How to Perform Prayer for Istikhara In Islam? A Prayer Guidance

There may be several occasions in a person’s lifewhen he feels indecisive on a certain matter. He may have different options and have to choose one of them. But he’s not sure which option will prove good for him.

No doubt, a manhas enough wisdom to make a workable decision in any important matter. In any crucial matter, we normally go through a process of research, consultation and counseling. First of all, we search for the available options.

We narrow these options using instinct, likes and dislikes, and past experiences. Now the second step comes into play. Here we need to consult the experts to narrow the available options further.

Then we might have to get counseling from a friend or a family member who can help us decide which way to go. Having gone through this process, we often encounter a situation where we are still indecisive. Even if, at this stage, we have just two options, we still can’t decide which will be a better choice.

At this stage, the Muslims have an ultimate option per their faith. They would perform the prayer of Istikhara to take guidance from their creator, Allah Almighty, to decide which way to go.

What is the Istikhara and the Prayer of Istikhara?

Istikhara is an Arabic word that originated from the word “khair” (Arabic), which means “good.” By the dictionary, Istikhara means “looking for good.” According to the teachings of Islam, Istikhara is a way of seeking guidance from Allah Almighty in matters, where we cannot decide which way to go.

Prayers (Salah, Arabic) is one of the five basic pillars of Islam. Muslims perform prayers 5 times a day as part of their faith. Salat-e-Istikhara is also a prayer like other regular prayers but a special one that should not be mixed up with the five regular and compulsory prayers.

Salat-e-Istikhara is not compulsory; it is optional and is offered when we need the guidance of Allah(S.W.T.). Prophet Muhammad ﷺ taught his followers to perform salat-e-Istikhara to seek the guidance of Allah in matters where you can’t decide the right way. He also emphasized regularly offering Istikhara dua (Arabic dua means supplication or invocation).

The companions (Sahaabah) of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ narrate that he used to teach us Istikhara dua just like he taught us Quran. This reflects the importance of this very special prayer and supplication.

This prayer can be performed to seek the guidance of Allah in every critical issue, whether starting a new business, purchasing a property or car, or arranging your own or your children’s marriage. It can be any of your personal issues.

How to Perform Prayer for Istikhara?

It is a Sunnah prayer. It is not a compulsory prayer. It is offered when we need guidance of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). However, its format is the same as regular compulsory prayers, which Muslims offer five times daily. It consists of two units (Rak’ah).

Just like regular prayers, you must do ablution to prepare for the prayers. Your clothes must be neat and clean. The place where you offer prayers should also be neat and clean. Your face should be towards Khanna Ka’bah (the holy mosque in Makkah, KSA).

Complete both units (Rak’ah) as you do in regular prayers. After completing the salat-e-Istikhara, you have to offer Dua-e-Istikhara.


“O Allah! I seek Your counsel from Your knowledge and power from Your might, and I ask for Your great blessings, You are capable and I am not, You know and I do not, and You are All-knowing of the unseen (hidden),

O Allah! If You know that this matter is good for me in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs in the Hereafter, if it is better for my present and later, then ordain it for me and make it easy for me, and then bless it for me,

And if You know that this matter is harmful (bad) for me in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs in the Hereafter, or if it is bad for my present and later, then ward it off from me and keep me away from it. Then ordain for me with whatever is good for me wherever it may be found, and help me be content with it.”

The Prophetﷺ added that afterward, the person should name (mention) his need. Here you will add your desire for which you are offering this special prayer.

When can you Perform Istikhara Prayer?

There’s no specific time to offer this special prayer. It can be performed as and when required. However, there are three times when prayers (including the compulsory prayers) cannot be offered.

  1. At the time of sunrise
  2. At the time when the sun is at its peak (meridian)
  3. At the time of sunset

Salat-e-Istikhara can be offered at any other time of the day or night.

What to Expect After Performing Prayer for Istikhara?

Istikhara prayers are offered when you need guidance from your creator, Allah Almighty, on some critical issue where you are unsure what is appropriate. Once you perform this prayer and offer special supplication, as narrated above, your part of the task is done.

For example, if you are planning to invest in a business and are unsure whether it is better for you, you perform this special prayer. If this business is good for you, Allah will make things easier for you to invest in this business.

If it happens like that, it means you can go for it. If things remain difficult and you can’t handle them, this business is unsuitable for you. If that’s the case, you need to refrain from doing it.

Don’t expect anything like dreams or overnight miraculous happenings. It’s a prayer and supplication that’s on your part, rest is with Allah and He will guide you to the right path.

Misconceptions About Istikhara

There are various misconceptions among various Muslim communities about this prayer. Some of these are:

  • It should be performed only at the night
  • You can’t do any other task after praying for Istikhara
  • You have to go to sleep immediately after performing this prayer
  • The solution to your problems will be told to you in a dream

All these are wrong and self-styled, misleading perceptions. Being a true believer, we should avoid such perceptions.


Life on this planet is full of joy but is much more difficult at the same time. Every day we face numerous problems in our family life, job and business. Most problems are easy to handle, but some may prove tough, especially where you must make a vital decision to go this way or vice versa.

That’s the real issue and here we need something extraordinary. Islam allows us to take guidance from Allah when we are unsure what is good for us and what is not. That is Salat-e-Istikhara.

Muslims perform this prayer when they need guidance. It’s all about faith. If you believe in your creator, you will get the required guidance. Do reach out to Allah through Istikhara, He will solve your problems and show you the right way.

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