

Answer:

Salaat al-istikhaarah is done when a person is thinking of something and is hesitant about the consequences, so he prays istikhaarah to Allaah, i.e., he asks Allaah for the better of the two options: going ahead with it or not doing it. But he should not pray istikhaarah with regard to everything, meaning that if a person wants to eat lunch he should say, I will pray istikhaarah about it, or if he wants to go and pray with the congregation in the mosque he should say, I will pray istikhaarah about it. Rather he should pray istikhaarah and ask Allaah for guidance about things of which he does not know the consequences, such as becoming the imam of a mosque, if he is offered a position as imam of a mosque and does not know whether it is better for him to become imam or not. So he should pray istikhaarah, because being the imam is good in and of itself, but with regard to the consequences, he does not know whether he will be able to fulfil the duties of being imam or not, or whether he will be able to settle in this mosque or not, or whether he will be suitable for this congregation or not, so he is asking for guidance about becoming an imam with regard to whether it is good; rather he is praying for guidance as to whether it is better in terms of consequences. How often does a man become imam of a mosque then he gets tired and does not do his duty, and problems with the congregation make him wish that he had not become imam. The same applies to marrying a righteous woman; he does not know what the consequences will be.

What matters is that in all cases where you are hesitant or uncertain, you must turn to Allaah and ask Him for the better of the two options. End quote.

Love and salaam (peace)

 (proud2bmom3 Muslim Moms-- Owner. 

proud2bmom3 Group Owner
by on Jan. 10, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Assalamu alaikum my dear sisters..

if you are interested in further reading.. this explains in more detail the manner of the prayer plus it explains the dua . I promise it has new  beneficial information to add to this thread... lol. even though it repeats some of what is mentioned above :)

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Assalam alaikum. How do I pray salat al istikhara, at what times , and are there special dua that I can read for different cicumstances?

Praise be to Allaah.

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 Qur’aan. He said: ‘If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say: Allaahumma inni astakheeruka bi ‘ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa as’aluka min fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa ta’lamu wa laa a’lam, wa anta ‘allaam al-ghuyoob. Allaahumma fa in kunta ta’lamu haadha’l-amra (then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li fi ‘aajil amri wa aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allaahumma wa in kunta ta’lamu annahu sharrun li fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri (or: fi ‘aajili amri wa aajilihi) fasrifni ‘anhu [wasrafhu ‘anni] waqdur li al-khayr haythu kaana thumma radini 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-Nisaa’i, 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 Mas’ood as: ‘if any one of you wants to do something…’

Let him pray two rak’ahs 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 rak’ahs of regular sunnah prayer done at zuhr for example, or after two rak’ahs 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 du’aa’ 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 one's need for Him at all times.

The phrase ‘then let him say’ would seem to imply that the du’aa’ 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 du’aa’.

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 one’s 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 one’s 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-Da’waat and Kitaab al-Tawheed.).

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
proud2bmom3 Group Owner
by on Jan. 10, 2012 at 11:55 PM

assalamu alaikum dear sisters..  the more I research.. the more I want to share subhana Allah. smileso I decided to make this reply just brief points pertaining to istikharah.. if you want evidence from Quran. Sunnah or fatwa. let me know and I will provide the fatwa.. but rest assured that I will not post anything here without having evidence to back it up..

~ can we do istikhaara for more than one thing in one Salat? 

Yes, some scholars believe it is better to make one salat for each matter. but others believe that it is ok.. sheikh ibn Jibreen  rahimahu Allah, stated that after you pray you can say in the dua " if so and so matter, and so and so matter were ...etc" .

~ can someone else pray istikhara for me?

this is a widely spread misconception.. parents praying istikhara for their kids..etc.. No.. according to the scholars, the prayer is to be performed by the one who needs the istikharah ( hense the dua is.." for me") sheikh ibn Uthaymeen rahimahu Allah said that it would be like asking someone to pray the sunnah of greeting the masjid while you go sit down.. it is not acceptable.. you pray for your own istikhaara.

~ dont' you have to have a dream or vision to know that your istikhaara worked?

NO. another misconception.. Istikhaara is by Allah making a thing easier for you.. or harder.. not by showing you a dream.. what is worse, some people invented innovations of repeating certain surahs over and over again. and then not talking to someone after the prayer so they would have "the dream" .. that too is rejected.. istikharah prayer is only to be performed in the manner we explained above.

ok ladies.. signing off.. lol.. I will try to add some more later insha' Allah.

if I speak in error then it is from me. may Allah forgive me and guide us all to what pleases HIM Ameen.

Love and salaam (peace)

 (proud2bmom3 Muslim Moms-- Owner. 

muhajjirah Group Admin
by on Jan. 11, 2012 at 12:32 AM

subhanAllah proud!

i was asked about this yesterday and just sent some of the very same things you shared here with others..there's an Istikhara app on iPhone too with a brief rundown of it all too! :)

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/istikhara-duaa-guidance-prayer/id321489287?mt=8

proud2bmom3 Group Owner
by on Feb. 17, 2014 at 5:39 AM

bump

 may it be of benfit In shaa Allah. 

Love and salaam (peace)

 (proud2bmom3 Muslim Moms-- Owner. 

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