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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

How to Perform Istikhara


What is the Istikhara Prayer

Salat ul-Istikhara is a valuable gift from Allah Almighty that helps us when we’re unsure about how to resolve a matter. When we perform the Istikhara prayer, we can ask Allah (SWT), the Glorious, to aid us.

The word “Istikhara” means to seek goodness. It involves seeking Allah Almighty’s guidance and supervision to ease or remove any uncertainties before making an important decision or performing a significant task. It means asking Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala to guide us to the right path.

Istikhara prayer is not just two Rakas of prayer but also a specified supplication after it. It is a prayer of guidance recited during times of irresolution and indecisiveness. Before learning how to pray Istikhara step by step, it’s essential to have absolute faith in Allah Almighty as the ultimate Knower of things (both unseen and seen and whatever lies in the whole world) to get His guidance and direction for the successful execution of any matter.

Concept of Istikhara Prayer throughout the Quran

Many people ask: Is Istikhara mentioned in the Quran? Istikhara is not explicitly mentioned in the Quran, but many verses show that seeking Allah Almighty’s help while doing something important or making any decision is incredibly beneficial. The following is one Quranic verse indicating that Allah (SWT) loves those who trust Him.

Surah Al-Imran ayat no 159

It is out of Allah’s mercy that you, O Prophet, have been lenient with them. Had you been cruel or hard-hearted, they would have certainly abandoned you. So pardon them, ask Allah’s forgiveness for them, and consult with them in conducting matters. Once you make a decision, put your trust in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who trust in Him. (Ali-Imran: 159)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 186

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)

Hazrat Saad (RA) Narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

From (the signs of) the son of Adam’sAdam’s prosperity is his satisfaction with what Allah decreed for him, and from the son of Adam’sAdam’s misery is his avoidance to request guidance from Allah, and the son of Adam’sAdam’s misery is his anger with what Allah decreed for him.”

(Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2151)

Why Istikhara is Done

Istikhara is a prayer that can help you decide when you have a choice but are still deciding which option to choose. It involves seeking Allah Almighty’s guidance to make the right decision. For example, if you decide whether to marry someone, move to another country, or choose between graduate schools, Istikhara can help you find the answer. Allah (SWT) knows what’s best for you and can guide you toward the right path. Therefore, it’s always recommended to turn to Allah (SWT) for guidance when you’re facing a difficult decision.

Dua for Istikhara

Istikhara Dua

“O Allah, I seek your counsel through your knowledge, and I seek your assistance through your might, and I ask you from your immense favor, for verily you alone decree our fate while I do not, and you know while I do not, and you alone possess all knowledge of the unseen. O Allah, if You know this matter ( mention matter here ) to be good for me in relation to my religion, my life and livelihood, and the end of my affairs, my present and future, then decree it for me and facilitate it for me, and then place blessing for me within it, and if You know this affair to be harmful to me concerning my religion, my life and livelihood and the end of my affairs, then remove it from me and remove me from it, and decree for me what is good, wherever it may be, and make me content with it.”

How to Perform Istikhara Prayer

Istikhara is a prayer we perform to seek Allah Almighty’s guidance and help us make decisions. It is a way of asking Allah (SWT) to show us the best course of action in any matter, big or small. Here is how to perform Istikhara according to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) step-by-step:

  • Step 1: Make a sincere intention and seek Allah Almighty’s guidance with a pure heart.
  • Step 2: Perform ablution before starting the prayer.
  • Step 3: Pray two raka’at to pray Istikhara separately or jointly with two nonobligatory raka’at.
  • Step 4: Right after completing the two raka’at, recite the Istikhara Dua given above.
  • Step 5: Trust Allah (SWT) and wait for His guidance after reciting the Dua. You may see a sign in your dreams, feelings, or circumstances that indicate what is better for you.

When to Pray Istikhara

Once you learn to pray Istikhara step by step, it is time to understand the best time to offer this prayer. Istikhara is a Sunnah prayer, and Islamic scholars share the same opinion that prayer can be offered at any time of the day or night that is convenient for you. However, according to the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s Companions (RAA), the best time to offer this prayer is the final third of the night. By following the steps of the Istikhara prayer, one can seek guidance from Allah and make better decisions in life.

