Istikhara means to seek goodness from Allah (SWT). It is seen as good practice to perform Istikhara prior to making any decisions. The decisions do not necessarily have to be major life changing decisions, Istikhara can be performed for any decision that you want the Almighty’s guidance for.
in sha Allah may Allah SWT guide us all towards what is good for us. Ameen
According to Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 21, Number 263:
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah :The Prophet (SAW) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara, in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Quran. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two Rakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلَا أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ شَرٌّ فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِيَ الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ ارْضِنِي بِهِ
“O Allah! I seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) I seek strength, and I ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and I do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action ——- (which I intend to do) is better for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for me and make it easy for me and then add blessings [baraka’] in it, for me. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for me, bad for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and whatever is better for me, ordain [destine] that for me and then make me satisfied with it.”
How to Perform Istikhara:
Firstly, pray two rakats of Nafil namaaz with the surahs after Al Fatiha as follows:
First Rakat : Surah Kafirun
Second Rakat : Surah Ikhlaas
After the two namaaz, pray the dua above. Be sure to mention what you are asking guidance for!
It is better that right after reciting the supplication, sleep with ablution whilst facing the direction of the Qibla (facing the Qibla is not required but it is a Sunnat of our beloved Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him)). It is beneficial to send Salaams and Duroods to our Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) before and after the above.
The most obvious sign of guidance after the dua is a dream. If in the dream one sees whiteness, this means any thing white in color, for example:
- white paper,
- white sky,
- white clothes,
- white light etc.
or greenness, this means any thing green in color, for example:
- green clothes,
- green light etc.
then understand that this task is better and if one sees redness, this means any thing red in color, for example:
- red clothing,
- red fruit,
- red light etc.
or blackness, this means any thing black in color, for example:
- black water,
- black light,
- black clothing,
- black sky,
- black wall etc.
then understand it is bad and avoid it. If do not remember any dream or do not see any colors then follow your heart. The second most obvious sign is a gut feeling or an instinct. Whatever intention grows stronger in your heart regarding your targeted work follow it after seven days of Istikhara.
However many times you perform Istikhara is dependent on how soon you get an answer. Some people get an answer after one day, whilst others don’t receive an answer after seven days.
Please note that a dream is not always the outcome and doing Istikhara is asking Allah SWT for guidance or to bring something in your path if it is good for you. I have performed Istikhara a few times for various reasons and the time frame has varied. So don’t fret, and do loads of dua, have sabr and faith and in sha Allah the Almighty will steer us in the right direction as He is the best of planners!