Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Salat Al-Istikhara in Arabic

Chinese Muslims praying in Xinjiang China

Chinese Muslims praying in Xinjiang China

"Istikhara" means to seek goodness from Allah (Exalted is He), meaning when one intends to do an important task they do istikhara before the task.

The one who does the istikhara is asking Allah Almighty, the Knower of Unseen (Exalted is He) to guide him or her to know whether the task is better for him or not.

Salat al-Istikhara is a powerful tool that Allah has given us to ask His guidance in all matters. We should not hesitate to pray Istikhara before making any choice in our lives, big or small.

It's important to do this prayer with sincerity, knowing in our hearts that only Allah can give us the guidance we seek, and resolved to follow the guidance He gives us, even if it clashes with our own desires.

We should also say the duaa with firm conviction, not begging or pleading, but asking Allah clearly for guidance.

And we should not be impatient after our duaa. We do not put Allah on a timetable. And we should not expect some sort of miracle, or a dream full of signs and symbols. These things are not necessary. We simply say our prayers and trust that Allah has heard us and will answer us in the way that is best.

We have several articles about Salat-al-Istikhara on this website, Take the time to read the articles and learn how to perform the Istikhara prayer properly. It will benefit you tremendously in your life choices.

According to Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 21, Number 263:

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: The Prophet (Sallal Laho Alaihi Wasallam) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara, in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Quran. He said, "If anyone of you thinks of doing any action he should offer a two Rakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):

Salat Al-Istikhara in Arabic

Salat Al-Istikhara in Arabic

TRANSLATION: "O Allah! I seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) I seek strength, and I ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and I do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action ------------------------------------------------ (which I intend to do) is better for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for me and make it easy for me and then add blessings [baraka'] in it, for me. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for me, bad for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and whatever is better for me, ordain [destine] that for me and then make me satisfied with it."

First pray Two Cycles (raka') of ritual Prayer (nafil) such that in the first raka' after Surah Fatiha (Allhamd"¦) recite Surah al-Kafirun (Chapter 109) and in the second raka' after Fatiha (Allhamd"¦) recite Surah al-Ikhlas (Chapter 112). After finishing prayer recite this (supplication/dua'): Dua in Arabic Text above.

How many times?
It depends. Sometimes it takes only once to get the answer and sometimes it takes longer. It is better to do istakhara seven (7) times. If you have received an answer, you may stop doing istikhara. You do not have to continue to do isitkhara for 7 days. It is better that right after reciting the supplication, given above, sleep with ablution (people who cannot keep the ablution for longer times due to health problems do not have to worry about ablution before falling asleep) facing the direction of the Qibla (facing the Qibla is not required but it is a Sunnat of our beloved Prophet Peace Be Upon Him). It is better to recite salutations (durood/ salawat) on the Prophet Allah's Grace and Peace be upon him before and after the above Dua (supplication).


Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: "And it is very possible that you dislike something whereas it is good for you; and (similarly) it is very possible that you like something whereas it is bad for you". (Baqarah 16)

From the above ayah, we learn that man has limited knowledge and deficient intellect. Therefore, many a times, he may desire something, which may prove harmful to him, and on the other hand, he may dislike something, while it is good for him. The sole possessor of perfect knowledge, and the only knower of the unseen is Allah, the Creator of man and the Controller of the system of the entire universe. Therefore if man desires good, he can only find it in the hands of Allah. According to one Hadith: "It is from the good fortune of man that he makes Istikharah (seeks good) from Allah, and it is from his misfortune that he discards Istikharah."

'Allamah Aini (RA) writes: "Man should never overlook any matter due to its insignificance and discard Istikharah. How many matters are regarded as insignificant and Istikharah is not made for them, due to which great harm is suffered when carrying them out or abandoning them. It is for this reason that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said: "(Every) one of you should ask his need from his sustainer to the extent that he should ask Him for salt, and for a shoelace when it breaks."

"Allamah Ibnul Qayyim (RA) has written: "The person who makes Istikharah (seek good) from his Creator and makes 'mashwarah' (consults) the creation never regrets, since Allah said to (His Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)): "Consult them in matters. Thus, when You make a decision, place your trust in Allah".

