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Invocation of Consultation in Islam - Dua of salat al Istikharah: Practical Guide and Meaning

Invocation of Consultation in Islam: Practical Guide and Meaning - Dua Salat al Istikhara

The Salat al-Istikhara, often translated as “prayer of consultation,” is a distinct spiritual practice in Islam, deeply rooted in the quest for guidance from Allah, exalted be He.

 

This special prayer is recommended to Muslims facing important decisions in their lives, whether personal, professional, or emotional.

 

The act of performing Istikhara is itself a testament to the believer’s trust in Allah, affirming the belief that only the Creator truly knows what is best for His creatures.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged his followers to practice Istikhara in their life choices.

 

A hadith reported by Jabir ibn Abdullah in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim emphasizes this practice: “If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two units of non-obligatory prayer and then say (a specific supplication).”

 

This hadith illustrates the importance of actively seeking Allah’s guidance through prayer, especially when faced with choices that could significantly impact our lives.

 

Istikhara is not simply a prayer to receive a clear answer or a manifest sign; it is a step to align our desires and decisions with divine will, demonstrating complete submission and trust in Allah.

 

This act of faith reminds believers that, despite all our efforts and understanding, it is ultimately Allah who knows the best path for us.

The Nature and Importance of Salat al-Istikhara

Salat al-Istikhara is a special prayer in Islam, practiced to ask Allah for guidance in important life decisions. This prayer is performed when a Muslim is torn between several choices or has a significant decision to make, or even if not.

The prayer of consultation can be performed for a major decision, such as marriage, business, educational direction, or for less significant decisions.

 

It embodies the concept of Tawakkul (trust in Allah), illustrating the belief that only Allah possesses perfect knowledge of what is beneficial for the individual.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught this prayer as a means of consulting Allah before making a major decision.

 

A hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim from Jabir ibn Abdullah emphasizes the importance of this practice: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us to perform the Istikhara prayer for all our affairs, just as he taught us the chapters of the Quran.”

 

This hadith underscores that just as learning the Quran is essential, Istikhara is a vital practice for seeking divine wisdom.

 

Although there is no specific verse of the Quran that directly mentions Istikhara, the prayer is in harmony with the Quranic principles of seeking guidance from Allah in all our decisions.

 

Verses such as “And when My servants ask you concerning Me, indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me…” (Quran 2:186) highlight this connection and encourage believers to turn to Allah in times of indecision.

The Process of Salat al-Istikhara

Salat al-Istikhara is a special prayer in Islam, practiced to ask Allah for guidance in important life decisions. This prayer is performed when a Muslim is torn between several choices or has a significant decision to make, or even if not.

1. Niyyah (Intention):

Before starting the prayer, the believer must clarify their intention (niyyah) in their heart. This involves clearly formulating the choice or decision for which one seeks Allah’s guidance. This step is crucial as it directs the prayer toward its specific objective. The intention of the Muslim is always to seek Allah’s satisfaction, exalted be He.

2. Performing Two Rak'ahs:

Istikhara consists of two units of prayer (rak’ahs), which are performed in the same manner as nafl (supererogatory) prayers. After reciting Al-Fatiha, it is recommended to recite a surah or verses from the Quran in each rak’ah.

3. Reciting the Istikhara Invocation - Dua:

The invocation of Salat al-Istikhara should be made after the final salutation (salam) of the two rak’ahs of prayer. It is essential to complete the formal prayer before proceeding to the specific Istikhara invocation. This sequence ensures that the prayer is complete and that the invocation is made in a state of concentration and devotion, following the prescribed steps for this important practice.

 

Then raise both hands towards the sky and recite the invocation:

 

The invocation of Salat al-Istikhara in Arabic, French, and phonetics is as follows:

 

Arabic:


اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيْرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ، وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ، فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلَا أَقْدِرُ، وَتَعْلَمُ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ، وَأَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ، اللَّهُمَّ إنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنْ هَذَاالأَمْرَ [هنا يسمى حاجته] خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي – أو قالَ : عَاجِلِهِ وَ آجِلِهِ – فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي، ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ، وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي – أوْ قالَ : عَاجِلِهِ وَ آجِلِهِ – فَاصْرِفْهُ عَني، وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ، وَاقْدُرْ لِيَ الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ، ثُمَّ أَرْضِنِي بِهِ

 

English:

O Allah, I consult You with Your knowledge, and I implore You to grant me power through Your power, and I ask You from Your immense generosity. For You are capable and I am incapable, You know all while I know not, and You are the Great Knower of the unseen. O Allah, if You know that this matter [name the matter] is good for me in my religion, in my life, and in the outcome of my affairs, or as He said: in the immediate and in the future, decree it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if You know that this matter is bad for me in my religion, in my life, and in the outcome of my affairs, or as He said: in the immediate and in the future, turn it away from me, turn me away from it, and decree for me the good wherever it may be, then make me content with it.

 

Transliteration:

 

Allâhoumma innî astakhîrouka bi-‘ilmika wa astaqdirouka bi-qoudratika, wa as-alouka min fadlika-l-‘azîm. Fa-innaka taqdirou wa lâ aqdirou, wa ta’lamou wa lâ a’lamou, wa anta ‘allâmou-l-ghuyûb. Allâhoumma in kounta ta’lamou anna hâdhâ-l-amra khayroun lî fî dînî wa ma’âshî wa ‘âqibati amrî, fa-qdourhou lî wa yassirhou lî, thumma bârik lî fîhi. Wa in kounta ta’lamou anna hâdhâ-l-amra sharroun lî fî dînî wa ma’âshî wa ‘âqibati amrî, fa-srifhou ‘annî wa srifnî ‘anhou, wa qdour lî al-khayra haythou kâna, thumma ardinî bihî.

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4. Khushu (Concentration and Devotion):

Throughout the prayer, including the supplication, it is essential to maintain a state of khushu – deep concentration and devotion. This involves acute awareness of Allah’s presence and a heart turned solely towards Him.

5. Reflection and Waiting for Guidance:

After performing Istikhara, the believer should be attentive to signs and inner feelings that may indicate the best course of action.

 

The response to Istikhara may come in various forms, such as a sense of peace or reluctance towards one of the options, opportunities opening up or closing, or other subtle signs.

 

In summary, Salat al-Istikhara is a humble and sincere practice of seeking Allah’s guidance, requiring clear intention and devoted concentration. It represents the believer’s trust in Allah’s wisdom and mercy, affirming that He alone knows what is best for us.

Conclusion

Salat al-Istikhara is a powerful means of strengthening faith and trust in Allah, especially when faced with important decisions.

 

This practice allows believers to actively seek divine guidance, affirming their dependence and trust in Allah.

 

Integrating Istikhara into daily life is a constant reminder that, despite our best understanding and efforts, it is ultimately Allah’s will that prevails.

 

Thus, it encourages Muslims to fully engage in their faith, recognizing Allah’s infinite wisdom and knowledge in all their endeavors.

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