In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Al-Hasan al-Basree [rahimahullaah] 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] [Ref 1]
Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] commanded His Messenger Muhammad [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] 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] [3:159]
He [i.e. the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam)] is the example to be followed by the Ummah, therefore when it is the case that Allaah commanded him [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] 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. [Ref 2]
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[Ref 1: Adab Al-Mufrad no.258, declared saheeh by Imaam Albaanee]
[Ref 2: Awnul Ahadis Samad Sharh Al-Adab Al-Mufrad’ 1/285’ (abridged and slightly paraphrased]