Istakhara in Arabic means, “to seek guidance in making a decision about something.” Istakhara prayer
is Sunnah, prescribed in a hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari:
“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach his companions to make Istikhaarah in all matters, just as he used to teach them Surahs from the Qur’an. He said: ‘If anyone of you is deliberating about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two Rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, the read
Istakhara prayer is very simple. It is two rakat of voluntary prayers followed by the dua of Istakharah. This prayer demonstrates submission to the command of Allah and is a practical demonstration that there is no power or strength except Allah. It allows us to seek Allah’s guidance in all aspects of our life. It allows us to turn to Allah and to seek both the best of this life and of the Hereafter.
Once one performs the prayer, one should do that which feels is the best. By playing the istakhara prayer and making a decision, we should trust in Allah and realize that the choice we have made is for the best and will benefit us in this world and the next.
When to do istakhara prayer?
One should perform istakhara prayer in cases where the individual does not know the right decision to make. istakhara prayer is not to be shown in matters where it is known whether a thing is good or bad, such as acts of worship, doing good deeds, sins or evil actions. Istakhara prayer is to be performed when there is a choice of two permissible things, and the person must decide on which one to do or not do.
When to pray Istakhara?
istakhara prayer should be performed before deciding on a course of action. The person who wants to pray istakhara should have an open and mind and be in the process of making a decision. Istakhara prayer should be performed when one starts thinking of the matter so that the blessings of prayer and dua of what is right will become clear, aiding an individual in making a decision. If istakhara prayer were to be performed after making a decision, there would not have been as much benefit as the decision has already been made.
Common misconceptions of istakhara prayer are that the results of the decision would appear to you in a dream or through a sign of some sort. This is not necessarily true. The “results” of istakhara prayer is merely a feeling. Istakhara prayer demonstrates our trust in Allah’s plan. When we have a decision to make, and we perform istakhara prayer, we decide on a course of action knowing that this is the best for us in this life and the next as we seek Allah’s guidance in the matter. Istakhara prayer leaves little room for regret.