Narrated by Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA)

Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me so I may grant him his request? Is anyone seeking My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?”

(Sahih al-Bukhari 1145)

Hazrat Abu Umamah (RA) reported that:

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) was asked: “At what time does the supplication find the greatest response?” He (SAW) replied, “A supplication made during the middle of the last part of the night and after the conclusion of the obligatory prayers.”

(Riyad as-Salihin 1500)

How Does Istikhara Work

Istikhara is a spiritual practice in Islam that involves prayer and supplication to seek guidance from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala when making important life decisions. After performing Istikhara, individuals trust Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala for guidance. They patiently observe and remain open to their inner feelings or subtle signs that may offer insight or inclination toward a particular choice.

Signs of Istikhara Prayer

After learning how to perform the Istikhara prayer, it is recommended that you refrain from making any decision regarding a particular matter. Instead, you should wait for Allah (SWT) to guide them through signs or make everything happen as per His will. If you need clarification about the outcome of the prayer, he is allowed to repeat it. There are various signs to look for after performing the Istikhara prayer.

  • Feeling a Sense of Peace and Tranquility: After performing the Istikhara Prayer, you can feel calm, indicating the right path.
  • Dreams: Sometimes, you may receive guidance or clarity through dreams. These dreams may provide insights, symbols, or messages about the decision.
  • Increased Clarity and Understanding: Istikhara may help you better understand the situation or decision, allowing you to see the pros and cons more clearly.
  • Doors Opening or Closing: Sometimes, after performing Istikhara, you may notice that specific opportunities or options become more accessible or unavailable, indicating your direction.
  • Intuition and Gut Feelings: Istikhara may lead to heightened intuition or feelings about a particular decision. You can feel strongly inclined towards a specific choice or uneasy about another.

It is not necessary to see or sense Istikhara signs in dreams. Rather than waiting for a symbolic vision, the person should reflect within to find answers and seek advice from wise and knowledgeable people. Those who wonder if Istikhara is negative should focus on their inclination. After performing Istikhara, Allah (SWT) guides you and will not incline toward an option if it lacks Khayr (Goodness).

Benefits of Istikhara Prayer

The Istikhara prayer provides immense benefits, including transparency in complex matters, support from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, and drawing closer to Him. When YOU call upon Allah Almighty after waking up in the middle of the night, Allah (SWT) admires your action, listens to your supplication, and mentions your name in front of the angels.

When you cannot Pray Istikhara: If you are wondering if you can do Istikhara on your period or while traveling, you should know that you can say the dua of Istikhara and ask for the guidance of Allah Almighty.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it compulsory to sleep after Istikhara?

No, it is not compulsory to sleep right after you pray Istikhara.

Can I pray istikhāra for someone else?

There is no precedent for this. It’s supposed to be done by the one seeking the decision.

Can I pray istikhāra even if I’m already confident in my decision?

Yes, because it’ll increase the blessings in your actions. The companions of the Prophet (SAW) would make istikhara even for simple everyday things.

Can we offer Istikhara after Fajr?

Unlike the 5 obligatory prayers, which have specific timings, Salat al-Istikhara has no set time. You may perform it at any point except during the forbidden hours, After the Fajr prayer until Sunrise.

Why is Istikhara important for marriage?

Practicing Istikhara dua for marriage will result in Allah (SWT) guiding you in the right direction.


The Istikhara prayer can be a powerful tool for seeking guidance and clarity from Allah Almighty when making important decisions. However, it is essential to note that this prayer does not predict the future or guarantee a specific outcome. Instead, it is a way to seek divine intervention and make decisions based on trust in Allah Almighty’s guidance.

Patience and trust in Allah’s timing are crucial, as is seeking advice from knowledgeable and trustworthy individuals. Through the Istikhara prayer, we can find peace of mind and confidence, knowing that we have sought guidance from the Wisest and Merciful. It reminds us to rely on Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala’s wisdom and trust in His plans, even when uncertain.

By performing Istikhara, we can make decisions with clarity and confidence, knowing that we have sought Allah Almighty’s guidance and put our trust in Him. This can help us move forward with the assurance that our decisions align with Allah Almighty’s will.






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