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How to Perform Istikhara

A Muslim woman is doing Istikhara dua while sitting on a prayer mat
Istikhara, meaning to seek goodness, involves performing a prayer to seek Allah’s guidance before crucial decisions. This spiritual practice provides clarity and dispels doubts, allowing individuals to make informed choices with trust in Allah’s wisdom and guidance.

What is Istikhara

Perform Istikhara means to seek goodness. In general, Istikhara’s meaning is to look for Allah’s guidance and supervision before making significant decisions or performing a major task to clarify or remove any doubts in any situation.

Istikhara prayer which translates to Prayer of Seeking Counsel, is a prayer recited by Muslims. Who needs guidance from Allah Almighty when facing a decision in their life? The prayer, known as salah in Arabic is performed in two rakah of prayer followed by the supplication of Istikhara prayer.

The concept of Istikhara prayer can be found throughout the Quran:

Surah Baqarah Ayat no 186 for the Istikhara prayer

When My servants ask you O Prophet about Me: I am truly near. I respond to one’s prayer when they call upon Me. So let them respond with obedience to Me and believe in Me, perhaps they will be guided to the Right Way. (Surah Baqarah Ayat 186)

Sa’d narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said:

‘From (the signs of) the son of Adam’s prosperity is his satisfaction with what Allah decreed for him, and from the son of Adam’s misery is his avoiding to request guidance from Allah, and the son of Adam’s misery is his anger with what Allah decreed for him.”(Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2151)

Why Istikhara is Done

The purpose of Istikhara is that a person has a choice of two things and must decide which one to start with or which one not to do. If you are unsure about a decision you have to make, then you can do the Istikhara prayer to ask for Allah’s help in making your decision. Perform Istikhara in cases of conflict, such as deciding whether to marry a particular person. Should you move to another country? Which graduate school should you attend, this one or another one? Allah knows what is best for you. So turn to Allah (S.W.T.) for guidance.

How to Perform Istikhara

Istikhara prayer is just like any other prayer. Taharah and its importance in Islam are so important, that it cannot be done without first doing Wudu. let’s now learn how to perform Istikhara step-by-step:

Step 1

The individual should have a sincere intention and seek Allah’s guidance with a pure heart.

Step 2

Perform ablution before starting the prayer.

Step 3

Pray two raka’at either to pray Istikhara separately by itself or jointly with two nonobligatory raka’at.

Step 4

Right after completing the two Rakas, recite the Istikhara Dua.

Step 5

 While the recitation of the given du’a, mention the matter for which you are seeking Allah for guidance at the proper time.

Istikhara Dua

Istikhara Dua

“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 mention the matter for which you are seeking Allah’s Guidance) is good for me in my religion, my livelihood, and for my life in the Hereafter, 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, 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.” (Quran 5:54)

What Time to Pray Istikhara?

Istikhara can be performed at any time. There is no specific time of day or night prescribed for Istikhara; you can perform it whenever you need guidance. Perform Istikhara whenever you need guidance; there is no specific time of day or night prescribed for it. Perform Istikhara during a time when you can focus and concentrate on your supplication and when you are in a state of ritual purity.

How Does Istikhara Work

Istikhara works by seeking guidance from Allah through prayer and supplication. Istikhara, a spiritual practice in Islam, works as a means of seeking Allah’s guidance when making important life decisions. After performing Istikhara, individuals place their trust in Allah for guidance. They maintain patience, observance, and openness to inner feelings or subtle signs that may offer insight or inclination toward a particular choice.

Istikhara Signs

When seeking guidance through Istikhara, individuals may look for Istikhara signs that can help them make their decisions. While these signs can vary from person to person and situation to situation. Some common signs that people may experience after performing Istikhara include:

Feeling a Sense of Peace and Tranquility

After performing Istikhara, individuals may experience a profound sense of calmness. This inner peace serves as an indication that they are on the right path.


Some individuals may receive guidance or clarity through dreams. These dreams may provide insights, symbols, or messages related to the decision at hand.

Increased Clarity and Understanding

Istikhara may bring about a clearer understanding of the situation or decision, allowing individuals to see the pros and cons more clearly.

Doors Opening or Closing

Sometimes, after performing Istikhara, individuals may notice that certain opportunities or options become more accessible or unavailable, indicating the direction they should take.

Intuition and Gut Feelings

Istikhara may lead to a heightened sense of intuition or gut feelings about a particular decision. Individuals may feel strongly inclined towards a certain choice or a sense of unease about another.


In conclusion, the Istikhara prayer is a powerful tool for seeking guidance and clarity from Allah in making important decisions. The Istikhara prayer is not a way to predict the future or guarantee a specific outcome. It is a way to seek divine intervention and make decisions based on trust in Allah’s guidance. It is important to have patience and trust in Allah’s timing and to seek advice from knowledgeable and trustworthy individuals. Through the Istikhara prayer, we can find peace of mind and confidence in knowing that we have sought guidance from the Wisest and Merciful. It reminds us to rely on Allah’s wisdom and to trust in His plans, even when faced with uncertainty. By performing Istikhara, we can make decisions with a sense of clarity and confidence, knowing that we have sought Allah’s guidance and put our trust in Him.

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