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How to Pray Istikhara?

by | Feb 6, 2019

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Istikhara or prayer of seeking guidance. Does this ever happen to you that you prayed Istikhaara but did not see the istikhaara dream? Well, the answer is it is not necessary to see a dream after Istikhara Dua.

You don’t need to get an istakhaara dream or a “feeling.” Instead, in Istikhara Prayer, Allah guides you towards what is best (Khayr) for you; If you do the prayer of seeking guidance (Istikhara) with the proper manners.


  • Istikharah is done when a decision is made in matters that are neither obligatory nor prohibited. 
  • Istikharah can be done in all permissible matters where a choice needs to be made, such as buying something permissible, taking a job, choosing a spouse, etc.
  •  It is not necessary for one sees a dream or hears a voice. 
  • Asking another person to make Istikharah on one’s behalf is not substantiated by any hadith. So do istikhara by yourself. Keep in mind; that no one else can be interested in your matters more than you! 

The most important is to consign the matter to Allah and suspend your inclinations. Allah will make events unfold in the best direction for your worldly and next-worldly affairs. First of all, let’s see what Istikhara and Istikhara Dua are. 

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) once remarked.

“O Anas! When you are undecided with regards to any matter, then seek counsel from your Rabb and do this seven times. after that, whatever decision prevails in your heart regard it to be beneficial.” (Shaami-Vol. 1, pg. 507)

    How to pray Istikhara Step by Step

    • Intention for Istikhara 

    The intention for Istikhara is a compulsory element. Make a clear intention of why and for what purpose you are doing Istikhara. 

    • State in Wudu

    Be in the state of wudu (Ablution) and purity before Performing Prayer and Dua. 

    • Perform Istikhara Prayer

    Offer two rakahs as the intention of Istikhara prayer. It is preferable to read surah Al-Kafiroon in the first rak’ah after surah Al-Fatiha and surah Al-Ikhlas in the second rak’ah after surah Al-Fatiha.  After saying salam, one raises their hands and starts praying. Starting by pronouncing the Names and Attributes of Allah the Merciful is preferable.

    After remembering Allah the Merciful, one sends salutations upon the Prophet ﷺ. 

    • Istikhara Dua

    After offering two Rakah’s, one should recite the dua of Istikhara, which is mentioned in the Hadith,

    اللَّهُمَّ إنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ، وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلا أَقْدِرُ، وَتَعْلَمُ وَلا أَعْلَمُ، وَأَنْتَ عَلامُ الْغُيُوبِ..

    اللَّهُمَّ إنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ (هنا تسمي حاجتك) خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ..

    اللَّهُمَّ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ (هنا تسمي حاجتك) شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِي الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ ارْضِنِي بِهِ. (وَيُسَمِّي حَاجَتَهُ)

    Allaahumma inni 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-ghuyoob. 

    Allaahumma fa in kunta ta’lamu haadha’l-amra (then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li fi ‘aajil amri wa aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allaahumma 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 of Istikhara Dua in English:

    “O Allaah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by Your knowledge. And I seek ability under Your power. And I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, and I have none. And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allaah, 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, livelihood, and 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 my religion. My livelihood and my affairs (for me both in this world and the next). Then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me]. And ordain the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it.” 

    [Reported by al-Bukhaari, 6841; al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad]

    When one reaches the part اللَّهُمَّ إنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ, they should name the matter they are seeking Istikhara for. Naming the matter should be repeated twice, once while mentioning the Khair and the second while mentioning the Shar. 

    • Salutation upon Prophet Muhammad (SAW)

    After completing the Istikhara Dua, one reads the salutation upon the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

    • Trust Allah 

    After the Istikhara dua ends, one should leave the matter entirely in Allah’s hand for better guidance without fear or regret. 

    Concept of Istikhara Dream:

    Many people think that after Praying Istikhara, there has to be a dream or feeling of ease in their heart. But that is not the case. Even if no such thing happens when a person has prayed Istikhara and done his best to find out what is best for him. Such as consulting people, examining the issue, and asking those with experience.

    And then he goes ahead and does it; then it is hoped that this will be best for him, even if he does not initially feel at ease in his heart. Even if we assume he fails in this matter, he goes ahead with praying istikhara. It may be suitable for him because he does not know it, and Allah, the Most Knowledgeable, knows.

    Some of us pray Istikhara and wait till we see a dream. But this is not what has been told by Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) told us to pray Istikhara and consult others, not to rely on what is seen in dreams.

    When Allah makes something easy for us, after having decreed it and accepting our Du’a, this is a sign that it is good to go ahead and do it. The existence of obstacles and difficulties indicates that Allah is pushing His slave away from doing it. This meaning will be obvious when one ponders the importance of the Hadeeth of Jaabir concerning al-istikhara.

    Prophet (PBUH) said:

    “O Allah, if You know this affair – [and here he should mention it] – is good for me about my religion, my life, and end, then decree and facilitate it for me, and bless me with it. And if You know this affair to be ill for me towards my religion, my life, and end, then remove it from me and remove me from it, and decree for me what is good wherever it be and make me satisfied with such.”




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