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My Parents Want Me to Finish My Studies Before Getting Married. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I have been engaged to my fiancé for three years but he lives in a different country. My parents are insistent that I need to finish my education and get a job first. They feel my fiancé’s visa needs to be sorted first as being away from each other after marriage would be difficult. I really want to be with my fiancé. What should I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Marriage

This is a difficult situation. On one hand, you feel ready to get married. On the other hand, your parents want you to wait.

It is important for you to handle this with wisdom and sensitivity. Consider this a test of your character.

Even though I do not know you or your parents, would it be safe to say that they are concerned for you and want to protect you from harm.

A woman has more at stake to lose when a marriage goes sour. Your education is incredibly important, and so is your ability to earn your own money. Marriage, especially when overseas, can be a complex and challenging situation.

I encourage you to read ‘ Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples
and listen to ‘ Getting Married with Ustadha Shireen Ahmed and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Parents

I encourage you to do this course to better understand the rank of your parents: Excellence with Parents: How to Fulfill the Rights of Your Parents

It may be difficult for you to understand their perspective, and this is a test for most children. Perform the How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)? for both Allah to soften all of your hear and for Him to grant you greater understanding of each other

Is there any way for you to work together with your parents to solve this together, as a team?

Mediation

Is there an elder in your community or your family who can help to speak to your parents on your behalf? Elders often respond better when they are given counsel by other elders.

Prayer of Guidance

Please perform the Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance as many times as you need to for clarity. Watch what Allah unfolds for you, and what He makes easier.

For example, a clear sign that marriage is good for you is your parents changing their minds. A clear sign that marriage is not good for you is continual hardship in your path to getting married.

Support

Who do you have for support? Do you have close friends and family members who can support you?

Is there a culturally-sensitive counsellor you can speak to? I urge you to wake up in the last third of the night and perform tahajjud. May Allah give you both patience, wisdom, and a way out of your tribulation.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

Wassalam,

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Is It Permissible to Do Istikhara for Another Person?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

A previous post on Seekershub provides the dua which is to be read when doing istikhara. When doing istikhara for someone else, should the wording of this dua be amended, and should the other person’s name be mentioned in it for whom one is doing the istikhara?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

It is permissible to do istikhara for another person and there is no harm in it as it falls under supplication for others.

When doing so, you should change the personal pronouns to refer to the person for whom you are performing the istikhara by mentioning his/her actual name and rendering the pronouns in the third person. For example, if one were performing such a supplication on behalf of Zayd, it would be rendered as:

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 لِزيدٍ فِي دِينِه وَمَعَاشِه وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِه فَاقْدُرْهُ لَه وَيَسِّرْهُ لَه ثُمَّ بَارِكْ له فِيهِ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لَه فِي دِينِه وَمَعَاشِهِ وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِه فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنْه وَاصْرِفْه عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لَه الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ أَرْضِه

Transliteration: Allâhumma inni astakhiruka bi ilmika wa astaqdiruka biqudratika wa as’aluka min fadlika al-azimi, fa innaka taqdiru walâ aqdiru wa ta’lamu walâ a’lamu wa anta allamul ghuyubi. Allâhumma in kunta ta’lamu anna hâdhal amra khayrun li-zaydin fi dinihi wa ma`âshihi wa aqibati amrihi faqdir-hu lahu wa yassir-hu lahu thumma barik lahu fihi wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hâdhal amra sharrun lahu fi dinihi wa ma`âshihi wa aqibati amrihi fasrifhu annhu wasrifhu anhu waqdir lahu al-khayra haythu kâna thumma ardih.

In the case of a female, the pronouns beginning from فِي دِينِه will become a ها, such as:

فِي دِينِها وَمَعَاشِها وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِها

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Should My Father Meet My Suitor Despite a Worrying Istikhara Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I know of a brother whose friend told me he is interested in marrying me. My dad prayed istikhara (without meeting him) and said he had the same bad dream several times and feels clear in his decision to say no. Would my father meeting the brother be going against the istikhara?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

No, if your father meets the prospective suitor, it is not “going against the istikhara.”

This is because the answer to the Prayer of Seeking Guidance (salat al-istikhara) often manifests in the way matters unfold. Further, the proper manner of doing this prayer entails that you are aware of all the details related to the issue beforehand. Nevertheless, it is also possible to perform the prayer to decide whether or not to proceed with a particular matter.

Make sure you ask him all relevant questions, and make no assumptions whatsoever. With that, pray the Prayer of Need (salat al-hajah) and ask Allah Most High for facilitation, ease and right guidance. [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?]

[Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.461)]

Please also see: Istikhara – A Powerful Prayer When In Need Of Guidance and: Common Misconceptions about Istikhara and: Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance and: How Do I Get Rid of My Desperation to Get Married? and: I Want to Marry Someone Despite My Family’s Opposition. Should I Move On? and: What to Do When My Parents Reject My Choice of Spouse Because of Cultural Reasons?

Consider taking: Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Is Withdrawing from an Accepted Proposal Equivalent to Breaking a Promise?

Answered by Shaykh Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I had a proposal.


On the day of the meeting the guy had suddenly gotten sick. Right after they cancelled, he started feeling better. They took this as a sign of istikhara.


Can such things be taken as a sign for istikhara?

Does this count as breaking a promise sinfully?

Answer: Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

God says in the Quran, “And don’t say of anything, ‘Indeed, I will do that tomorrow’, except [with adding], ‘If God wills’, and remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, ‘Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct'” [18-23-24].

Istikhara is a very private affair, and as such the interpretation of a sign, be it a dream, happening, illness, or anything else, is also a very private matter. It is because of this that one shouldn’t worry too much about an outward ‘sign’ per se, but more how they feel they should act after performing the prayer and dua. Interpreting istikhara is hence a subjective matter and we as a third party can only take someone’s word for it when they say that their istikhara gave them a particular result.

As for promises towards others, we are obliged to fulfil them as best we can, but not fulfilling them is acceptable in certain circumstances. Most commonly, one may make a promise but later find that fulfilling it would create a negative outcome. Also, we may make a promise but a change in our personal circumstances may mean that we cannot fulfil it. Other times, the promise itself could be made on an incorrect presumption, and thus also not require fulfilling. A case of a promise based upon istikhara would be similar to this third example, where the promise is dependent on the reality of the situation becoming known.

Regarding the feeling of darkness and the possibility of it relating to yourself, it would be best not to pay such things too much attention. Scholars often advise that interpretation of dreams and events should be done in the most positive light imaginable to not give any substance to darkness. The mentioned subjectiveness of interpretation of such matters means that, in this case, one would be better off concentrating on their relationship with God, asking Him for that which is better than that which he deferred, and being content with the way things turned out.

[Shaykh] Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila

Can I Perform the Prayer of Seeking Guidance (Salat Al-Istikhara) More Than Once?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalam’aleykum,

Something is bothering me concerning a very important decision I need to make. Can I perform the Prayer of Seeking Guidance more than once?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

It is permitted to repeat the Prayer of Seeking Guidance (Salat al-Istikhara)—as it is a prayer (dua) of turning to Allah, and it is encouraged to turn repeatedly to Allah for one’s needs.

However, this is balanced with the sunna of being decisive—and leaving indecisiveness, doubts, hesitations—and trusting in Allah.

Thus, the early Muslims would recommend not repeating the Salat al-Istikhara more than seven times, as a general guideline. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, others]

Please see: Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance and: The Reality of Istikhara

wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Photo: PnP!

Is It Permitted to Pray the Istikhara Prayer for Another?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question:As salaamu alaykum,

Is it permitted to pray the istikhara prayer for another?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

It is permitted to pray the istikhara prayer for another because it is essentially a supplication, though it is better and from the sunna to pray it oneself.

The answer will often be in the unfolding of events themselves and any subsequent difficulty or hardship.

Please also see: The Reality of Istikhara

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: How is salat ul-Istikhara prayed?  Is it meant to be prayed several days in a row until a decision is made, or only once? Is it meant to be prayed after one has pretty much made up their mind, or when someone hasn’t really figured out what to do? Are their various valid opinions?

