Assalamu Alaikum,If there are multiple Islamic opinions on an issue and someone is having trouble decisding on which opinion to follow, can they pray Istikhara to ask for guidance in following the right opinion?Thank you
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
We have already highlighted in Fataawa 202966 and 313558 that the layman follows the view of his Mufti. So, a layman looks for the one whom he trusts in his knowledge and religion, and follows his opinion, although the opinion of the majority of scholars is stronger and better.
When a Muslim is confused and he does not know which view is the most preponderant, then there is no harm on him after striving to know the best opinion and making Ijtihaad in knowing which view is closer to the truth, to perform Istikhaarah, as the Prophet used to supplicate Allah to guide him about the matters upon which there is a difference concerning the truth. The Prophet supplicated saying: “Guide me through that which there has been a difference concerning the truth; verily, You guide whomever You wish to the Straight Path.” [Muslim]
Performing the Istikhaarah prayer to find out the truth in matters of knowledge was something done by some scholars of the Salaf (righteous predecessors). Indeed, the scholars from the time of the Companions and the generation that came after them used to perform the Istikhaarah prayer in regard to the views that are not clear to them.
For instance, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said about the inheritance of someone who has neither parents nor offspring: “I wrote a book about the inheritance of the grandfather and someone who has neither parents nor offspring, and used to perform Istikhaarah about it….” Ibn al-Mundhir reported this in al-Ishraaf.
Ibn al-Mundhir himself said about an apostate if he re-embraces Islam, whether he is permitted to dispose of his wealth when he was an apostate or not? He said: “I perform the Istikhaarah prayer about it…”
Also, Imam ash-Shaafi’i performed the Istikhaarah about the issue of Zakat on jewelry.
His book al-Umm reads: “It was said that there is Zakat in jewelry and this is a matter on which I perform the Istikhaarah to Allah about it. Ar-Rabee’ said: “Imam ash-Shaafi’i performed the Istikhaarah prayer about it, and he (ash-Shaafi’i) informed us that there is no Zakat on jewelry.” [End of quote]
Ibn an-Nasr al-Maroozi narrated from Imam ash-Shaafi'i about the issue of a divorced woman when her husband is in his death sickness, if he is accused of having the intention of depriving her from the inheritance, would she inherit him or not? Ibn Nasr said: “When he was in Baghdad, Ash-Shaafi'i held the view that she inherits him both during her waiting period and after her waiting period. Then he refrained from this view while he was in Egypt and said: “I will perform Istikhaarh and ask Allah about it.”
Moreover, the Fataawa of ash-Shabki, from the ash-Shaafi'i School of jurisprudence, reads: “This is a strong opinion and it is something on which I perform Istikhaarah, and I do not dare to issue a Fatwa on it, until I have more time on the issue, Allah-willing.” [End of quote]
It was also reported that Imam Ahmad said in several issues: “I will perform Istikhaarah.”
The contemporary scholars also did the same thing.
Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said on one issue: “This is an issue on which I perform Istikhaarah to Allah as to which one of the two views is more preponderant.”
On another issue, he said: “I will perform Istikhaarah to Allah on the matter and then I will issue a Fatwa on it.” [End of quote]
In addition, al-Albaani said about the chain of narrators of some Ahadeeth:
“According to the Istikhaarah which I performed, I consider it as Dha’eef Marfoo’ Hadeeth, and authentic as a Mawqoof Hadeeth.”
Allah knows best.
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