What Is Istikhara
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 as if they request Allah Almighty that, O the Knower of Unseen (Exalted is He) guide me if this task is better for me or not?
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 job he should offer a two Rakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):
Way to perform istikhara
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.
Apart from transparency in complex matters, and being able to get Allah`s Help in, Istikharah also brings us closest to the Almighty.
The sacred Angels of God, the Exalted are the only creatures that are very near to the Lord, but when a person on earth pleas to Him after waking up from one`s sleep, Allah SWT highly admires this action, listens to its requests, and tells its Divine Messengers about that particular individual.
Hazrat Shah Waliyyullah (R.A) 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.”
It means that by Istikharah, one can clean itself from all the harms of the worldly pleasures, and gets the honor to have the characteristics of the Celestial Beings of Allah Almighty.
The biggest delusion attached to Istikharah is that it results in getting a solution to uncertainty in one`s dream. Rather, it only serves as easiness of matters for a person either through a Waseela (nearness to God) through prayers and receiving the ability to accomplish one`s actions in the best way.
Another common misunderstanding regarding Istikharah is that it is solely down to the experts to execute this action successfully. No, that is not true.
Every Muslim, who has a strong belief in Allah Almighty being the Supreme Helper and Knowing of everything, can ask the Most Beneficent to take its matters in His own hands, as the Almighty says in the Holy Quran:
And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible. [Quran, 40: 60]
It shows that Allah SWT directs us all to request from Him. So, there is a need for asking anyone else to do Istikhara for us.
It is also falsely supposed that one only has to carry out this deed while being in confusion over two choices. No, rather we should take help from Hadith in which Rasulullah (PBUH)Has prescribed it while embarking upon something that means it could be any sort of endeavor, and not necessarily has to choose from options.
This supplication is also not limited to only matters like traveling or marriage decisions, but it could be for all kinds of crucial matters concerning one`s life.