How to pray Istikhara?

How to pray Istikhara? Praying Salat al-Istikhara or Istikhara dua and seeking guidance from Allah is powerful in every aspect of your life. We should not hesitate to pray Salat-al-Istikhara before making any choice that can impact our deen and Duniya and afterlife (Barzakh).

“Istikhara” means asking Allah for guidance (Dua for guidance). When someone plans to do something meaningful (something Halal), they perform Istikhara beforehand. During Istikhara, the person asks Allah, who knows everything, to show them whether the task is good for them or not.

I’m sharing from my own experience because Allah’s guidance has helped me avoid things that could have had a big impact on my life. Sometimes, the outcome of the Istikhara prayer goes against what we want, and it might make our hearts uneasy. However, it’s ultimately good for our souls.

Without wasting your time, let’s get into How to Pray Istikhara?

When to do Istikhara

If you’re unsure about a decision, you can perform Salat ul Istikharah (Or any Istikhara type) to seek Allah’s help. Whether it’s about marrying someone, relocating, or choosing a graduate school, Allah knows what’s best for you. Simply turn to the Almighty Allah and ask for His guidance.

How to pray istikhara step by step

Here are the manners to observe when performing the Istikharah prayer:

  • Approach the prayer sincerely, recognizing that only Allah can grant us the guidance we seek.
  • Make a firm resolution to follow the guidance given by Allah, even if it contradicts our own desires.
  • Recite the dua with strong conviction, clearly asking Allah for guidance without pleading or begging.
  • Avoid impatience after making the dua. Do not anticipate miracles or interpret dreams filled with signs and symbols as necessary outcomes.
  • It is best to pray Istikhara in Wudu (Dua after wudu).
  • Before and after reciting the dua, it is recommended that blessings be sent upon the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

Jabir bin ‘Abdullah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) used to tell us to do istikhara in all matters. He did this just as he taught us the Quran’s chapters. He said, “If any of you intends to do something, let them offer a two-unit prayer. This is in addition to the obligatory prayers.”

 Sahih al-Bukhari 1166

And then say this Istikhara Dua:

Istikhara dua
Istikhara Dua

English Translation of the Dua of Istikharah:

“O Allah, I seek Your guidance 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 (then it should be mentioned 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.”

(Note: The phrase “then it should be mentioned by name” is where the specific matter one seeks guidance about is mentioned.)

Source: Sunnah Ibn Majah 1383

The Best Time to Pray Istikhara

Performing Istikhara after Any Prayer is recommended. Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) instructed: “If anyone of you wishes to undertake an action, start by praying two extra units.” Then praise and glorify Allah. Send blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad () and his family.

Perform Istikhara after a two-Rakat Mustahab (Voluntary) Prayer. Imam al-Jawad (peace be upon him) advised: “Ask the best from Allah after a two-unit Mustahab (Voluntary) prayer.””

And Say:

Istakhīru Llāha bi-raḥmatihi’

اَسْتَخِيْرُ اللهَ بِرَحْمَتِهٖ۔

1.Perform ablution (Wu’du) before starting the prayer.
2.Establish the Niyah (intention) for performing Salat al-Istikhara.
3.Begin the prayer by giving the Takbir (Allahu Akbar) and perform a two raka’at prayer.
4.After completing the prayer with the Salam, recite the Du’a (prayer) of Istikhara in Arabic given above, following the recommendation of the Prophet Muhammad ().
5.Read the translation of the Istikhara Du’a to understand the meaning of what you have asked from Allah.
6.Make Du’a in your own language, asking Allah for guidance on the matter you seek help with.
7.Surrender to Allah’s Will and put your trust in His infinite Wisdom after performing Salat al-Istikhara.
8.Have faith in Allah SWT’s decision and trust that He will bring you the best outcomes in this life and the Hereafter.

The Outcome of the Istikhara

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) once said, “When a faithful servant of Allah asks for the best outcome, Allah always gives a way to choose between right and wrong.”

Allah, the Most Glorious and High, is the Most Pure and Perfect Being. As long as we don’t create barriers by committing sins that prevent Allah’s mercy, Allah will shower blessings and grace upon them. So, when we sincerely ask Allah for guidance, even once and with a pure heart. Then, Allah will surely lead us to what is good and right.