Answer
: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

The istikhara prayer is a very simple prayer of seeking guidance.

  • One prays two rakats at any time that is not disliked, after which one recites the supplication of istikhara.
  • It is best to recite it before sleeping, though in no way necessary.
  • Like other duas, it is recommended that one face the qibla.
  • It is recommended to open the dua of istikhara, with praise of Allah and sending blessings on the Prophet ﷺ and to close it in this manner, too.
  • It is disliked to ‘hasten’ in seeking the answer to one’s istikhara, like other duas, because the Prophet ﷺ said, “Your prayers are answered, unless you hasten, saying, ‘I prayed, but no answer came.’”

The Prayer in Arabic

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

Transliteration

Allâhumma inni astakhiruka bi ilmika wa astaqdiruka biqudratika wa as’aluka min fadlikal-azimi, fa innaka taqdiru walâ aqdiru wa ta’lamu walâ a’lamu wa anta allamul ghuyubi. Allâhumma in kunta ta’lamu anna hâdhal amra khayrun li fi dini wa ma-ashi wa aqibati amri faqdir-hu li wa yassir-hu li thumma barik li fihi wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hâdhal amra sharrun li fi dini wa maâshi wa aqibati amri fasrifhu anni wasrifni anhu waqdir liyal-khayra haythu kâna thumma ardini.

Translation

“O Allah, verily I seek the better [of either choice] from You, by Your knowledge, and I seek ability from You, by Your power, and I ask You from Your immense bounty. For indeed You have power, and I am powerless; You have knowledge and I know not; You are the Knower of the unseen realms. O Allah, if You know that this matter is good for me with regard to my religion, my livelihood and the end of my affair then decree it for me, facilitate it for me, and grant me blessing in it. And if You know that this matter is not good for me with regard to my religion, my livelihood and the end of my affair then turn it away from me and me from it; and decree for me better than it, wherever it may be, and make me content with it.”

Looking for signs

One should suspend one’s own judgement or inclination about the particular matter, and wait for Allah to show one a sign or to make things happen in a way that indicates what to do. When one is not clear about the result of the istikhara, the fuqaha mention that it is recommend to repeat it, up to 7 times if necessary (usually done on separate occasions). [cf: Radd al-Muhtar].

Shaykh Nuh Keller mentions that the more one prays the istikhara prayer, the clearer its answers become to one. He prays it for all matters, even things one would not imagine doing istikhara for.

It is not necessary that you get a dream or even a “feeling.” Rather, the istikhara is a prayer that Allah guide you towards that which is best (khayr) for you. If you do the prayer of guidance (istikhara) with the proper manners, the most important of which is to truly consign the matter to Allah and suspend your own inclinations, then Allah will make events unfold in the direction that is the best for your worldly and next-worldly affairs.

When unable to offer salah

In general, when it is not possible to perform the istikhara prayer itself (such as when one is out on the road, or in one’s menstrual period), it is recommended to simply read the dua itself. [Radd al-Muhtar]

For even the smallest things

The great Hanafi scholar and hadith expert from Aleppo, Shaykh Abdullah Sirajal-Din mentions in his book on the virtues of prayer that it is the way of many Sufis, including Shaykh al-Akbar Muhiyyuddin Ibn al-Arabi (Allah sanctify his secret), to pray the istikhara prayer at the beginning of their day, after sunrise, asking Allah to guide them in general to all good and to keep away all evil from them.

Istikhara gives the best answer, for one’s worldly and religious life (not worldly life alone), when coupled with another essential sunna: istishara (seeking sound counsel) of those worthy of being consulted and taking the sound means of assessing the situation at hand.

Imam al-Nawawi mentioned that before the istikhara prayer, one should seek advice from those whose knowledge, wisdom, and concern one is confident. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami and others mentioned that one of the benefits of this is to further distance oneself from the desires of one’s own egotistic inclinations.

