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If you want to consult Allah ﷻ on a particular decision, you can offer 2 rakat Sunnah of Istikhara prayer and seek guidance from Allah. Here is the step-by-step process of performing the Istikhara prayer.
- Istikhara means “to seek the best of affairs”.
- How to offer Qasr prayer while traveling?
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “If any one of you is deliberating about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two Rak’ahs of Istikhara prayer”. – Sunan an-Nasa’i 3253
Best Time for Istikhara
Many people claim that the best time to offer Salat-ul-Istikhara is just before sleeping but there is no reality in that. You can perform Istikhara anytime except the following 3 times;
- After the Fajr prayer until sunrise.
- About 5 mins before Duhr prayer when the sun is at its meridian until it goes past it.
- After the Asr prayer until sunset.
Performing the Istikhara prayer
The process of performing Istikhara prayer is quite simple;
Step 1: Niyyah – I intend to pray 2 rakat of Sunnah Istikhara prayer for Allah ﷻ.
Step 2: Perform 2 Rakat of prayer just like any other prayer.
Step 3: After ending the prayer, recite Istikhara dua (given below) without talking to anyone.
Step 4: Read the translation of Istikhara dua to understand what you have actually sought from Allah ﷻ.
Step 5: Now you can pray in your own words on whatever matter you are seeking help from Allah.
Step 6: Continue praying on a daily basis until you get the answer (explained below).
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has taught us the Istikhara dua in a hadith. Along with reciting the dua, you should also read its translation.
- When comes هَذَا الأَمْرَ think about the job for which you are making Istikhara. – Sahih al-Bukhari 1166
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ، فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلاَ أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي ـ فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ، وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي ـ أَوْ قَالَ فِي عَاجِلِ أَمْرِي وَآجِلِهِ ـ فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ، وَاقْدُرْ لِي الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ أَرْضِنِي بِهِ
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–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.
How to know the answer to Istikhara?
In Istikhara dua, you prayed to Allah ﷻ to either bless you with it or keep it away from you. Therefore, keep faith that whatever is happening after Istikhara is in your best interest.
You will feel that your mind will start settling on a decision. If it is not good for you, Allah will make the situation to keep it away from you and vice versa.
Once you make a decision, put your trust in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who trust in Him. – Ali ‘Imran 3:159
What if Istikhara is against our will?
We should be content upon the decision made after performing Istikhara.
Allah says in the Quran: “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows while you know not.” Al-Baqara 2:216
Can someone perform Istikhara on my behalf?
If you read the Istikhara dua you will realize that it is a wrong practice to request someone else to perform Istikhara on your behalf. The Istikhara should be done by only those people who are going to make the decision.