How to Perform Istikhara
Hadrat Jabir (Radhiallaahu Anhu)
reports: Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) taught us to
make Istikharah concerning all matters just as he would teach
us a surah of the Qur'an. He would say: "When any of you
wishes to take up any task, he should perform two raka-at of
Salah other than that of fard (meaning two rakaat of nafl
with the intention of Istikharah). He should then say (in
"O Allah, I ask of You the good
through Your knowledge and I ask You to grant me the ability
through Your power and ask You of Your great bounty. For
surely You have power and I have none, You know all and I do
not know, and You are the Knower of the unseen. O Allah, if in
Your knowledge, this matter be good for me with regards to my
Din (religion), my livelihood and the outcome of my affair [in
the near and distant future], then ordain it for me and make
it easy for me and bless me there in. But, if in Your
knowledge, this matter be bad for me with regards to my Din,
my livelihood and the outcome of my affair [in the near or
distant future then turn it away from me and turn me away
from it, and ordain for me good where ever it may be and cause
me to be pleased [with it].
1. Mulla Ali Qari (RA) has written
that the words of the Hadith: "… just as he would teach us a
surah of the Qur'an" highlight the importance that was
attached to this du'a. Allamah Ibn Hajar says that the
comparison between the two is that both are general needs.
This means that just like every person is in need of learning
a surah for his Salah, similarly everyone is in need of
learning this du'a for all his matters.
2. Hafiz Ibn Hajar has written
with regards to the words at the end of the Hadith ‘wa
yusammaa haajatah’ that the apparent meaning of this statement
is that the need should be stated verbally. In this case it
should be mentioned after reciting the du'a. However he says
that it may also mean that he should ponder and be conscious
of the need during the recital of the du'a. This latter
opinion has been preferred by Mulla' Ali Qari (RA). Allamah
Badruddin' Aini (RA) has, on the other hand, preferred the
first meaning, adding that the need should be said verbally by
way of a hint at the time of the recital of the words: "anna
3. Some narrations have the words
"wa radh-dhiniy" in place of the words: “wa ardhiniy ". Both
forms are permissible to recite.
Abu Ayyub Ansari reports that
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: "Conceal the
proposal, then perform wudu properly, thereafter perform as
many raka'at as Allah had destined for you. After having
performed Salah, praise and extol your Sustainer, then say:
"O Allah, You have power and I
have none, and You know and I do not know, and You are the
Knower of the unseen. If in Your knowledge (so and so) be good
for me with regards to my Din (religion), my worldly affairs
as well as those that relate to my hereafter, then destine her
for me; and if someone else be better for me than her with
regards to my Din (religion), my worldly affairs as well as
those that relate to my hereafter, then destine her for me. "
1) In the above Hadith, the words
"conceal the proposal” can either mean that ‘Istikharah'
should be performed before forwarding it; or that the proposal
should not be disclosed until it has been accepted. This is
for the protection of the honour of the girl, and it also
serves as a precaution against jealousy, etc.
2) Upon reaching the word in
brackets it should be replaced by the name of the
person regarding whom ‘Istikharah’ is being performed.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS DU’A
After explaining the object of
Istikharah and its outcome, Moulana Shabbir Ahmed Uthmani,
continued to discuss the secrets hidden in the words of this
brief du'a. He quoted the words of Hafiz Ibn Taimiyyah (RA) as
narrated by his disciple in the book 'Madrijus SAlikiN: Ibn
Qayyim (ra) states: "Our Shaikh <RA> used to say: With regards
to 'Taqdir’ i.e. destiny, it should coincide with: 'Tawakkul'
before its occurrence, and 'Radhaa’ after it has already
occurred. (Tawakkul is to place one's total trust in Allah and
'Radhaa’ is to be pleased with the decision of Allah.
Therefore, he who has placed his total trust in Allah before
the occurrence of destiny and is pleased (with whatever Allah
has destined) after it, has indeed fulfilled the demands of
‘ubudiyyah' i.e. servitude of Allah."
On this, Hafiz Ibn Qayyim (RA),
comments: "This is the meaning of the du’a of 'Istikharah':
"O Allah, I ask You the good
through Your knowledge, and I request You to grant me ability
through Your power, and ask You of Your great bounty. "
This is 'Tawakkul' and 'Tafwid’
i.e. placing one's trust in Allah alone, and handing over all
matters to Allah. The du'a continues:
"For surely You have power and I
have none. You know all and I know not. You are the Knower of
all that is hidden. "
This is an acknowledgment before
Allah about one's lack of knowledge, strength and power, and
it is supplicating to Allah using His attributes -a method of
supplicating most loved by Allah - Then he asks his Sustainer
to fulfil the need that he is asking for, if it be for his
benefit in the near or distant future, and to protect him from
it if it may cause harm in his near or distant future. This is
his request that he presents before Allah; hence he may now
only be pleased with whatever Allah has decided for him. Thus
he asks in his du'a:
"And destine for me good wherever
it may be, and make me contented with it."
Thus this du'a contains such
divine treasures and realities of Iman which comprise of 'Tawakkul'
and 'Tafwid' before the occurrence of the fate, and 'Rada'
after its occurrence. This is the effect of Tawakkul.
"HE WHO PLACES HIS TRUST IN ALLAH,
ALLAH IS SUFFICIENT FOR HIM."
Moulana Shabbir Ahmed Uthmani
(RA), comments: "As you learn from the words of Hafiz Ibn
Qayyim (RA), that the du'a of 'Istikhaarah’ is a lesson in
genuine 'Tawakkul' and an encouragement to attain its most
elevated rank, you also learn that whoever recites this du'a
has indeed acted upon Tawakkul, i.e. placed his trust in Allah
and "he who places his trust in Allah, Allah is sufficient for
him." (Surah Talaq).