بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Despite being revered and widespread among Muslim community, Istikhārah has been mystified by a number of misconceptions. This brief post addresses the most common and basic misconception regarding it.
Maulānā Musharraf Ali Saheb Thānwī (رحمه الله) mentioned in a gathering that Shari’ah has encouraged us to do Istikhārah in our matters. Istikhārah (إستخارة) means ‘to seek Khair (خير) i.e. goodness (from Allah Ta’ālā)’. This is different than seeking a news – regarding whether something is expected to be good or not; which could be called ‘Istikhbarah’ (إستخبارة) meaning ‘to seek Khabr (خبر) i.e news’. Maulānā continued saying that we usually (try to) do Istikhārah (as per the encouragement from Shari’ah) but we expect it to be Istikhbārah and therefore try to seek some sort of answer (1)
Similarly, Sayyidi, Muftī Muhammad Taqī Usmānī (حفظه الله) also once mentioned during a lecture on Sahīh al Bukhārī (in Darul Hadith, Darul ‘Uloom Karachi) that in Urdu we use a wrong phrase, ‘Istikharah nikaalna’ (استخارہ نکالنا) (literally: ‘to take out Istikharah’), which indicates that we are seeking to take some information out of it (which is not what Shari’ah expects us to do).
(1) Maulana Musharraf Ali Thānwī was the step grandson of Hazrat Maulānā Ashraf Ali Saheb Thanwī (Rahimahullāh), son of Maulānā Jameel Ahmad Thānwī and son in law of Maulānā Idrees Kandhelwī. He gained Ijāzah (to initiate Murīdīn for Islāh through Bai’ah) from Hazrat Dr Abdul Haiy Ārifī. Besides, he had also been in close company of many other illustratious ‘Ulāmā’ and Mashā’ik. He headed Darul’Ulūm al Islāmiyah in Lahore. He passed away in Madīnah Munawwarah during Sha’bān (2018) and was laid to rest in the al Baqī’ graveyard. رحمه الله رحمة واسعة