Power of Salat-ul-Istikhara


The Abandoned Prayer

A few years ago, I came across a book that one of my relatives had called: “The Three Abandoned Prayers”. In it, the author discusses three prayers that have been largely underused by many Muslims, but which hold great power. They were Salat-ut-Tawbah (The Salah of Repentence), Salat-ul-Istikhara (The Salah of Seeking A God-Guided Outcome in Times of Decision), Salat-ul-Tasbih (The Salah of Glorification of God).

No doubt, many of us have been heedless of these powerful tools for growing in our closeness to Allah, but one in particular which is important to re-think is Istikhara.

The procedure for this Salah, is best described by the hadith:

On the authority of Jaabir Ibn ‘Abdullah he said: The Prophet (S) would instruct us to pray for guidance in all of our concerns, just as he would teach us a chapter from the Qur’an. He (S) would say ‘if any of you intends to undertake a mater then let him pray two supererogatory units (two rak’ah naafilah) of prayer and after which he should supplicate:

‘O Allaah, I seek Your counsel by Your knowledge and by Your power I seek strength and I ask You from Your immense favour, for verily You are able while I am not and verily You know while I do not and You are the Knower of the unseen. O Allaah, if You know this affair -and here he mentions his need- to be good for me in relation to my religion, my life, and end, then decree and facilitate it for me, and bless me with it, and if You know this affair to be ill for me towards my religion, my life, and end, then remove it from me and remove me from it , and decree for me what is good wherever it be and make me satisfied with such.’

Such a powerful tool we have been given, to admit our complete lack of knowledge, power, ability, and sight, and the absolute dominance of Allah (swt) in all these abilities. Such a great and mighty prayer, comprehensive in its outlook, its span of time, and its effect on our lives. Balanced within this world and the Hereafter. Something which only Divine Guidance could have brought us.

Many of us use this prayer, rightfully, to seek Allah’s assistance in making decisions concerning school, getting a job, getting married, going to Hajj, or maybe even choosing a house. Unfortunately though, we have relegated one of the most powerful duas available, to only the most important decisions.

What we don’t realize however, is that this prayer need not only be for the most important, crucial decisions in our lives. Why do those who are in Islamic Work, not use this prayer when making decisions in the organization? Why not use it when making difficult choices at work? For a specific project choice or topic choice for a paper in school? Why do we not use it every time we say: “Ya Allah…I wish you would just me what is best for me!” or “Ya Allah! I wish you would just show me what to do!”

So many decisions that the activist brother or sister has to make. So many decisions at our workplaces. But in these decisions, we don’t remember that much of our worry can be removed by leaving the decision to Allah (swt).

What made the Companions the unique Quranic generation, was that their entire thought process revolved around the Quran and around supplication to Allah. The relegated to Allah and His Messenger, every decision in their lives, after putting forth an intelligent and sincere effort at solving their problems

As the Prophet said: “Ad-Dua mukh-ul-’ibaadah”.
Supplication is the essence of worship.

So next time we have a decision, big or small, that is of some consequence, remember - No one who ever consults with his Lord in sincerity, shall ever be displeased with His Decree.

Make use of istikhara! Once an Imam sat with me when I asked his advice and told me something about one of the leaders of the Muslim community. He told me: “Brother, every person who has success in the Deen, has a secret, some worship he does that sets him above and beyond and helps him towards Allah. You know what his [the leader] secret it? Every time he travels, and I’ve seen him, he prays istikhara. He asks for guidance in his travels, and on the various affairs of his life, and he makes use of his times of travel to do it. So have some secret that you use also.”

Secrets aside, istikhara is powerful. So inshAllah lets use it.

Misconceptions about istikhara:

1. Istikhara is not about having a dream. If one reviews the wording of the hadith, one finds that it is not asking for a dream, it is asking God to make one’s affairs occur in the best way. Because one did not have a dream, a sign on a bus or a billboard go by them on the highway, does not mean it didn’t “work”.

2. You CAN have a dream or a sign, and this is totally possible. But one should recognize that this is primarily about asking Allah to take control and that one is relegating his will to Allah’s will, knowledge, and infinite insight about what is best for you. And when you make this, you are finding the best way of putting your heart at ease, by asking Allah (swt) to handle your affairs with what He knows is best and finding comfort that the King of the Heavens and the Earth has your back, inshAllah.

3. Another dua of the Prophet we should all be aware of along this same line can be found here

http://www.makedua.com/display_dua.php?sectionid=27 (scroll to sixth from the bottom for Arabic text)
‘O Ever Living, O Self-Subsisting and Supporter of all, by Your mercy I seek assistance, rectify for me all of my affairs and do not leave me to myself, even for the blink of an eye.’

May Allah give us the best in this world and the hereafter.

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25 Comments

  1. I thank you for sharing this with us and I plan on making this du’a when in need.

    May Allah strengthen you so that you in turn can continue to strengthen us.

  2. Sr. Aysha Khanom says:

    Asalamu alaykum,

    Alhamdulila Salat ul Istikhaara is something which I have carried with me over last three years…

    This is a very good prayer for Students, making decisions on which school/university they may want to go to. Or what options they may have to take whilst studying, or what dissertation/project they may want to do!

    I prayed istkihaara before deciding which University to go to, and that was one of the great decisions I made by Allah’s grace…I love it there!

    This in itself is a great blessing as we need not anticipate too much as we believe whatever Allah decrees will be best for us, and Allah has lifted the burden of ‘should have, would have and could have’…

    JazakAllahu Khayran for the post, I also have this book and has proven to be useful!