Shaikh Tahir bin Husain bin Abdullah bin Tahir wrote in a letter to his son after he had become an amir or governor: "Whenever any matter of importance comes upon you, seek assistance in it by making Istikharah to Allah and fearing him". He also advised him thus: "and perform Istikharah abundantly in all your matters". (Al-Istikharah by M.T. Hakeem)


Hadrat Shah Waliyyullah (RA) writes: "From amongst the greatest benefits of Istikharah is that man becomes detached from his carnal desires, his animalistic characteristics become subject to his angelic nature and he hands himself over to Allah. When he does this, he reaches the stages of the angels whose quality is that they await the command of Allah. When Allah's command is received, they exert themselves through divine motivation and not carnal motivation. I believe that excessive Istikharah is a proven tonic for the inculcation of angelic qualities."


But alas, today, Istikharah has become as equally difficult as making a decision. People hesitate so much to perform this great act of worship, that only at the last alternative, when no other way can be perceived, they would turn to some innovated act that has no basis in the Hadith, such as the taking of a good omen by opening the Qur'an and counting lines and letters, etc.; or asking someone else to perform Istikharah on their behalf. Shaikh Nuruddin Itr says: As far as the common practice today which people aspire to uphold, that Istikharah will only be correct if it is carried out by certain persons, and that a dream is necessary, this is extremism and obstanance, and is not the command of Allah nor His Rasul (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). This all stems from such constraint among the Muslims that does not behove of them. This led them to abandoning one great Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), thus they deprived themselves of the merits of this great Sunnah and it’s blessings, and from blemishing it's purity. Similarly Hadrat Moulana Shah Hakim Muhammad Akhtar (RA) states in his book "Sunnats" on page 49, that "asking another person to make Istikharah on one's behalf is not substantiated from any Hadith. To make mashwarah' (consult) with someone else is Sunnah.' Sometimes Istikharah becomes a means of greater confusion. A person who does not generally see dreams, nor perceives an inclination towards or away from the object of his Istikharah, now finds himself in a greater predicament. As for the person who does see a dream, he is put through the inconvenience of finding someone to interpret it for him. And if he saw a clear dream, or received an interpretation indicating to one particular option, and thereafter was not able to overcome the obstacles obstructing his path to achieving his aim, this person is left in sheer perplexity.


Firstly, one must understand that none of the narrations in the Ahadith have any mention regarding a dream, or even about performing the 'Istikharah' before sleeping. However, some "Ulama do prefer that Istikharah be performed before sleeping.

With regards to the person who does see a dream after performing 'Istikharah', this dream is just like any other dream that a person sees. This means that just as other dreams fall under one of three categories (which will be explained shortly), likewise will the dreams seen after Istikharah1 be. It is reported in a Hadith narrated in Sahih Bukhari and other books of Hadith that dreams are of three types:

1. Hadeeth-un-Nafs (imaginations)

2. ‘takhweefus shaytaan’ a dream instilled in the mind by shaytan. This also known as ‘wasaaisu-us-shaytaan’ or ‘tahzeenu-us-shaytaan’.

3. ‘Bushraa minallaah’ True dreams, which are also known as ‘mubash-sharaat’

It is mentioned in a Hadith that the dreams of pious muminin (believers) are generally true dreams.

Another Hadith states: "The most true dreams are those seen at the time of Sahar (early dawn).

266 Responses »

  1. Thank you! May Allah bless you with happiness in this life and in the hereafter inshaAllah!

  2. I pray istikhara for my work on one opportunity the advice was negative but I m not seeing any other opportunities so what should I do. I can't under stand what I do

  3. (I removed your question. Please register and submit your question as separate post, and we will answer you in turn Insha'Allah. - Editor)

  4. Aoa
    im going through a very tough period in my life and have been performing istikhara for the past five days. As its Ramadan, I sleep only a few hours before waking up on the fifthday I saw a dream after saying my fajar prayers, does that count? Please reply via email if possible.

  5. Can you do istikhara in Ramadan? As I want to do it. And if you can, do you pray it after Fajr or after Isha Namaaz??

  6. salam sir m very tensd...

    [Please submit your question as a new post for publication rather than as a comment on an existing post. That way your question can be published and answered in turn, inshaAllah.]

  7. [Editor's note: Please submit your question as a new post for publication rather than as a comment on an existing post. That way it can be published and answered in turn, inshaAllah.]

