How to Perform Dua Salat Istikhara?
Istikhara (Arabic) means to ask Allah to guide one to the right thing concerning any affair in one’s life, especially when one has to choose between two permissible alternatives.
How to pray Dua Salat Istikhara step-by step:
1. Perform Wudu (the ablution) if you do not have it already.
2. Pray 2 rakats either with the intention of praying Istikhara separately by itself or jointly with 2 rakat of, for example, tahajjud.
3. Immediately after you have completed the 2 rakats, recite the below mentioned Istikhara Dua.
4. Name the deed you wish Allah to provide you with guidance about.
5. There is no limit on the number of times you can pray Dua Salat Istikhara.
How Many Times? It depends. Sometimes it takes only once to get the answer and sometimes it takes longer. It is better to do istakhara seven (7) times. If you have received an answer, you may stop doing istikhara. You do not have to continue to do isitkhara for 7 days. It is better that right after reciting the supplication, given above, sleep with ablution (people who cannot keep the ablution for longer times due to health problems do not have to worry about ablution before falling asleep) facing the direction of the Qibla (facing the Qibla is not required but it is a Sunnat of our beloved Prophet Peace Be Upon Him). It is better to recite salutations (durood/ salawat) on the Prophet Allah's Grace and Peace be upon him before and after the above Dua (supplication).
THE IMPORTANCE OF Dua Salat ISTIKHARAH
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: And it is very possible that you dislike something whereas it is good for you; and (similarly) it is very possible that you like something whereas it is bad for you. (Baqarah 16)
From the above ayah, we learn that man has limited knowledge and deficient intellect. Therefore, many a times, he may desire something, which may prove harmful to him, and on the other hand, he may dislike something, while it is good for him. The sole possessor of perfect knowledge and the only knower of the unseen is Allah, the Creator of man and the Controller of the system of the entire universe. Therefore if man desires good, he can only find it in the hands of Allah. According to one Hadith: "It is from the good fortune of man that he makes Istikhara (seeks good) from Allah, and it is from his misfortune that he discards Istikhara. Allamah Aini (RA) writes: "Man should never overlook any matter due to its insignificance and discard Istikharah. How many matters are regarded as insignificant and Istikharah is not made for them, due to which great harm is suffered when carrying them out or abandoning them. It is for this reason that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said: "(Every) one of you should ask his need from his sustainer to the extent that he should ask Him for salt, and for a shoelace when it breaks.
Allamah Ibnul Qayyim (RA) has written: "The person who makes Istikharah (seek good) from his Creator and makes 'mashwarah' (consults) the creation never regrets, since Allah said to (His Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)): "Consult them in matters. Thus, when You make a decision, place your trust in Allah.
A GREAT BENEFIT OF Dua Salat ISTIKHARA
From amongst the greatest benefits of Istikhara is that man becomes detached from his carnal desires, his animalistic characteristics become subject to his angelic nature and he hands himself over to Allah. When he does this, he reaches the stages of the angels whose quality is that they await the command of Allah. When Allah's command is received, they exert themselves through divine motivation and not carnal motivation. I believe that excessive Istikhara is a proven tonic for the inculcation of angelic qualities.