Question: People who charge for istikhara is it halal or haram? Does istikhara cost money? My friend is facing a lot of problems, she found some aalim and asked for istikhara so that aalim asked money for istikhara. Is that aalim asking for money right or wrong?
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.
No, it is not permissible to pay someone to pray the Istikhara Prayer on your behalf.
First, the basis of Istikhara Prayer (the prayer of seeking guidance) is that one performs it oneself—asking Allah Most High to assist one in making the choice of most benefit to one’s religion and worldly life.
Second, it is permissible to ask someone to pray Istikhara on one’s behalf—like one could consult someone else or even ask them to make a decision on one’s behalf. But like in consultation, one should choose those one trusts for this.
Third, the reason one can’t pray for someone to pray the Istikhara Prayer, is that the basis of private acts of worship—such as prayer or supplication—is that one cannot charge for them [Birgivi; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar].
Charging for public acts of religious service has only been permitted on the basis of preventing public harm (darura) by scholars from the earliest times. However, even there the basis is that these public acts be done without charge [Ibn al-Humam/Marghinani, Fath al-Qadir Sharh al-Hidaya; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar].
Thus, we would advise you to:
(1) Perform the Istikhara Prayer yourself. As part of it, consult and seek the supplications of those you trust, to help you in making the right decision.
(2) Follow the sunna steps related to making Istikhara. These are explained in the link below:
The Reality of Istikhara: http://seekersguidance.org/blog/2009/08/the-reality-of-istikhara/
(3) How is your istikhara answered? The answer to the istikhara is your inclination towards which decision will be best in your deen and dunya, short and long term, directly and indirectly.
Please see this article on Istikhara as well: https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/istikhara-the-ultimate-guide-a-reader/
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani