Istikhaarah means to ask Allah to guide one to the right thing concerning any affair in one’s life, especially when one has to choose between two permissible alternatives, e.g. a career choice, getting married, etc. Qatada said, “Every people who seek the pleasure of Allah and consult with one another are guided to the best course in their affairs.” Sa’ d ibn Waqqas (RA) reported that Rasulullah (SAW) said, “Istikhaarah (seeking guidance from Allah) is one of the distinct favors (of Allah) upon man, and a good fortune for the son of Adam is to be pleased with the judgment of Allah. And a misfortune of the son of Adam is his failure to make Istikhaarah (seeking Allah’s guidance), and a misfortune for the son of Adam is his displeasure with the judgment of Allah.” Ibn Taimiyyah said, “He who seeks guidance from the Creator and consults the creatures will never regret it.”
Jabir bin Abdullah says that Rasulullah (SAW) would teach us al-Istikhaarah for all of our affairs as he would teach us a surah from the Qur’an. He said: ‘If one of you is deliberating over an act, he should pray two non-obligatory rakaat and say: “O Allah, I consult You as You are All-Knowing and I appeal to You to give me power as You are Omnipotent, I ask You for Your great favor, for You have power and I do not, and You know all of the hidden matters. O Allah! If you know that this matter (then he should mention it) is good for me in my religion, my livelihood, and for my life in the Hereafter, (or he said: ‘for my present and future life,’) then make it (easy) for me. And if you know that this matter is not good for me in my religion, my livelihood and my life in the Hereafter, (or he said: ‘for my present and future life,’) then keep it away from me and take me away from it and choose what is good for me wherever it is and please me with it.” (Al-Bukhari)
How to read Salaatul Istikhaarah:
- Perform Wudu (the ablution) if you do not have it already.
- Read 2 rakaat either with the intention of praying Istikhaarah.
- Immediately after you have completed the 2 rakaat’s recite the Istikhaarah Dua: “Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi’ilmika, Wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, Wa asaluka min fadlika al-‘azim 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 li 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.”
“Oh Allah! I seek Your guidance 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. Oh Allah! If in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is good for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is bad for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it. And ordain for me the good wherever it may be, and make me content with it.” (* Name the deed you wish Allah to provide you with guidance about.)
- You can read Salaatul Istikhaarah any amount of times you wish. (I read it for 3 nights)
Overall summary of the method
- In time of decision-making, and a feeling of uncertainty about your affairs.
- You wish to pray to Allah to seek some guidance (on a Halal matter).
- Before reciting the Dua’ make sure that you are not already inclined to a given decision; otherwise it will mean that you serious about seeking guidance from Allah.
- You perform the prayer, and recite the cited Dua’ at the end.
- Upon performing the prayer, you will have a feeling or inclination towards one choice. So that is the choice that you have to take, Insha Allah (God Willing).
- If your his mind has not been made up after the first day, and some doubt still persists, then repeat the Salaah the following day. This can be continued for up to seven days. Insha Allah, you will come to know of the advantage or disadvantage of that matter.
Always remember that Allah will choose what is best for you… But you MUST put your full trust in Allah…!