The istikhara prayer may be made for a specific matter or be made for a general seeking of all that is best. Some scholars, including Imam Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha`rani and Ibn `Arafah before him saw this kind of istikhara prayer as being superior. Others, including Shaykh Ibn al-Arabi, recommended performing a general istikhara prayer for all that is good every day, ideally at the time of the Duha prayer (after sunrise).

One should be pleased with what Allah chooses for one, and not seek to follow one’s whims after the answer to one’s supplication becomes clear. We ask Allah to give us beneficial knowledge, and the success to act upon it in the way most beloved to Him, on the footsteps of His beloved Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Listen to Shaykh Faraz debunk common misconceptions about istikhara in this SeekersGuidance podcast, including

  • Misconception 1: Istikhara is a prayer in matters of marriage
  • Misconception 2: The signs come in the form of dreams
  • Misconception 3: A sinful person must ask a pious person to perform the prayer on his behalf
  • Misconception 4: Istikhara is only for the big decisions, not small matters

Resources on istikhara and other related matters

Does a Prayer in Which 100 Times “Ya Alimu” Is Read in the Prostration Exist in Islam?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Khan

Question: Assalamu alaikum,

Is there in the sunna a prayer that is read on Thursday/Friday night which is performed like any volunary prayers and  in the prostration  100 times “Ya Alimu” is read?

The purpose of it is to see if whether if there is any good or bad in something  and usually it would be shown in a person’s dreams. 

Answer: Waalaikum assalam warahmatullah,

I pray all is well. I do not know of any hadith with the prayer you describe, nor of any narration from a scholar or  saint. Allah knows best.

In any case, the istikharah prayer from the sunnah is more than sufficient. The Companions (Allah be pleased with them) said the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his folk) would teach it to them like a surah of the Quran. Our teachers also emphasize it in particular. It should be a regular part of our lives, and inshaAllah we will have clarity and be at peace with our decisions.

Also for times/situations in which it is difficult to actually pray the two rakats, there is a shortened version of saying “Allahumma khirli wakhtarli” meaning “O Allah, choose and select for me [what is good].”

Please see: The Reality of Istikhara

Wassalam,
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Dealing With Difficult Decisions – Sidi Yousaf Seyal

It is quite common to find ourselves in situations where we feel we have little or no control over them. We respond in various ways…
Before I proceed, I would like to acknowledge our humanness and understand that God created us weak. We forget, we are emotional, and we sin. God, the Merciful has gifted us with weakness in order to strengthen ourselves for Him, – through remembrance, rationality, and good deeds. This article is not an attempt to change the nature of man himself but to assist him in directing his nature to the One who understands his nature better than himself; God, the Exalted.
I also believe in prophets who have reached a certain level of perfection and saints who are protected by God from sin. Hence, they are human in their physical nature but angelic in their metaphysical state.

Lastly, I speak in the first person (we/our) to relate to those in a similar situation while realizing that I am the weakest of my audience. May God assist us in all of our endeavours, grant us openings that we cannot perceive of, and forgive our shortcomings.
path_field
To Proceed
It is quite common to find ourselves in situations where we feel we have little or no control over them. We respond in various ways. We become emotional, try to come up with solutions, seek counsel from friends, buy ourselves an ice cream (or in my case a new H&M cardigan–retail therapy!), etc… In the worst case, we isolate ourselves, become depressed, complain, and give up; and it is only then that we remember to turn to God, the One who put us in this situation to begin with.

When we finally do turn to Him, we often do not know what to ask Him for. Why? Perhaps it is because at this late stage we begin to look at creation through the lens of the Divine Decree, submitting to God alone, rather than looking at it as the cause and effect itself. In other words, we acknowledge our weakness as being slaves of God and turn to Him for His guidance–we submit to our Creator.
Let us first define the terms ‘Decree and Ordainment — al-Qada wal-Qadar’: according to the Ash’aris and the majority of Sunni Orthodoxy,

1) Qada is the pre-eternal will of God that is linked to all things in accordance with what will be brought into existence in the future, such as God’s pre-eternal will to create a person on the face of the earth, and

