Personal Development

Divine GPS: Istikharah

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Shaykh Hossam (who taught at the Islamic University of Madinah for over 10 years, has received many Ijaazaat, and is a senior scholar) has been teaching myself and others a beautiful Dua’ for a number of nights now, and I wanted to share it with you in this post.

It is called the Du’aa’ of Istikhaarah, which the Prophet taught to his Companions. It is narrated in Saheeh al-Bukhari that Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

The Prophet used to sit and teach us the (Supplication of) Istikharah [and he advised us to say it] regarding all of our matters & affairs. And he would teach us this Du’a, like he would teach us the Surahs of the Qur’an.

Here are a few things to note:

  • Istikharah, is an Arabic word which linguistically means seeking counsel and guidance for what is best. Hence, you’ll find that the Du’a begins with the words: اَللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيْرُكَ – “O Allah, I am doing Istikhaarah to You”: “I am seeking Your guidance and counsel, as to what is going to be best for me”.
  • بِعِلْمِكَ    “…by Your (infinite) knowledge.” – The reason I’m asking You to guide me, to direct me, to what is best for me, is because of Your infinite knowledge.
  • Later on in the Du’a, it says: اَللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنتَ تَعْلَمُ, أَنَّ هَاذَا الأَمْرَ – “O Allah! If You know that this matter…”  and here, the Prophet told the Companions, ‘You should mention your matter, whatever it is.’ It could be about marriage, a job, a family issue, or whatever. Basically, if you say this Du’a of Istikharah before making any decision, then Allah will guide you in that matter.

This will be like your “Divine GPS” :)

  • خَيْرٌ لِي, فِي دِيْنِي, وَمَعَاشِي, وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي – “…is going to be good for me, in relation to my Deen, and in relation to my worldly life (and livelihood), and also in relation to my Hereafter”
  • And the rest of the Du’a goes on. Then (Oh Allah), decree it for me, make it easy for me and bless me in it. And if, in Your knowledge (O Allah), You know that this ‘matter’ is gonna be bad for me, either in my Deen, or in my worldly life, or in my Hereafter, then take it away from me and me away from it.  And decree what is best for me, wherever it may be. And then make me pleased with it.

The above was just an overview of some of the meanings of this Du’a. I’ll just leave it at that and let you discover some of the other meanings on your own. As for the actual Du’a in its entirety, with the translation, and some comments of how and when a person should say it, read the following:

Once again, the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) taught us to say the following Du’a when we’re about to make any decision:

اَللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيْرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ
وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ, وأَسْـأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ العَظِيم.ي
فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلاَ أَقْدِرُ, وَتَعْلَمُ وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ, وَأَنْتَ عَلاَّمُ الغَيُوب.ي
اَللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَاذَا الأَمْرَ — خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي
وَمَعَاشِي, وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي, فَاقْدِرْهُ لِي, وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي, ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيه.ي
وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَاذَا الأَمْرَ, شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي, وَمَعَاشِي
وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي, فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي, وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنهُ, وَاقْدِرْ لِيَ الْخَيْرَ حَيثُ كاَنَ, ثُمَّ رَضِّنِي بِه.ث

“O Allah! I seek Your guidance for that which is good, because of Your infinite knowledge, and Your ultimate power. And I ask You from Your great bounty. Certainly, You are able and I am not. You have (infinite) knowledge and I do not. You are the Knower of the hidden (past, present and future).

O Allah, if You know that this matter (then you name your matter) is good for me, in my deen, in my life, and in my Hereafter, then make it possible for me, and make it easy (smooth) for me, and then bless me in it. And if You know that this matter is going to be bad for me, in my deen, in my life, and in my Hereafter, then take it away from me, and take me away from it. And (O Allah) take me to that which is good wherever it may be, and make me pleased with it.”

The Sunnah that the Prophet taught his Companions is that you first pray two normal Rak’ahs. Then after you finish the two Rak’ahs, you raise your hands up and say this Du’a sincerely and earnestly.

Some scholars say that after you make this Du’a  you will have a dream indicating to you what is best, but the fact of the matter is that this has no proof and it’s just an opinion. The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) never told the Companions when he taught them this Du’aa that they would see a dream afterward. Therefore, note that this is just an opinion by some scholars and is not necessarily accurate.

The correct understanding is this: you pray the two Rak’ah and make this Du’a sincerely. Then wait for a while, and afterwards, the decision that you feel more inclined towards is the correct one.

So after making this Du’a, go ahead and make the decision that you choose. Since you asked Allah to guide you to the best choice, whatever you have chosen will be under Allah’s Guidance. If it is good for you, Allah will make it easy and smooth for you. If it is something bad, then Allah will take it away from you and you away from it, and give you something that will be better for you.

Generally, you should make this Du’a just once. If you wanna do it more times, that’s up to you. Lastly, to learn more about the beauty and inner dimensions of the Prayer of Istikharah, please you just have to watch this awesome video, entitled: The Divine GPS.

AbdulBasit Khan currently lives in Lanham, MD where he gives weekly lectures at his local Mosque, PGMA. He grew up in the ADAMS Center community in Sterling, VA and moved to College Park, MD to attend Al-Huda School at the age of 11. After graduating from Al-Huda’s middle school and completing his hifzh, he began to volunteer at Prince George’s Muslim Association where he spent the next 8 years studying under the mentorship of many Imams, eventually becoming assistant Imam. His hobbies include reading beneficial works, listening to interesting talks and attending inspiring Islamic events. He feels that MYM is a beautiful medium for him to share some of his thoughts and be inspired by the musings of fellow youth.

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