How to Perform Istikhara? A Complete Guide For New Muslims

Muslims perform the Istikhara prayer when they are extremely confused between different options. Usually, this happens while choosing a spouse or deciding between different career paths.

If you are a new Muslim and are confused about something, you should consider performing Istikhara. In this article, we have provided a complete guide for you!

Read until the end to learn about the rulings of Istikhara, how to perform them, and what to expect!

What is an Istikhara Prayer?

Humans are not perfect and can make some mistakes. We can never be certain about our choices or whether it is right. As Muslims, we believe that Allah SWT is Al-’Alim (all-knowing). Therefore, sometimes it is better to get help from Allah SWT to make a better decision.

To do this, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) has taught us about the Istikhara Dua. Jabir (may Allah SWT be pleased with him) narrated.

‘The Prophet (ﷺ) used to teach us the Istikhara for every matter as he used to teach us the Surahs from the Holy Qur’an. (He used to say), “If any of you intends to do something, he should offer a two-Rakat prayer other than the obligatory prayer.” Then he should mention his matter (need)’ (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith no. 6382)

Who Should Perform Istikhara?

A person facing difficulty in making an important decision should perform Istikhara. However, do not forget that the decision you want to take must fall under the halal category.

For instance, if you want to decide about the right spouse, halal business, or career decision, Istikhara can be helpful for you.

Step by Step Guide to Perform Istikhara

As a non-Muslim, it cannot be very clear to perform Istikhara. To help you out, we have created this step-by-step guide.

Make Wudu/Ablution

Before performing any prayer (whether it’s fard or nafl) in Islam, you must perform ablution (wudu). Make sure that you follow the proper guidance to do wudu.


The second step is to make an intention. You can make the intention just like the intention you make before praying any Salah.

Two Rakat Prayer

Pray two Rakat in a clean place. After reading the niyyah/intention, two rakat prayers start with a takbir. To do this, take both of your hands parallel to the ears. Then recite the takbir (Allahu Akbar). Next, perform the two rakat like a two-rakat sunnah prayer.

However, it is preferred to read surah Al-Kafiroon in the first Rakat. While in the second rakat, surah Al-Ikhlaas can be recited after surah Al-Fatihah.

Istikhara Dua

After finishing the prayer with salaam, raise your hands. Follow the etiquettes of Dua and start by praising Allah SWT.

Then send blessings upon Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). You can read the Durood-e-Ibrahimi:

اَللّٰھُمَّ صَلِّ عَلٰی مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلٰٓی اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ کَمَاصَلَّیْتَعَلٰٓیاِبْرَاھِیْمَوَعَلٰٓی اٰلِ اِبْرَاھِیْمَاِنَّکَحَمِیْدٌمَّجِیْدٌاَللّٰھُمَّبَارِکْعَلٰی مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلٰٓی اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ کَمَابَارَکْتَعَلٰٓیاِبْرَاھِیْمَوَعَلٰٓی اٰلِ اِبْرَاھِیْمَاِنَّکَحَمِیْدٌمَّجِیْدٌ

“O Allah, bestow Your favor on Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You have bestowed Your favor on Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim, You are Praiseworthy, Most Glorious. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You have blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim, You are Praiseworthy, Most Glorious.”

Then read this Istikhara Dua which is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari Hadith No. 1166;

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمَكَ، وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ، فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلَا أَقْدِرُ، وَتَعْلَمُ، وَلَا أَعْلَمُ، وَأَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ،

اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ- خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي- عَاجِلِهِ وَآجِلِهِ-.فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ،

وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي- عَاجِلِهِ وَآجِلِهِ- فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِيَ الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ أَرْضِنِي بِهِ

“O Allah, I seek the guidance from Your Knowledge, and I seek the help of Your Power, and I ask You for Your Magnificent Blessings. Surely, 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 matter is good for me in my religion, my livelihood, and in the Hereafter, if it is better for my present and later, then ordain it for me and make it easy for me, and then bless it for me

And if You know that this matter is bad for me in my religion, my livelihood, and my affairs in the Hereafter, or if it is bad for my present and later, then ward it off from me and keep me away from it. Then ordain for me with whatever is good for me wherever it may be found, and help me be satisfied with it.”

Then Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) advised us to describe our needs. In the end, send blessings upon Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Close your Dua and put your trust in Allah SWT.

Etiquettes of Performing Istikhara

Now that you know the method of performing Istikhara, you must also know the etiquette. You must wear clean clothes and dress properly. Do proper Wudu and make sure all parts of your body are clean.

Another thing that you must keep in mind is clarity. Be clear on what to ask after Istikhara Dua. You should also have clarity on the belief that Allah SWT is All-Knowing. Put your trust in Allah SWT and have a strong internal devotion.

What to Do After Performing Istikhara?

Before expecting anything, keep one thing in mind; the results might not show immediately. For some people, the result of Istikhara is very clear. In this situation, you must follow the result by trusting Allah SWT.


To wrap it up, Istikhara is a gift from Allah SWT through which we can ask for Allah SWT’s guidance. Istikhara is done by praying two rakat namaz, followed by the Istikhara Dua. To have the best result, follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

In the end, you will have to accept the result in all situations because Allah SWT is All-Knowing. May Allah SWT provide us with the guidance and courage to make the right decisions. Ameen!

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