In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
[فَٱصۡبِرۡ إِنَّ وَعۡدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقٌّ۬ۖ وَلَا يَسۡتَخِفَّنَّكَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ – So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allaah is true. And let not those who have no certainty of faith, discourage you from conveying Allah’s Message (which you are obliged to convey)]. [Surah Rum. Verse 60]
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
[فَٱصۡبِرۡ – So be patient]- Meaning, upon that which you have been commanded and in calling them to the [path of] Allaah; even if you see them turning away that should not turn you away from the call. [إِنَّ وَعۡدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقٌّ۬ۖ – Indeed, the promise of Allaah is true]- Meaning, there is no doubt about that. And this is from that which aids a person to exercise patience, because when a servant know that his deeds will not be in vain and will find a full reward for it [in the afterlife], then what he faces of hardship will become minor, and it will become much easy for him to bear every difficulty.
[وَلَا يَسۡتَخِفَّنَّكَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ – And let not those who have no certainty of faith, discourage you]- Meaning, their Imaan is weak and their certainty is little, so their forbearance becomes lacking as result of that and their patience is little. So, beware out of fear of being discouraged by these people, because unless you are not careful about their affair, they will discourage you and lead you to not being firm in holding fast to the commands and prohibitions, and the soul may assist them in this affair and seek to be similar and to be in agreement with them. [An Excerpt from Tafseer as-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Unlike the person upon certainty, the person who has no certainty in faith (or lacks certainty) does not remain firm, rather he acts carelessly, whereas certainty is that firm Eemaan in the heart based on knowledge and action. And it maybe that a person has sound knowledge, but does not exercise patience during calamities; rather he is swayed by emotion. Al-Hasan Al-Basri [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, ‘If you wish to see someone with insight but has no patience, you will see him; and if you wish to see someone who has patience but not insight, you will see him; but if you see a person who has insight as well as patience, then he is the one mentioned by Allaah in the vesre: [وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنۡہُمۡ أَٮِٕمَّةً۬ يَہۡدُونَ بِأَمۡرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُواْۖ وَڪَانُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ – And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)]. [Surah As-Sajdah. Verse 24] [ An Excerpt from ‘Al-Fawaa’id’ pages 293-300]
Istikhaarah and Consultation
Imaam Al-Hasan Al-Basri [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “By Allaah! Never have a people sought advice except that they were guided to the best of what was available to them.” Then he recited [the statement of Allaah]: [وَأَمۡرُهُمۡ شُورَىٰ بَيۡنَہُمۡ – And (the Believers) who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation] [42:38] [Adab Al-Mufrad no.258, declared saheeh by Imaam Albaanee]
Al-Allaamah Zayd Bin Haadi Al-Mad’khali [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] commanded His Messenger Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] to consult his companions in some affairs. Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] said: [وَشَاوِرۡهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَمۡرِۖ فَإِذَا عَزَمۡتَ فَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ – and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah] [Surah Aal Imran. Verse 159]
He [i.e. the Prophet] is the example to be followed by the Ummah, therefore when it is the case that Allaah commanded him to consult his companions, then there is even a greater reason that the Muslims are in need of consultation amongst themselves. When a difficulty that is related to a Muslim’s religious and worldly affairs occurs, then indeed it is fitting that he consults someone whom he considers reliable, wise, truthful and sincere. He examines [the advice] given by that person, then he makes a choice – either to take that advice or decides not to take it based on what he is satisfied with, in relation to his personal affairs.
