The description of Salat AL istikhara
THE TRUE MEANING OF ISTIKHARA
Often times people mistake Istikharah for having a different meaning than it truly does. For the most part, this consists of people assuming that seeing a dream from Allah, regarding the situation being 'good' or 'bad' is a vital part of Istikharah. However, this is not the case.
WHAT DOES ISTIKHARA MEAN?
The word Istikhara directly means, to ask Allah to guide one to the right sort of action concerning a job or deed. 'Khair' means good (asking Allah to guide you to the good or right answer). Meaning, you're not asking Allah to show you a vision, through a dream.
DREAMS AND ISTIKHARA
People sometimes think of their dreams, as answers from God. However, dreams sometimes consist of our thoughts, ambitions, etc. which are already made up in our minds. Often times we mistake these dreams/thoughts for Allah's word. In the time of marriage or finding a life partner, people ask their relatives to do Istikharah as well. However, the most important people in this marriage are the guy and girl getting married. So they should do it for themselves. We are taught from a very young age to ask Allah for a suitable life partner, this is also a sort of Istikhara. So once again, it is important that the guy and girl do Istikharah. If two people get contradicting dreams it could mean that the message was actually the same but misinterpreted. Be certain that you can't get two different answers from Allah, it's a mistake in our own interpretation. Which is why, the guy and girl should pray, and go with their gut feeling, not what others dream of.
Read the Dua for Istikhara
Many people say that the 2 Rak'ah of Nafl prayer should be read after Isha'a only because one can go to sleep directly after, and see a dream (if that's meant to happen). However, no where in the Hadith is a specific time for performing Istikhara given. In the Hadith istikhara it shows that one should perform it whenever they need to.
PRAYING FOR DECISION PURPOSES
Please remember that Istikhara is not only for marriages! It should be an important part of every important decision that you make in your life. For example, if something comes up, and you only have a few moments to make a decision, you can still do Istikhara because it's technically just a prayer. Whether this be a decision regarding school, people, friends, jobs etc., pray to Allah to help you make the decision that would be beneficial to you in this world and the next.