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Recently they found an Istikhara book called the Book of Lots of Mary. This was a small handheld book used to communicate with God.
Casting lots or Istikhara as it is known in Arabic, is a process of communication with God and allowing him to choose for you. It was used after the crucifixion by the disciples when they chose a replacement for Judas.
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk[c] from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters,[d] the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”
18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms:
“‘May his place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in it,’[e]
“‘May another take his place of leadership.’[f]
21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
عن الامام الصادق (عليه السلام) أنّه قال: يقول الله عز وجل: من شقاء عبدي أن يعمل الأعمال فلا يستخيرني
Imam Al Sadiq as said : "Allah swt says : "It is of the hardships that befalls my servant that he should do deeds without making Istikhara
وعن الامام أمير المؤمنين (عليه السلام) قال: بعثني رسول الله (ص) الى اليمن فقال لي وهو يوصيني: يا علي ما حار من استخار ولا ندم من استشار
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib as said: : "The Prophet Mohammed sawas sent me to Yemen and said to me: "O Ali, no one who makes istikhara and remains confused and no one regrets who makes istikhara"
TYPES OF ISTIKHARAS:
1. Using a Book:
It is known that people use the Qu'ran or the Bible or any holy book as a form of Istikhara. They hold the book closed in between their hands, think of a question to ask God in which they are confused about, and open the book on a random page. On it they shall find the answer.
Could I use a book other than the Qur'an or Bible?
Of course, you can use any book. And for that reason, books like the Book of Lots of Mary was written, and also the Istikhara book of Imam Al Sadiq a.s. to name a few. They are small handheld books containing many pages containing yes and no answers and advices. These are used so that the answer may be clearer. But you can use any book.
The concept is discussed in the book by the author Richard Bach in his story: "Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah:"
(You can read the full book in our library section of the forum)
It's really like that.. See above pages
Attached here is a printable copy of a version of the istikhara of Imam Al Sadiq as in Arabic....
2. Istikhara through dreams
One form of Istikhara is by praying or asking God a question and waiting until you receive a dream giving you an answer.
3. Istikhara through asking 10 wise ones
Another form of Istikhara is through asking 10 wise people whom you trust their opinion on the matter which you are confused about while believing that God will respond to you on their tongue. Then you go with what the majority of them have stated.
I will be adding other types of Istikharas in the future, as there are too many to list them all at the moment....
Conditions in which Istikhara works:
1. The Absence of a Prophet, Messenger or Imam
This means that if for example Jesus is present amongst us or Mohammed or Buddha, we cannot leave them and ask God directly as they are the tongues of God amongst us, and God would speak to us through them before he would through a piece of paper. When they are not there we can then use Istikhara, only when we have no access to them. If we use istikhara while they are present, only Satans and demons will answer us.
2. Complete faith
This means that Istikharas only work and give you God's answer if you sincerely 100 percent God will answer you through the Istikhara and if you 100 percent commit to abiding by the outcome of the Istikhara no matter what.
3. You have no preference
It means you are confused. Istikhara is at a time of confusion and you should be neutral, wanting only what is best. You can't make istikhara when you are leaning on way or the other or hoping for a particular outcome.