Dear young Islamic brothers! We get opportunities to take countless decisions in our [every aspect of] life. Some decisions [which we take] are normal such as: What should be cooked today? Which type of dress or shoes be worn? What should be drunk, tea or coffee? etc. If these types of decisions go wrong, it will not cause us great worry. On the other hand, there are some decisions which are momentous and affect our life such as [taking a decision about] education, business, marriage, friendship, ride, attitude, residence, lifestyle, buying different domestic items (e.g. fridge, air conditioner and furniture etc.) and medical treatment for any disease. We should take these [i.e. important] decisions wisely. Today, the position or state in which we are is just because of our decision. Our decision will decide our future. Let’s read a historical parable which shows that one decision can change our life.
Smart decision taken by a young trader
A young trader passed by Sayyiduna Imam ‘Aamir Shu’abi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه. Imam Shu’abi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه asked the young trader, ‘Where are you going?’ The young trader replied, ‘I am going to the market.’ Imam Shu’abi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه asked, ‘Don’t you go to Islamic scholars?’ He replied, ‘I go there but sometimes.’ Imam Shu’abi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه persuaded him and said, ‘Keep attending the gatherings of knowledge and Islamic scholars. I am observing [some] signs of knowledge in you’. The young trader had to take a decision and he took a firm decision that he would gain Islamic knowledge. (Manaqib-ul-Imam A’zam Abi Hanifah, vol. 1, pp. 59)
He progressed and gained the rank of Imam-e-A’zam. In this way, by virtue of the wise decision taken by the young trader and the persuasion of Imam Shu’abi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, billions of Hanafis have been blessed with the [great] Imam named Imam A’zam Abu Hanifah.
Dear Islamic brothers! For making good decisions, we need great ability in making decisions. This is something granted by Allah Almighty and the one who is granted (this ability) is very fortunate. However, by acting upon these points, we can greatly improve our ability in making decisions.
Thirty-one points about making good decisions
1. The mood of a human keeps changing; sometimes he is happy and sometimes he is sad. Therefore, take a decision as per rule not mood.
2. Do not make important decisions when you are overwhelmed by emotion or you are hungry, thirsty, tired, and restless or you have a fever or a fear of something.
3. Everyone has some best time in which he feels very energetic. Some people feel energetic in the morning and some people feel energetic in the evening. Try to take your decisions at your best time. It will benefit you.
4. Remember your old decisions; it will help you avoid making mistakes [in making decisions].
5. Practise to take normal decisions. In this way, it will become easy for you to make important decisions. In the same way, you can also give Tarbiyyah to your children by letting them take their normal decisions about their affairs.
6. If you have to take a decision about any matter and you have a personal experience of it, you can take any decision about the matter in the light of your personal experience easily.
7. Success is the result of good decisions, good decisions are the result of some experience and good experience is sometimes the result of bad decisions.
8. It is often helpful to consult with experienced people, because by consulting with experienced people we usually get the aspect about which we have never thought before. But we should not follow anyone’s advice blindly because we know more about our circumstances and abilities than others.
9. In this modern age, information regarding any field can be obtained through internet etc. within few minutes. It also helps us take a decision.
10. Do not take a decision under pressure. If you ever face this situation, take a decision wisely.
11. Do not hasten to make a decision. Sayyiduna Hassan Basri رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه has said: A believer is the one who works sensibly, calmly and earnestly. He is not like the one who collects pieces of wood in the night, i.e. he collects whatever he gets in a hurry. (Ihya-ul-‘Uloom, vol. 3, pp. 230)
12. Check how much time you have to make a decision. For example, if you have three days [to make a decision], make a decision on the first or the second day and then on the other day, review it from every perspective. In the last part of the third day, announce your decision and then stick to it as well. Those who make their decision in the morning and then change it in the evening without any reason usually fail.
13. What can be the results of your decision and are you prepared to face them? Think about them. The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰـە عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said: Work with a good strategy. Then if you see [some] benefit in the outcome of it, go ahead, and if you fear that you may be misguided, then refrain [from it]. (Sharh-us-Sunnah Lil Baghawi, vol. 6, pp. 545, Hadees 3494) i.e. firstly, think about the outcome of what you are about to do, then start the work. If you find something bad from religious or worldly perspective in the outcome of any work, do not start the work at all, and if you have already started, refrain from it and do not complete it. (Mirat-ul-Manajeeh, vol. 6, pp. 626)
14. Keep your ability, age and health in mind (when making a decision) because you have to act on your decision.
15. There should be a purpose of your decision. Do set your goal especially when taking a decision about travel, business, job, education, etc. so that you can know what you want to achieve out of reward, honor, wealth, satisfaction, etc.
16. Choosing a profession contrary to one’s interests and tendencies often leads to mental dissatisfaction. Therefore, it is a praiseworthy decision to pursue one’s hobby. This decision never makes a person feel tired and bored during work and he shows his outstanding abilities which opens doors for career development.
17. Do not make your decision by seeing prevailing trends. There was a time when everyone wanted to be a doctor or an engineer, but today’s world has changed and surely tomorrow’s world will be different from today, therefore take the decision that satisfies you.
18. It is good to have a dream of progress, but we should not live through assumptions, but rather take our decisions based on ground realities. For progress we should have a good vision, but we should not forget our current position.
19. Instead of wasting your time on searching new options, choose one of the available options.
20. Instead of wasting your energies on removing obstacles from a difficult way, it is better to put all capabilities and energies in an easy way to gain more benefits and make more progress.
21. If you want to leave your job or business, think long and hard [before leaving it]. Do not leave [your job or business] in a way that if you rejoin, you are taunted and you feel ashamed.
22. Changing a decision repeatedly and not sticking to it are harmful, causing depression.
23. It is wise to keep in mind your financial position when taking a decision about the expenses of wedding, etc.
24. Do not waste your time on carrying out new experiments in order to find shortcuts. A normal way of doing something is usually a shortcut to achieve any goal.
25. Some decisions have to be made quickly; do not take much time in making them. For example, when there is less time left for the departure of train [thinking about the ride] which ride is more beneficial to reach the station early - rickshaw or taxi? This decision has to be made very quickly.
26. Some decisions are related to others such as choosing children’s career or their life partner, so in this regard, it is very important to keep their will, temperament and ability in mind.
27. If you have to take a decision between the hereafter and the world, choose immediately the hereafter. By virtue of its blessing, your worldly life will also get better.اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه
28. When you get into a situation where you have to make a decision about committing or not committing a sin, immediately say ‘no’. For example, never make a ‘yes’ decision to disclose someone’s fault, hurt him, take interest, take a bribe, etc. It may seem difficult, but it will make our hereafter easy. اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه
29. Sometimes, you have to decide one thing between two choices and both are correct. If you are unable to decide it, perform Istikharah.
30. The most important thing is that whatever decision we take, it should be as per Shari’ah, not contrary to Shari’ah.
31. As a Muslim, we should not rely upon means and resources, but rather upon Allah Almighty. Whatever is written in the destiny will certainly happen, but Shari’ah has also commanded us to use means and resources.
May Allah Almighty improve our ability in making decisions and give us Taufeeq to make correct decisions. اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم
 To know about the method of Istikharah, read the book ‘Bad Shugooni’ from page 47 to 53 published by Maktaba-tul-Madinah.