Mawlid al Nabawi: a beatifull sunnah is Istikharah Prayer

What is Istikharah?

Istikharah is a du’a made in conjunction with non-obligatory prayer; it is a voluntary prayer that Prophet Mohammad ASWS recommended to anybody wanting to do something but feeling hesitant about doing it. It is seeking guidance in order to make the right decision. It is reported that Prophet Muhammad ASWS would have tough his companions to make Istikharah just as he would have tough them verses from the Quran. One should pray two units of non-obligatory (voluntary) prayer and then say the du’a of Istikharah.

Du’a of Istikharah

O Allah, I ask You to show me what is best, through Your knowledge, and I ask You to empower me, through Your power, and I beg You to grant me Your tremendous favour, for You have power, while I am without power, and You have knowledge, while I am without knowledge, and You are the One who knows all things unseen. O Allah, if You know that this matter (mention the thing to be decided) is good for me in my religion and in my life and for my welfare in the life to come, then ordain it for me and make it easy for me, and then bless me in it. And if You know that this matter is bad for me in my religion and in my life and for my welfare in the life to come, then distance it from me, and distance me from it, and ordain for me what is good wherever it may be, and help me to be content with it”.

Allahumma innee astakheeru-ka bi-’ilmik wa astaqdiru-ka bi-qudratik wa as-alu-ka min fadlikal-‘azeem fa-inna-ka taqdiru wa laa aqdir wa ta’lamu wa laa a’lam wa Anta ‘Allamul-ghuyoob. Allahumma in kunta ta’lamu anna hadhal-amr khairul-lee fee deenee wa ma’aashee wa ‘aaqibati amree faqdur-hu lee wa yassir-hu lee thumma baarik lee feeh. Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hadhal-amra sharrul-lee fee deenee wa ma’aashee wa ‘aaqibati amree fasrifhu ‘annee wasrifnee ‘anh waqdur liyal-khayra haythu kaan thumma ardhinee bih.

When to recite the du’a of Istikharah

It is recommanded in our tradition to recite the du’a of Istikharah either before or after the tasleem. Some scholars recommend before, because Prophet Muhammad himself ASWS used to make a lot of du’a before the tasleem.

When to pray Istikharah

Islamic scholars agree that Istikharah is suggested when a person does not know the right decision to make. If one is unsure about whether or not his or her or their possible actions would bring about good in both this world and the hereafter. If a person is hesitating, not knowing if “it” is the right thing to do then Istikharah is the du’a that may set his mind at ease. It is the du’a that acknowledges Allah as the only strength and only power in this world. His / Her/ Its guidance is necessary to ensure that human beings follow the straight and correct path that leads to a blissful life everlasting.

For instance, if a person wants to find out the right time to do something, such as whether or not to do voluntary Hajj this year, or to propose marriage to a particular person, then it is acceptable and recommended that he or she prays Istikharah. Understand carefully that

Istikharah is for matters that are considered either recommended or permissible. It is for cases in which there is a conflict. Should I give to this charity or the other? Should I apply for this halal job or another? One should prays Istikharah concerning the thing he or she or they think is more likely to be better and then go ahead with doing it.

It is recommended, before praying Istikharah, to consult someone whom you know is sincere, caring and has experience, and who is trustworthy with regard to his or her or their religious commitment and knowledge.

Alhamdouli Allah – Alla praises ought to be addressed to Allah.

Oua Allahou a’lam – Allah is The omniscient.

Some common mistakes concerning Istikharah are generally as follow:

Believing that there is a set number of times to pray Istikharah.

There is no set time period for praying Istikharahand it is permissible to repeat it more than once.

Believing in the need for a dream.

Some people believe that after praying Istikharah they should experience a dream or feeling of ease. This is not correct. Even without such a thing, if a person makes a decision it should be hoped, due to the sincere du’a of Istikharah, that this will be the best decision.

Believing that the du’a was not answered.

If a person does not succeed in a decision he takes after praying Istikharah this does not mean that the du’a did not bring about what was best. Often it is a case of Allah knowing what is best while we human beings do not. If we take particular note of the words of the

du’a we will notice we are not only asking Allah for what is best but also asking Him / Her / It to remove from us, things of no benefit to us, either in this life or in the hereafter.

After praying Istikharah if Allah makes things easy for you then this is a sign that the thing you decided is good for you and if obstacles come in the way and things become difficult then this is an indication that Allah is pushing you away from a bad decision. Finally, Istikharah is not prayed for matters that are considered obligatory acts of worship or legal citizen duties. And let’s not orget that egocentrism and hatred or discriminations are not part of the good deeds Allah has implemented into the Quran’ic ethics, since the last sermon of the Prophet Muhammad ASWS was the following one, according to the tradition:

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. God has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. God has Judged that there shall be no interest, and that all the interest due to Al-Abbas ibn Abd’el Muttalib shall henceforth be waived…

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under a trust from God and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship God, perform your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and offer Zakat.Perform Hajj if you have the means.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

Remember, one day you will appear before God and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone. 

O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O people, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and it may be that the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.“

Thus the beloved Prophet completed his Final Sermon, and upon it, near the summit of Arafat, the revelation came down:

„…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My Grace upon you, and have chosen Islam for you as your religion…“ (Quran 5:3)

Even today the Last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad is passed to every Muslim in every corner of the world through all possible means of communication. Muslims are reminded about it in mosques and in lectures. Indeed the meanings found in this sermon are indeed astounding, touching upon some of the most important rights God has over humanity, and humanity has over each other. Though the Prophet’s soul has left this world, his words are still living in our hearts. And may Allah be present in each and every decision we make in our everyday earthly life.  Ameen.

Salam ‘aalaykoum, koumou ili al-salat – let’s stand up to pray.

By: Imam & Dr. Ludovic-Mohamed ZAHED

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