This article discusses how to do Istikhara, the prayer for seeking guidance from Allah. In addition, the article contains the dua for Istikhara.
As human beings, we are not always capable of comprehending all the positive and negative outcomes related to making a decision on a certain matter. Therefore, we must always rely upon Allah with our affairs in this world and the hereafter. This is specially true when we are faced with making a big decision. To make things a bit easier, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us the Istikhara prayer for seeking guidance from Allah. In simple terms, Istikhara means to ask Allah to help you make a choice, often between two things.
How to Do Istikhara and Dua for Istikhara
Istikhara prayer is two rakath optional prayer. The prayer is often done at night in anticipation of a dream, but it can be prayed anytime except during the impermissible times for prayer.
Like any other prayers, one should be very mindful during the Istikhara prayer. You should be in a state of wudhu and wearing clean clothes. If you are unable to pray for any reason, sickness or menstrual cycle, making the dua is adequate as per some scholars. After completion of the prayer, the dua given below needs to be recited. The best manner for making dua is to sit facing the Qiblah. Be sincere in your dua.
The description of Salaat al Istikhara was reported by Jaabir ibn Abd-Allaah al-Salami (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said:
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach his companions to make istikhara in all things, just as he used to teach them surahs from the Quran. He said: If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rakahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say:
Allahumma inni astakhiruka biilmika, Wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, Wa asalaka min fadlika Al-adheem. Fa-innaka taqdiru Wala aqdiru, Wa talamu Wala alamu, Wa anta allamu-l-ghuyub. Allahumma, in kunta talam anna hadha-lamra Khairun li fi dini wa maashi waaqibati Amri – (or ajili Amri wa ajilihi) – Faqdurhu li wa yas-sirhu li thumma barik li Fihi, Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hadha-lamra shar-run li fi dini wa maashi waaqibati Amri – (or fi’ajili Amri wa ajilihi) – Fasrifhu anni was-rifni anhu. Waqdur li al-khaira haithu kana Thumma ardini bihi.
Istikhara Dua Meaning
O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, And Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this job is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter–(or said: If it is better for my present and later needs)–Then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, And then bless me in it, and if You know that this job is harmful to me In my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter–(or said: If it is worse for my present and later needs)–Then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, And make me satisfied with it).
The Prophet (ﷺ) added that then the person should name (mention) his need.
(Reported by Bukhari; similar reports are also recorded by al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaai, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad).
What to Expect After Making the Dua
If you are not getting any sign from Allah about which decision to make, keep performing the Istikhara prayer. Dreams are not necessarily the answer you might get. Also, don’t already make up a decision. Have an open heart and be patient.
Here are some guidance from the scholars in this matter.
“If you made the salat al istikharah prayer properly, its answer will be made clear to you, not through dreams or the feelings of someone else. If what you decided on is good for you, Allah will make it easy for you. If it is not good for you, Allah will take it away from you and provide good for you elsewhere. This is the purpose of the prayer – to help you make a choice.” Dr. Bilal Philips.
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.
Imam al-Nawawi mentioned that before the istikhara prayer, one should seek advice from those whose knowledge, wisdom, and concern one is confident. Source: seekersguidance.org
“If he makes Istikharah, then whatever Allah makes him feel happy about and makes easy for him, this is what Allah has chosen for him.” Ibn Taymiyyah