We must turn to Allah and ask for His help and guidance. How lucky we are that our beloved Prophet SAW has already told us a prayer just for this! This prayer is called Salat-ul-Istikhara, after which we pray the Istikhara dua.
In every aspect of our life, from the choices we have made to the choices we will make, we don’t know if that was the best choice for us. We will never know if the option we are planning to choose will benefit us the most.
When we have decisions to make, if we have to choose between multiple job offers, or if we have to choose between this future spouse and that one, how do we know if our decision will be the right one? We don’t. Allah has the knowledge of the unseen and knows that which we don’t know.
In ayatul kursi, Allah says:
Istikhara dua in Arabic
‘Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi’ilmika, Wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, Wa as’alaka min fadlika al-‘azlm Fa-innaka taqdiru Wala aqdiru, Wa ta’lamu Wala a’lamu, Wa anta ‘allamu l-ghuyub. Allahumma, in kunta ta’lam anna hadha-l-amra Khairun li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati amri (or ‘ajili amri wa’ajilihi) Faqdirhu wa yas-sirhu li thumma barik li Fihi, Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hadha-lamra shar-run li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati amri (or fi’ajili amri wa ajilihi) Fasrifhu anni was-rifni anhu. Waqdir li al-khaira haithu kana Thumma ardini bihi.’
Istikhara Dua Translation
(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 added that then the person should mention his need.
Hadith about Istikhara
Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah RA:
The Prophet SAW used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara (Istikhara means to ask Allah to guide one to the right sort of action concerning any job or a deed), in all matters as he taught us the Surahs of the Qur’an. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two rak`at prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer) [the dua]…”
How to perform Istikhara prayer?
Istikhara Prayer Step by Step
- Pray 2 nafl (optional) rakaats, i.e. 2 units of prayer
- Any surah can be prayed but it is good to recite surah Kafiroon in the first rakah and surah Ikhlas in the second
- After the prayers are done, whilst sitting in the same place, recite the Istikhara dua given above
- Try to keep facing the qiblah when praying the dua
- Like all duas, it is better to start with praise of Allah and sending durood Sharif upon Nabi SAW and to also end with it
When you reach the words in the dua
You need to mention your situation. If it is for a job, then after reading these words in the dua, mention for example, “which of these jobs is better for me and which will benefit me both in this world and the hereafter?” or something along these lines.
Do not get disappointed and frustrated if you don’t see any results or signs instantly. Allah dislikes that you hasten and rush your duas and seeking His help. Take your time and ask from the bottom of your heart.
Be sincere and continue following these steps for a few days. Scholars mention that continuously reciting this dua with the above steps for 7 days should bring results.
Istikhara important points
- Istikhara dua doesn’t always have to be done before sleeping.
- You can pray this dua for any problem or situation, big or small.
- Allah loves it when His servants come to Him asking for His help, so don’t think you are too sinful or unworthy of seeking His guidance.
- The signs and results don’t always come in the form of dreams. They can also come as an inclination within the heart, or it may come up in a conversation you have with a scholar, or even when you are reading the Quran and you understand the meaning or you read the translation in your language.
- Istikhara is NOT only for marriage purposes. It is a general dua for any situation as mentioned above.
- Consult those with knowledge such as pious scholars or even close family members who you know want good for you, like your parents.
- Place your trust in Allah.
Can you talk after Istikhara?
Yes, you can talk after doing dua Istikhara. You also don’t need to go to sleep straight away as many people think. After you have sincerely asked from Allah, you can simply continue your day.
What is Istikhara prayer for marriage?
As mentioned earlier, people think that Istikhara dua is just for marriage or there might be a specific way to do it when it comes to marriage. But there isn’t. It follows the same steps mentioned above.
Lastly, you need to be patient in terms of receiving the answer to your prayers. Don’t forget the words of our Prophet SAW,
“The supplication of everyone is granted as long as he does not show haste and does not say that he made a supplication but it was not accepted.”[Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]