Life is full of decisions, big and small. Some, like choosing a career path or moving to a new city, come with visible pros and cons. Other choices, like picking who to marry, can be super confusing, whether we’re considering the path of Istikhara for love marriage or the traditional route of an arranged marriage. In such moments, Muslims turn to Istikhara, a beautiful and powerful prayer seeking Allah’s guidance towards the best course of action. 

What is Istikhara?

The word “Istikhara” itself translates to “seeking the good” or “choosing the best.” It is a two-part practice: 

Prayer: Two rak’ahs (cycles) of optional prayer are performed, followed by a specific supplication asking Allah for guidance and clarity. 

Reflection and Observation: After the prayer, the individual remains attentive to their feelings, dreams, and signs in their everyday life that might point towards the answer. 

However, it’s important to understand that: 

  • It’s not fortune-telling

Istikhara isn’t about getting a definitive answer or “seeing signs.” It’s about seeking inner peace and aligning your choice with what God deems best for you. 

  • A broader process

Istikhara should be combined with careful research, contemplation, and consideration of both your intellect and heart. 

Reasons for Performing Istikhara for Marriage 

Marriage is a sacred bond, a foundation for family and personal growth. It’s natural to seek reassurance and Allah’s blessing when making such a momentous decision. Istikhara provides peace and clarity amid the complexities of selecting a spouse. 

Unfortunately, some individuals misuse the concept of Istikhara for their own convenience. They may employ it as a delaying tactic when they’re not keen on a particular proposal. In such cases, they might claim they need to perform Istikhara before deciding, all the while continuing their search for more suitable options. When they finally find a proposal that aligns with their preferences, they may cite the results of the Istikhara prayer as a reason for rejecting the previous proposal.  

This manipulation not only undermines the true purpose of Istikhara but also disrespects the feelings and efforts of others involved in the process. Such actions highlight the importance of sincerity and integrity in seeking divine guidance and making decisions. 

In some cases, when a person wants to pursue a love marriage against their parents’ wishes, the parents might suggest performing Istikhara for love marriage. However, their true intention may not be to seek genuine guidance from Allah, but rather to trap their child into accepting their decision.  

This misuse of Istikhara undermines the individual’s ability to make their own choices and distorts the true purpose of seeking divine guidance. It can leave the person feeling unable to challenge the results of the Istikhara, even if they don’t align with their own desires. This practice disregards the importance of mutual respect and consent in marriage and perpetuates an unhealthy power dynamic within the family. 

Indeed, it is undeniable that the majority of people perform Istikhara with sincere intentions and without any malice. Here are some reasons why Muslims opt to perform Istikhara for marriage: 

1. Clarity in Confusing Situations 

Istikhara can bring clarity and inner peace, guiding you towards the person who aligns best with your values and long-term goals when you’re presented with multiple potential partners. 

2. Overcoming Doubts and Hesitations 

Even in a seemingly perfect match, doubts and anxieties can arise. Istikhara allows you to introspect and receive spiritual guidance, fostering confidence in your decision. 

3. Seeking Allah’s Will Above All 

Ultimately, marriage is about finding compatibility not just with another person, but also with Allah’s plan for your life. Istikhara reminds you that true happiness lies in submitting to His will and choosing what aligns with your spiritual growth. 

Additionally, performing Istikhara for marriage reflects a profound trust in Allah’s wisdom. It acknowledges that while individuals may have their preferences and desires, ultimately, Allah knows what is best for them. By seeking divine guidance through Istikhara, individuals demonstrate their belief in the power of prayer and their willingness to surrender to Allah’s plan for their lives. This trust instills a sense of calm and reassurance, knowing that whatever the outcome may be, it is ordained by Allah and is ultimately for their benefit. 

4. Finding Comfort and Acceptance 

In cases of love marriage, where societal or familial pressures may exist, Istikhara for love marriage empowers individuals to follow their hearts while seeking Allah’s approval, providing comfort and acceptance in their decision. 

5. Respecting Religious Tradition 

Performing Istikhara for marriage honors Islamic customs, showing a commitment to seeking divine guidance in important life decisions, including marriage. 

How to Perform Istikhara 

Before proceeding with Istikhara, it’s important to underline the necessity of pure intentions. Istikhara is not a magic formula or a guarantee of a specific outcome. Rather, it’s a process rooted in seeking Allah’s guidance, which requires sincerity, effort, and adherence to Islamic principles. 

Here are some steps on performing Istikhara: 

  • Make Wudu (ablution) and ensure you are in a clean state. 
  • Pray two rak’ahs Nafal.
  • Recite the specific Istikhara dua after the final Tashahhud. 
  • Remain open to signs and feelings in your daily life. 
  • Consult with trusted individuals if needed, but remember the ultimate decision lies with you, guided by Allah’s light. 
  • Accept the outcome with peace, even if it differs from your initial desires.

Interpreting the Signs

Understanding the signs of Istikhara can be a bit tricky because they’re usually subtle and depend on how you feel. Some people might just feel more comfortable or clear about a certain person, while others might have special dreams or notice coincidences. The important thing is to be honest with yourself and pay attention to how you feel. Try to see these signs in the context of your prayers and what Islam teaches you. 

It’s important to remember

1. After performing Istikhara, there isn’t a particular sign that you should expect to receive. Instead, you might notice that you feel drawn towards one person, find it easy to connect with their family, or face unexpected difficulties with someone else. It’s important to trust your instincts and go with what feels most comfortable and right for you.

2. Ultimately, the decision is yours. Istikhara offers advice, but you still have the power to decide based on your own thoughts and feelings. 

3. If you perform Istikhara for love marriage and receive favorable signs, remember, it doesn’t guarantee a perfect marriage. Challenges and adjustments are normal in any relationship. Trust that you sought guidance and made the best decision with your knowledge and faith at the time. 

4. For further understanding, it’s always recommended to consult with a trusted scholar or religious leader. They can explain Istikhara within the context of your specific situation and cultural background. 


Istikhara is a beautiful gift for those seeking Allah’s guidance in life’s important decisions, including Istikhara for love marriage. Whether you’re conducting Istikhara for love marriage or for an arranged one, approach it with sincerity, dedication, and an open mind. By doing so, you can navigate the intricacies of selecting a life partner with tranquility, clarity, and the assurance that you’re on a path blessed by Allah.  

Remember, true happiness lies not just in finding the right person, but in finding the right path, guided by Allah’s love and wisdom.  

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