Hadith 16: (O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge)
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him: The Prophet (PBUH) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara (Istikhara means to ask Allah to guide one to the right sort of action concerning any deed), in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Qur'an. He (Peace Be upon Him) said, "If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two rak`at prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer): O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, And Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this job is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter--(or said: If it is better for my present and later needs)--Then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, And then bless me in it, and if You know that this job is harmful to me In my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter--(or said: If it is worse for my present and later needs)--Then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, And make me satisfied with it. The Prophet (ﷺ) added that then the person should name (mention) his need.
Values of Istikhara:
1. Doing Istikhara continuously is important, the Prophet (PBUH) used to teach the Sahabah to pray istikhara before all matters as he taught them the Suras of the Qur’an.
2. “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job”: Acts of worship and obedience are not included in this because they are good deeds, but we may do istikhara concerning the timing of worship such as whether to perform Hajj this year because there is a potential enemy, difficulty or prevention from Hajj, it is also recommended to do istikhara concerning prevention from evil because the person can be a very tyrant disobedient who could cause damage if he is prevented or warned against committing evil.
3. “I ask for… Power from Your Might” means I ask You my Lord to decree for me the goodness of this matter.
4. “from Your Knowledge… from Your Might” This indicates seeking help from The All-Knowing, Almighty Allah.
5. Surely, there is neither power nor might for the servant except from Allah. “You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not…” This negates the power of the person and his knowledge of future matters.
6. Putting knowledge then might at the beginning of the hadith, then putting might then knowledge at the middle of it: at the beginning he asks Allah from His knowledge because the servant explains his need, but because the Decree requires might, he mentions the might first then the knowledge of Almighty Allah at the middle of the hadith.
7. “You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You know the unseen.” This is a plea for Almighty Allah in which we confirm total weakness and ignorance before the might and knowledge of Almighty Allah.
8. “If you know that this job is good for my religion” The first thing to keep and protect is the religion of the person, this is why it was the first to be mentioned prior to subsistence and the Hereafter.
9. The sign of goodness of a certain matter is when it occurs easily, “then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get”. If the matter does not happen or becomes difficult to attain, then that is a sign that Allah has kept away this matter from the servant.
10. What some people say that the person sees a dream after istikhara, in which he sees green or red lights, is not true, or that he sees a person he loves or an animal he hates etc. This is not a sign of the istikhara.
11. “Then keep it away from me and let me be away from it” A person might still be attached to the matter, even though it did not happen, so he should turn to his Lord to remove this attachment from his heart, so that he becomes peaceful and content internally and externally, in mind and heart.
12. Allah may keep away a certain matter from the person, even though this person loves and wishes for this matter, and ordains something difficult for him, because Almighty Allah knows the difficult matter is better for the servant, this is why, we say in the supplication of istikhara “and make me satisfied with it”. This statement means: O Allah, make me content with Your decree and choice for me, even though it contradicts with what I like and wish for.
13. Istikhara makes a person patient even though he might find something he did not wish for, and links that to the result of doing istikhara, so he does not despair.
1. The one who knows the unseen, and the best for the servant is The Almighty, Glorified and Exalted be He.
2. Accepting Allah’s Decree and being sure that the consequence of the servant is good even if the matter contradicts with his desire or what he prefers.
3. Allah’s Decree is all good, as Almighty Allah says “all good is in Your Hands. Surely You ˹alone˺ are Most Capable of everything.” And also, Allah’s Messenger said in the opening supplication of Salah “All good is within Your hands and evil does not stem from You.”
4. The person might see goodness as evil, so he hates it, and sees evil as goodness and wishes for it, this is because lack of vision and knowledge. Doing istikhara gets a person out of his weakness and ignorance to the vast Might and Knowledge of Allah, leading him to entrusting his Lord and depending on Him in bringing goodness.
“…Perhaps you dislike something which is good for you and like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.” (Al-Baqrah: 2: 216)
5. “…and I ask for Your great blessings” This explains that Allah’s blessings are extra or a bonus, and no one has the right for His blessings. It indicates the vast bounty of Almighty Allah.
6. Only Allah knows the unseen, neither angels, nor messengers know, not even Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be upon Him. The Prophet only knew what Allah revealed to him.
7. Supplicating to Almighty Allah with His Beautiful Names and Glorified Attributes in “O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, And Power from Your Might…” “and You know the unseen.”
1. The two raka’t of istikhara is a voluntary prayer, it is better to pray it with the intention of istikhara only.
2. The two raka’t of istikhara can be prayed at any time or part of the day and night, except the time when praying is prohibited.
3. If praying is difficult or not accessible before the supplication because of urgency, menstruation, or the time when praying is prohibited, then it is enough to only supplicate.
4. It is not narrated that certain verses or suras are to be recited in the two raka’t of istikhara, any parts of the Qur’an can be recited.
5. Istikhara is a supplication, and one of the reasons when supplication is accepted is repetition and urging, so it is good to repeat istikhara for the single matter more than once.
6. The supplication of istikhara is to be said after finishing the prayer, but there is a difference of opinion among scholars.
7. “…other than the compulsory ones…” this proves that the intention of obligatory prayer should be single without any other intention. The obligatory prayer should have a separate intention, not to combine two intentions in the obligatory prayer.
8. No one should perform istikhara for another, but a person may supplicate for another that Allah gives him the best of what he asks Allah for.
3. Generic Values:
1. Praying istikhara indicates the importance of praying for the Muslim, as the one who asks Allah for guidance in a certain matter does not only supplicate, he adds two raka’t.
2. “…as he taught us the Suras of the Qur'an” This reflects the importance of the Qur’an in the life of the Muslim, as it is the source of all religious knowledge.