What is Istikhara || Istikhara Dua


Seeking Guidance Through Prayer

Istikhara, literally meaning “seeking counsel” or “choosing the best,” is a beautiful practice in Islam for those facing an important decision. It’s a way to seek Allah’s guidance and inner peace when you’re unsure about which path to take.

  • What it is: Istikhara involves performing a specific two-unit prayer (salat al-istikhara) followed by a supplication specifically asking Allah for guidance in your decision.
  • When to perform: Istikhara is used for permissible matters that cause you confusion or require a choice, such as career moves, marriage proposals, or travel plans. It’s not used for obligatory actions or trivial matters.

Hadiths about Istikhara:

1. Encouragement for Istikhara in All Matters (Sahih al-Bukhari):

“The Prophet (ﷺ) used to advise us to do Istikhara in all matters, even in the case of pairing two sandals together. He (ﷺ) said, ‘Seek counsel from Allah, even if it is in pairing your sandals.'” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

This hadith highlights the Prophet’s (PBUH) emphasis on seeking Allah’s guidance in every aspect of life, big or small.

2. Istikhara and Dissatisfaction with Allah’s Decree (Musnad Ahmad):

“The weakness of faith of one of you is shown by his neglecting to do Istikhara, and his dissatisfaction with what Allah has chosen for him.” (Musnad Ahmad)

This hadith emphasizes the connection between Istikhara and trusting Allah’s plan. Performing Istikhara demonstrates your faith and acceptance of whatever outcome Allah decides.

3. The Specific Dua (Supplication) for Istikhara (Sahih al-Bukhari):

Many hadiths mention the specific supplication recited after the Istikhara prayer. Here’s an example from Sahih al-Bukhari:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقِدُرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلا أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلا أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ اللَّهُمَّ إنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ خَيْرًا لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَتِي فَاقْدِرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ وَإنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ شَرًّا لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَتِي فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدِرْ لِي الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ رَضِّنِي بِهِ

“O Allah, I seek Your counsel in my affair, with Your knowledge, and I ask You for Your power, and I ask for Your great favor, for You know and I do not know, and You can do all things that I cannot. O Allah, if You know this affair (mention your specific decision) to be good for my religion, my livelihood, and my Hereafter, or for the end of my life, then make it easy for me and ordain it for me. And if You know this affair to be bad for my religion, my livelihood, and my Hereafter, or for the end of my life, then turn it away from me and turn away from it that which is good for me, and ordain for me what You please, and make me satisfied with it.”

4. Istikhara Doesn’t Guarantee a Specific Outcome (Sahih Muslim):

“Istikhara is not for putting someone off, nor is it for seeking certainty. It is for seeking reassurance. If something feels good in your heart, then go for it, and if something feels uneasy in your heart, then leave it alone, even if people keep urging you to do it.” (Sahih Muslim)

This hadith clarifies that Istikhara doesn’t mean a specific outcome will be guaranteed. It’s about gaining inner peace and trusting your feelings after seeking guidance.

5. Consultation Alongside Istikhara (Musnad Ahmad):

“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘The believer is insightful and discerning, while the المنافق (Munafiq – hypocrite) is foolish and short-sighted. Consult with the believers.'” (Musnad Ahmad)

While Istikhara is important, this hadith reminds us of the value of consulting with wise and trustworthy individuals alongside seeking Allah’s guidance.

These hadiths offer a well-rounded understanding of Istikhara, emphasizing its importance, the supplication used, and the overall spirit of seeking guidance and trusting Allah’s plan.