Question: I have been trying to do Istikhara to decide what field of study is better for me and my family. I didn’t see any dreams. I know that we should go for what we feel is strong after doing Istikhara. Since I am generally not very sure about decisions, I get confused even after doing Istikhara. Some of my relatives suggested I make ‘lots’ about my options, make 2 raka’at salaat, make dua, say Bismillah and then pick up a lot and see what option is present.

Answer:

Walaikum salam wrt wb dear respected brother,

Verily all praise is due to Allah.

It is very nice to hear from you brother.

It is not permissible to draw lots in order to make a decision about the future, because this is a type of divining arrows (azlaam) that is specifically prohibited in the Qur’an. Allah Most High says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنْصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ [المائدة] : 90

“O you who believe, indeed intoxicants, gambling, alters, and divining arrows are filth from the actions of the devil so abandon them.”

It is not correct to draw analogy with what happened in the time of Yunus alayhi salam, because his Shariah is abrogated by the Islamic Shariah, and we have a specific prohibition of this practice in both the Qur’an and Sunnah.

The answer to your istikhara is that you will find, if the path you wish to make a decision about is good for you, Allah will make it easier for you to follow that path. You may find a certain degree of comfort in your heart, or see certain indications that Allah is guiding you towards the choice that is best for you. If it is not right for you, you may find some anxiety or experience some unforeseen difficulty or other indication that this is not best.

Also remember that Istikhara should be used in conjunctions with taking the normal means of decision making: weighing up the pros and cons, consulting experts in the field, and of course, Istikhara can only be made for something that is halal in the first place.

You may want to consider which field will enable you to get closer to the ulema and be in an Islamic environment, in addition to financial considerations.

Do not forgot to do your istikhara during the times of acceptance (since it is a dua), such as in the last third of the night, and make sure your rizq is from halal sources.

Finally, let me point out that it is important to refer to the people of knowledge when deriving rulings, and not go by the sayings of common people. The common people often make major mistakes in understanding the texts, and this comes under the heading of speaking about Allah without knowledge.

And Allah knows best.