2) Qadar is the creating (or bringing into being) of all things according to their specific measure that is determined by His Qada.
Belief in God’s decree and ordainment – its good and its evil – is one of the six pillars of faith that every believer must attest to. The Archangel Gabriel, upon whom be peace, approached the Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him, one day and asked him: “What is faith?”, and the Prophet replied: “Faith is to believe in God, the Angels, the Books, the Messengers, the Day of Rising, and the Divine Decree of  its good and its evil.”
God, the Exalted’s decree is not a compulsion of what He ordains but it is His knowledge of the future; God’s ordainment is based on His pre-eternal knowledge of His servant’s choice, good or evil. God has given us choice (kasb) and we should honor this by implementing His commandments and always seeking elevation.
Hence, we do not accuse God of imposing upon us to do other than what we choose to do, good or evil. We are simply a living reality of what was written in the Tablet based on the pre-eternal knowledge of God.
Part of believing in the Divine Decree is also staying content with it. Staying content with the Divine Decree is difficult because, as humans, we tend to focus on ends, rather than taking meaningful steps in life.
dua_handsMaking an Investment
For example at school, our concern is not on learning but to find a job; at work, our concern it to secure our old age by investing in a 401K plan; and in marriage, our concern is not nurturing a healthy family but fulfilling a desire (ain’t no problem with marrying a beautiful spouse but that’s not the only point of marriage akhi!).
Thinking of ends is important; hence, we work towards perfecting our ends but we do so by way of focusing on perfecting our present. This is the spiritual state of the saints who direct their inner-eye to the Lord in every moment (shuhud). Unfortunately, this is not the state of many of us and therefore we must return to God by praying to Him (du’a).
This is not to say that saints do not pray to God but they have acquired a state of contentedness where they focus on the Divine Decree itself. They realize that every manifestation of the Divine Decree on their hands is a trust from God that needs to be returned back to Him with excellence (ihsaan).
We, on the other hand, are not at such a level and need to constantly ask God, the Merciful to grant us commitment, consistency, and contentment by seeking His counsel.
Praying for Assistance
The Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him, prescribed us a prayer called the “Prayer of Assistance” (istikharah) which is a two-unit prayer followed by a du’a, seeking God’s decision through His pre-eternal Knowledge, Power, and Grace, and then concluding it by seeking contentment in the Divine Decree.
The Prayer of Assistance should be followed by another portion of Istisharah which involves seeking the counsel of others, such as friends, elders, and people of knowledge who, God Willing, will direct us to what is best.
God, the Exalted, says:
“And ask the people of remembrance if you do not know. (Quran 21:7)
God has created us as means (not ends) for one another because the human being is naturally a weak creature who finds comfort in others through sympathy, care, and love. The sincere advice of good folk directs us to God in times of difficult decision making.
Seeking the advice of individuals does not conflict with our reliance in God since He has put us in a terrestrial world of means to facilitate us in our celestial expedition to Him. In fact, we would be in a state of contradiction if we did not take the proper means. It would result in neglecting our humanness; our heart should be engaged with God while our limbs should be engaged with creation.
God, the Exalted says:
“Indeed, the believers are siblings to one another, so make peace among your siblings, and be conscious of God, so that you may be granted felicity.” (Quran 49:10)
Every one of us deals with difficult decisions. Dealing with a problem is not the issue itself. The issue is how the problem is handled and directed. If it is not directed to God, the Creator of every situation and means, then who are we directing it to? And if we aren’t turning to Him first, the Sustainer of every moment, then when should we expect Him to turn to us?

