7 Tips to Make A Life Changing Istikharah Prayer

Forget About Psychics!

Randomly browsing a secular forum, a guy complained he was scammed by an online psychic of $80. The funny thing was, another member, who happened to have a very-much-Muslim username, echoed his statement and cried :

“Then how can I find an accurate psychic who knows about my future!”

Odd thing is, another member, who was a non-muslim, understood it better : “Forget about psychics, man! Ask your matter to God, be it Jesus, Jehovah, or Allah. Surely God knows better about your future than any psychic!”

That was perhaps the best reply on the whole thread.

The beauty of Islam is, when it forbids something, it offers other halal venues to replace the haram. Islam forbids divination. And one (very good) alternative is the Istikharah prayer.tarot-cards-islam-2

I’m not saying that you should make Allah your fortune teller; that’s very disrespectful Istaghfirullah. But my point is, you’ll never go wrong consulting the All-Knowing Divine Mastermind. Be it Istikharah prayer or not.

Consulting a fortune teller to predict your future can cost you a sin and make your salaah not accepted for 40 days.

But consulting Allah will only add to your Akhirah (afterlife) rewards and increase your closeness to Him.

PLUS, you’ll get real solutions to your problems. It’s a triple-plus no fortune teller in the world can give you.

Personal Story : How Istikharah Prayer Helped Changed My Life

In my mid-teens, I suffered from a longtime depression, so much that I frequently felt suicidal. I was hopeless about life. At the lowest point of my state, I just knew I couldn’t take it anymore.

I made istikharah and asked Allah: “How am I supposed to find a cure? How will my life go in a better direction? What should I do?”

  • Option A: Go to professional counselor, since I’ve never seen one (I was simply too embarassed and couldn’t afford it).
  • Option B: Read some psychology and healing books to find the answer.
  • Option C: Whatever You (Allah) think is best for me. Something that I could never think of.

Just after I folded my prayer mat, a surprising answer “came” to me: “Time will heal your wounds. Allow yourself to go with the flow.”

I raised my eyebrows.

It’s Option C.

Logically, at first it sounds like nonsense. I have battled this monster for 4 years, and it seems like I would never see the light at the end of tunnel.

So how come “time heals” came to me?

But if the answer was from Allah, it couldn’t be BS. So I decided to put my trust in it and submit.

As time unfolded, the Istikharah answer came surprisingly true.

By the time I entered University, a tide of change had happened in my social life. I was too busy socializing to get on too much in my own head.

Before I realized it, I had regained that joie de vivre that was once lost. I had forgotten that I once suffered depression and had suicidal thoughts.

It was gone.

There, I met my fiance, who was an aspiring entrepreneur, but kept failing at everything he did.

One time, after a yet another failure, but still wanting to survive, he finally made Istikharah on what type of business he should do.

The answer he got was: “Change your business model into this.”

It was not the answer he expected, and it even sounded strange to him.

But he implemented it.

istikharah-for-decisionsNow three years later and his business is thriving, even flourishing, whereas previously, they never survived more than 4 months.

Those are just two examples.

Put simply, you’ll never go wrong trusting the Divine Creator to pick the best path for you.

1. Understand the Supplication Meaning

I rarely recite my istikharah supplication in Arabic. In fact, most often I recite it in my own native language. But it’s still answered 90% of time.

(Where does the 10% go to? Hmmm….that’s between me and Allah ;))

So here’s the meaning of the supplication, more or less:

Dear Lord, I’m seeking Your counsel with Your vast knowledge. You know the hidden and the apparent, Your knowledge surpasses all things in the past and future, while my knowledge is a tiny drop in the ocean compared to Yours.

Please tell me what should I do regarding this problem ____(state it specifically) and I would like to do A or B or C.

So, what should I pick between them?

If it’s good for me then draw me closer to it and make me content accepting it.

If it’s bad for me, turn it away from me and turn my heart away from it.

Please choose for me whatever is best according to Your knowledge, and make my heart content in accepting it.

2. Ask It, Say It With Your Heart

One of an earliest Islamic books I read, stated that in order for your supplication to be answered, you must hope it will be answered, yet at the same time worry it will not be answered.

Honestly, that’s silly.

Can you expect to move a car by hitting the gas and brakes at the same time?

Istikharah is no different than any other supplication you do. Start by praising Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him), be humble and develop khushoo (God-mindfulness).

Repeat the supplication thrice.

BUT…you should be certain in your request, and leave no room for doubt.

God’s delay is not God’s denial.

Pray and have faith that your supplication will be answered. For Allah doesn’t fulfill supplication that comes from careless heart that’s not concentrating.

Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah

If you supplicate, do not say ‘O Allah, forgive me if You wish. Bless me if You wish. And give me providence if You wish’. Ask with a full (certain) heart, for Allah do what He wishes, and no force on Him”

Bukhari, Muslim

3. You Can Ask For Practically Anything, Even If It’s Not An Emergency

The tendency most people have is they resort to Istikharah prayer when things start going rough, and they need an answer for the future and the hard decisions they have to make.

Allah loves it when His servants supplicate to Him, so why wait until the downward spiral hits to invoke Him?

You can do istikharah for any of these reasons:

  • Baggage from the past or current times, that have you stuck.
  • Wherever you are standing right now (i.e. life position, mental state).
  • The right person to be your business partner.
  • People you should avoid for your personal well-being.
  • The right person to be your future spouse.
  • Which University subject to major in.
  • If a specific action you might do will harm you in the future or not.

The list is endless.

But you see the point. You can ask for practically anything.

4. Spare the option “X”

Basically, when you supplicate, you’re not just saying: “Oh Allah, should I do A or B?”

Dancing With The Stars or American Idol? So many decisions!
Dancing With The Stars or American Idol? So many decisions!

Additionally, you should also say: “Dear Allah, if you have another option that You know is best for me but I’m unaware of it, please bring it forth to me.”

And don’t be surprised that if you happen to get the answer from this Option “X,” it’s something so simple, or weird, yet so darn effective that you could have never thought about it on your own.

Allah knows it best!

5. Be Sensitive to Incoming Signs

Allah doesn’t answer your istikharah by throwing you a written paper from heaven.

You must open your heart. You must be sensitive to the possible answers coming by.

Some people receive their istikharah answer through a dream.

Some through an “A-HA” moment of clarity and they just “know” it’s the answer.

Some through intuition and “feeling” – as if there’s a higher power pushing them to do a certain thing.

Some through a certain odd synchronicity. Like a seminar booklet, or book falling from the shelves as if saying “pick me! pick me!”

Then they figure out the answer there.

At times, I’ve received istikharah answer through waking visions.

It’s like quick slideshows being played in my head, which I know haven’t originated from my own logical mind.

Pay attention to them.

You can even fish out the answer by asking the yourself the questions.

Or write down the question with different options a paper. Then genuinely ask which option is the innermost you clinging to.

6. Repeat The Istikharah If Necessary

If you haven’t gotten clarity yet, don’t hesitate to repeat the istikharah. There is no limit to repeating istikharah.

You can do it 3 times or 30 times until your heart and mind have really “soaked in” the Divine’s answer.

Persistence wins.

Then evaluate yourself again.

Have you actually developed khushoo during the prayer?

Were the hunches, signs, and answers, coming to you but you ignored them?

Or did they come but you disliked the answer and want one that your ego thinks is “better”?

Did you do any big sins that could possibly have put a veil over your supplication keeping them from being answered?

If you did one of these things, you might want to fix them first before repeating another Istikharah.

7. Accept the Answer, but Don’t Ignore the Logic

Sometimes the Istikharah answer is not the kind of answer you want. But Allah with His Divine knowledge, knows best what you need.

And all you have to do is put your TRUST in Him.

It may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know
Chapter 2, verse 216

I have to emphasize here that Istikharah is NEVER a substitute for logic.

By all means, do use the external resources you have to make decision. But why not ask The All-Knowing Mastermind Himself, to guide you, aid you through the process?

I don’t know about you, but in my (limited) personal experiences, insha-Allah the Istikharah answers have never disappointed me so far.

Have you recalled any Istikharah moments that later changed the course of your life? Anything you want to add?

Feel free to share your own story below. I’d love to hear from you!

Fatima Ariadne is a graduate student and writer. In her blog Decoding Eden she shared insightful tips on self improvement, inner reflections, and spiritual growth based on Islamic teachings and practical psychology. Visit her blog to get the free ebook “100 Beautiful Positivity Hadiths to Spice Up Your Soul.”

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10 Responses to 7 Tips to Make A Life Changing Istikharah Prayer

  1. Assalamu alaikkum .. May Allah reward you with good here and in the hereafter..
    Alhamdullilah that this will be helpful to me .. Jazakallahu Khairan

