Istikhara means “directly ask Allah to guide one to do the right action concerning to some deed in which there could be a job, marriage decision and some others includes.” Or we can say “asking Allah to guide us to the good or right answer” is Istikhara. This prayer is a very important volunteer prayer and it was a Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to do this when he needed Allah’s (SWT) guide towards an action.
Importance of Istikhara
We want so many things for us in our life which we think are good for us but Allah knows better what is more suitable for us. If we have to choose between two options for us then it will be better to do Istikhara. Istikhara is guidance from Allah that what to choose and what to not. So it is better to take advice from Allah (SWT) then just take a random choice and goof up something.
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.”(Surah Baqrah 2:216).
Salat ul-Istikhara is a powerful tool that has given us to ask His guidance in all matters. We should not delay in Salatul Istikhara before making any choice in our lives, whether it’s big or small. Importance of Istikhara could be known from below mentioned Hadith:
“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.” (Bukhari)
From above mentioned Hadith we can conclude that one is able to attain supervision from His (SWT) by doing Istikhara or salatul Istikhara and without any doubt, we all know that He is best in supervision because He knows everything.
Method of Performing Salatul Istikhara and Time of doing Istikhara
One has to do Niyat first for performing Salatul Istikhara then should follow these steps:
- Perform 2 Rakah of (Nafl) prayer
- In first Rakah recite Surah Kafiroon
- In second Rakah read Surah Ikhlas
- Rest of the prayer perform as you would normally
- Then read Dua Istikhara
- Nowhere in the Hadith is a specific time for performing Istikhara given. In the Hadith, it shows that one should perform Istikhara whenever they need to do.
Benefits of doing Istikhara
There are some benefits below mentioned which we can achieve by doing Istikhara:
- You can perform it for everything. It offers the finest answer no matter it is related to worldly life or religious life.
- Hazrat Shah Waliyyullah (R.A) writes:
“From amongst the greatest benefits of Istikhara is that man becomes detached from his carnal desires, his animalistic characteristics become subject to his angelic nature and he hands himself over to Allah. When he does this, he reaches the stages of the angels whose quality is that they await the command of Allah. When Allah’s command is received, they exert themselves through divine motivation and not carnal motivation. I believe that excessive Istikhara is a proven tonic for the inculcation of angelic qualities.”
- The best reward of this prayer is that a person becomes close to Allah (SWT).
Istikhara is a great form of supplication, which not only results in Allah`s guidance and supervision in the achievement of a task but also purifies one`s heart and soul by bringing it near to the Almighty Allah. May Allah (SWT) give us will and desire to understand the great significance of this prayer and benefit from it in the most meaningful manner! Ameen