Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Istikharah prayer does not require any dream or feeling afterwards

Question: I have a big decision to make, and I have been offering the istikhârah prayer before going to bed every night now for a week, but my istikhârah prayer is not being answered. My question is: After a person prays istikhârah how, are we supposed to know if the thing is good for us or not? Aren't we supposed to see a dream or get a feeling about the situation?

Answered by: the Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî (islamtoday.net)

It is Sunnah to offer the istikhârah prayer whenever we have a major decision in life. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "If one of you thinks to embark upon something, he should pray two units of prayer aside from the obligatory prayer..." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]

It is not necessary for the person who offers the istikhârah prayer to get any indication afterwards. Istikhârah is about asking Allah to intervene directly in our affair. This is clear from what we say in the supplication for istikhârah:

((...O Allah! If you know this affair to be best for me in my religion, my livelihood, and in the final outcome (or: in my immediate life and my future one), then decree it for me and facilitate it for me and then bless me in it. And if You know this affair to be worse for me in my religion, my livelihood, and in the final outcome (or: in my immediate life and my future one), then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and decree for me what is good, wherever it may be, and then cause me to be contented with it.))

If we look carefully at the supplication we are offering to Allah, we are asking Him to make what we are asking happen for us if it is good for us and to prevent it from happening if it is bad for us. This does not necessitate that we will have a dream, feeling, or other inward indication. However, if we develop a strong feeling for or against something after praying istikhârah, we may choose to act upon that feeling.

Also, contrary to popular belief, sleeping after the istikhârah prayer is neither required nor recommended. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the prayer.

And Allah knows best.

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