The hadeeth places emphasis on the fact that consultation guides to the best outcomes, and due to this it is said: ”The one who consults [others] does not regret [thereafter InShaaAllaah] and the one who performs Istikhaarah will not fail [to achieve good]”. Both Istikhaarah and consultation are legislated and a lot of good is achieved by way of them, as opposed to when affairs are pursued in a rigid and haphazard manner, for indeed this might lead to regret and harm. [An Excerpt from ‘Awnul Ahadis Samad Sharh Al-Adab Al-Mufrad’ 1/285. slightly paraphrased]
What is Al-Istikhaarah? It is widespread amongst some people that Istikhaarah and seeking the best outcome in an affair is that one goes to the astrologers and soothsayers. This is in opposition to what is found in the Islamic legislation; rather Istikhaarah and seeking the best outcome in an affair is that one performs two optional Rak’ats and then supplicate with the legislated supplication. Jaabir Bin Abdillaah [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] said, ”Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] used to teach us the way of doing Istikhaarah (i.e. the means to ask Allah to guide one to the right action concerning any job or a deed) in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Qur’an. He said, ‘If anyone of you wants to do any task [i.e. wants to decide on a matter], he should offer a two rak`ats other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلَا أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِي الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ أَرْضِنِي
O Allaah! I seek t he counsel through Your Knowledge, and I seek 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 (alone) know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this task (or affair) 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 task (affair) 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 [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] added that then the person should mention his (or her) need [i.e. the affair or task]. [Bukhaari: 1162] [Al-Haqeeqatush Shar’iyyah Fee Tafseeril Qur’aanil Adheem Was-Sunnatin Nabawiyyah. Page 95]
Abu Hurairah [may Allaah be pleased with him] said that the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “The consultee is in a position of trust”. [Saheeh Sunan Abee Dawud. Number 5128]
The Consultee is the one whose opinion is sought after regarding an affair of Maslahah (i.e. an affair that will bring about benefit and repel harm). He is in a position of trust with regards to what he is asked and it is not permissible for him to deceive the one who consults him, by concealing the affair that would bring about benefit. [Mirqaat Al-Mafaateeh Sharh Mishkaat Al-Masaabeeh. Vol 4. Hadeeth 5062. page 259]
This hadeeth is an evidence, showing that the consultee has to (advise) with the course of action and opinion -in relation to the consultation – that which he would do for himself. And it is not permissible that he directs his Muslim brother to something he would not be pleased with for himself. [Awnul Ahadis Samadi, Sharhu Al-Adab Al-Mufrad. Vol 1. Hadeeth Number 256. page 283]
The Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] used to supplicate saying:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحَزَنِ، وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ، وَالْبُخْلِ وَالْجُبْنِ ، وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ، وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ
O Allaah! I seek refuge with You against distress and grief, helplessness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, being heavily in debt and being overcome by men. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 2893]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: So, the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] sought Allaah’s Refuge against eight affairs and each of them is connected to another thing.
Distress and Grief: Distress and grief are connected to each other and they are pains in the heart. If it is in relation to an affair that has elapsed, then it is grief; and if related to an affair in the future, then it is distress. So, if the basis of the pain is related to something missed in the past, it is grief; and if its basis is related to fear of what is to come in future, it is distress.
Helplessness And Laziness: Helplessness and Laziness are connected to each other. When one is delayed from what is beneficial and its perfect [accomplishment], it is considered to be helplessness. And if the affair is related to lack of intent, it is considered to be laziness.
Cowardice And Miserliness: Cowardice and miserliness are connected to each other, because indeed Ihsaan [i.e. to do good for others, generosity, etc] brings happiness to the heart and comfort to the inner self, overcomes distress and repels rancour. And abandoning it [i.e. Ihsaan] would cause the heart to be constricted and prevents it from reaching blessings by way of it. Cowardice is to abandon Insaan by way of physical actions and miserliness is the abandonment of Insaan through wealth.
Being Heavily In Debt And Being Overcome By Men: Being heavily in debt and being overcome by men are connected to each other, because being subdued and overcome can occur from the person himself or from others- either based on truth or falsehood. The cause of being heavily in debt emanates from the person himself and no wrong is committed against him, and being overcome by men is tantamount to falsehood [committed against him] and not from himself.
The intent in this discussion is that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] (clarified) that grief is something a person should seek refuge against, because indeed it weakens the heart, weakens one’s determination and changes one’s intent. And there is nothing more beloved to shaytaan than bringing sadness to the believers. Allaah [The Exalted] said: [ إِنَّمَا ٱلنَّجۡوَىٰ مِنَ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِ لِيَحۡزُنَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا – Secret counsels (conspiracies) are only from Shaitan (Satan), in order that he may cause grief to the believers] [Surah Al-Mujaadilah. Aayah 10]
Grief is one of the ailments of the heart which prevents it from arising, embarking upon and striving [to pursue what is beneficial] – preventing it from attaining reward due to the calamities that afflicts a person outside his own choice, such as sickness, pain and what is similar. [An Excerpt from Tareeq Al-Hijratayn. Pages 606-607. Slightly paraphrased]