The Guidance Prayer
We are humans,
powerless in this sphere of life, knowledgeable only enough to survive.
So why shouldn't we turn to Allah and seek His perfect help whenever
we require it? Allah responds to the call of His servant when he
asks for guidance, and we are after all seeking to do something
in order to please Him.
means to ask Allah to guide you to the path best for you concerning
an affair with two halal options. In matters that are waajib (obligatory),
haraam (forbidden) or makrooh (disliked) there is no need to pray
Istikharaah. Salaat-ul-Istikharaah should only be used for matters
that are mubaah (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 (i.e. get married or go to grad school).
Many wrong notions
exist concerning istikharaah. 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 salaat.
of an istikharaah 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 istikharaah, because not
doing so is tantamount to rejecting Allah'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
It is a sunnah
that, if one must choose between permissible alternaratives, one
may pray two non-obligatory rak'at, even if they are of the sunnah
prayers or a prayer for entering the mosque, and so on, during any
time of the day or night, and to recite therein whatever one wishes
of the Qur'aan after reciting al-Fatihah. Then one praises Allah
and sends salutations to the Prophet and recites the supplication
in the Hadith below.
of Salaat-ul-Istikharah was narrated by Jaabir ibn Abd-Allah
al-Salami (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
of Allah used to teach his companions to make istikharaah in all
things, just as he used to teach them surahs from the Quraan.
He said: If any one of you is concerned about a decision he
has to make, then let him pray two rakahs of non-obligatory
prayer, then say:
astakheeruka bi ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa asaluka
min fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa talamu wa
laa alam, wa anta allaam al-ghuyoob. Allaahumma fa in
kunta talamu haadhal-amra (then the matter should be
mentioned by name) khayran li fi aajil amri wa aajilihi (or:
fi deeni wa maaashi wa aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa
yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allaahumma wa in kunta talamu
annahu sharrun li fi deeni wa maaashi wa aaqibati amri
(or: fi aajili amri wa aajilihi) fasrifni anhu [wasrafhu
anni] waqdur li al-khayr haythu kaana thumma radini bihi.
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 Allah, 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.
, added that then the person should mention his need." [Sahih
is just two rakats of a non-obligatory prayer, prayed at anytime
during the day, with a specific dua at the end. While reciting the
dua, you should be thinking about the situation you want to be advised
about with pure intentions and from the bottom of your heart. And
Allah 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 youre still
in doubt, you can repeat.
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 Allah, and would not be honest in seeking aid from Allah's
power and knowledge. Sincerity in seeking Allah'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 Allah wants you to do, as Shaytaan might try
to deceive you in your dreams.
is for everybody. Its a way for all of us to implore Allah
for divine guidance and mercy. It is yet another invaluable resource
from Allah to keep us on the straight and narrow Siraat al-Mustaqeem.
The Prophet told all Muslims about Istikharaah, 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 Allah wants us to do. We must stop looking to
the dunya for guidance. We must begin to consult Allah.
I cannot provide a better conclusion than saying that you must put
your trust in Allah. You must have trust in His concern for us,
and His ability to help us. Allah says:
trust in Allâh, certainly, Allâh loves those who put
their trust (in Him)."
Al-Imran Ayah 159]