103. What is Istikhara

What is Istikhara :

It means Appeal or Dua (Invocation)

A person must make Dua (Invocation) and Seek Allah’s help for any Need and then have faith on His Mercy with patience.

Hadis : From Bukhari Shareef

Volume 8, Book 75, Hadis Number 391:

Narrated Jabir (ra)

The Prophet used to teach us the Istikhara for each and every matter as he used to teach us the Suras from the Holy Qur'an. (He used to say), "If anyone of you intends to do something, he should offer a two-Rak'at prayer other than the obligatory prayer, and " Then he should mention his matter (need).

Comments :

The Hadis is very clear which indicates that when a man is in need he should pray and make dua. It is no where mentioned that after doing Istikhara or dua a person should sleep and see something in his or her dream. It also confirms that after Istikhara or dua a person must take his own decision and then have trust on Allah so that a positive result is obtained.

Surah No. 2, Al Baqr, Ayat No. 153

o فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ

o يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلاَةِ إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

Translation :

Remember Me and I will remember you, and give thanks to Me and should not be ungrateful.

O believers ! Seek help with patience and salat, and Allah is with those who keep patience.

Surah No. 40, Al Momin (Ghafir), Ayat No. 60

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي

سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ

Translation :

And your Lord said : make appeal to ME ; I will respond to your request. Infact, those who deny My worship, will enter Hell with shame .

Surah No. 42, Ash Shura, Ayat No. 26

وَيَسْتَجِيبُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُو

الصَّالِحَاتِ وَيَزِيدُهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ

وَالْكَافِرُونَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ

Translation :

And He responds to ( the appeals) those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and to them He gives more from His Bounty, but for the non believers there will be a severe torment.

Comments :

One should keep in mind that if any kind of favour is needed then the appeal should be made to Allah Rabbul Izzat only. Allah is the greatest, who can listen, can see and has power over all the things. In repect of dua or supplications there are some Ahadis (Plural of Hadis), which are as under : The prophet (saws) said :

1. " All the supplications (Dua) are worship " (Tirmizi, Abu Daud)

2. " Supplication is heart of worship " (Tirmizi)

3. Narrated by Hazrat Salman Farsi (ra) that the Prophet said "The death of a person cannot be averted, but it is Dua which can avert it" (Tirmizi)

4. The prophet (saws) said " Whenever a person makes an appeal to Allah for any kind of need, either the same need is fulfilled or any other kind of misery is averted which was to come on him " (Tirmizi)

5. Narrated by Hazrat Abu Huraira (ra) that the Prophet said " Allah does accept the request of His slave provided he should not become impatient "

(Means the slave should not say that he has made lot of requests but they are not being accepted and then he leaves making further dua).

6. Narrated by Hazrat Anas (ra) that the Prophet said " Everyone of you must ask for his needs from Allah only, even if he wants a replacement of his shoe lace" (Tirmizi)


By Mufti Taqi Usmani

Posted: 23 Rajab 1422, 11 October 2001

Confusion about Istikhara

Q.) Please can you answer my following question and put my mind at rest. I married a woman about 3 years ago. I went to see her and everything was done the Islamic way. i.e. I did Mashwera (consultation) and Istikhara (and I saw good dreams and my heart felt content.) But despite the istikhara, etc. Our marriage broke up after just a few weeks of living together, as it transpired that she was mentally unstable.

I married again this year, this time I was extra cautious and therefore did Istikhara over a long period and begged Allah to guide me, as a result of which I saw many good dreams. I also had the dreams interpreted by a scholar who gave me the go ahead. After that I did consultation with my superiors and they also gave me the go ahead. But, Again this marriage has broken down in a short span of time.

Why is it that both my marriages have failed (through no fault of mine, I tried my best both times) even though I did Istikhara both times and felt content at heart.


Istikhara is a particular form of prayer and Dua. First of all you must know that Istikhara is nothing more than a normal Dua in which a person prays to Allah Subhanahu Taala to guide him to reach a right decision. It is not correct to presume that in response to an Istikhara Allah gives an answer in the form of a dream. Similarly it is not necessary that a dream is seen after making an Istikhara and even though a dream is seen by the relevant person it is not an absolute answer towards a particular direction because dream is not treated in Shariah as a binding proof of something. The expected result of Istikhara is that the relevant person himself takes a decision which is good for him in this world. But just as the grant of other prayers depends on certain conditions the Istikhara is subject to those conditions as well. If some of these conditions are lacking, it is not necessary that this prayer is granted

Second, to make an Istikhara does not mean that a person abandons all other necessary enquiries. A person must carry out all efforts necessary to reach a correct decision. If a person is content on Istikhara only and does not make the required efforts to reach the correct decision he may fall into error.