Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in between decisions with no idea what to do, especially decisions that have huge influences on our future. In Islam, Allah has put for us, the prayer of Istikhara in order to guide us to the right decision.
According to the traditions of Islam, here are some cases to seek goodness of Allah through Istikhara:
1. To seek goodness
Whenever a person feels confident about any decision but lacks the self-confidence to do so, it is recommended that he or she go ahead with the decision but pray Istikhara with the intention to seek goodness from Allah.
For example, as narrated by Shaikh Al-Tusi, when Ali ibn al-Hussain would plan for Hajj or Umrah or trade, he would cleanse himself (wudhu) and perform two rakahs of prayer and then supplicate by seeking goodness through Istikhara.
In life decisions like marriage, Shaikh al-Mufid recommends that the partners-to-be offer Istikhara before deciding to marry.
2. To seek consultation
In Islam, the best way solve a problem is to seek Allah’s help and goodness, as he is the most knowledgeable. Hence, as narrated by Imam Al-Sadiq, if one wishes to embark on a certain affair, one should seek counsel from Allah. This not only allows the person to have an answer but also increase his faith in The Almighty.
3. To act in situations of ambiguity
As narrated by Shaikh Kulyani, a group of travelers asked Imam al-Ridha (AS) to choose from the land or the sea routes to go to Egypt. He told them to favor the land route as through it they will be able to offer obligatory prayers and then two additional units (Istikhara) to seek goodness from Allah and would have their doubts cleared on the way.
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