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How to Perform Istikhara for Marriage: A Complete Guide

Istikhara for Marriage

Are you considering a marriage proposal but feeling unsure if it’s the right decision? One of the most powerful tools Muslims have for seeking guidance in important matters is the istikhara prayer. Istikhara, which literally means “to seek goodness”, is a special prayer that invokes Allah’s help in making a choice. It is particularly useful when deciding about marriage, one of life’s most momentous decisions. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about istikhara for marriage – what it is, why it’s important, how to perform it correctly, common misconceptions about istikhara, and how to interpret the results. By the end, you’ll be fully equipped to use this invaluable Islamic practice to seek Allah’s guidance as you contemplate this major life decision.

What is Istikhara?

Istikhara refers to the practice of seeking guidance from Allah when faced with a decision. It is done by performing a specific prayer, known as salat al-istikhara, followed by a supplication (dua) in which one asks Allah to guide them to what is best. The basis for istikhara comes from the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is narrated that he used to teach the companions to perform istikhara for all matters, just as he taught them the chapters of the Quran. This demonstrates the central importance of istikhara in the life of a Muslim. Istikhara is not a means of discovering or predicting the future. Rather, it is a humble acknowledgment that Allah alone knows what is best for us, and that we are seeking His guidance. By performing istikhara with sincerity and then making a decision, we are putting our trust in Allah’s plan, even if it differs from what we think we want.

The Importance of Istikhara for Marriage

Marriage is one of the most important decisions a person makes in their life. A good, loving marriage can be a source of immense joy, companionship, and spiritual growth. On the other hand, a bad marriage filled with conflict and resentment can be a major trial and source of misery. Islam places great emphasis on choosing a righteous, compatible spouse. The Quran describes spouses as garments for each other (2:187), and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised us to choose spouses based on religion and character. However, no matter how carefully we vet a potential spouse, only Allah truly knows if someone is right for us. There are always unknowns in marriage – will our personalities be compatible in daily life? Will we be able to handle challenges together? Are there unforeseen issues in the future? This is where istikhara comes in. By performing istikhara before accepting a proposal, we are seeking Allah’s guidance on whether this person is truly a good match for us. We are asking Allah, with His infinite wisdom and knowledge of the unseen, to either facilitate the marriage if it is good for us, or to turn us away from it if it is not. What could be a greater source of blessing and reassurance in such a weighty decision?

How to Perform Istikhara

The method of performing istikhara is simple and consists of just two main steps: performing a prayer, and making a dua. However, there are some important details to keep in mind in order to perform it properly.

Step 1: Pray Two Rakats of Voluntary Prayer

The istikhara prayer is two rakats (cycles) of voluntary prayer. It can be performed at any time that voluntary prayers are allowed – meaning, not during the forbidden times such as sunrise, noon, and sunset. To begin, make your intention to pray two rakats of istikhara. In the first rakat, after Surah Al-Fatihah, recite Surah Al-Kafirun. In the second rakat, after Al-Fatihah, recite Surah Al-Ikhlas.

Step 2: Recite the Istikhara Dua

After completing the two rakats, recite the istikhara dua. The dua is as follows:Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi ‘ilmika, wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika, wa as’aluka min fadlikal-‘azim. Fa innaka taqdiru wa la aqdir, wa ta’lamu wa la a’lam, wa anta ‘allamul ghuyub. Allahumma in kunta ta’lamu anna hadhal-amra [say your need] khayrun li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa ‘aqibati amri, faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li, thumma barik li fih. Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hadhal-amra [say your need] sharrun li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa ‘aqibati amri, fasrifhu ‘anni, wasrifni ‘anhu, waqdur liyal-khayra haythu kan, thumma ardini bih.Translation: “O Allah, I seek the counsel of Your Knowledge, and I seek the help of Your Omnipotence, and I beseech You for Your Magnificent Grace. Surely, You are Capable and I am not. You know and I know not, and You are the Knower of the unseen. O Allah, if You know that this matter [mention the matter] is good for me in my religion and in my life and for my welfare in the life to come, – (or say: in the present and the future of my life) – then ordain it for me and make it easy for me, then bless me in it. And if You know that this matter is bad for me in my religion and in my life and for my welfare in the life to come, – (or say: in the present and the future of my life) – then distance it from me, and distance me from it, and ordain for me what is good wherever it may be, and help me to be content with it.” When reciting the dua, pause at the points where it says “say your need” to mention the specific matter you are seeking guidance on. In this case, you can say something like “this marriage proposal to [name of the person]”.It’s important to recite the dua in Arabic if possible, as this was the language used by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). However, if you cannot recite it in Arabic, you may say a translation in your own language. The most important thing is that you understand what you are saying and make the supplication with sincerity and presence of heart.

