seeking Allah’s guidance in making decisions

links: – dua – from Fiqh-us-Sunnah by Sabiq
nzmuslim – very detailed information with sources
islamicity forum

Istikharah prayer is a two-rak`ah non-obligatory Prayer by which one seeks Allah’s guidance when he is confused or can’t choose between permissible alternatives. In this case, the Muslim should pray to Allah the Almighty to guide him to whatever He sees fit for him and make his heart satisfied with the decision.

In the Prayer, one asks Allah to facilitate the matter if it is good and turn it away if it is not. Thus, after praying Istikharah, one should decide on a course of action, and trust that if the matter does not work out, it is because it was not good for him. One should not then feel disappointed if things did not go as hoped.

Istikharah is only prescribed for matters deemed permissible by the Shari`ah and not for any issue that plainly opposes Allah’s Laws. It is when you have two permissible options and you do not know which is better for you that you should resort to Allah the Almighty to seek His guidance.

In response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

“Istikharah means, “seeking the best course of action.” In Islam, it is used for approaching Allah through Prayer for guidance in a case when one cannot make up his mind. It should, however, be pointed out, that Istikharah applies strictly to cases that are halal (lawful or permissible), since there cannot be a question of choice concerning matters that are considered haram (unlalwful or impermissible).

When faced with important decisions in life, a believer is persuaded to use all of his Allah-given resources, as well as to consult people who are known for their knowledge, piety and sound opinion. After having done so, he can turn to Allah for guidance.

Humans are limited in knowledge, and Allah alone possesses perfect knowledge. Allah has told us that He alone possesses the keys to all that is good. He has also promised to help us if we turn to Him earnestly and sincerely.

We see around us people doing all sorts of things for confirmation when faced with important decisions in their life. The Pre-Islamic Arabs resorted to the practice of divining with arrows or the stirring of birds. In modern times, even some of the most prominent people consult astrologers, psychics, gurus or so called spiritual masters. Islam teaches that since Allah alone knows the unseen realities, and He alone is aware of what is good for us in an absolute sense, we must seek His help.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) taught us how to do so. He told us that if we are faced with decisions in life and are unable to make up our mind, we must approach Allah through Prayer. This Prayer is called Prayer of Istikharah. It is a Sunnah or a highly recommended act. The specific method of doing it, is as follows:

First, one must offer a Prayer of two rak`ahs with the intention of seeking guidance from Allah. Then he should offer the following supplication:

the same dua from another source:

“Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi`ilmika, wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, wa as’aluka min fadlika al-azim, fa’innaka taqdiru wala aqdiru, wa ta`lamu wa la a`lamu, wa anta `allamu-l-ghuyub.

Allahumma, in kunta ta`lamu anna hadhal-amra [here mention your case] khairun li fi dini wa ma`ashi wa `aqibati ‘amri (or ‘ajili amri wa`ajilihi) faqdurhu li wa yas-sirhu li thumma barik li fihi.

Wa in ta`lamu anna hadhal-amra sharrun li fi deeni wa ma`ashi wa `aqibati ‘amri (or `ajili amri wa ajilihi) fasrifhu `anni was-rifni `anhu, waqdur liya al-khaira haithu kana thumma ‘ardini bihi.”

(O Allah, I seek Your help in finding out the best course of action (in this matter) by invoking Your knowledge; I ask You to empower me, and I beseech Your favor. You alone have the absolute power, while I have no power. You alone know it all, while I do not. You are the One Who knows the hidden mysteries. O Allah, if You know this thing (I am embarking on) [here mention your case] is good for me in my religion, worldly life, and my ultimate destiny, then facilitate it for me, and then bless me in my action. If, on the other hand, You know this thing is detrimental for me in my religion, worldly life, and ultimate destiny, turn it away from me, and turn me away from it, and decree what is good for me, wherever it may be, and make me content with it.)

After having done so, he/she should follow the decision that he/she is strongly inclined to. If he/she feels no such inclination, then he/she should choose one of the options; he can rest assured that Allah will guide his steps. It has been reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “One who asks Allah for guidance in choosing the best course of action will never be a loser.”

