How is Istikhara prayer (Salat) performed?

The Details of the Question
How is Istikhara prayer (Salat) performed?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The prayer that is performed in order to understand whether something to be done will be good or bad or whether that thing should be done immediately or should it be postponed is called salat istikhara. It consists of two rakats. A person who wants to make istikhara should perform that salat before going to bed; he should read chapter al-Kafirun after al-Fatiha in the first rakat and chapter al-Ikhlas in the second rakat. After the salat, he should recite the istikhara prayer. He should have wudu and lie down turning towards qiblah. If he sees white or green in his dream, it indicates that it is good for him; if he sees black or red, it indicates that it is bad for him. Salat istikhara is ordered to be performed 7 nights and then one should decide about the thing that comes to his heart. Istikhara is performed for the things that cannot be decided or that are hesitated. Istikhara is only performed when one thinks of doing something but cannot decide how to do it or hesitates.  If something is definitely known to be correct, or if something is consulted and a decision is made about it, then istikhara is not performed about it. When what is right is found and decided, there is no need for istikhara. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) adviced his companions to make istikhara. Those who cannot perform salat istikhara due to an excuse can only recite the istikhara prayer. The following is stated in a hadith: "He who makes istikhara will not be harmed; he who consults will not regret;..." The prayer of istikhara that our Prophet recited is as follows:

اَللّهُمَّ إِنِّى أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بَقُدْرَتِكَ وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظيمِ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلاَ أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ اَللّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هذَا اْلاَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لى فِى دينى وَمَعَاشِى وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِى فَاقْدُرْهُ لى وَيَسِّرْهُ لى ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لى فيهِ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هذَا اْلأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لى فِى دينى وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرى فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّى وَاصْرِفْنى عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِى الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ أَرْضِنى بِه

Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi-ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika wa as`aluka min fadlika`l-azim. Fa-innaka taqdiru wa la akdiru wa ta`lamu wa la a`lamu wa anta allamu`l-ghuyub. Allahumma in kunta ta`lamu anna haza`l-amra khayrun li fi dini wa maashi wa aqibati amri faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li. Summa barik li fih. Wa in kunta ta`lamu haza`l-amra sharrun li fi dini wa maashi wa aqibati amri, fasrifhu anni wasrifni anhu waqdur li`l-khayra haythu kana. Summa ardini bih...
Translation of the prayer: 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.
Mehmet Dikmen

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