What is Istikhara and how is it performed correctly?
This is a very common question and quite rightly so. Will I see a dream? Some colors? A Sign? Or nothing and what if I see nothing? Did I not perform it correctly! How many times do I need to do an Istikhara?Istikhara as recommended by the Prophet (pbuh) is such an amazing blessing and a direct answer from Allah. Its a way to get guidance direct from our creator?
Istikhara, in reality, means “to seek goodness from Allah”.
Does Istikhara require lots of preparation or is it something I can do daily?
The first misconception is that Istikhara is a ‘special occasion only’ prayer or dua. For example some Muslims think that it requires so much preparation. So they can’t be bothered to do it. Some think it is so difficult and complex that can they even do it! Others are told that they have to have a bath, wear clean clothes, pray Isha Salah then not speak to anyone, go to bed and wait for a dream of some sort. (It is permissible to do the above but not compulsory)
Well, its not like that. Istikhara can be performed every day and even in the daytime. I know some people who do Istikhara with most of their prayers. Except for after Fajr and Asr when sujood (sajda) is forbidden. Also Istikhara can be performed for life’s small decisions, big decisions and even for general guidance in your life. Allah has made our lives easy. Alhamdulilah.
Seeing Dreams: You don’t have to see a dream but of course you may see a dream. A good dream is a positive sign and a bad dream is a sign of warning regarding that matter of your life in general (if you are doing a non specific istikhara). Dreams are a great blessing from Allah. Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “True dreams are one of the forty-six parts of Prophethood.” (al-Bukhaari, 6472; Muslim, 4201)This means that good dreams and warnings in your dream are a direct source of information and guidance from Allah – SubhanAllah If you don’t see a dream, it is not an issue. It is recommended that you should continue your istikhara for 7 days if you have not got your answer. Keep asking Allah to show you a dream and if you don’t see a dream at all you will still be guided by Allah through a change in circumstances or a change in your heart and your feelings towards that thing. InshAllah.
Following your Istikhara – The Real Test :
Now this is the real test of our faith and imaan in Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala). Some people have a good sign or feeling and go against it. Others see a bad sign e.g a marriage proposal and still go ahead with the marriage only to suffer the consequences. You have ‘sought the good’ from Allah and He, in His infinite mercy and knowledge has pointed out the way. Therefore, to go against this would be to your misfortune. This is where we can see the wisdom and hikmah of the Holy Quran:
“And it is very possible that you dislike something whereas it is good for you; and (similarly) it is very possible that you like something whereas it is bad for you”. (Baqarah 16)
According to one Hadith: “It is from the good fortune of man that he makes Istikharah (seeks good) from Allah, and it is from his misfortune that he discards Istikharah.”Sa’ d ibn Waqas reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Istikharah (seeking guidance from Allah) is one of the distinct favors (of Allah) upon man, and a good fortune for the son of Adam is to be pleased with the judgment of Allah. And a misfortune of the son of Adam is his failure to make istikharah (seeking Allah’s guidance), and a misfortune for the son of Adam is his displeasure with the judgment of Allah.” Ibn Taimiyyah
The Importance Of Istikhara
We have been instructed by the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam to perform the Istikhara prayer whenever we make decisions in our life, especially when we make some major decisions in life. Therefore, we should always make an effort to perform this prayer of Istikhara, whether we see it as a way in receiving guidance or whether we perform it as a supplication dua.
May Allah bless us with divine guidance from Himself and may He give us the understanding to make the correct decisions and may He put goodness in whatever He chooses for us to do. Aameen.
“O Allah, I consult You as You are All-Knowing and I appeal to You to give me power as You are Omnipotent, I ask You for Your great favour, for You have power and I do not, and You know all of the hidden matters . O Allah ! If you know that this matter (then he should mention it) is good for me in my religion, my livelihood, and for my life in the Hereafter, (or he said: ‘for my present and future life,’) then make it (easy) for me. And if you know that this matter is not good for me in my religion, my livelihood and my life in the Hereafter, (or he said: ‘for my present and future life,’) then keep it away from me and take me away from it and choose what is good for me wherever it is and please me with it.”
‘Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi’ilmika, Wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, Wa asaluka min fadlika al-’azim Fa-innaka taqdiru Wala aqdiru, Wa ta’lamu Wala a’lamu, Wa anta ‘allamu l-ghuyub. Allahumma, in kunta ta’lam anna *hadha-l-amra (this matter) Khairun li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati amri (or ‘ajili amri wa’ajilihi) Faqdirhu li wa yas-sirhu li thumma barik li Fihi, Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna *hadha-lamra (this matter) shar-run li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati amri (or fi’ajili amri wa ajilihi) Fasrifhu anni was-rifni anhu. Waqdir li alkhaira haithu kana Thumma ardini bihi
*hadha-lamra (This matter) – you need to replace this word with what you are asking Allah for help and guidance about e.g marriage, job, leaving home…
ASK ALLAH FOR DREAMS
One of our weakness as Muslims nowadays is that we have lost our link with our creator Allah (S.W.T) . If we get close to Allah we don’t need anyone. Ask Allah for absolutely anything. If its good for us it will happen inshAllah and if bad for us may Allah keep it away from us. When it comes to dreams ask Allah to show you a dream or a clear sign and believe me its works. You will start seeing dreams insha Allah if you ask Allah from your heart you will definitely find guidance for your dilemma.
How many times? It depends. Sometimes it takes only once to get the answer and sometimes it takes longer. It is better to do istakhara seven (7) times. If you have received an answer as explained in the section below, stop doing istikhara. You do not have to continue to do isitkhara for 7 days. It is better that right after reciting the supplication, given above, sleep with ablution (people who cannot keep the ablution for longer times due to health problems do not have to worry about ablution before falling asleep) facing the direction of the Qibla (facing the Qibla is not required but it is a Sunnat of our beloved Prophet Peace Be Upon Him). It is better to recite salutations (durood/ salawat) on the Prophet Allah’s Grace and Peace be upon him before and after the above Dua (supplication).
Answer: If in the dream one sees whiteness (means any thing white in color, for example: milk, white paper, white sky, white clothes, white light etc.) or greenness (means any thing green in color, for example: grass, plants, trees, green clothes, green light etc.) then understand that this task is better and if one sees redness (means any thing red in color, for example: blood, red clothing, red fruit, red light etc.) or blackness (means any thing black in color, for example: black water, black light, black clothings, black sky, black wall etc. ) then understand it is bad and avoid it. If do not remember any dream or do not see any colors then follow your heart. Whatever intention grows stronger in your heart regarding your targated work follow it after seven days of Istakhara.