It is not at all necessary for a person to have visions or dreams following Istikharah. However, if a person does experience a vision or dream, and he feels strongly about it, he should follow it.”

Imam An-Nawawi (may Allah bless his soul) adds:

“After making Istikharah, a person must do what he or she is wholeheartedly inclined to do and feels good about doing and should not insist on doing what he/she had desired to do before making the Istikharah. And if his or her feelings change, he or she should leave what he or she had intended to do, for otherwise he or she is not leaving the choice to Allah, and would not be honest in seeking help from Allah’s power and knowledge. Sincerity in seeking Allah’s choice means that one should completely abandon what one desired oneself.”

Also, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former head of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and member of the Fiqh Council of North America, states:

“Doing Istikharah does not mean that one should not use one’s reason or experience. Allah the Exalted has commanded us in the Qur’an that we should use our intellect and seek knowledge. If we do not know something, we should ask those who know. But human reason has limitations. We do not know everything; only Allah does know all things. When we are faced with a dilemma then we should turn to Allah to seek His guidance.

After offering Istikharah, you may do whatever is best in your understanding or whatever convinces you. You may repeat the du`a’ of Istikharah several times if you are still hesitant. It is not necessary to dream about anything and you do not have to wait for an answer in your dreams. It is reported in a Hadith that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “O Anas, when you intend to do some important things, then seek the good (seek Istikharah) from your Lord seven times and then do that to which your heart (or mind) is inclined, because the good is in it.”

Most of the hadiths on this subject do not talk about any dream. However, the famous Hanafi jurist Ibn `Abdeen has suggested in his Hashiyah that one should make the Istikharah Prayer before sleeping, and should sleep after having performed Wudu’. The face should be towards Makkah. If one sees something white or green in one’s dream, then the answer is yes, but if one sees something dark or red then the answer is no.

Other jurists of Shafi`i, Maliki, Hanbali and Ja`fari schools say that one should do that which is most convincing. According to Imam Malik, other people can also perform Istikharah on behalf of someone.

There is nothing strange about dreams. If you did not see any dreams, then it does not mean that dreams do not occur. After the Istikharah Prayer, some people may see a dream and some may not. We know that some of our dreams become true. Some time we see something in a dream and it happens exactly the same way later. As there are good dreams and bad dreams, so there are also true and false dreams. The interpretation of dreams is a special knowledge that some people have. In the Qur’an many dreams are mentioned. Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) saw in his dream that he was sacrificing his son. Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) had dreams and Allah also gave him the knowledge of interpreting dreams. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) also sometimes interpreted the dreams of his Companions.”

Allah Almighty knows best.


15 Responses to “seeking Allah’s guidance in making decisions”

  1. Sister Says:

    Recently my fiancee has broken our engagement after setting the wedding date. I strongly believe his father has influenced him as he told me to my face. Following these events I performed an Isthakhaara in which i saw alot of light and him in a positive way. I pray to Allah Subhanat-Allah for guidance every night and I get the same dreams about him. Can someone give me guidance on what I am supposed to follow? If there is clear indication to me that he is right for me then how do I just move on?

    • amina Says:

      I think u should follow ur heaart. As I have said before, it’s okay to make mistakes, if he is not the one inshallah it will maybe come another one. Just follow what u feel in ur heart. Sometimes the only voice that screams loud is ur own, so pray to Allah and try to ask Allah about signs that u can understand. And inshallah u will get the answer. if not, inshallah in the next life

  2. Lolo Says:

    Jazak Allahu Kheir to whoever posted this. I am looking for a decision on something very important and was looking for this. Thank you so muchh!! Peace and blessings upon you!

  3. Shafayet Says:

    Thanks for the post !
    I’m having tough time deciding on something that will change the course of my life from this point onward…… I will say my prayers as mentioned. I believe Allah will show me the right way.

