Our religion is so simple and straight forward because it is a practical way of life and meant for the whole mankind. Therefore its simplicity makes it applicable for all sorts of people no matter what their level of intelligence might be. But the problem is that most people are not aware of it and now they are ready to believe whatever interpretation is presented to them. They have been brainwashed into thinking that Islam is a set of complicated rituals and its teachings are only for the scholars. So much so that an average person is even unable to make duas for himself since he thinks that only some “Buzurg” (saintly person) can convey his needs to Allah. Previously I used to think that it is the misconception of the uneducated people but after studying Quran when I started observing people’s attitude towards religion I came to realize that the educated people are also easily misled by falsehood and misinterpretation of Islam. One such thing is the concept of Istakhara which has been so mystified that its real picture has been blurred under the veil of invented complication for the sake of commercialism.
Lately a friend of mine was having some problem and was indecisive about what to do. So I said why don’t you do istakhara and then be peaceful…her remark was totally unexpected for me…she said she couldn’t do istakhara because she has never had a dream so there is no use… I was so surprised because she has studied the Quran and Hadith and so I thought she must have the true knowledge about it. Then a few days ago I got a comment on this blog that i should explain how to do istakhara because people are very confused about it. So today I thought I should make an attempt to clarify this issue to the best of my knowledge and capability…and of course Allah knows best.
Istakhara means to ask Allah for khair which in turn means goodness. Whenever we find ourselves in a situation about which we are indecisive or apprehensive then we should pray to Allah the Salat-e-Istakhara. The method is very simple: Just pray two units of nafal (voluntary Salah) with complete humility and concentration (khudu and khushu) and after that pray the dua of Istakhara which you can find easily in any book of duas of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). If you study and contemplate its translation you will find that you are asking Allah that if what you are doing is good for you then Allah should make it easy for you and open the doors of goodness in that thing but if it is not good then Allah should stop you from it and give you some better alternative to it. If you make this dua with proper understanding you should be peaceful that you have handed over your affairs to Allah and He will take care of you. So basically this dua is for peace of mind and renewal of faith and developing strong reliance on Allah so that you can get past the confusions and apprehensions and get on with life instead of brooding over your problems and wasting precious time and energy over things in which you have no control.
Istakhara has been made so complicated because of the misunderstanding that Allah will show you some sign in a dream or that you have to ask some other “specialist” to do istakhara for you and he will then tell you about your future. Remember that it is a great sin to try and get information about the future. This is a form of shirk and we should do Taubah from all such innovations.
May Allah guide us all to the straight path of his obedience in all matters…Ameen