يسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والحمدلله لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين
In the name of God, the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate
All praise and thanks be to God, and may peace and blessings be upon the most noble of Prophets and Messenger
Making decisions is something that we encounter everyday, from the littlest things to making career choices. As muslims, we know that we must reflect and think deeply about how we go about our daily lives. We know that we must have taqwaa (God consciousness) and this must be reflected in our actions. Often it is easy to make the really huge decisions, such as the direction that we want our careers and lives to go in general, but our lives, what we really encounter are the smaller, but nevertheless significant decisions, that we encounter everyday. Ones that can lead to later implications, for example taking up a position that may require commitment that you are unsure of, or deciding where you need to be most.
Decision-making can be hard, for some more than others. The beauty of Islam is that it gives us a remedy to this through the prayer of istikharah, which should rid us of indecisiveness. Yet we are also reminded of the importance of making reasoned decisions; because, to put simply, decisions lead to consequences.
Istikhaarah in Arabic means seeking guidance to make a decision concerning things that are permissible. The scholars are unanimously agreed that the prayer of Istikhaarah is Sunnah.
“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach his companions to make istikhaarah in all matters, just as he used to teach them soorahs from the Qur’aan.
He said: ‘If any one of you is deliberating about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer,
(O Allaah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allaah, if in Your knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it).”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari in several places in his Saheeh (1166).
Then, after praying Istikharah, one should do what he feels is best, after carefully reviewing the options and taking the available means to make an informed decision.
It is important to implement this into our daily lives, since it is an acceptance and practical demonstration of the awareness that Allah is all mighty and that we have no power and no strength of our own.
This gives me so much comfort. When everything around me is so uncertain, its almost too good to believe that Allah is telling us that if we seek guidance from him, then whatever decision we come to, and whatever outcome happens, we know that there is good in it for us. And therefore there is nothing to worry about, and so it is a form of tawwakkul (trust in Allah). It is a certainty that I know all of us will want to grasp on to and think subhan’Allah.
It means turning to Allaah and seeking to combine the goodness of this world and of the Hereafter. I love how it reminds us, in the midst of these worldly complications and problems that we are trying to solve, that there is more to what is good for us than in our worldly affairs, and therefore we should also not get caught up in the stresses of worrying about it.
Praying that it is good for my “religion” and “for this life and the next” also reminds us that we do not see the full picture. For example, if you have made a decision to stand for a position or apply for a job, or complete a type of project, that required hard work and in the end you did not succeed. It is so easy to see this as a failure. But we are praying that this decision is good for our whole life, and the next one which is forever-surely Allah is the only one who can ascertain and know what is good for us in such a huge scope of time? So Insha’Allah, even in the midst of what we feel has been a terrible outcome, we can remember our Istikharah duaa and feel complete relief as we know that Allah has ordained what is best for us, which may be different to somebody else, and Allah is most wise, and most compassionate.
Finally, seeking istikharah promotes excellence in character. Indecision is seen as a negative term. We spend precious time worrying over every possible situation that may go wrong, Instead, after trusting Allah to lead us to the right decision, we can simply go on to implement it in the best possible way, and to pick ourselves up and adapt to outcomes that we weren’t expecting, knowing that really, the best outcome that could ever occur is already playing out.
Anything good I have written or said is from Allah, and all the mistakes are from myself.