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How To: Perform The Dua Of Istikhāra

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How to perform the famous du`a of guidance according to Prophet Muhammad, complete with text, translation and a short discussion.

dua istikharah salah hadithAccording to a hadith in Imam Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 21, Number 263:

Jabir bin `Abdullah narrated:
"The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) used to teach us the way of doing istikhāra, in all matters as he taught us the Surahs of the Qur'an. He said, 'If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two Rakat prayer (nawafil) other than the compulsory ones and say this (after the prayer)'..."
Transliteration: ( ` = represents the `ayn ع)
"Allahumma inni astakhiru-ka bi`ilmi-ka, wa astaqdiru-ka bi-qudratika, wa as'alaka min faddlikal `azeem. Fa inna-ka taqdiru wala aqdiru, wa ta`lamu wala a`lamu, Wa anta `allamul ghuyoob(i). Allahumma, in kunta ta`lam anna *haadhal-amra khairun-lee fi deeni wa ma `aashi, wa `aaqibati amri (or 'ajili amri wa'ajilihi) faqdirhu lee wa yas-sirhu lee thumma barik lee fihi. Wa in kunta ta`lamu anna *haadhal-amra shar-run-lee fi deeni wa ma`aashi wa`aaqibati amri (or fi'ajili amri wa ajilihi) fassrifhu `annee wass-rifnee anhu, waqdir li yal-khaira Haithu kaana thumma arddini bihi."
Du`a in English:
"Oh Allah, I seek good from You through Your knowledge, and the ability from you through Your power, and I ask You from your great benevolence. For surely, You have Power, while I have none. And You know, while I do not know, You are the great knower of the Unseen. O Allah if you should know *enter the matter to be good for me in regards to my religion, my livelihood and the outcome of my affairs, then ordain it for me. And if you should know *enter the matter to be bad for me in regards to my religion, my livelihood and the outcome of my affairs, then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it and ordain for me good wherever it be, then make me content with it."
Replace the *matter with your action plan.

After that, keep doing the good you do, and be assured that the final outcome is the answer to the du`a of istikharah to Allah. Making a du`a like this is not about 'getting what you want', it's about accepting that Allah plans better for you; if that thing you want is good for you and is meant to be, it will, insha'Allah. Otherwise, suck it up and move on.

Discussion surrounding istikhāra and istighātha by Imam Suhaib Webb.
There are a number of close synonyms to istighātha such as istikhāra [seeking a decision] and isti’āna [seeking help]. However, as noted by the scholars of language, Istighātha is used when one is under a state of duress. Istikhāra is the du`a for reaching a decision after looking at both sides and relying on Allah for guidance.

Why aren't my prayers being answered? by Yasmin Mogahed.
So if we pray for something and we don’t get it, perhaps Allah has chosen another means for us – perhaps through hardship, the purification it may cause and the sabr it builds, to bring us to that end: Allah. It may be, as only Allah knows best, that had He given us that amazing husband we made du`a for, it would have made us heedless and therefore not achieve our end at all.

Instead of seeing it like this, however, I think the problem is we are seeing things as just the opposite. The dunya (that great job, certain type of spouse, having a child, school, career, etc) is our end and *Allah* is the means that we use to get there. We use that means, through making du`a, to achieve our end (whatever it is that we’re making du`a for), and then get disappointed when our means (Allah) didn’t come through for us. We throw our hands up in the air and say our du`as are not being answered. Our means just isn’t coming through for us!

But, Allah isn’t a means. He is the end. The ultimate objective of even du`a itself is to build our connection to Allah. Through du`a we become closer to Him. So, I think the problem is that our focus is wrong. That’s why I love the du`a of istikhāra so much. It’s just perfect because it acknowledges that Allah only knows best, and then asks for Him to bring what is best and take away what is not best. The focus of that du`a’ is not that which you are asking for. The focus is what is best in this life and next.

This is not to say that we cannot make du`a’ for things specifically that we want. On the contrary. Allah loves for us to ask of Him. But it means that once we ask, do our part to the utmost, and put our trust in Allah, we are pleased with what Allah chooses for us. And we realise that Allah does answer all du`a - but not always in the form we expect. And that is simply because our knowledge is limited, and His is unlimited. In His infinite knowledge He may send us what He knows to be better for us in achieving the ultimate end: the pleasure of Allah (swt).

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  1. Jzk for this article

  2. This was great. Sr. Yasmin is one of my favorite contributors to Imam Webb's blog. Jazak'Allahu Khairan Sr. Zaufishan!


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