Repeat If Needed

If after performing istikhara you still feel unsure or conflicted about the decision, you can repeat the istikhara prayer. The scholars mention it can be done up to 7 times if needed. Ultimately, you should continue performing istikhara until you feel content with your decision.

Common Misconceptions About Istikhara

There are some widespread misconceptions about istikhara that are important to clear up:

1. Istikhara is only for marriage

While istikhara is commonly associated with marriage decisions, it is not limited to this. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us to perform istikhara for all matters, big and small. One can pray istikhara for decisions related to career, business, travel, and more.

2. You will see a dream with the answer

Many people believe that after performing istikhara, you will see a clear sign in a dream indicating a “yes” or “no” answer. While it’s possible to receive guidance through a dream, this is not a guaranteed or necessary part of istikhara. The answer may come in different ways.

3. A “bad” outcome means your istikhara was wrong

If you perform istikhara, make a decision, and then face hardships or challenges, it doesn’t mean your istikhara was “wrong”. We have to trust that whatever Allah decrees for us is ultimately good, even if it is difficult in the short term. There may be lessons or growth for us in the struggle.

4. Istikhara replaces research and consultation

Istikhara is not a replacement for doing your own due diligence. Before performing istikhara for a marriage proposal, you should still take steps to get to know the person, ask questions, consult trusted advisors, and ensure you are compatible. Istikhara is an additional step to seek divine guidance.

Interpreting the Results of Istikhara

One of the most common questions about istikhara is how to interpret the “results” or understand the answer. Guidance can come in a few different ways:

Contentment in the heart

After performing istikhara, you may feel a strong sense of contentment and peace with one of the choices. You may feel relief at having a clear answer. This feeling of tranquility and “rightness” is often a sign that this is the path that is good for you.

Feeling inclined toward a choice

You may feel strongly inclined or drawn toward one of the choices after istikhara. It may weigh heavily on your mind or keep coming back to you. This could be a sign that it is the better choice.

Ease or difficulty opening up

Sometimes the answer comes in the form of ease or difficulty in taking the next steps. If you perform istikhara about a marriage proposal and then find that the process of moving forward is very smooth and easy, this could be a sign of goodness in the match. On the other hand, if you face a lot of obstacles, delays, or closed doors in proceeding, this could be a sign that it is not the right path.


As mentioned earlier, some people do receive guidance through dreams after performing istikhara. This could come in the form of a clear “yes” or “no” answer, or through symbolic imagery. However, dreams are not a necessary or guaranteed part of istikhara, and not everyone will receive guidance this way.

Ultimately, istikhara is not about receiving a black-and-white answer, but about seeking Allah’s guidance and blessings in the path you choose. It is a means of making a decision with tawakkul (trust in Allah), knowing that He will guide you to what is best.


Istikhara is a powerful tool that allows us to seek Allah’s guidance in our decision-making. It is especially important when it comes to major life choices like marriage. By performing istikhara with sincerity and then proceeding with tawakkul, we can feel confident that we are following the path that Allah has decreed for us.If you are considering a marriage proposal, don’t hesitate to perform istikhara. Take your time to complete the steps mindfully and then look for signs of guidance in your heart. Have faith that Allah will guide you to what is best, even if it is not what you expected. May Allah guide us all to the spouses that are best for us in this life and the next, and grant us marriages filled with love, mercy, and tranquility. Ameen!


1. Can I perform istikhara for someone else?

No, istikhara should be performed by the person who is making the decision. However, it is permissible for parents or guardians to perform istikhara when deciding on a marriage proposal for their child.

2. How long should I wait for an answer after performing istikhara?

There is no set time frame for receiving an answer after istikhara. For some, the answer may come quickly, while for others it may take longer. The key is to have patience and trust in Allah’s timing. If you are unsure, you can repeat the istikhara.

3. What if I get a “no” answer but I still want to proceed?

Receiving a “no” answer in istikhara can be disappointing if it is something we desired. However, part of the process is submitting to Allah’s decree, trusting that He knows what is best for us. It may be that Allah is protecting you from something or that He has something better planned. Try to be content with the outcome and move forward with faith.

4. Can I perform istikhara during my menstrual period?

Yes, women can perform istikhara during menstruation by reciting only the dua, without the prayer. The prayer can be made up later if desired.

5. What if I don’t know how to pray or recite the dua?

If you are not familiar with how to perform the prayer or recite the dua, you can seek guidance from an imam, scholar, or knowledgeable friend or family member. You can also find tutorials online. Remember that the most important thing is your sincerity in seeking Allah’s guidance.

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