Assalâmu’alaikum Warahmatullâhi Wabarakâtuh
Firstly, it should be noted that Istikhârah is a form of Du’â. The difference is that in the case of Istikhârah Rasulullâh sallallâhu alaihi wasallam had in fact spoon-fed us about how to draw our need and ask from Allâh.
Secondly, remember that Istikhârah in reality is placing one’s matter over to Allâh Ta’âlâ altogether and asking Allâh Ta’âlâ to destine the best. Moulana Shabbier Ahmad Uthmani rahmatullâhi alaih mentions: “As you learn from the words of Hafiz Ibn Qayyim rahmatullâhi alaih that the Du’â of Istikhârah is a lesson in genuine Tawakkul (placing one’s total trust in Allâh), and an encouragement to attain its most elevated rank, you also learn that whoever recites this Du’â has indeed acted upon Tawakkul, i.e. placed his trust in Allâh, “and he who places his trust on Allâh, Allâh is sufficient for him (Surah Talaaq)”.” (Footnotes on Faidhul Bâri 2/428).
Thirdly, what one actually asks from Allâh in one’s Du’â is exactly what one hopes to receive. Since Allâh is the sole possessor of knowledge of the unseen, and therefore only He knows where is our good and where lies harm. Rasulullâh sallallâhu alaihi wasallam taught us to turn to Allâh in the form of Istikhârah. In the Du’â Rasulullâh sallallâhu alaihi wasallam taught us to ask Allâh to destine for us the best, and to protect us from that in which there may be any form of harm.
Fourthly, since one does not actually categorically ask from Allâh to see a dream or have a clear feeling, neither of the two is necessary. The essence of Istikharah is that the person making Istikharah beseeches Allah Ta’aala to guide him towards the best route and to protect him from harm. Hence, the real outcome of Istikhârah is seeing beneficial results from what eventually happens. The status of dreams and feelings after Istikhârah are the same as that of any other time. In the Hadîth Rasulullâh sallallâhu alaihi wasallam categorized dreams into different types:
- True dreams: those dreams which are divinely inspired by Allah, either to warn a person or to give him glad tidings.
- Shaitâni dreams: those impressions which shaitan places in the mind of a sleeping person either to make him happy or to scare him.
- Thoughts of the mind: those events or thoughts a person experiences in everyday life which eventually appears to him in the form of a dream.
The dream seen after Istikhârah can fall under any one of these categories. Also, it should be borne in mind that the most authentic dreams are those observed in the latter part of the night or during qaylulah (sleeping during the day, at about midday, preferably after lunch).
In a similar manner, feelings of the heart can be categorized into the following:
- Ilhâm i.e. divine inspiration,
- One inserted by shaitân,
- One governed by one’s nafs, or
- One concluded after intellectual exertion of the mind and weighing the pros and cons.
Sometimes after Istikhârah, it may seem that one way is the best but when an effort is made in that direction such obstacles and barriers are faced that accomplishing the goal becomes almost impossible. This is in fact the outcome of the Istikhârah, and those obstacles are in reality from Allâh Ta’âlâ.
Therefore, my advice to you would be that you should follow your heart. After you started doing istikharah, you mentioned about the dreams you saw, which may indicate towards goodness but in the same light one should not live one’s life based only on dreams. It is only regarding “ True Dreams “ that Rasulullâh sallallâhu alaihi wasallam termed them to be a portion from the forty-six portions of nubuwat. Therefore, not every dream necessitates some meaning or reality behind it.
AND ALLÂH TA’ÂLÂ KNOWS BEST.
January 31, 2013
Rabi’ Al Awwal 19, 1434