I am not good at learning and speaking Arabic and few matters has arisen in life, where I need guidance from Allah.
Is it possible to do istakhara in English or just listen to the dua for istakhara? If so what is the right way?
Islam Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Muslims, experts in Islam, and those interested in learning more about Islam. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Is a du'a made in an other language valid?
It is acceptable and allowed to perform any du'a (except for the prayers) in any other language so far there's a consensus among scholars. Generally we can say there's no clear evidence for a prohibition to use a different language or an order to use Arabic -only- so it is a matter of ijtihad, it seems that the strongest opinion is: if you are able to speak Arabic and understand what you say you should (at least it is preferable or recommended) make the supplication in Arabic.
The main idea of dua' (suplication) is to get close to your Creator and communicate with HIM so usually it would help to hold the focus on this conversation if you address HIM in the language you speak best!
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
It is permissible to make du’aa’ in Arabic and in languages other than Arabic. Allaah knows the intention of the supplicant and what he wants, no matter what language he speaks, because He hears all the voices in all different languages, asking for all kinds of needs.
Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 22/488-489. (source islamqa #20953)
See also islamqa #11588.
Source of the supplication of Istikhara and its interpretation
The du'a or supplication is quoted in sahih al-Bukhari, sunan abi Dawod, sunan ibn Majah, sunan an-Nasa'i and Jami' at-Tirmdihi, and it is sahih however at-Tirmidhi remarked that it has only been narrated/transmitted through one chain!
And in no commentary on these books the scholars considered it as mandatory to perform the du'a in Arabic they also interpreted the statement:
...he would teach us a surah (chapter) from the Qur'an....
as an emphasis on the importance of this act or on the wording of this du'a (this is quoted as one of the interpretations in fath al-Barry by ibn hajar al-'Asqalani after quoting the first).
On the way how you may perform it
You should pray two rak'a for the sake of Allah (so it's an optional prayer) and afterwards stay sitting and praise Allah (say for example subhan Allah) and thank him (say for example al-Hamdulillah) and send prayers to our beloved Prophet (for example salat ibrahimiya) this can be done at any stage so you may keep it for the end (these are things that are recommended for any supplication). You should have the du'a -text- (supplication) written on a paper and read it for yourself while you raise your hands for du'a
I'm not sure if just listening to the du'a and saying amin/ameen would be considered as valid, that's why I would recommend reading or listening and repeating in case you don't want to read from a paper
while reciting the du'a you should have your focus on the matter you need guidance for/about (for example think of it for by having in mind all benefits, all losses and possible results) so try to prepare yourself as good as you can to let this istikhara be a success, by being focused and aware of the fact that you are consulting or communicating with your Creator! Be aware that you can re-do istikhara.
I noticed your question was never directly answered as to Istikhara prayer itself. For future reference, the istikhara dua should be recited in Arabic.
What the other comment said is correct, Allah understands all languages of du'a, but this particular du'a is kind of a special case.
The hadith we get the istikhāra prayer from states, “The Prophet ﷺ used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara, in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Qur'an.” From this, scholars have interpreted it to mean that this du’a should be recited in Arabic just as a surah from the Quran would be.
Now, maybe you're new/returning to Islam and have real trouble prononcing the du'a, then go ahead and recite it in English, but make a committment to yourself to learn it in Arabic for future uses insha'Allah.
For more information on the dua and prayer, check out https://www.istikhara.com