  2. A ssalam alekum
    I have a story about istakara that happened to me years ago but it was one that dramatically changed my life .I was living in cairo with my children and divorced from my egyptian husband.I was living alone in a beautiful flat with a very good job and a full life and my children having a very good education.But the law in egypt is that when the eldest child is 11 years old ,the father has a right to take the child.My daughter was going to be 11 years in March and it was now only October.I didn’t know what todo , whether to leave cairo and come back to UK or stay in Cairo (because my x husband may not take my daughter).My friends were worried and I kept doing istakara from the October before as I knew it was a huge decision and one that would affect my children .But I never had a clear answer.I kept repeating the istakara for months and still with no answer. I went to 3 lawyers to ask for advise and they all told me to leave before my daughter was 11 years old.But my heart was not happy about it. When February came , my friends even started to tell me to leave Cairo but I couldn’t.I kept telling them that Allah has not given me permision and until I have permission I cannot go .I needed to have Allahs blessing in this as it would affect my life and my children.I still kept praying the Istakata and but I kept having the same answer in my heart … no permission.
    March came and her birthday came. My friends were nervous ,the evening of her birthday my x husband came to my flat to see her but she was sleeping .He wanted to come into the flat but I refused as I didn’t want to be alone with him.He became aggressive and walked into my flat and sat down in the living room .He said to me that he can walk into my flat any time he wants , that he can kick me out of my flat when he wants and that from then on in , he can do whatever he likes as regards my life. Suddenly in my heart ,my istakara was answered and it said…you have permission to leave now.He eventually left and immediately I called my good religious friends who within 3 days packed 11 years of my life into 3 suitcases. I had no place to live in UK ( my family come from Wales and I didn’t want to be a burden on them) ,and very little money.But I felt at peace and serene because I knew without doubt that Allah was going to plan everything for me because I now had permission to go. On the evening before departure, it was ramadam and all my friends came to wish me goodbye but were biting their nails because they kept asking me ,”where will you go when you get off the plane?” I had no idea! Then quite late that evening another sister came to visit who I had never met before.She didn’t know about my situation and after she heard us discussing what todo , she quite casually said” Oh you can stay with me in London as my husband is travelling for a month so I am alone with the children ” And unbelievably , she was going to London in the morning ,half an hour difference in our flights!!

    There is much more to this story and many more miracles that happened .But what I realised from this experience is that even though my istakara answer was delayed or I felt I had no answer for quite a few months( because no answer to go was an answer to stay) , the istakara answer came at the right time. Secondly, it made me much stronge in faith when eventually I did have permission .I felt so strong to leave cairo with no prospects that I knew it was Allah giving me that strength and it wasn’t from my own self. Thirdly, that Allah can answer the istakakra in a second with strong command when necessary.And on a dunya level, I think that Allah wanted me to leave with no regrets because I didn’t feel good about the children not seeing their father .It was not possible to live in cairo and my x husband coming to my home and sitting alone with me .Also I was under continual threats and blackmail so I left with my conscience free of guilt.This was maybe why my istakakra was delayed or one of the reasons.

    As for my x husband , he was not religious, he would have taken my daughters and given them to his mother to take care of .So if anyone is going to say that I have no right to take my daughters away from their father ,then I did ask a sheikh in Cairo who said that if I the mother is teaching the religion and the father is not religious at all then I have more right over their welfare.

    I have many other miracle istakara’s but this one was one of the biggest

    Apologies for the story being so long

  3. Salaam. Sorry all for the delay…

    @ sis Nilou and Sakeenah : jazakallah for the kind words. insha Allah I hope more muslims’ eyes are opened to these seldom-known prophetic wisdom 🙂

    @ sis habiba : your experience is jaw-dropping. I actually learn lesson from your story too, honest. I hope your ex husband’s bad attitude doesn’t shake your imaan to Islam, and doesn’t close your heart from finding another good people to come around into your life. Personally it took years for me too to learn to let go and trust Allah (tawakkul). How many muslims being oblivious about it, blaming destiny and all and Allah. Sometimes istikharah is not about “finding answer”, but exercising our trust to Allah that He will never abandon us when we invoke Him.

  4. I think what istikhara actually is that the events or things will start shaping up in the way that is ultimately good for you.and the path to that which is not good for you will start closing up. Its not about having dreams as signs.just your path will become easy or difficult for that particular thing.

    Allah knows best.

  5. As salam alykun…i still dont understand how to make that isthikara..help..i need it very urgently because my dad wants me to follow him to a place so i can wash my head.for protection..it is not in islamic way it is idolic way.many people tells me to go with him,including my mother but i dont want to because i think it is shirk,my father is a muslim but he believes in idols way of doin things

    • No brother don’t go . That’s shirk . You should obey the Creator and then your parents. Tell your father to do tawbah and leave shirk He should trust Allah not idols.

  6. 1) Sister so that dua above is the one we should say . Can I say it in English . I read Arabic but the problem when it comes to state my problem I don’t know how to say it in Arabic .
    2) And if I have a lot subjects to study and If i dont know which ones to study and I can’t make a decision on which ones to study , can I ask Allah in the dua to guide me on which topics to study because I don’t know what decision I should take ?

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