Istikhara means asking for good tidings in any case, namely, to turn towards Allah in all the things that are present in everyday life, and go towards Allah Almighty and ask safety from him, asking for good and guidance, to understand the Istikhara process that it receives a news, it is a very misconception that led to many misunderstandings, which is clearly mentioned in detail.
Istikhara is a “masnoon” amal. Its procedure and dua are said by prophet (peace be upon him), the prophet (peace be upon him) used to teach sahaba karam the Istikhara. Hazrat Jabir (R.A) narrated that prophet (peace be upon him) said:
That is, who does “Istikhara” in his matters will never fail. And the person who counsels in his work will never have to face shame or regret why I did this thing? Or why did not I do this? Because what did you do after consultation and if you did not do it after consultation. This is the reason he/she will not be ashamed. In this Hadees, which said that there will be no deviation to the one who does Istikhara. This means that the on who does Istikhara will definitely succeed. Whether on any occasion in his heart this idea also comes to mind that the work was not good. But though this idea remains in mind but the success will be to him/her who does Istikhara. Same is the case that the person who works after consulting will never fail. Because God forbid, if the work is even worse his heart will be convinced that I did not do this on my own self, but after consulting my friends and elders. Now it is forwarded to Allah that he decides which is best. This is the reason prophet (peace be upon him) has suggested two things that whenever there is a problem in any work, do two things, one Istikhara, and second consultation.
Hazrat Maulana Syed Mohammad Yousuf Banawari writes:
Remember that the goal of Istikhara is that the person has met his/her responsibility and he/she has submitted himself/herself to the great knowledge and powers of Allah Almighty. It means that the person has passed out of his/her responsibility. It is obvious that if a person goes to consult with an experienced person and a gentleman, then he gives the correct advice, and also supports him/her according to his/her powers.
The right way of Istikhara according to sunnah is that in day or night at any time recite two rakats as nafal for the sake of Istikhara. He/she should intent that I have to face that specific matter so may Allah decide for me the best way to it. After completing the prayer recite the “masnoon” dua that is recommended by prophet (peace be upon him). This is very strange dua and only a prophet can ask this kind of dua. Prophet (peace be upon him) did not leave any part of life in this dua. To ask this dua is impossible for a simple human. The “masnoon” dua for istikhara is as follows.
Hazrat Anas (R.A) narrates prophet (peace be upon him) said that Anas when you decide to do something then do Istikhara seven times then see what you get in your heart means what your heart receives from Allah Almighty, do that and that is good for you. (Mafhoom)(Mazahir e haq)
It is good to do Istikhara three to seven times continuously if one is still in hesitation then keep on doing Istikhara. Do not do anything unless your heart satisfies on one side. One more thing to understand is that there is no fixed time for result of Istikhara. Hazrat Umar (R.A) did Istikhara for one month and then he received spiritual information by Allah Almighty if he had not gotten the information then he has had continued the intikhara for more days.
Hazrat maulana mufti Muhammad Shafee sahib (R.A) says that: dua e istikhara means that a person may seek safety from Allah, there is no shame if one does Istikhara and this is not a consultation because consultation is done with friends. Istikhara is a Sunnah amal its dua is very famous.
If one gets concentration in Istikhara then it means that his/her istikhara is accepted. Now he/she must act upon the results of Istikhara. If one does not get concentration or satisfaction towards any one side then do consultancy with the Istikhara. But it is not essential that one gets a concentration in Istikhara. (Alkalam Ul Hassan).
Some people say that after doing Istikhara one’s heart automatically turns to one side. So he/she should do that. Sometimes heart does not turn to any one side but still, the goal of istikhara is gotten. Because after doing istikhara Allah does best for that human.
The reality of Istikhara is that a person recites two rakats nafal and then prays to Allah Almighty. After that human gets what is better for him/her. This means that well done if you are done! Well, if not! See where the heart is being attracted that is better for him/her. If the heart does not attract or one does not get sources then believe that there may be something good by Allah Almighty.