Istikhara is a way out of confusion.

The Prophet of Islam () once advised Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), saying, “O Ali! Whoever seeks the best from Allah will never feel lost, and whoever seeks advice will never regret.”

This special advice was given by the Prophet Muhammad () to Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) during a journey to Yemen to spread the teachings of Islam. On such risky missions, you need a brave heart. You also need confidence and conviction. Seeking the best from Allah is key. It is the key to getting these spiritual qualities and attributes.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) once said, “Whoever seeks the best from Allah will never feel regret.

Ask Allah for the best before any action and in every matter is to arrive at the stage of having satisfaction of the heart. It leads to satisfaction in the heart, clearing doubts, and dispelling confusion.

Imam al-Sadiq conveyed that Allah, the Glorious and High, has stated: “One reason for the misfortune of My servant is when they act without seeking the best from Me.”

This is why seeking the best has been emphasized in the above Hadith; We must always strive to seek guidance before we precede all tasks. Failure to do so may result in misfortune. It simply means asking for the best from Allah before undertaking any action.

Benefits of Istikhara prayer

Here are five benefits of Istikhara prayer:

  • Guidance from Allah: Istikhara prayer helps you seek guidance from Allah when you’re unsure about a decision.
  • Clarity of Mind: It clears our mind and heart, help understanding what Allah wants for you is easier.
  • Peace of Heart: It brings peace to your heart because you trust Allah will guide you to what’s best.
  • Protection from Harm: Istikhara prayer protects you from making choices that might lead to harm or regret.
  • Strengthening Faith: It strengthens our Iman (faith) by reminding ourselves of Allah’s presence and involvement in our life decisions.

Why is Istikhara important?

Istikhara is important because it allows us to seek the best outcomes from Allah in all our affairs.

The Quran tells us Allah cares for and listens to our prayers. Istikhara is a form of supplication (Dua) to which Allah has given great importance.

In the teachings of the Ahl al-Bait (the household of the Prophet (), we learn that before we take any action, no matter how small or big, we should seek help from Allah.

Can we offer Istikhara after Fajr?

Performing Istikhara at specific times, such as after Salat (prayer), especially after Fajr prayer or in the final Sajdah (prostration) of Salat al-Layl (Tahajjud prayer), allows us to seek guidance and blessings from Allah. For me, it is the best way to ensure that we’re making decisions that align with what is best for us in both our religious and worldly affairs.


Imam al-Sadiq (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) once shared some deep wisdom. He said that when someone seeks the best from Allah in their situation and then acts upon a choice but still feels unhappy or doubtful about it, they’re actually accusing Allah unfairly.

Now, let’s see why someone might not be happy with the outcome of their Istikhara prayer:

  1. They might doubt whether Allah truly wants what’s best for Them. This basically accuses Allah of being greedy and uncaring.
  2. Or they might doubt Allah’s knowledge of what’s truly good. This suggests that Allah is somehow ignorant or imperfect.
  3. Some might even doubt Allah’s power to decide what’s best, which implies that Allah is weak and unable to guide properly.
  4. And then there’s doubting whether Allah even listens to His servants when they ask for the best. This suggests that Allah’s mercy is somehow flawed.

But here’s the thing that I believe, and it is the root of our belief called Tawakkul and Taqwa (Having a firm belief in the oneness of Allah and his decisions). We must trust Allah completely.

We should be happy with whatever Allah decides because He only wants what’s best for us. And only Allah has the knowledge of the unseen and the future. 

The Most merciful Allah will always guide us to what’s good and favorable for our soul, no matter how many mistakes we’ve made in the past. That’s a promise of the kings of the kings upon which we can rely on.


  • Arish Husain

    Assalam Alaikum beautiful people! someone who loves Prophet Muhammad and his family a lot. I like finding new ways to teach important stuff, so everyone can understand what Allah wants from us and His plans. We learn to listen for whispers from Allah, understand big plans, get ready for whatever Allah has for us, and try our best. I hope Allah's blessings guide us on this special journey.Allah hu Akbar!

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