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 supplication):
“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 haadhal amr”
3. Some narrations have the words “wa radh-dhiniy” in place of the words: “wa ardhiniy “. Both forms are permissible to recite.
ISTIKHARAH FOR MARRIAGE
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.
SECRETS AND 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).