Have you ever been at a place in your life when you have to make an important decision and the outcome could go either way? I’m sure all of you know those moments, moments when you wish you paid more attention to decision making skills; Moments when you know that following your whims and desires just won’t do it; Moments when other people may give you advice till they are blue in the face, but you know in the end that you are going to have to decide by yourself, and the decisions you make is something that you will have to live with.
It sounds very daunting, doesn’t it? - Just the thought of having to make major life changing decisions is sometimes enough to make me want to lock myself up. But then I remember that I don’t have to do that, because I am not alone, I am never alone and I will never be alone. I have my Creator, and Allah is there all the time to guide us and help us on our life path, but we have to seek that guidance and ask for that assistance. SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah), one way of seeking out guidance when decisions need to be made is through the prayer of Istikhaarah.
I can’t express my love for this prayer properly. It makes me feel like nothing in the world matters, everything is easy, and things will go the right way because I have asked of Allah. Of course, the right way may not be understood by me at the time, but I know that in time I will understand that the outcomes of my decisions have always been right, even when it didn’t make sense. This is only because I have been given the best decision making tool in existence.
I can tell you that there are many different ways of making decisions. In my field of work we’ve been teaching decision making tools and skills for ages, we start doing this from the time children are young. Yet, still it seems that people remember very little of this, they find it boring and unnecessary, and most times people only become interested in learning decision making tools after they've already made many bad decisions.
So I have a confession to make, I have never really used the different decision making skills out there, mainly because I have never believed that it was okay for me to make important decisions based only on my limited knowledge and experience. Relying on the One who knows the past, the present and the future just makes so much more sense to me. Not only does Allah Almighty know about all events in the world, Allah also knows every single person in the world, better than they even know themselves. Bearing this in mind, isn't beautiful to have Allah Almighty assist you in making decisions.
Perhaps I need to share exactly what the Istikhaarah prayer is at this point. Basically you perform salaah and then make the following prayer thereafter and trust that Allah will guide your heart towards the correct decision:
O Allah, I ask You the good through Your knowledge and I ask You to grant me ability through Your power, and beg (your favour) out of Your infinite bounty. For surely, You have power and I have none. You know all and I know not. You are the Great Knower of all things. O Allah, if, in Your knowledge, this matter be good for my faith, for my livelihood and for the consequences of my affairs, then ordain it for me and make it easy for me and bless me therein. But if, in Your Knowledge, this matter be bad for my faith, for my livelihood and for the consequences of my affairs, then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and ordain for me the good wherever it be and cause me to be pleased therewith.
Isn’t this the most beautiful prayer? This just so perfectly encapsulates the reality of our lives. It is only Allah who is the Great Knower, and only Allah who knows what is best for us! SubhanAllah!
I don’t know what I would do without this prayer. I can imagine myself being totally at a loss, confused and uncertain, never knowing if I have made the right decision and possibly always wondering what would have happened if I had chosen differently.
Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) I am so thankful for this blessing of Istikhaarah.
If this prayer is too long, there are other shorter ones that we can make and Insha Allah we will still receive correct guidance. One beautiful one that I recently learnt of was shared by a fellow blogging sister, you can read about this here.
What I have learnt is that the major decisions in life should never be made hastily. We need to take time out for reflection and prayer before we decide on things. In the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the Companions would ask for Allah’s guidance for all matters, both big and small, so this reminds us that decisions made without thinking, contemplating and of course praying for guidance, is nothing but a lazy way out of things, and this usually results in regret, amongst many other things.
May Allah always guide us in all our decisions and help us to make full use of the bounties Allah has given us.
Image 1 from here
Image 2 from here