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About Istikhara prayers and Dua

Jaabir ibn Abd-Allah al-Salami said: The

Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings of Allah
be upon him) used to teach his companions to
make istikhaarah in all things, just as he used to
teach them soorahs from the Quran. He said: If
any one of you is concerned about a decision he
has to make, then let him pray two rakahs of
non-obligatory prayer, then say: [Dua al-

(Reported by al-Bukhaari, 6841; similar reports
are also recorded by al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaai, Abu
Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad).
What does the word Istikhara mean

al-Haafiz Ibn Hijr (may Allah have mercy on him)
said about the prophets hadith on Istikhara:
Istikhaarah is a word which means asking Allah
to help one make a choice, meaning choosing
the best of two things where one needs to
choose one of them. (Kitaab al-Dawaat and
Kitaab al-Tawheed.)
What should a Muslim do when faced with
making a choice between multiple halal
(permissible) decisions?

Seek Allahs guidance by making a two unit
(rakaah) prayer (at permissible times only)
followed by making the dua that the prophet
taught us (Dua al Istikharah)
Use our intellect, and knowledge
Consult knowledgeable people
Matters for which Istikhara
should not be done

Matters that are waajib (obligatory) or
mustahabb (liked or encouraged in Islam)
Matters that are haraam (forbidden) or
makrooh (disliked)

As Ibn Abi Jamrah said about the Istikhara hadith
of the prophet: With regard to matters that are
waajib (obligatory) or mustahabb (liked or
encouraged), there is no need for istikhaarah to
decide whether to do them, and with regard to
matters that are haraam (forbidden) or makrooh
(disliked), there is no need for istikhaarah to
decide whether to avoid them.
Misconceptions about making Istikhara

People mistakenly rely on dreams to get
answers for istikhara. Some people also
consult dream books to interpret the symbols in
their dreams. This has no basis from any of the
hadith of the prophet regarding Istikhara.
It is common for people to ask others to make
Istikharah on their behalf. (Everyone should
perform Istikhara for their own matters.)
Other matters pertaining to Istikhara

Two separate rakaahs of voluntary prayers
should be prayed for Istikhara
The Dua for Istikhara can be said after the
conclusion of the prayers or as Ibn Taymiyyah
had recommended, it can be said right before
saying salam (at the conclusion of the prayers)
Its acceptable to repeat the prayer over a few
days until the matter becomes clearer.
Dua Al-Istikhara (Arabic)

Dua Al-Istikhara (Transliteration)

Allahumma inni astakheeruka bi ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa
asaluka min fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa talamu wa laa
alam, wa anta allaam al-ghuyoob. Allahumma fa in kunta talamu
haadhal-amra (then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li
fi aajil amri wa aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa maaashi wa aaqibati amri)
faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allahumma wa in kunta
talamu annahu sharrun li fi deeni wa maaashi wa aaqibati amri (or: fi
aajili amri wa aajilihi) fasrifni anhu [wasrafhu anni] waqdur li al-khayr
haythu kaana thumma radini bihi
Dua Al-Istikhara (Translation)

(O Allah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your
knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of
Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know
not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allah, if in Your knowledge,
this matter (mention by name) is good for me both in this world and in the
Hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it
for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge
it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for
me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it
away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make
me pleased with it.

Istikhara Prayers (Salat)