Sunday, November 4, 2012

Brief Comments on Riyaadh al-Saaliheen #56

Guidelines while doing al-Istikhaarah [1]

بـسـم الله والحـمـد لله والـصلاة والـسـلام عــلى رسـول الله، وبـعـد

[Sharh Riyaadh al-Saaliheen (4/162) of Shaikh al-`Uthaymeen رحمه الله]

The scholars have differed if counseling should be sought first or al-Istikhaarah should be done first? The correct way is that one should proceed with al-istikhaarah first, according to the saying of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم:

إذا هم أحدكم بالأمر فليصل ركعتين

“If anyone of you intends to do something, he should offer a two-Rak`aat prayer” [2]

So one should begin with al-Istikhaarah, and when you have repeated it three times and the matter is still not clear to you, you seek (people’s) advice. So whatever you have been advised is what Allaah تعالى has chosen for you, so you should act upon it. [3]

And we said: “one should do al-Istikhaarah three times”, this is because it was from the habit of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم that when he would make a du`aa he would repeat it three times. And al-Istikhaarah is a du`aa; and it may happen that the matter is not clear for the person in the first time. It may be made clear in the first time (for some), or the second or the third, and if it is still not clear, then he should seek (people’s) advice. [4]


[1] al-Istikhaarah linguistically means: seeking the good in a thing. In Islaam it means: seeking Allaah’s guidance in choosing the proper course of action in a thing which concerns you: either to travel or not, to marry a particular person or not, whether to go into partnership with someone or not, whether to purchase a house or a car etc.

[2] Narrated Jaabir bin `Abdullaah رضي الله عنهما: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to teach us the way of doing Istikhaarah, in all matters as he taught us the Surahs of the Qur’aan. He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two Rakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):

اللهم إني استخيرك بعلمك، واستقدرك بقدرتك وأسألك من فضلك العظيم فإنك تقدر ولا أقدر وتعلم ولا أعلم وأنت علام الغيوب اللهم إن كنت تعلم أن هذا الأمر خير لي في ديني ومعاشي وعاقبة أمري أو قال: عاجل أمري وآجله فاقدره لي ويسره لي ثم بارك لي فيه وإن كنت تعلم أن هذا الأمر شر لي في ديني ومعاشي وعاقبة أمري أو قال: عاجل أمري وآجله فاصرفه عني واصرفني عنه واقدر لي الخير حيث كان ثم أَرضني به

Allaahumma innee astakheeruka bi`ilmika, Wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, Wa as’alaka min fadhlika al-`azeem Fa-innaka taqdiru Walaa aqdiru, Wa ta`lamu Wala a`lamu, Wa anta `allaamu l-ghuyoob. Allaahumma, in kunta ta`lam anna hadha-l-amra Khairun lee fee deeni wa ma`aashee wa`aaqibati amri (or `aajili amri wa aajilihi) Faqdirhu lee wa yas-sirhu lee thumma baarik lee Feehi, Wa in kunta ta`lamu anna hadha-lamra shar-run lee fee deeni wa ma`aashi wa`aaqibati amri (or fi`aajili amri wa aajilihi) Fasrifhu annee was-rifnee anhu. Waqdir li al-khaira haithu kana Thumma ardinee bihi.

(O Allaah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, and Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You know the unseen. O Allaah! If You know that this job is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter--(or said: If it is better for my present and later needs)--then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, and then bless me in it, and if You know that this job is harmful to me in my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter--(or said: If it is worse for my present and later needs)--then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, and make me satisfied with it).” The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم added that then the person should name (mention) his need. [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (1166, 6382, 7390)]

[3] Some of the scholars are of the opinion on doing al-Istikhaarah only once. Shaikh Ibn Baaz's رحمه الله position was that one should do al-Istikhaarah and then seek advice; and to repeat it if the matter is still unclear.

He رحمه الله said: “…this is the du`aa of al-Istikhaarah. So one should recite it while doing al-Istikhaarah; and then he should seek the advice from those whose advice is sought (i.e. those who are knowledgeable and experienced and from whom he expects goodness and those who love to do good to him) in the matters concerning marriage, travel, or partnership or other than that which concerns the person. This is the position regarding al-Istikhaarah, and it is a Sunnah; and the Sunnah along with it is that after doing al-Istikhaarah one should also seek advice from those whom he sees as capable of giving advice. So, if his breast is opened towards doing one of the two choices, he does that. And if he is still not clear, he should repeat al-Istikhaarah second or the third time. He should repeat till his chest is opened in choosing one of the two choices.”

[4] Some guidelines regarding al-Istikhaarah:

a. A two Raka`ah prayer has to be made separately for doing al-Istikhaarah. It can be done with the Sunan Rawaatib (the 12 Sunnah prayers made throughout the day, 2 before Fajr, 2+2 before Dhuhr and 2 after it, 2 after Maghrib and 2 after `Ishaa’). It cannot be done with the obligatory prayer (example 2 Raka`aat of Fajr or the 4 of Dhuhr etc).

b. The two Raka`aat should not be offered at the times when it is forbidden to pray (i.e. after Fajr till the sunrises, at noon when the sun is directly above head or after `Asr till the sunsets.)

c. The du`aa’ of al-Istikhaarah is to be made after making the Tasleem. One should begin the du`aa by praising Allaah and asking Allaah’s Peace and Blessings for the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

d. One can/should raise his hands while doing du`aa al-Istikhaarah.

e. Seeing a good dream is not associated with al-Istikhaarah.


  1. It is my understanding that we aught to be seek counself and then be FIRM upon our decision then to do istikhara. The reason being that Allah's messenger (sallahu allayhi wa salam) used to seek the counsel of his companions, wives and make a decision and place tawakkul in Allah. Some examples could be that of the treaty of hudibiyyah and battle of uhud and such.

    This is also apparent because even in the dua of istikhara we must SPECIFY the matter. Personally, I am a very undecisive individual but the way I approach this is that I make dua (as we should always) and seek counsel make a decision and BISMILLAH! (make istikhara and hope that Allah will guide me towards good and make it easy or guide me away).

    This subject intertwines perfectly with tawwakkul and how we ought to take the means (asbab) to do what is necessary to get there and hope that Allah guides us to what is good.

    I check out the sources you gave and none seem to address the before a decision or not. But I shall I try to find the source I took my understanding from and share insha'allah.

  2. Salam alaikum,

    jazakhAllah kheir for the good article. In fact it is the first in which it is clearly said when to say the Du'aa. BUT, why raise the hands in Du'aa? Don't the scholar say, it is bid'ah to raise the hands in Du'aa after the prayer? Is there a hadith which indicates to raise the hands for the Istikhara Du'aa?

    Please clarify, because I feel confused now...

    Salam alaikum


    1. Wa `alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.

      What the scholars say is that there is no evidence for making it a habit of regularly raising the hands in du`aa after the 5 compulsory prayers. This is what is to be avoided.

      But as for raising the hands in general, then there is an authentic Hadeeth to support it.

      Narrated Salmaan al-Faarsi رضي الله عنه: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Your Lord is munificent and generous, and is ashamed to turn away empty the hands of His servant when he raises them to Him.” [Sunan Abu Dawood (1488), Sunan Ibn Maajah (3865), Tirmidhee (3556) and graded as “Saheeh” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

      So there is no harm in raising the hands in some places sometimes and Allaah knows best.