Confused: My Marriages Failed Despite Istikhara

By Mufti Taqi Usmani
Posted: 23 Rajab 1422, 11 October 2001

Q.) I am extremly perplexed and grieved concerning my present situation and shaytan is also attacking me with various iman endangering thoughts. Please can you answer my following question and put my mind at rest. I married a woman about 3 years ago. I went to see her and everything was done the Islamic way. i.e. I did Mashwera (consultation) and Istikhara (and I saw good dreams and my heart felt content.) But despite the istikhara, etc. Our marriage broke up after just a few weeks of living together, as it transpired that she was mentally unstable.

I married again this year, this time I was extra cautious and therefore did Istikhara over a long period and begged Allah to guide me, as a result of which I saw many good dreams. I also had the dreams interpreted by a scholar who gave me the go ahead. After that I did consultation with my superiors and they also gave me the go ahead. But, Again this marriage has broken down in a short span of time.

Why is it that both my marriages have failed (through no fault of mine, I tried my best both times) even though I did Istikhara and Mashwera both times and felt content at heart.

Please reply soon and put my mind at rest, I am losing hope and shaytan is playing with my mind and making me doubt the words of Allah and his Prophet. (naoozobillah) Please reply soon. Jazakallah. A distressed brother in need. [s.m.]

A.) Istikhara is a particular form of prayer and the masnoon way of doing is that a person offers 2 Rakats with the intention of Istikhara then recites the Dua for Istikhara which may be found in all the books of prayer. The other ways of Istikhara which are suggested by some persons are not masnoon. So far as the effect of Istikhara is concerned you must observe the following points:

First of all you must know that Istikhara is nothing more than a normal Dua in which a person prays to Allah Subhanahu Taala to guide him to reach a right decision. It is not correct to presume that in response to an Istikhara Allah gives an answer in the form of a dream. Similarly it is not necessary that a dream is seen after making an Istikhara and even though a dream is seen by the relevant person it is not an absolute answer towards a particular direction because dream is not treated in Shariah as a binding proof of something. The expected result of Istikhara is that the relevant person himself takes a decision which is good for him in this world or in the hereinafter or in both. But just as the grant of other prayers depends on certain conditions the Istikhara is subject to those conditions as well. If some of these conditions are lacking, it is not necessary that this prayer is granted

Second, to make an Istikhara does not mean that a person abandons all other necessary enquiries. A person must carry out all efforts necessary to reach a correct decision even after making Istikhara. If a person is content on Istikhara only and does not make the required efforts to reach the correct decision he may fall into error.

Third, in this particular case the reason for breakup of marriages is not certainly known. It is possible that the marriage failed not because the decision to marry that woman was wrong but because the husband could not properly handle the marriage. In other words it is possible that the decision to marry the woman was correct but the decision to divorce her was wrong.

Fourth, as mentioned in the first point in some rare cases Istikhara does not prove to be fruitful in this world but it is certain to be fruitful in the world hereinafter.