  3. Rubina Pervez says:

    JazakAllah for reminding us about salatul-ul-istikhara. But can it be done at any time of the day? Why do people say that it should be prayed after Isha prayer? In addition, lots of people I know believe that since they are not pious and pray all five prayers, thus, do not feel confident enough to pray this istikhara. They feel that they will not be guided as well. Brother Suhaib, can you please give us your knowledgeable opinion on this matter?

    JZK
    Rubina

    • Hinna says:

      It’s after isha as you are not ment to talk to anybody but to sleep on it. Inshallah you will have some sort of dream or sign. If this doesn’t happen the first time you must continue this for a week(seven days)& if you get your reply before then, you do not have to continue.

  4. shazia says:

    I would like to now which book was it you read it. I would like to get the book

  5. Brahim says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    Is it ok to recite al isti khara in English or it must be said in Arabic? Jazakomou allah khayr.

  6. Cherno says:

    Salamu Alaikum,
    Is well explain, I would have apreciate also a detail explanation on how it is performed, I know it is an optional two rak’at but my doubt is, at what point during th eprayer the duaa needs to be recited and what sura shoul follow Al-Fathiha in each rak’at.

    Jazaakumullah.
    Cherno.

  7. sidik mohamed says:

    which surrah i have to recite in salatul istikhara ?

  8. IMAN says:

    BISMILLAHI RAHMANI RAHEM
    i never knew he power of istkhara not unitill i started to practise. i have been working aborad for six years before going home bu of course i prayed.After 3 month vacation i have to travel . Guess what? i missed my plane.
    i called my boss only to find out that i am not needed at my old job. AllHamdulelah after 1 year i get the chance to travel abroad again.
    i have never stopped parying since then

  9. mah'd awwal says:

    what was the important of salatul tawbah

  10. hawaa says:

    i prayed istikaharah for someoone that never asked for me because of a feeling i had every time i see this person so i prayed istikaharah i asked allah to help me with my feelings i would have beauiful quran dreams and good feelings is this right or wrong.

  11. ummmaryam says:

    Does anyone know?? Does one read istikhara after they have made a choice to see if it good (if it is good it will work out easily, if not there will be hinderences) or should one read it before they have made a decision (and then just wait and see what happens)?

  12. sajad says:

    asalamualaikum

    so can we do Istikhara to find out if we are divorced regarding the tripple divorce issue? because theres so many opinions on this matter, please reply quick as I am going through this issue myself.

    jazakhuallah

  13. Shaykh Aliu says:

    Asalamualeikum believers.thnx for such a fantastic sunnah.May Allah bless u.

  14. Zahra says:

    Salam i just wonder if à person do istikhara and pray, how will they know what decision to choose? I mean perhaps if you dont know if you should Marry à person or not, how do you gonna know after this prayer that you should Marry or not. Plz let me know

    • Hinna says:

      You will have a dream or some sort of sign. If Allah doesn’t beleive it will work, your feelings towards the person will fade…

  15. Afia Mohammed says:

    Assalamu alaikum … Jazakh allah … I thank allah for showing this to me at the right time… I really wish this to be a good sign for the decision im going to take in my life. Thank you once again for the people who worked towards explaining this and posting on the website. In’sha allah let allah bless all of us who perform this salat-al-istikhara.

  16. sabiha says:

    Assalamualaikum…plz tell me how to knw or interpret istikhara?if we pray istikhara and Wat does seeing green color mean a yes?Wat if we say.both black.and green?how to decide dat d answer frm Allah swt s yes???
    Plzzzzz help me…in ds!eagerly waiting fr ua reply.

  17. shamhad says:

    i pray istiqara several tyms for the man i truly love but he does not love mi bt still i can not forget him what does this means …plzzz hlp

  18. Aasiyah says:

    Salaam,
    My family just moved to Florida and we were thinking of buying a certain house since now we are so far renting… we saw one that my parents really liked but it was alot of work to get it done, I mean, tiles outside cracked, tacky wallpaper all over, so we consulted the maulana in our area, so he did the namaaz’s and he didnt do the dream part, he opened to a random page in the Quran that said something about you will still not belive our signs? So since he know much more tafseer then us he said that it will not be good to buy that house, so inshallah we shall find a good one. I want t uose this when Im older like maybe for a good college/university. Plus I have NEVER heard of this ever before since my parents never did it So I recommend you do this but I dont really know that much (Im just 11) but I think that it can be SUPER helpful with serious/major problems!!!

  19. aamal says:

    please answer as soonn as posible..
    i love some one and he also do(may be).. he got engaged and i got seriously, i got paralise and had a brain hambridge,, i didnt bear the news he gave,,, just few day before he told me he had istikhara for one he got engaged before getting engaged and get the positive sign,, but he didnt do in comparision between me and her he just did for her… and here i m getting more ill day by day.. in that case what he should have to do.. as i know our islam taught us HUQUL UL IBAD .. i m confused what to say, just wana know in that condition if he gona go against for istikhara? is it valid

  20. Shahbaz says:

    Salaam,
    I got placed in a company and I dint get the joining date till now. I want to do istaqaarah to know when I will get the joining date. Can I go ahead? Someone please help me out. May allah guide us all..

  21. Dean says:

    Jazakallah. .. what a wonderful message you have shared with us… am currently in a crucial situation and I need to leave this where who can give me a decision or tell what will be the best, in Sha Allah I’m going to perform this salah right away.. and believe almighty Allah will help me to make my decision

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