As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 4


What are the Affairs in which one can make al-Istikharah?

One can make al-Istikharah only in those affairs that are allowed (mubah: actions which neither bring about reward if performed, nor brings about punishment, if abandoned) like worldly affairs for e.g., traveling, the modes of transport, business dealings, trade, places and time in which one has a choice etc. Al-Istikharah cannot be made in obligatory, recommended, disliked and forbidden actions, since obligatory actions are forbidden to leave and forbidden actions are obligatory to leave, for e.g. performing obligatory Hajj, abandoning of alcohol or other acts of disobedience. Rather, one can make al-Istikharah in those obligatory and recommended affairs in which there is a choice, for e.g. to perform an addition nafl Hajj that year or not, to marry a particular person or not, etc. Let us take the example of choosing a suitable spouse, which is one of the most important decisions in one's life, to further elaborate the above point. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘A woman may be married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty, or her religious commitment. Choose the one who is religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).’ [Saheeh al-Bukharee (5090) and Saheeh Muslim (1466)] A Muslim should first decide based on the clear criteria provided in this hadeeth, consult with others and perform al-Istikharah. In this case, one makes Istikharah because of the apparent good that he sees. He then depends upon Allah to save him from the hidden evil. However, Istikharah is not performed to decide whether one should marry a religious or irreligious person, for the above hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) has already given the verdict in this issue. Many people resort to Salaat al-Istikharah only when they need to decide on a suitable spouse, to the extent that some people mistakenly relate Salaat al-Istikharah specifically to marriage.

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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