THE TRUE MEANING OF ISTIKHARA
I feel that often times people mistake Istikhara Benefits for having a different meaning than it truly does. For the most part, this consists of people assuming that seeing a dream from Allah, regarding the situation being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is a vital part of Istikhara. However, this is not the case. For this post, I decided to explain to you what Istikhara is, starting from the basics. Hopefully, this gets rid of any misconceptions any of you have regarding Istikhara.
WHAT DOES ISTIKHARA MEAN?
The word Istikhara directly means, to ask Allah to guide one to the right sort of action concerning a job or deed. ‘Khair’ means good (asking Allah to guide you to the good or right answer). Meaning, you’re not asking Allah to show you a vision, through a dream.
DREAMS AND ISTIKHARA
People sometimes think of their dreams, as answers from God. However, dreams sometimes consist of our thoughts, ambitions, etc. which are already made up in our minds. Often times we mistake these dreams/thoughts for Allah’s word. In the time of marriage or finding a life partner, people ask their relatives to do Istikhara as well. However, the most important people in this marriage are the guy and girl getting married. So they should do Istikhara for themselves. We are taught from a very young age to ask Allah for a suitable life partner, this is also a sort of Istikhara. So once again, it is important that the guy and girl do Istikhara. If two people get contradicting dreams it could mean that the message was actually the same but misinterpreted. Be certain that you can’t get two different answers from Allah, it’s a mistake in our own interpretation. Which is why, the guy and girl should pray, and go with their gut feeling, not what others dream of Istikhara Benefits.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ISTIKHARA
The importance of Istikhara can be seen from the following Hadith:
Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara, in all matters as he taught us the Surahs of the Qur’an. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two rakyat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer): “Allahumma in Asta khi Ruka bi il Mika, Wa astaqdiruka biquadratic, Wa as’alaka min Malika Al-calm Fa-innaka taqdiru Wala Qadir, Wa ta’lamu Wala a lamp, Wa anta ‘Allama l-ghuyub, Allahumma, in Kunta ta’lam anna had-lamra Khairun li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati ‘Amri Faqdirhu was as-sirhu li thumma barik li Fihi, Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hadha-camera shar-run li fi dini was ma’ashi wa’aqibati ‘Amri Fasrifhu anni was-rifni anhu. Waqdir li al-chairs haiku kana Thumma ardini bihi.’ (O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, and Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do no and You know the Istikhara Benefits unseen. O, Allah! If You know that this job is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter, Then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, And then bless me in it, and if You know that this job is harmful to me in my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter, Then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, And make me a satisfied with it). The Prophet (peace be upon him) added that then the person should name (mention) his need.
HOW DOES ONE PERFORM ISTIKHARA?
If any problem comes your way, the following steps should be taken to perform Istikhara:
Perform 2 Rak’ah of (Nafl) prayer:
In the first Rak’ah read Surah Al-Kafiroon
In the next Rak’ah read Surah-Al-Ikhlas
(Perform the rest of the prayer as you would normally)
Read the Dua for Istikhara
Many people say that the 2 Rak’ah of Nafl prayer should be read after Isha’a only because one can go to sleep directly after, and see a dream (if that’s meant to happen). However, 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.
Method of Performing Salat Al Istikhara and Its Benefits
More often, there comes a time in our lives when Istikhara Benefits we look for someone`s help in successful implementation of any critical matter of our lives. That particular somebody who we refer to in this regard is deemed as an expert, who would give us the best possible advice, like in deciding whether to pursue a certain job or not, reaching the destination by which means of transport or route etc. Eventually, we take the option about which we at first might have thought of as secondary in importance, but when a professional recommends it to us, all of a sudden, it becomes essential to do. Being a Muslim, we have the strong conviction that no one is as Knowledgeable in Knowing things as Allah SWT, Who has made certain deeds compulsory for us and following the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) so that we could benefit from them.
Apart from transparency in complex matters, and being able to get Allah`s Help in, Istikharah also brings us closest to the Almighty.
The sacred Angels of God, the Exalted are the only Istikhara Benefits creatures that are very near to the Lord, but when a person on earth pleas to Him after waking up from one`s sleep, Allah SWT highly admires this action, listens to its requests, and tells its Divine Messengers about that particular individual.
Hazrat Shah Waliyyullah (R.A) writes:
“From amongst the greatest benefits of Istikharah 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 Istikharah is a proven tonic for the inculcation of angelic qualities.”
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