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The word Istikhara استخارة comes from root words خ-ي-ر in Arabic language. The 10th feminine verbal noun (إِسْتَفْعَلَof that root is إِسْتَخْارَة (The tenth form usually reflects the meaning of “someone seeking something”). Hence in this case – (human beings) seeking KHAIR (goodness, prosperity, guidance, blessings etc.) from Allah. Khayr is an umbrella word that represents all that which is good. 

Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah: “The Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara (Istikhara means to ask Allah to guide one to the right sort of action concerning any job or a deed), in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Qur’an…” [Bukhari]

Ideally, You should first do your own research, consult wise/knowledgeable people in that matter and seek advice of related people around (especially if it’s a big decision like marriage, job, investment etc.). Shoora (consultation) is an important part of a community. There’s a whole Surah (42) in the Qur’an named – سورة الشورى 

“…and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah . Indeed, Allah loves those who rely .” [3:159]

and when you have narrowed down your options, it’s time for Salat-ul-istikhara! (Although dua is an important part of narrowing down your options as well).

How to Do Istikhara?

The method of performing istikhara is extremely simple:

1) Offer 2 rak`at prayer (nafl/supererogatory):

(continuation of the above hadith)

“…He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two rak`at prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer)…” [Bukhari]

2) Make Istikhara Dua (as per Sunnah):

If you need to read it off of a piece of paper, that is ok. For that, you can print out a FREE printable below:productivity journal for Muslims, Islamic journal, journal for muslims, muslim journal, free printable for muslims, free dua printable, print free dua and learn, learn dua, get dua accepted, Allah answers duas, how to not do istikhara, dreams after istikhara, dreams of a muslim, interpretation of dreams in islam, seeking guidance from Allah, istikhara for marriage, istikhara for job, how to do istikhara

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي 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 لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ، وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ، وَاقْدُرْ لِي الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ أَرْضِنِي بِهِ


‘Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi’ilmika, Wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, Wa as’alaka min fadlika Al-`azlm Fa-innaka taqdiru Wala aqdiru, Wa ta’lamu Wala a’lamu, Wa anta ‘allamu l-ghuyub. Allahumma, in kunta ta’lam anna hadha-lamra Khairun li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati `Amri (or ‘ajili `Amri wa’ajilihi) Faqdirhu wa yas-sirhu li thumma barik li Fihi, Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hadha-lamra shar-run li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati `Amri (or fi’ajili `Amri wa ajilihi) Fasrifhu anni was-rifni anhu. Waqdir li al-khaira haithu kana Thumma ardini bihi.’ [Bukhari]

NOTE: memorize the istikhara dua by downloading this audio file (free) and listening to it on repeat till you learn it by heart in shaa Allah.


(O Allah! I ask guidance 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 know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this job is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter–(or said: If it is better for my present and later needs)–Then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, And then bless me in it, and if You know that this job is harmful to me In my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter–(or said: If it is worse for my present and later needs)–Then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, And make me satisfied with it). The Prophet (ﷺ) added that then the person should name (mention) his need.” [Bukhari]

(Istikhara Dua by Mishari Alafasy with transliteration and translation)

More resources on the topic: Bilal Philips – Understanding Istikhara

3) Mention your Need:

“…The Prophet (ﷺ) added that then the person should name (mention) his need…” [Bukhari]

If you don’t know Arabic, it may be sufficient to think of the matter whilst making this dua – although you can state your matter in your own language too later on – just like any other dua! (in another narration (Bukhari), it is also stated that the person making this dua can mention his need in the middle – as shown in this hadith).

4) Make a Decision/ Act upon It:

  • If you feel content and things are naturally unfolding in that direction, say bismillah and go for it! May Allah put barakah in it for you!
  • If you don’t feel confident and things are constantly going against the flow, it’s time to change directions. As simple as that! 
  • If you still feel confused, repeat the prayer whenever you want (except while the sun is rising, when the sun is at its peak (which lasts for a minute or so), and the setting of the sun – when we are told not to pray). You may continue to pray Istikhara until you have found a resolution.

I attended an Islamic course on marriage “Home Sweet Home” by Al-Kawthar Institute and Sh.Alaa Elsayed said that I wouldn’t recommend depending on the condition of your heart alone because it’s not a tangible result really. So look for roadblocks in your way. If things go towards difficulty, it may be a sign that this isn’t the best option for you. If things start becoming easier, then it may be a sign that this can bring more khair for you in the future too if Allah willed.

