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Fiqh - Islaamic Rulings
Salaah al-Istikharah - The Prayer for seeking Guidance
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How to perform the Salaat al-Istikharah?
First – Fulfill all the conditions of supererogatory prayer – which are the same conditions of the obligatory prayer except the condition of the entering time for that particular prayer. The conditions of prayer are:
a) The clothes being clean and free of any impurities
b) The body being in the state of purity
c) The place of prayer being clean and free of any impurities
d) Covering of the awwrah (that which individual men and women must cover)
e) Entering of the time for that particular prayer
f) Facing the Qiblah (The Ka’bah in Makkah)
[Refer to the books of Fiqh for a detailed explanation]
Second – Praying two rakah’s of supererogatory prayer with the intention of al-Istikharah (Seeking Guidance).
The prayer does not have any particular time before which one must make al-Istikharah for a particular affair. Neither does it have a favored time  nor any specific Soorah is prescribed for this prayer. But there is nothing wrong if one strives to perform it in times in which a du’aa is more likely to be answered, since al-Istikharah is a du’aa.
[For more information about the times in which du’aa is more likely to be answered, refer to our forthcoming articles Du’aa]
It should bear born in the minds that al-Istikharah is made after concern and when one has made the intention and resolve to do something according to the saying of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam): “When one of you is concerned about an affair…”
Then he should turn over towards Allah with heart, humiliation and submission.
Third – After the completion of two rakaahs prayer (i.e. after the salaam) particular for Istikharah, he should make the following supplication and it should be born in minds that it is necessary to stick to this specific Du’aa:
Translation – ‘O Allah, I seek Your counsel by Your knowledge and I seek Your assistance by Your Power and I ask You from Your immense favor, for verily you are able while I am not, and verily You know and I do not, and You are the knower of the unseen. O Allah if You know this affair is to be good for me in relation to my religion, my life and end (or he said my present and my future), then decree and facilitate it for me and bless me with it. And if You know this affair to be detrimental for me concerning my religion, my life and end (or he said my present and my future), then remove it form me and remove me from it and decree for me what is good wherever it be and make me satisfied with it.”
Fourth – He should have a strong assurance in his Lord and truthful reliance upon his Lord, being sure of guidance, waiting for the answer.
Fifth – Avoid all obstacles that prevent the supplication from being answered
Al-Istikharah is a Du’aa, so one should adhere to the etiquettes of Du’aa and avoid all obstacles and barriers that prevent a Du’aa from being answered, they being: -
Requesting something, which is sinful or involves oppression
Abandoning the act of enjoining what is good and forbidding the evil
Exceeding the limits in making Du’aa
Being heedless of Allah and the Deen in the times of ease
Contradicting some Shari’ah Ruling [more details in the forthcoming article ad-Du’aa]
 Superogatory prayer like al-Istikharah, salaah entering the masjid are generally not allowed in times of prohibition. However, the scholars differ regarding this issue. Therefore, if one were to leave performing Salaat al-Istikharah in theses prohibited times, then that would thereby avoid difference of opinion and it would be more helpful to him in attaining tranquility, since verily, the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Leave that which you doubt for that which you do not doubt” [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhee, an-Nisa’ee]
And the prohibited times are, as Uqbah bin Naaf’ee (radhi allahu anhu) said: “There are three times in which Allah’s Messenger (sallalahu alaihi wa-sallam) forbade us to pray or bury our dead; when the sun begins to rise until it is fully up, when the sun is at its highest at midday till it passes over the meridian, and when the sun draws near to setting until it sets.” [Saheeh Muslim (eng. trans) vol.2, no.1811
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