I have recently done isthikhaara on marriage for a particular sister. I had been told that the istikhaara sign would be in a dream but others have suggested that signs can appear at any time throughout the day? Is this true?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
Istikhara means to ask Allah to guide one to the right thing concerning any affair in one’s life, especially when one has to choose between two permissible alternatives.
Jabir bin Abdullah narrates that the Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Quran. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two Rakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer): ‘Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi’ilmika, Wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, Wa as’alaka min fadlika al-’azlm Fa-innaka taqdiru Wala aqdiru, Wa ta’lamu Wala a’lamu, Wa anta ‘allamu l-ghuyub. Allahumma, in kunta ta’lam anna hadha-l-amra Khairun li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati amri (or ‘ajili amri wa’ajilihi) Faqdirhu wa yas-sirhu li thumma barik li Fihi, Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hadha-lamra shar-run li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati amri (or fi’ajili amri wa ajilihi) Fasrifhu anni was-rifni anhu. Waqdir li al-khaira haithu kana Thumma ardini bihi.’
(O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, and Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this job is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter–(or said: If it is better for my present and later needs)–then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, and then bless me in it, and if You know that this job is harmful to me in my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter–(or said: If it is worse for my present and later needs)–then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, and make me satisfied with it).”
The Prophet added that then the person should name (mention) his need. (Sahih Bukhari: 2.263)
Imam An-Nawawi holds that “after performing the istikharah, a person must do what he is wholeheartedly inclined to do and feels good about doing and should not insist on doing what he had desired to do before making the istikharah. And if his feelings change, he should leave what he had intended to do, otherwise he is not completely leaving the choice to Allah, and would not be honest in seeking aid from Allah’s power and knowledge. Sincerity in seeking Allah’s choice, means that one should completely leave what he himself had desired or determined.” (Fiqhus Sunnah: 2.32)
After performing istikarah the person will (inshallah) get guidance from Allah and be inclined towards what is right. It is not necessary that it is seen in a dream or even as a vision while awake. The individual will just feel what is right and should then go on to do the task or make the decision. In regards to the circumstances mentioned above, these are coincidences and you should act upon the advice of your elders and also what you feel is right after performing istikharah.
And Allah knows best.
Darul Ifta Birmingham