How to NOT Do Istikhara?

Now the question is – how to NOT do istikhara (Because how to do it is pretty clear from the hadith):

1) Asking someone else to do istikhara for you:

You do NOT have to ask a scholar or any righteous person to do istikhara for you! The wordings of istikhara surrounds the word “I” – If someone else would be doing it, they’ll be asking for their khair in that matter (And if that person is not a part of that decision, it makes them irrelevant in the matter). If your family or anyone else is involved in the matter (situations where one decision affects multiple people), they can do it too! But it’s YOU who needs to do it basically!

There is no religious verification for having someone else do istikharah for you. You are good enough to talk to Allah. Allah is just as available and just as accessible to the sinful person as He is to the most righteous and pious person. All of us have access to Allah alhamdulillah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“…indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me…[2:186]

2) Waiting for a dream or something supernatural as a sign:

You do NOT have to wait for a dream! Dreams do have interpretations indeed – but if you’re not qualified to interpret them (and VERY few people ACTUALLY are), no need to dig deep then! You can’t say if the dream is just a part of your subconscious or glad tiding from Allah or just something from Shaitaan! The dua says – “…make it easy for me to get…” – so if it’s causing more difficulties than ease, perhaps that’s a sign instead! 

Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Dreams are of three types: (1) Glad tidings from Allah, (2) what is on a person’s mind, and (3) frightening dreams from Satan. If any of you sees a dream that he likes, let him tell others of it if he wishes, but if he sees something that he dislikes, he should not tell anyone about it, and he should get up and perform prayer.” [Ibn Majah]

Istikharah is not a means of discovering the ‘ghaib’ (unseen), but rather a humble supplication unto the Knower of the unseen, the Most Powerful, to bestow the best. Our responsibility is to make du’a, and then proceed in the direction of His choice, as that will be best for us in shaa Allah. 

3) Doing istikhara for the matters that have no doubt in them:

You can NOT do istikhara for the known matters – matters that are waajib (obligatory) or mustahabb (liked or encouraged), there is no need for istikhaarah to decide whether to do them, and with regard to matters that are haraam (forbidden) or makrooh (disliked), there is no need for istikhaarah to decide whether to avoid them. The issue of istikhaarah is confined to matters that are mubaah (allowed), or in mustahabb matters when there is a decision to be made as to which one should be given priority.

It refers to both great and small matters – you don’t only have to do istikhara for marriage purposes! Istikhara can be performed for life’s small decisions, big decisions, and even for general guidance in your life – probably an insignificant issue could form the groundwork for a big issue. (I mean I personally learned the istikhara dua and sometimes even end up making this dua while standing in the shop indecisive as to buy so and so or no (the dua can be made without the nawafil too if the situation doesn’t allow praying at that moment but making the dua after nawafil is the most preferred option and the actual sunnah).

4) Doing extra things that are not mentioned in the sunnah:

  • There is no extra special sūrah that should be recited in the first or second rak’ah.
  • There are no specific amount of days for istikhara. You can keep making dua of istikhara till you see apparent signs from Allah in the form of difficulty or ease.
  • You do not have to be quiet after istikhara and sleep right away. Although remembrance of Allah can help you declutter your mind for better clarity!
  • You do not have to add more words in an already-complete dua.

Istikharah is a very powerful tool that should be performed with utmost belief and sincerity that Allah will guide towards the best only. The purpose of Istikharah is not to plead Allah for a certain wish but to ask him for guidance. So, when you take a particular decision after Istikharah and it doesn’t turn out well in the long run, never blame Allah. It may be a blessing in disguise. He is the one with infinite wisdom and when He tests us with a situation and takes something that we thought was good for us, have faith in Him. As Allah says in the Quran:

“…perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” [2:216]

(A page from our Productivity Journal for Muslims)


    • As far as our knowledge is concerned, as you are mentioning “this matter” in the dua, then you do one for one matter only. Make sure you have narrowed down your options through research and istishaara (consulting wise righteous people around) beforehand. In short, one at a time. And Allah knows best!