It is in this respect that Imam al-Junaid said:

“If a matter saddens you, then the first person you turn to for assistance is your Lord.”
Once again, this is not to neglect taking the means that God has provided for us. It is rather to reflect on how much easier life would be if we made the root of every difficulty God-central. It has been said that every difficulty should be treated like a guest; a guest should be shown appreciation, which requires patience.
Therefore, the etiquette in dealing with a difficult situation requires turning to God by taking the proper means He has provided us with, namely:

1) Contentedness in the Divine Decree,

2) Turning to God through Supplication (Dua), and

3) Returning to creation in Decision Making.
Related video:

Advice on Breaking an Unwanted Marriage Engagement

Answered by Saira AbuBakr
Question: assalamu alaikum!
I have a friend who got engaged some years ago. He never wanted to get engaged to that person but never directly said ‘no’. He tried to refuse by making other excuses like ‘ not now, etc’ but he agreed due to feeling pressured.   Afterwards he tried to show that he wasn’t happy and now he is directly saying that he doesn’t want to marry this girl. The parents got upset and said this decision will break many relations because the engagement is done. They say the girl is better than someone he would choose for himself and they only want the best for him. 
How should this person and his parents be advised?
Answer: walaikum salaam wa RahmatuAllah ,
May Allah make the situation easy. It would be recommended to ask your friend if he has any religious reasons for disliking her. Also are they compatible in-terms of their upbringing, education, social and financial class?
We have a great example in the Seerah of our beloved Messenger, peace and prayers upon him, of a marriage between two very righteous, but incompatible companions:
Out of obedience to the Messenger of Allah (peace and prayers upon him), Sayyidah Zaynab bint Jah-sh (the cousin of the Messenger of Allah), married Sayyidna Zayd (initially adopted by the Prophet). However Sayyidah Zaynab was from an aristocratic, arab clan (Bani Hashim) and Sayydina Zayd, a freed, African slave. As a consequence, Sayyidah Zaynab was very unhappy in the marriage and it was eventually dissolved with the revelation of ayahs that married the Messenger of Allah to his cousin and abolished adoption.
If it is not any of the above then the brother should assess if their temperaments are incompatible. That alone can cause tension between people.
However, if he has no Islamic reason for refusing his parents wishes, I would advise him to do istikharah about whether she will be a means of him getting closer to Allah. He should repeat the istikharah until he has clarity in the matter. He may also, if he so wishes, ask another (someone with an objective view) to perform istikharah on his behalf.
If the istikharah indicates that she will be help him grow in his religion and his parents are still insisting, then he should ask Allah to place compassion and mercy in his heart for this sister. This is the basis of a good marriage and he should know that Allah is able to turn a person’s heart towards anyone He wishes.
Suratul Baqarah; ayah 216:
Yet it may happen that you hate a thing and it is good for you; and it may happen that you love a thing and it is bad for you. (Taken from AlTafseer.com; Translation: Feras Hamza)
If the istikharah or a glaring trait in her character indicates that she is not suitable for him, then he should communicate this to his parents.
One would advise him to communicate properly with his parents, all the while maintaining the utmost adab. Arguments will remove blessing from the discussion. Often times mothers may be won over by speaking about ones feelings and how sad one would be if married to this person. It should not turn into an argument of who is right or wrong nor be laden with guilt-trips.
Also, advise him to try to communicate to his parents that he wants to treat his wife with love and respect. If he is married to someone whom he dislikes, it might be very difficult to treat her with excellence, as is the sunnah. A woman can sense if her husband dislikes her and if she is unhappy as she knows her husband doe not love her, her parents are sure to find out. This may eventually lead to bigger problems between families. A divorce or constant bickering between husband and wife will not strengthen the relationship between the families either.
Most parents ultimately do want their children to be happy but are sometimes entrenched in obsolete cultural practices/modes of thinking not based in the religion. Above all, he should make dua that his parents are pleased with him.
If it reaches an impasse, he should reflect on his life and remove anything that would be displeasing to Allah and His Messenger, peace and prayers upon him. In doing this one should begin with the impermissible. Scholars of sacred knowledge say that difficulties come for two reasons. Firstly, as an expiation for the wrong one is doing in one’s life and secondly to raise one in rank. In the end, if one has the proper intention, it can all be a means of getting closer to Allah.
Finally, if the brother has not fulfilled his religious obligations by taking the classes he needs, he should try to start this right away. If he does not know where to start then he needs to consult a scholar. He may email Seekers Guidance for direction in this regard.
Saira AbuBakr