Step by step on how to perform Salatul Istikhaara (the prayer of seeking guidance)

What is Salatul Istikhaara?

Salatul Istikhaara is a simple prayer to ask Allah to help one make a choice. It can be done for matters that are religiously allowed, big or small.

Description

Jaabir ibn Abd-Allah al- Salami said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to teach his companions to make Istikhaara in all things, just as he used to teach them surahs of the Quran. He said: ‘If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rakat of non-obligatory prayer, then say:

Allahumma innee astakheeruka bi ‘ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa as’aluka min fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa ta’lamu wa laa a’lam, wa anta ‘allaam al ghuyoo. Allahumma fa in kunta ta’lamu haadha’l-amra (then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li fi ‘aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allahumma wa in kunta ta’lamu annahu sharrun li fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri (or: fi ‘aajili amri wa aajilihi) fasrifni ‘anhu [wasrafhu ‘anni] waqdur li al-khayr haythu kaana thumma radini bihi

Translation:O Allah I seek your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know not. You are the knower of hidden things. O Allah, if in Your knowledge this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge, it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good whenever it may be and make me pleased with it.”

Guidelines

  • One can perform the two rakat for istikhaara at any time as long as it is not at the times when nafl salah is forbidden, and after the two rakat, the supplication for Istikhaara is recited.
  • It is recommended that one faces the qibla when making the supplication.
  • It is recommended to open and close the supplication with the praise of Allah and sending salutations to the Prophet (SAW).
  • One should not be impatient to get his prayers answered, because like every other dua the Prophet (SAW) said: “Your prayers are answered, unless you hasten saying, ‘I prayed but no answer came’.”
  • One should be pleased with what Allah chooses and not seek to pursue one’s desires after the answer to one’s supplication has become clear.
  • Istikhaara can be performed for generally any permissible matter.
  • It can be done more than once about a matter.
  • One should try to seek advice from those who are knowledgeable before and after performing Salatul Istikhaara. The Prophet (SAW) said: “The one who desires istikhaara will not be unsuccessful, and the one who consults will not see regret.” [At Tabrani]

Misconceptions

  • Having a positive feeling about a matter after doing Istikhaara is no guarantee that that matter will turn out to be 100% successful.
  • Istikhaara should not only be confined to situations of doubt and confusion. Even when you are absolutely sure about a matter you can still perform Istikhaara.
  • It is not a necessity to do Istikhaara during the night before going to sleep. And it is a misconception that one should not talk to anyone after performing the two rakaat is Istikhaara.
  • Some people expect to see a dream clearly pointing them towards the right direction. You may not see a dream and that does not mean your Istikhaara was not successful. The purpose of Istikhaara is to help guide your heart towards the right direction.
  • Some people believe they are too sinful to do Istikhaara themselves, so they look for others who are apparently God-fearing to do it for them. This has no basis in the Sunnah. One should repent, and do Istikhaara himself.

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