Dua and method of Salaatul Istikharah

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.org

Q. I would like to know how to pray Salaatul Istikharah? Please explain in detail. Also give the dua for it.

With respect to Salaatul Istikharah, it is important that one understands the concept of Istikharah and what it can be done for.

Istikharah means ‘seeking that which is good’ or ‘seeking that which is best’.

The underlying objective of Istikharah is that a servant should seek Allah’s guidance and goodness before undertaking any matter.

Istikharah (Salaatul Istikharah) should be done in such matters which are permissible and allowed in Islam. Its purpose is to remove doubt from one’s heart in doing a certain task. Hence, if one is doubtful in his mind about doing or ‘not doing’ an action from among two permissible actions, then he must do Salaatul Istikharah so that his doubt regarding one can be remove, and his heart can be firm upon the other one.

It should be noted that Istikharah cannot be done regarding matters that are unlawful in Islam. Similarly, Istikharah is not done in such matters which Allah Has made essential upon the Muslims. It is only done in permissible actions in which ‘doing it’ and ‘not doing it’ are both allowed in Islam.

Regarding Istikharah, the Prophet (SAS) is reported to have said, ‘When anyone of you intends to undertake an important affair then let him perform two rakaats (of optional Salaah), and then say,

‘Allahumma Inni Astakheeruka be ilmika.
Wa As’aluka min Fadhlikal Azeem.
Fa innaka Taqdiru wa la Aqdiru.
Wa talamu wa laa A’lamu.
Wa anta Allaamul Ghuyub.
Allahumma in kunta Ta’lamu
Anna Hazal Amr khairun li fi Deeni
Wa Ma’ashi wa Aa qibati Amri.
Faqdir’hu li wa yassirhu li.
Thumma Barik li fihi.
Wa in kunta Ta’lamu
Anna Hazal Amr Sharrun li fi deeni
Wa Ma’aashi wa Aaqibiti amri.
Fasrifhu anni wasrifni anhu waqdir li Al khair haithu kana
Thumma Ardhini bihi.

MEANING: O Allah, I ask You the good through Your Knowledge and I ask You to grant me ability through Your Power and beg Your favour out of Your infinite bounty. For surely, You have power and I have none. You know all and I know not. You are the Knower of all that is hidden. O Allah, if, in Your knowledge, this matter be good for my faith, my livelihood and the conse­quences of my affairs in the world and the hereafter, then or­dain it for me and make it easy for me and bless me therein. But if, in Your knowledge, this matter be bad for my faith, my livelihood and the consequences of my affairs in the world or the hereafter, then turn it away from me, and turn me away therefrom and ordain for me the good wherever it be and cause me to be pleased therewith.(Recorded by Bukhari).

It is mentioned that the above Salaah (2 rakaats) should be performed after the Isha Salaah. In the first rakaat, after Sura Faatiha, one should recite Sura Kafiroon and in the second rakaat, one should recite Sura Ikhlas.

After performing the Salaah, one should make the dua with full concentration and attention and place his request and need before Allah. In making this dua, it is not essential that one says it in the Arabic language. If it is difficult for one to say it in the Arabic, then one can say it in his own language.

After this, one should go to bed in a state of Tahara (purification such as being in the state of wuzu) and should turn towards the Qibla while sleeping. If one is reciting the dua in Arabic, then when he reaches the words “Haazal Amr’, he should make the intention of his need. If one is making the dua in English, then when he reaches the words ‘O Allah, if, in your knowledge, this matter be good for my faith’, he should make intention of his need. (That is, he must focus on the matter/need for which he is making Istikharah (in his mind and heart).

After making Salaatul Istikharah, it is not necessary that one gets a dream, as a guideline. It is also not necessary that if one gets a dream regarding the affair, it is on account of the Istikharah. This may not be so.

After making Istikharah, whatever matter the heart becomes firm on, or is satisfied upon, then one should chose that. It is possible that this firmness of the heart comes on account of a dream. One should continue to make Istikharah until his heart becomes settled on a matter. (Raddul Muhtar- Fatawa Haqaniya vol.3 pg.262; Kitabul Fatawa vol.2 pg.382).

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan