Salat-l-Istikhara: Islamic Prayer for Guidance

This prayer for guidance is often used in important decision-making.

Muslim man praying in mosque, profile

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Anytime a Muslim is making a decision, he or she should seek Allah's guidance and wisdom. Allah alone knows what is best for us, and there may be good in what we perceive as bad, and bad in what we perceive as good.

Seeking Guidance

If you are ambivalent or unsure about a decision you have to make, there is a specific prayer for guidance (Salat-l-Istikhara) that you can do to ask for Allah's help in making your decision. Should you marry this certain person? Should you attend this graduate school? Should you take this job offer or that one? ​Allah knows what is best for you, and if you are not sure about a choice that you have, seek His guidance.

The Prophet Muhammad said, "If one of you is concerned about some practical undertaking, or about making plans for a journey, he should perform two cycles (rak'atain) of voluntary prayer." Then he/she should say the following du'a:

In Arabic

View the Arabic text.

Translation

Oh, Allah! I seek Your guidance by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power; I have none. And You know; I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things.
Oh, Allah! If in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is good for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is bad for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it. And ordain for me the good wherever it may be, and make me content with it.

When making the du'a, the actual matter or decision should be mentioned instead of the words "hathal-amra" ("this matter").

After doing salat-l-istikhara, you may feel more inclined toward a decision one way or the other.