Salāt al-Istikhāra is not restricted to large decisions or specific matters in one’s life. Rather, one may pray it for the smallest everyday decisions and even for a general seeking of all that is best—making it a momentous means of drawing closer to Allah Most High. Some scholars, including Imām ‘Abd al-Wahhāb al-Sha’rānī (رضي الله عنه) and Ibn ‘Arafa (رضي الله عنه) before him, have deemed the istikhāra prayer seeking general guidance in life as being superior.
Many of the righteous perform the istikhāra prayer on a daily basis, seeking blessing in all their affairs of the day and to repel any afflictions. The great Hanafi scholar and hadīth expert from Aleppo, Shaikh ‘Abd Allāh Sirāj al-Dīn (رضي الله عنه) mentions in his book on prayer that it is the way of many Sufis, including Ibn al-‘Arabī (رضي الله عنه), to pray the istikhāra prayer at the beginning of their day, after sunrise, asking Allah to guide them in general to all good and to keep away all evil from them.
The Muhaddith Shah Wali Allāh al-Dehlavi (رضي الله عنه) has related that the practice of the righteous of the Qādiri Sufi path is to perform the istikhāra prayer with the awwābīn prayer after Maghrib. This is done by making the intention that the last 2-rakats of the awwābīn prayer are also the istikhāra prayer. In both rakats, following al-Fātiha they would recite sūrat al-Ikhlāṣ 6-times, sūrat al-Falaq once and sūrat al-Nāss once. On completion of the prayer, the istikhāra supplication is made.
It is also the practice of some of the spiritual masters to perform the istikhāra prayer on yawm al-Jumu’a (Fridays)—with the intention of making istikhāra for the affairs of the week; the first day of the month—with the intention of making istikhāra for the month ahead; Awwal Muḥarram (start of Muḥarram), Nisf Sha’bān (mid-Sha’bān), or yawm al-Īd (Day of Eid)—with the intention of making istikhāra for the whole year.
- Perform 2-rak’a [rak’atain] prayer in the traditional manner with the following intention:
اُصَلِّىْ صَلَاةَ الاِسْتِخَارَةِ الْيَوْمِيَّةِ رَكْعَتَيْنِ لِلّٰهِ تَعَالٰى، اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ،
I intend to pray 2-rak’a of Ṣalāt al-Istikhāra al-Yawmiyya for the sake of Allah Most High. Allah is Greater!
- In both rak’a, recite the following after al-Fātiha:
سُوْرَةُ الْاِخْلَاصِ (٦)،سُوْرَةُ الْفَلَقِ (١)،سُوْرَةُ النَّاسِ (١)
sūrat al-Ikhlāṣ (6-times), sūrat al-Falaq (once) and sūrat al-Nāss (once).
- On completion, recite the istikhāra supplication.
Success is from Allah and He is the Guide!
- Sayed, R (2017). The Sacred Months. Sakina, UK.
- The Prayer of Istikhara: A Practical Reader. Qibla Academy.