  8. What should I do if Istikhara comes with no dream and my heart is still inclined to the goal I want to get but still no output comes? Please guide me in this regard.


    • U do istekhara wen u r confused and u make Allah swt the judge for ur betterment. If the indication is no DEN THIS IS FROM ALLAH SWT. No1 knows ur future except for Allah swt. So trust him alone.

  9. Salam sir i would like to say that i'm in love with my cousin. I did istikhara. Mufti sahib did it for me and he said its clear. Now my mother doesnt under stand my feeling i'm dying i m getting and cant find a way need ur help what shoud i do my istikhara for that girl was fine plz help me give me suggestion plz wasalam

    • Alam, you should pray your own istikhara. If you need further advice please register and submit your question as a separate post.

      Wael Editor

  10. Assalam aleikum,
    shukran for this article... its very knowledgeabe. Jazakumullah kheir.

  11. Salaams . I am in a very difficult situation with my husband I feel like walking out of my marriage . Its been 3 years I'm having the same problem but only thing is it gets worst. I can't deny the fact that I do love him but I am not willing to live this miserable life. I'm very 2 minded and wanted to know I'm in a state of haith can I still read the dua? Is there any learned person whom I can ask to perform istikhara for me because I feel I'm so doubtful and the fact that I do love my husband I prefer a learned person to read for me . Whom may I ask?

  12. I had started istekhara for moving with my husband to settle down in a different country where my kids live but each time I start it is discontinued for some reason or the other ,i have started three times what should I conclude from this that its negative?dont know what to understand from this or should I start again

    • I cannot imagine what you mean that your istikhara is discontinued. It is a prayer and a dua' and takes only a few minutes. How can it be discontinued?

      Wael Editor

  13. i have a dream after pray the istakhara . " i eat the apple and i divided the apple in my brother and sister and cousions.plz tell me its mean

    • jimmy, we are not dream interpreters, and Salat-al-Istikhara is not dependent on dreams. That is a common misconception. Please read all our articles about Istikhara to understand it better.

      Wael Editor

  14. I would like to now is it compulsory that after reciting istekhara we need to sleep immediately or after praying we can have a gap then take a sleep

  15. My boyfriend and i are in a physical relationship but we haven't committed 'zina'. We had asked 5 or 6 people to do istikhara for us and all are saying that it's negative. I have performed istikhara for 5 times and i have not seen anything in my dream or any indication. I really want him. What should i do now? Should i trust others or should i perform it again?

    • Hina, you should pray Salat al-Istikhara yourself rather than ask others to do it for you; and the result of Istikhara is not dependent on dreams. Please read our other articles on Istikhara to learn more.

      Wael Editor

  16. Hi. .my boyfriend and i want to marry. His mother has prayed salat al istikhara for us and she has been weakening ever since and she has this bad feeling about it. My boyfriend is ready to give up and i have no clue even after praying salat-al istikhara. What should we do?

    • You mentioned that you prayed Salat-al-Istikhara. Pray it again, then do what you feel is best, and trust Allah to guide you to the right path.

      Wael Editor

  17. I have been praying it for a week now. He does not listen to me as he has this firm believe on what his mother felt.

  18. Alhamdulillah...

  19. I have dream buying halal chicken piece(not already cook) & piece of bread after perform salat isteharah.
    Is it a positive answer or negative?

  20. i didnt like some stuff u said like dont think a miracle will happen ????? But (Allah ) is the most powerful and anything could happen ? so a mircale could happen .........just letting u know

  21. Assalam-o-Alaikum,

    i want to know that once a person has done istikhara for 7 days or so then what shall that person do. Like if i have made an istikhara for Marriage purpose (weather this person is suitable for me or not, or shall i take this man as my husband and will my family agree etc) then how do i know if yes this man is the one i should marry or yes he will be a good life companion for me. How will i know what to do after making the istikhara and what steps should i take, should i talk to my parents about the man after doing istikhara and then see what happens or should i wait for things to fall in its place what to do? i am very very confused.

    • SAS, now that you have made istikhara, simply choose the course of action that seems right to you. Use your mind and heart and make a choice, and trust that Allah is guiding you to what is best, and keeping you away from harm. If you feel the man is suitable for you, then yes, talk to your parents, or let him come to them with a marriage proposal.

