What is Salat al-Istikhara?
Istikhara : The Prayer Of Seeking Guidance.
Istikhara means to ask for Allah’s infinite wisdom in an issue of confusion with the hopes that one will be directed towards that which is better for him.
Salat al-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. 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.
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.
Istikhara is not only two Rakats of prayers but it is two rakats accompanied by a specified Dua’a after it. If someone is not in the Position to offer prayer then only Du’a must be taken as sufficient step but full advantage can only be achieved when one acts according to the Hadith.
Way to perform Salat al-Istikharah:-
The Sunnah Istikhara prayer is performed in two raka’at like other Sunnah prayers. Pray two rakaʿāt of voluntary prayer (any prayer outside the five obligatory ones) and recite any Surahs you’d like after Fatiha in each rakah as there are no Surahs specified by The Prophet ﷺ.
1. Perform ablution (Wu’du) before starting the prayer.
2. Establish the Niyah (intention)
3. Now, give the Takbir (Allahu Akbar) and perform a two raka’at prayer.
4. After ending the prayer with the Salam, recite the Du’a (prayer) of Istikhāra in Arabic as recommended to us by the Prophet PBUH.
5. Read the translation of the Istikhara Du’a to understand what you have actually sought from Allah S.W.T.
6. Now you can make Du’a in your own language on whatever matter you are seeking help from Allah S.W.T.
7. Continue praying on a daily basis until you the answer.
After offering Salat al-Istikhara, surrender to Allah’s Will with your whole heart and put your trust in His infinite Wisdom. Once you put your faith in Allah SWT, trust the process and know He will bring you the very best in this life and the Hereafter.
What Is The Du’a For Istikhara?
The scholars of Islam have unanimously agreed upon the status of Istikhara prayer as Sunnah and its validity comes from the hadith of Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him):
"The Messenger of Allah used to teach his Companions to perform Istikharah in all matters, just as he used to teach them Surahs from the Qur'an. He said: 'If any one of you is deliberating about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two Rak'ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say:
Du’a For Istikhara
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 ثُمَّارْضِنِي بِهِ
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
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. (Sahih Bukahri 1166)
What is the best time to perform Istikhara?
Unlike the 5 obligatory prayers, which have their own specific timings, there is no set time to perform Salat al-Istikhara. You may perform it at any point of the day except during the forbidden hours, which are:
1. After the Fajr prayer until Sunrise.
2. About 5 minutes before Duhr prayer when the sun is at its meridian until it goes past it.
3. After the Asar prayer until sunset.
(Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1030)
How To Know The Answer To Istikhara?
When Allah makes something easy for you after praying Istikhara (concerning that matter), this is a sign that it is good for you and that you should proceed accordingly. However, the existence of obstacles and difficulties is an indication that Allah is pushing His servant away from the matter.
If there is no inclination felt in the heart, we should look into our affairs and judge whether there is ease or an obstacle to proceed or perhaps to withdraw accordingly. Our circumstances in life can be a part of Allah’s facilitation to give us the best of affairs from our Istikhara.
What if the answer to Istikhara is against our will?
We should be content upon the decision made after performing Istikhara. Thus, if a true servant of Allah , with sincerity and a pure heart asks Him for guidance even one time, then without doubt, Allah will guide him towards that which is good and advisable for him.
فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
"Once you make a decision, put your trust in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who trust in Him." (Qur'an, 3:159)
وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكْرَهُوا۟ شَيْـًۭٔا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌۭ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تُحِبُّوا۟ شَيْـًۭٔا وَهُوَ شَرٌّۭ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
"Perhaps you dislike something which is good for you and like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know." (Qur'an, 2:216)
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