  4. saeed ahmad khan Says:

    Jazak Allah
    Subhan Allah
    Shukar Alhumdulliah
    Rehman ur Rahim Ghafoor ur Rahim

  5. mohammad faidi Says:

    please help.. i am man from jordan married + 5 kids , non employee..
    need to feed my family , please help to find me a job , please borrow me some cash money to be able stand up on my feets..i need to take care of my family , i hope some one will help me soon..ALLAH the greater and the LORD will send some one to make things easy for me..i hope soon ..
    Mohammad Faidi

    • amina Says:

      Hold on dear brother. everything will inshallah work out.
      Remember that this life is just short. Reemember that the next life is important

  6. Burak Says:

    Hello! I recently had an issue with some old friends. I knew them from kindergarden. Atleast 1 of them but they keep calling me “Turk” and so on coz im a Turk. This pisses me off so i choosed to call him “Nigger”. They are both black actually. Well i said i will beat him up and he toke the case serious and he told his friends. One of them said why dont u beat “Adem” up. A big guy. I said i dont want to, then this Lebanon christian guy said scissy. I said why dont u fight with me? This was supposed to be a joke and we decided to meet at a place the next day. I said i changed my mind and people called me scissy again. Everything looked fine until now. I didnt want to play a game with this “friend” he said dont play with others they dont want to play with u fucking turk. I didnt care really bu the situation grew BIG! We decided a place again and we agreed that only Henok and Martin was coming. Henok is a black christian guy from Ethiopia and Martin is christian from Lebanon. Well we agreed to fight 1on1. I beat up Martin and then Henok came. He hold me and they both tryed to beat me up. An neighbour assisted me and stopped everything. He told me to go home. I did and an old friend followed me home. He got a call and they said we will be fighting again 1on1. We didnt coz he ran away but now they are saying that they beat me up but they didnt. It was 2v1 and still they got beaten up. I prayed alot for many people so that my duas would be accepted. I prayed for myself aswell for many days and alot. I didnt use this Dua i said in Turkish that i needed help and guidance from Allah. Can i ask Allah to curse them? Will Allaha curse them? I was the one trying to stay out of this. And i really need ur guys help. I feel bad and that noone is on my side. Please show me that ur on my side and answer if Allah told me to do the right thing and if it was right of me to go outside. Even tho i knew they would be 2v1. Will Allah punish them? Please pray for me.
    And I will pray for you! I got many problems and almost no friends that will help me. Pray that i will get friends to assist me and also pray for me that everything will go right. Tell me ur problems and i will promise that i will make duas for u. Please help me! Im only 15 and have enough troubles!

  7. a sane voice in a mad world Says:

    hope all have their prayers answered.

    Dear Burak, I am glad you try to avoid fighting, but do not shirk from it when it is inescapable.

    I would not advise cursing. The Prophet (sallallahu alehe wa sallam) was asked by a sahabi to curse the tormentors of Muslims, and he said no, maybe they or some of their descendants come to Islam. And he also told Hazrat Ali (ra) that the conversion of only one person to Islam was more precious than a hundred red camels.

    May Allah (subhanahu wa Ta`ala) be your friend (and wali), and may he provide you with good company that benefits you here and in the hereafter. Aameen.

  8. fathima Says:

    i am in love with a guy and my parents does not accept him,but i dont want to cheet him and also i dont want to loose my parents too.the only possible way to make everyone happy is making my parents mind,i thaught of praying salathun isthihara and ask allah to guide me how to solve this problem and,will allah help me??

  9. amina Says:

    To all the answer seeking. No matter what happens, remember that Allah swt is always there. No matter what!
    And when it ccomes to love and marriage, follow ur heart, it’s okay to make mistakes. For those who seek other help, listen to allah and may Allah help u all. It’s important to seek help from someone that has power over everything, then people that has no power. I hope my answer was ok. May allah bless u.

  10. sam Says:

    i got married nearly 2years ago i did istikhara before i got married and saw our wedding in my dream my husband also did istikhara he saw greenery in his dream i had a miscarriage then i had a stil born boy. My husband n me hav split up since i did istikhara again and in my dream we were living together and i was praying namaz in my dream its been 4 months since we split i did the istikhara for the present the future and my akhira i just dont understand why its al gone wrong as my husband just does not want to know. What shal i do

  11. Hoping Says:


  12. Hoping Says:

    Have a question guys,
    After performing an Ummrah in Makkah , I Had a dream I became a father. At the moment me and my better half is rather in bad odour?

    Will my dream fail?

  13. Roheen Says:

    Can anyone interpret dreams for me

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