      Wael Editor

  22. A. A. I love a girl and for 4 years we are in contact via phone. In third year I came to know that she did zina with a boy and some other persons and hide it from me. I was shocked and couldn't believe. It was very.v hard for me to leave her bcoz I loved her so so much and she also have love for me. Spending 4 month I decided to do istakhara and I saw a dream that she is getting married with me. It was very. Clear. But I was not satisfied how to accept her and also didn't want to leave her. After that I have come to know that if I still send her purposely she is willing that we do marriage after one year not now. I also come to know that she still doing zina at home. Now plz tell me what should I do. Should I follow dream or not?

    • Assalaamu Alaykum,

      From what you describe, you were never even engaged to this girl. On top of that, she is involved in other haraam relationships. Personally she doesn't seem like "wife" material with that type of untrustworthy behavior. I think you should just leave her alone and look for a girl who can be trusted and is faithful.

      -Amy Editor

      • No I had no physical relations with her alhamdulillah. But she many time tried to have physical relation but to me it was unforgivable sin so I never ever thought about it. My question remains same that should I follow dream or what? I loved her so much that without any significant sign from istakhara it looks hard to leave her mainly because I previously did istakhara and in dream saw her getting married with me. And on the other hand when I think of adopting her as wife my heartbeat become fast and I thinks how can I live happy with her when I know she had many many physical relations with men. Plz tell me what is the importance of that dream which I saw.

  23. Asalammoualaikoum
    After perform namaz istehahara

    1nite I dream am in a museum near the seaside
    Viewing a small seahorse & sea water start entering the museum who is started to destroyed.

    One another nite I dream eating a green grape.

    Another nite i dream am in a building near the sea watching Aqua life(fish etc) in an aquarium.

    Another nite I dream am in a building near the sea who has started to destroy.

    Can anyone help me about interpretating these dreams???
    As am not working I decided to buy a truck to start work before that i decided to perform istihara.
    Nw am confused whether the truck i see to buy is not good I must see another one
    or the business of truck i want to do is not good.

    If anyone can help me or make dua for me

  24. I am havig a following problem and I would appeciate if any knowledgable brother can help me.

    • As-salamu alaykum brother abusayeed. Please register and submit your question as a separate post, and we will answer you in turn, Insha'Allah.

      Wael Editor

  25. Do you have to know the dua off by heart before performing the prayer? Or can you you read it from your phone or a piece of paper whilst ďoing the prayer?

  26. I pray istakhara for marriage I saw a dream my sanchak mehndi function is going on everybody is happy there is mehandi design on my hands what does it means plz tell me

    • Assalaamualaikam

      Please read our articles on istikhara and the answers already given. Istikhara isn't dependent on dreams.

      Midnightmoon editor

  27. Salaam, Iv got to know this guy...

  28. Assalamun alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuhu, I heard from a sheikh that istiharah is seen answered by ones mind loving it if is good one. And would be disliked if it would be bad one. I don't have any Hadith to back it up ALLAH AHLAM. Jaxaka Allah bil khaira.

  29. salam can you please tell me in detail on, how to do the Salat Al istikhara because I'm still unsure of it.

  30. Hello,

    I have been doing Istikhara since 5 nights now. Most of the times, I forget the dream and most of the time its discontinuous dreams because I wake up a lot of time during night due to some stresses. So I may have 5 to 6 dreams in whole night. Sometimes I see white, sometimes I see black, sometimes I see green, sometimes I see red. I don't know whats going on. What I am sure of is I am seeing the same person in my dream since 5 nights for whom I am doing this Istikhara. I am not sure if its my imagination or if it is a sign. Can someone please help what to do?

    Thank you!

  31. Asalam alaikum Warehmatu Allah i Wabarakatuhu.

  32. I have a question that I don't remember my dream so how should I know that what guidance did I get from Allah?

  33. Asalamwalaikum
    can i pray istikhara for some reason and on the same day ,can i fast for some other reason?

  34. Asalaamualaykum warahmatullAhi wa baraktu
    I would like to know if you should recite istikhara if a boy just came to see you and hasnt yet made a proposal.

  35. Askm.
    How should we know uf the dream is imagination...if its true or is from the shattwaan ?

    • Istikhara is not dependent on dreams and does not have to result in a dream. Please read our other articles about Istikhara.

      Wael Editor

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