Muslim marriages have a beautiful concept of seeking guidance from Allah. Before the wedding preparations and shenanigans began, the family of the bride and the groom together seek guidance from the Almighty about the marriage of the two individuals; whether the choice is right or not. Muslims are very strict when it comes to scenarios of weddings and religiously follow Islamic laws.
The guidance from Allah is taken from a prayer that is called Istikhara. It means to seek guidance from the Lord to choose the best path for the specific matter. Istikhara is performed a number of times on various issues and situations, where when one is confused, can seek suggestion from Allah. Mostly it is done right before the preparations for Muslim marriages.
The prophet used to teach the companions:
If you are about to make a decision, pray two rak’ahs, outside of the obligatory prayers, then say,
“Oh, Allah! I seek guidance by virtue of Your knowledge, I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask of Your great bounty. For You have power, and I do not. You know, and I do not. You are the Knower of all that is hidden.
Oh, Allah! If You know that this decision is good for me in my faith, worldly life, and the Hereafter, then make it easy for me, make it happen, and bless me through it.
And if You know that this decision is bad for me in my faith, worldly life, and the hereafter, then distance it from me and keep me away from it, then ordain for me goodness wherever it may be, and make me content.” (Al-Bukhari)
Importance of Istikhara
Istikhara is performed whenever we have to take some important decisions in life. It is said that not doing an istikhara before the wedding might bring misfortune to life because you are not seeking guidance from Allah. He will give signs to whether the decision made is right or wrong. A bad sign signifies that the marriage should not be taken further, and if taken there can be consequences, i.e misfortune to life.
This is where we can see the wisdom and hikmah of the Holy Quran:
“And it is very possible that you dislike something whereas it is good for you; and (similarly) it is very possible that you like something, whereas it is bad for you”. (Baqarah 16)
According to one Hadith: “It is from the good fortune of man that he makes Istikharah (seeks good) from Allah, and it is from his misfortune that he discards Istikharah.”Sa’ d ibn Waqas reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Istikharah (seeking guidance from Allah) is one of the distinct favors (of Allah) upon man, and a good fortune for the son of Adam is to be pleased with the judgment of Allah. And a misfortune of the son of Adam is his failure to make istikharah (seeking Allah’s guidance), and a misfortune for the son of Adam is his displeasure with the judgment of Allah.” Ibn Taimiyyah
It is said that if we get close to Allah, we don’t need anyone else then. He gives you a sign about the decision, whether in a dream or anything.
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