Khutba Summaries

Istikhara Prayer: Why, How & When

Istikhara
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  • Palmistry, numerology, astrology, tarot card reading have no place in Islam
  • In the time of the Nabi ﷺ, soothsayers existed in the Arab society who pretended to know the past and the future
  • Believing in those who foretell the future is an act of kufr or disbelief
    • Allah says in the Quran, “Say, ‘No one in the heavens and the earth knows the unseen except Allah.’ (27:65)
    • Nabi ﷺ said, “The prayer of one who goes to a soothsayer, asks Him for something, and believes in what He says, will not be accepted for 40 days.” (Muslim)
    • “Whoever goes to a soothsayer and believes in what he says has denied what was revealed to Muhammad ﷺ.” (Musnad Ahmad)
  • Allah has given the believers the gift of salatul-istikhira through His Final Prophet ﷺ
  • Istishara:
    • Consulting people and gathering information which is half the decision-making process
    • Gather as much information as possible about the decision before you make istikhara
    • Who to ask for istishara? Anybody who can benefit you in the matter
    • After istishara, you do istikhara
  • Salat ul-Istikhara:
    • prayer for guidance in choosing the best option by offering the prayer and making a specific du’a after it
    • denotes to seek better choice
    • is the prayer of a Muslim who has not yet made up his or her mind about an intended enterprise, like getting a job, getting married, going to Hajj, or choosing a house
    • is made for something you are unsure about
  • Procedure is described by the Sahabi, Jabir ibn Abdullah, who said,

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ used to teach us how to seek guidance in choosing the best course of action available in a practical enterprise, just as he would sometimes teach us a surah from the Quran. If one of you is concerned about some practical undertaking, he should perform two rak’ah of voluntary prayer other than obligatory prayer. Then he should say,

 اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّى أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ ، وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ ، فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلاَ أَقْدِرُ ، وَتَعْلَمُ وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ ، وَأَنْتَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِى فِى دِينِى وَمَعَاشِى وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِى – أَوْ قَالَ عَاجِلِ أَمْرِى وَآجِلِهِ – فَاقْدُرْهُ لِى ، وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِى فِى دِينِى وَمَعَاشِى وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِى – أَوْ قَالَ فِى عَاجِلِ أَمْرِى وَآجِلِهِ – فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّى وَاصْرِفْنِى عَنْهُ ، وَاقْدُرْ لِىَ الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ، ثُمَّ رَضِّنِى بِهِ . وَيُسَمِّى حَاجَتَهُ

‘O Allah, I ask You to show me what is best through Your knowledge, and bring it to pass through Your power, and I ask You of Your immense favor, for You are all-Powerful and I am not, and You are the Knower of the Unseen.

O Allah, if You know this matter (at this point he should state his enterprise) is in the best interest of my deen, my life in this world, and the final outcome, in both the short term and the long term, then bring it about and make it easy for me, and bless me with abundance therein.

And if You know that this undertaking is bad for me in my deen, my life in this world, and the final outcome, in both the short term and long term, then turn it away from me, and turn me away form it, and bring about the good for me, whatever it may be, and make me pleased with it.’ (Bukhari)

  • Salatul Istikhara is the Sunna of the Nabi ﷺ
  • Make wudu, and pray 2 rak’ah other than fard
  • You end your salah with salam, remain seated, and either from memorization or if you don’t know it by heart, you can read the du’a
  • There is no specific surah to be recited in the prayer
  • There is no limit as to how many times you can repeat Salat us-Istikhara
  • Should I expect a response from Allah like a dream or an email or a text?
  • No, you are just asking Allah to help you make the right decision. Whatever decision you decide to make will Insha Allah be with the guidance of Allah
  • Common misconception is that Salat ul-Istikhara is about having a dream
    • You CAN have a dream or a sign, it is totally possible, BUT, if you review the wording of the hadith, you will find that you are not asking for a dream, you are asking Allah to turn your affairs in the best way
  • Istikhara prayer can be done any time in the day except the forbidden hours:
  • after praying Fajr till the sun has risen a spear’s length above the horizon, that’s about 15-20 min after sunrise.
  • from the time the sun is at the highest point in the sky until it moves on
  • after praying Asr till the sun has set
  • Some people think that the right time for making istikhara is before going to bed. It is allowed, but not required

May Allah guide us in making the right decisions, grant us ikhlaas and sincerity and enable us to follow the footsteps of the Nabi ﷺ.


Feature Image Credit: Flickr