    • As far as our knowledge is concerned, as you are mentioning “this matter” in the dua, then you do one for one matter only. Make sure you have narrowed down your options through research and istishaara (consulting wise righteous people around) beforehand. In short, one at a time. And Allah knows best!

    • Why not! Istikhara is a dua to ask for Allah’s help and His doors are always open alhamdulillah. May Allah help you through this decision. It may be wise to also do istishaara at this point (consulting wise people for advice).

  1. Asalaam alaikum I just wanted to know can you do istikhara when a woman is pregnant to see what gender they will be having girl or boy.


    • Walaikum assalam. Istikhara is to ask Allah for guidance in what can be done from your end. As to the gender of the baby, that is determined by Allah and both genders are a blessing from Allah. Sometimes even a sonographer can not tell for sure. Allah knows best! May Allah grant you a healthy righteous child who becomes your sadaqah jaariyah and the coolness of your eyes.

  2. Hi

    i’m kinda new to Istikhara and don’t really know how to go about it, i have preformed it once but still have questions if i’m doing it properly. i am very god conscience and always make dua in good times and bad times

    do i have to consistently pray Istikhara for seven days straight?
    can i pray Istikhara many times in one day?
    is it okay to only have prayed iskitikhara once and wait for a response?
    and what is the result to look out for? i’ve been feeling good after making the istikhara once.

    thank you and i’ll be waiting for your answer
    Jazak’allah 🙂

    • jazakillah khair for reaching out. A scholar may be able to help you with more details in shaa Allah, but I can answer them according to my own knowledge and what has been mentioned above in ahadith etc.
      *there are no specific days for istikhara. 7 days or however many you want to do – either consecutively or spaced apart. It’s basically a dua and it doesn’t have to be numbered.
      *if praying it many times a day helps you find clarity (because you are in a rush to make a certain decision), then it’s your wish sis. But after istikhara, you will usually see either ease in the matter for which you did istikhara or difficulties and roadblocks. Also, to listen to the sound of your heart, you might have to give yourself a break and some peace to be able to reflect.
      *if you come to a conclusion after one istikhara, one is enough. If you still have doubts, you may do it again and perhaps take help in terms of shoora (consulting with wise related people around).

      Hope these answer your questions Yusra. It’s best to go through the linked videos and resources etc. by the scholars above to have more clarity on the topic in shaa Allah.

  3. Assalam-u-alikum,

    I wanted to know if I’ve prayed the istikhara dua after the eisha namaaz after offering the nafl rakats! And then if my baby interrupts my sleep because he is awake, do I have to redo the rakats and say the dua again? Or I can put him down to sleep and then go back to sleep? Also if I have prayed in eisha do I have to redo it in fajr prayer or i just go about praying regular fajr prayer and then go about my day the same?
    Sorry, about so many random questions.. but really needed a little bit of clarity, to be able to do the istikhara properly! JZK in advance!

    • walaikum assalam. According to the hadith; Sahih al-Bukhari 1166 (and as mentioned in the article above, one can make this dua after the nafl (supererogatory) prayer.

  4. Salam I m first time making istikhara …Nd when I m doing it from last three nights prior to going in sleep I get afraid ..can u tell why this means …
    As in general by Allah’s blessings I don’t get afraid …

    • walaikum assalam. We don’t have the ability to interpret dreams, but as mentioned in the hadith,

      Abu Salama reported: I used to see (such horrible dreams) that I fell ill. I saw Abu Qatada who also said: I used to see dreams which made me sick until I heard Allah’s Messengerﷺ as saying: Good dreams are from Allah, so if any one of you sees which he likes he should not disclose it to one but whom he loves, but if he sees something which he does not like he should spit on his left side thrice and seek refuge with Allah from the mischief of the Satan and its mischief (i.e. of the dream), and he should not relate it to anyone, then it would not harm him. [Sahih Muslim 2261g]

      and istikhara signs are not necessarily based on a dream (as mentioned in the article above). Hope that helps.

  5. I am an orphan without any siblings nor family member. I am grateful for Allah for everything. Thou I’m very stranded and feel hopeless in life, Alhamdulillah I still thank him for everything but I don’t know why he doesn’t answer my prayers, I just want him to help me leave in halal way.

  6. I do alot of zikr and dua, I don’t joke with my prayers. I do Tahajud almost everyday and do zakat with any little thing or amount I have. Yet still I see nothing. Life isn’t getting any better for me. Please what should I do now? I need an advice.

  7. Hello what happens if you can’t sleep once you have done istikhara also what if you did istikhara but it is fajr prayer time and you need to pray

    • Sleeping is not a necessary step of istikhara (it’s not a step at all actually – the main steps are the nawaafil and the dua) because it’s not necessarily related to a dream. The inclination of your heart matters in the end and that may depend on how the situation unfolds naturally – in which you may find a lot of your questions about the matter answered. May Allah help you make the best decision – that is beneficial for your dunya and aakhirah both.

    • From what I understand (and Allah knows best), it is doing istikhara for one person and then another for another person. and keep doing istishaara (consulting with wise relevant people around) and your research till Allah makes ways for one option easier than the other. Weigh your pros and cons and the inclination of your heart. May Allah help you choose the best spouse for yourself and the best father for your children. Indeed the one with true taqwa will be better in all of their dealings – with the Creator and the creation.

  8. For crying in a bucket, why does everyone change the TH in a Z????? ATHaan not Azaan, THikr not Zhikr, KauTHar not KauSar and many more examples!!! When you many times read the proper Arabic pronunciation, then the transliteration sounds something else , so bloody frustrating!!

    • Wa’alaikumus salam warahamatullahi wabarakatuhu i think yes you can actually because I use phone too when performing istikhara

  9. Assalamualaikum
    Please can I perform istikhara before applying for a scholarship?

    I would really appreciate your response

    • walaikum assalam. You can perform istikhara for any big or small decision in life. It’s just a way of asking Allah for ease if the matter is good for your dunya and aakhirah. I personally perform the istikhara multiple times till I have a clear mind on what I want. And usually, that depends on what roadblocks you may or may not have in the path to it. Hope that helps. May Allah help you through sis. And Allah knows best!

  10. Assalamu alaikum.
    Jazakallah khair for the article. My question is, when we prepare for an exam there definitely will be times where the preparation can be depressing, and the decision to write the exam.was taken after offering istikhara. I mean to say entrance exams are tough, so then how to decide and conclude the right decision

    • Walaikum assalam. I’m not sure if I understood your question right but I hope this helps. Some things are hard for you but you also know that this hardship is a path to success. This hardship is something that everyone experiences. It’s not your individual experience. Whether taking an exam is good for you or not can be accompanied with shoora (consultation) too. So along with istikhara, ask the wise people around – what they think. Research its pros and cons. If the pros outweigh the hardships and it is something halal (which may benefit your dunyah and aakhirah both), I don’t see hardship of studying and attempting an exam as a hurdle. This is just my personal suggestion. in shaa Allah you can do it Sobiya! May Allah help you through!

  11. Selamunaleykum sister, do we need to stop the istikhara ürayer iets say after praying it twice a day and after 2 days if we already had a peaceful feeling after the prayer and also after waking up? Because İ do not know if we shpuld still continue the prayer then or if it would change because we wait for a negative feeling or get more insecure of the reaffirmation. Maybe we think but what if i am not good for that study /career but Allah knows best and gave us a peacuful feeling so we should not doubt it? Like „you may not like something (or be doubtful of it in your abilities) but it may be actually good for you“
    In first day I had a positive feeling and thought „nothing to loose , its dunya“ and the second day I had a peaceful feeling too and dreamed myself in white. The dream of the first day was a bit complicated so I only stayed with my peaceful feeling and not the dream.
    Thank You

  12. Asalamolaikum Sister!
    May Allah, the Exalted bless you for this beautiful piece of knowledge.
    I wanted to ask Allah’s help for the purpose, I actually wanted to have an extra subject in my GCSEs which is Business Studies.
    I don’t know whether to have it or not so i thought of asking from Allah(S)! I hope he answers me!
    Also , what kind of signs will i see if it is a yes or a no? Please i’d be glad for your help!
    May Allah (s) blesse you!

    • Walaikum assalam. I would say focus on istishaara (consulting relevant wise people around) at this point as a form of research. The pros and cons of taking on an extra subject. And then answering such questions for yourself – “How well do I handle stress?”, “how my schedule is free or not already”, “do I have the extra money to invest in it (books, prep, entrance fee etc.)” etc. – and then see where you reach in terms of that process. May Allah help you through this journey.


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