What is istikharah prayer? How to perform istikharah prayer?
People of the age of ignorance used to draw arrows to help in making decisions in important matters like marriage, trade, etc. Thus, they hoped to find whether it would be good or bad for them. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prohibited this custom, because it had no basis and it just depended on chance. Additionally, it consisted of slander to Allah the Almighty, because the phrases “my Lord ordered me to do this” and “my Lord prohibited me to do this” were written on the arrows. Instead the Prophet (pbuh) taught his companions the method of istikharah.
The most significant benefit of istikharah is that it removes the selfish desires of human beings and helps the servants turn to Allah. This is why the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) put emphasis on istikharah and considered abandoning it as misery:
“One of the reasons of happiness for human beings is to be content with His Will. One of the reasons of their misery is to abandon istikharah…” (Tirmidhi, Qadar, 15)
Jabir (r.a.) narrates about istikharah:
“Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) taught us to perform istikharah for all our actions like he was teaching us a chapter from the Qur’an. He (pbuh) said:
“If anyone of you intends to do something, he should perform a two-Rak’at prayer other than the obligatory prayer, and then say:
O Allah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice]by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability to do good 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 the unknown. O Allah, if in Your knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it.”
Then he should mention his need while he was saying “this matter” his prayer. (Bukhari, Daawat, 48)
Peace and tranquility appears in the heart of a servant, who turns to Allah and sincerely asks for help from Allah. Especially, for a solution of a problem, and an inclination that emerges about a matter with the permission of Allah. And the servant who acts in accordance with the inclination in his/her heart will be protected from doing wrong.
Source: An Excellent Exemplar, Osman Nuri Topbaş, Erkam Publications