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Miscellaneous

View of `Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i regarding the Istikhara

"When a person makes the intention to perform a certain act, then he has no choice but to investigate concerning it, and as much as he is able to, he must ponder and think ‑ using the power that Allah has given him ‑whether or not to do that particular thing.

In the event that he is not able to come to a conclusion (if what is good for him is in that act), then he must ask others for advice and let his decision lie on the advice of others ‑ those who are able to offer advice and have the ability to distinguish between good and bad.

He should rely on their rationale to come to a conclusion whether to proceed with an action or to leave it. If this route too does not produce results, then he is left with no other alternative except that he pleads to His Lord and asks Him for guidance to what is truly best for him.

In reality, this is the Istikhara. This must not be referred to as `gaining knowledge of the unseen' or an incursion on Allah's guardianship and mastership upon us.

In summary, there is no responsibility on the religion when one performs an Istikhara, since the Istikhara does nothing except determine which way a person should act. The Istikhara does not change the rules of Allah nor does it inform the servant of Allah that what is hidden behind the curtains of Allah's knowledge. The only thing that an Istikhara does is declare: "That what is in the prime interest of a person who is seeking the best is in the performance or non‑performance of an act."

The Istikhara is the means from which one is saved from doubt and uncertainty. However, as for the after‑effects that will happen in the future by either performing or not performing the action, they are not the responsibility of the Istikhara, and the Istikhara has no relation to this.

The future of a person who performs the Istikhara ‑ whether it will be good or bad ‑ is just like the person who had not performed an Istikhara and carried on with his life using his own intellect and asking advice from others. In short, the Istikhara is nothing more than an act that provides "satisfaction of the heart," "removes doubt and uncertainty," and is a tool for "hope, prosperity and happiness."

From the authentic narrations related from both the Shi`a and the Ahl al­Sunnah, it has been mentioned that the Prophet of Islam s used to ask for the best and used to encourage those around him to do so. He forbid people to ridicule the Istikhara and said, "Any time the Istikhara comes out `bad', have reliance on Allah and go on with the work."

Therefore, there is no problem with performing an Istikhara by way of the Qur'an or other things, since if the Istikhara comes out favourable, then the person will perform the action with a content heart and a pure soul; and if it comes out bad, then he has relied upon Allah and should continue with his work."

Adapted from: "Istikhara: Seeking the Best from Allah (swt)" by: "Muhammad Baqir Haideri"