How to Perform Istikahra

Salat-ul-Istikhara

Anytime a Muslim is making a decision, he or she should seek Allah’s guidance and wisdom. Allah alone knows what is best for us, and there may be good in what we perceive as bad, and bad in what we perceive as good.
Salat-ul-Istikhara is a prayer of guidance recited during times of indecision. To perform Istikhara, you should first be cleansed, so perform Wudu if necessary. Open your prayer, recite two rak’ah, then offer your Istikhara supplication. Rather than wait for a miraculous, symbolic vision, you should reflect within to find answers and seek advice from those you find wise and knowledgeable. When praying, show sincerity, avoid begging or pleading, and be ready to follow through on the answers you receive.
If you are ambivalent or unsure about a decision you have to make, there is a specific prayer for guidance (Salat-ul-Istikhara) that you can do to ask for Allah’s help in making your decision. Should you marry this certain person? Should you attend this graduate school? Should you take this job offer or that one? Allah knows what is best for you, and if you are not sure about a choice that you have, seek His guidance.
Salat ul-Istikhara is a powerful tool that Allah has given us to ask His guidance in all matters. We should not hesitate to pray Istikhara before making any choice in our lives, big or small.
It’s important to do this prayer with sincerity, knowing in our hearts that only Allah can give us the guidance we seek, and resolved to follow the guidance He gives us, even if it clashes with our own desires.
We should also say the dua with firm conviction, not begging or pleading, but asking Allah clearly for guidance.
And we should not be impatient after our dua. We do not put Allah on a timetable. And we should not expect some sort of miracle, or a dream full of signs and symbols. These things are not necessary. We simply say our prayers and trust that Allah has heard us and will answer us in the way that is best.
Salat-ul-Istikhara is described in the Hadith narration below.
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam 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 Surats 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):
How to Perform Istikahra for Seeking Allah Guidance in Any Matter
How to Perform Istikahra for Seeking Allah Guidance in Any Matter
 Allaahumma 'innee 'astakheeruka bi'ilmika, wa 'astaqdiruka biqudratika, wa 'as'aluka min fadhtikal-'Adheemi, fa'innaka taqdiru wa laa 'aqdiru, wa ta'lamu, wa laa 'a'lamu, wa 'Anta 'Allaamul-Ghuyoobi, Allaahumma 'in kunta ta'lamu 'anna haathal-'amra-[then mention the thing to be decided] Khayrun lee fee deenee wa ma'aashee wa 'aaqibati 'amree - [or say] 'Aajilihi wa 'aajilihi - Faqdurhu lee wa yassirhu lee thumma baarik lee feehi, wa 'in kunta ta'lamu 'anna haathal-'amra sharrun lee fee deenee wa ma'aashee wa 'aaqibati 'amree - [or say] 'Aajilihi wa 'aajilihi - Fasrifhu 'annee wasrifnee 'anhu waqdur liyal-khayra haythu kaana thumma 'ardhinee bihi
O Allah, I seek the counsel of Your Knowledge, and I seek the help of Your Omnipotence, and I beseech You for Your Magnificent Grace. Surely, You are Capable and I am not. You know and I know not, and You are the Knower of the unseen. O Allah, if You know that this matter [then mention the thing to be decided] is good for me in my religion and in my life and for my welfare in the life to come, - [or say: in this life and the afterlife] - then ordain it for me and make it easy for me, then bless me in it. And if You know that this matter is bad for me in my religion and in my life and for my welfare in the life to come, - [or say: in this life and the afterlife] - then distance it from me, and distance me from it, and ordain for me what is good wherever it may be, and help me to be content with it. Whoever seeks the counsel of the Creator will not regret it and whoever seeks the advice of the believers will feel confident about his decisions. Allah said in the Qur'an: "And consult them in the affair. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah."
Al-Bukhari 7:162
* When making the dua, the actual matter or decision should be mentioned instead of the words “hathal-amra” (“this matter”).
What needs to be noted is that the answer to one’s istikhara prayer does not come simply in the form of dreams and feelings but in how Allah facilitates and unfolds events for an individual after he or she genuinely strives to do what is best.
Take the most effective means, which includes consulting those whose knowledge and wisdom one has confidence in, and place your trust in Allah.
Lastly, one needs to be patient in terms of receiving the answer to their prayers. Remember the words of our Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam, “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]

And Allah knows best, He is the All-Seeing, All-Hearing, the best Planner. May He guide us and ease all our difficulties. Ameen.
Rest Allah Knows the best
Allah Hafiz

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