* Bismillahi-r-Rahmani-r-Raheem *
The following is from the book "Selected Prayers" compiled by Dr. Jamal Badawi.
When seeking guidance in decision-making (Istikharah)
Allahomma Inni Astakheeroka Bi3ilmik. Wa'astaqdiroka Biqodratik. Wa'as'aloka min Fadlikal3azeem. Fa'innaka Taqdiru Wala Aqdir. Wata3lamo Wala-a3lam. Wa'anta-3allamul ghuyoob.
Allahomma In Kunta Ta3lamu Anna (Hathal-Amra) Khayul-lee Fi Deenee Wama3ashi Wa3ajila Amri Wa'ajilah, Faqdorho lee, Wayassirho lee, Thomma-barik lee fih.
Wa'in Konta Ta3lamo Anna (Hathal-Amra) sharrul-lee Fi Deenee. Wama3ashi. Wa3ajila Amri. Wa'ajilaho. Fasrifho 3annee. Wasrifnee 3anh. Waqdur leyal-khayr Haytho kan. Thomma ardini Bih.
Translation of du'a:
O Allah! I seek Your guidance (in making a choice) 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.
O Allah! If in Your knowledge, (this matter) is good for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs; immediate and in the distant, then ordain for me, make it easy for me and bless it for me. And if in Your knolwedge, (this matter) is bad for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs; immediate and in the distant, then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it. And ordain for me the good wherever it be and make me pleased with it.
1. The above du'a is to be recited when there is uncertainty about the advisability of taking a decision, provided it is Islamically permissable.
2. After performing wudu' (ablution), one should offer two rakahs (sunnah required for this purpose).
3. Before receiting the dua' it should be made sure that the person is not already inclined to a given decision; otherwise it will mean the person is not serious about seeking guidance from Allah (SWT).
4. In making this dua' the actual matter or decision concerning which divine guidance is being sought should be mentioned instead of the words (Hathal Amra) in trasnliteration or the words "this matter" in the translation above.
5. After reciting the dua' (immediately or later on), one may feel more favorably disposed toward one choice or the other.
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Salatul Istekharah From The Book Fiqh Us-Sunnah By As-Sayyid Sabiq
It is a sunnah that, if one must choose between permissible alternatives, one should pray two rak'as sunnah, be they regular sunnah prayers or a prayer for entering a mosque, and so on, during any time of the day or night, and to recite therein whatever one wishes of the Qu'ran after reciting Al-Fatiha. Then one should praise Allah and send salutations to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and recite the following supplication which has been recorded by Bukhari in Jabir's narration:"The Prophet, peace be upon him, would teach us al-Istikharah for all of our affairs as he would teach us a surah of the Qu'ran. He said 'if one of you is deliberating over an act, he should pray two rak'ahs and say:
"O Allah, I consult You as You are All-Knowing and I appeal to You to give me power as You are Omnipotent, I ask You for Your great favor, for You have power and I do not, and You know all of the hidden matters. O Allah! If you know that this matter (then mention it) is good for me in my religion, my livlihood, and for my life in the Hereafter (or he said 'for my present and future life') then ordain it for me, make it (easy) for me and bless it for me. And if You know that this matter is bad for my religion, my livlihood and my life in the Hereafter (or he said 'for my present and future life') then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and ordain the good for me wherever it be and make me be pleased with it."
There is nothing authentic concerning anything specific that is to be recited in the prayer nor is there any authentic report concerning how many times one should repeat it.
An-Nawawi holds that "after performing the istikhara, a person must do what he is wholeheartedly inclined to do and feels good about doing and should not insist on doing what he has desired to do before making the istikhara. And if his feelings change, he should leave what he had intended to do, otherwise he is not completely leaving the choice of Allah, and would not be honest in seeking aid from Allah's power and knowledge. Sincerity in seeking Allah's choice means that one should completely leave what one oneself desired or determined."