Makhool Azdi (R.A) says that I heard Hazrat Abdullah Bin Umar saying that sometimes a person does Istikhara for the work which is good for me will be done, then Allah does that which is better in its favor. But apparently, that work does not understand this person, then the person is angry with his lord that I had told Allah that he should find a good work for me, but it does not look good what I got, I have trouble for it, but after short period of time when results come out, then it shows that in fact, the decision that Allah had done for me was better. At that time he did not know and it was understood that I was oppressed. The other thing is that the correctness of Allah’s decision is to appear in the world and sometimes it will appear in the hereafter.
Now when work is done, apparently sometimes it seems that this is not good, and this is not according to my wish. Now human complains to Allah that O Allah I did Istikhara but the work is against my will and nature and apparently this work is not good. So Hazrat Abdullah Bin Umar (R.A) says that you are thinking of your limited understanding that this work has not improved in your favor but he in whose knowledge the entire universe system is knowing what was better for you and what was not better, What he did was better for you, sometimes in the world you will know what was better for you and sometimes it will never be known in the entire life, when it comes to the hereafter, then going there will come to know that it was better for me.
Understand this example as if there is a child who is saying his parents that he will east some specific food. And parents know that at this time that specific food is harmful to him. So parents do not give that food to him. Now the child understands that my parents wronged me. I did not give what I was asking for and in spite of that, I have to take bitter bitter medicine. Now that child does not understand this medicine in its favor. But after becoming big, Allah will give this child wisdom and understanding and this will be understood at that time, he will come to know that I was asking for death for me and my parents were searching for life and health for me.
Allah is more merciful to his slaves than his parents. Therefore Allah permits the path that is better for a human. It is sometimes known in the world and it is sometimes not known in the world.
How can this weak man understand the decisions of Allah through his limited understanding? He knows what is better about the human. The person seems to be complaining about God only by looking at a few things. And he thinks that God’s decisions are bad (God forbid). But the fact is that no one can do better than Allah that who is right and what is better.
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Most people believe that Istikhara is only in the work that is very important and where there are two ways in front of the man, or in the work that man is doubtful, he should do only in such tasks. So people do istikhara in some of the important matters of their lives, for example, they do Istikahra about marriage or about business only. It seems like we need Allah’s help and guidance in important matters only and we do not need help and guidance in other matters of life. Remember that Istikhara is not only in important and big matters but whether you have small or big work you should ask Allah for good. Similarly, it is not necessary that Istikhara should be done only if there is doubt in the work. But Istikhara should be done whether there is no doubt in the work or whether there is only one way to go.
Some people think that the “Istikhara” should always be done during the night while sleeping or after “Isha” prayer. It is not necessary, but whenever you get the opportunity do it. There is no restriction at night nor there is a restriction of the day, neither there is a restriction of sleeping.
There are various types of misconceptions among people about Istikhara. Usually, people think that there is a dream after Istikhara. And it is directed within the dream whether doing this work or not. Remember that the “masnoon” way of Istikhara has no such things as mentioned earlier.
It is not necessary to dream or tell anything in the dream or to give a sign in the dream, sometimes it comes in a dream and sometimes it does not come.
People often make mistake in Istikhara that is that they do not do Istikhara themselves but ask someone other to do Istikhara for them. And say to another person that do Istikhara for us like “fall kholna”. The reason behind of saying another person for Istikhara is that people think that there will be some kind of news in Istikhara.
Prophet (peace be upon him) said that the person who has work should do Istikhara by himself. There is no proof of saying others for istikhara. In the era of the Prophet (peace be upon him) sahaba were the most religious persons and there was no one better than a prophet (Peace be upon him) but still, there is nowhere mentioned that any of sahaba ever said for istikhara to the prophet (peace be upon him). The Sunnah way is that the person who has matter should do Istikhara himself. Most of the people think that we are sinful our Istikhara will not be effective so they think that despite of doing Istikhara themselves they ask some other pious person, but this idea is wrong. The person who has matter should do Istikhara himself.