After my first attempt at istikharah, I feel like it perhaps didn't go how it's meant to. Basically, this is what happened:

  1. I tried to perform istikharah (but I did it quite clumsily).
  2. I asked a good Muslim man if he'd be interested in marriage.
  3. He basically said no (although he was rather nice about it).

Question: Is this how istikharah is meant to work?

I certainly got an answer to my question, and it allows me to move on without uncertainty. Indeed, part of the dua is:

But if in Your Knowledge, this matter be bad for my faith (Deen), for my livelihood, and for the consequences of my affairs, then turn it away from me, and turn me away therefrom.

So I literally asked Allah for this (and trust Allah will help me find something better suited in the future). Indeed, I like the style of asking about marriage early, before there's significant investment in the relationship. But there weren't any dreams involved, nor anything apparently supernatural. It seemed very direct.

  • 2
    This is just an example how istikharah might work: Scenario 1: Step 1 (No istikharah) Step 2. "Will you marry me?" Step 3 "Yes" , Result: Life ruined... Following your scenario with istikharah; ... Step 3. "No", Result: Life not ruined, you will inshallah find someone better with the guide of God, with a better future. – Kilise Jun 1 '17 at 19:50
  • I think the question should be changed to ' How does Istikharah work?' – Armaan Jun 1 '17 at 20:55
  • @Armaan: That would require rewriting the entire question; and wouldn't the answer be found by simply Googling How does Istikharah work? Kilise seemed to get the idea. – Rebecca J. Stones Jun 2 '17 at 1:38

Your interesting/significant question a little seem to be a little complicate (at least based on my perception), but I strive to answer it by giving some related points. (Note that my answer is according to Shia Islam)

Firstly, note that there are 2 sorts of Istikharah,

1: Asking Khair (blessing) from Allah which is related to everything, and is not exclusively regarding doubt.

2: Istikharah in doubt situation

Secondly, concerning Istikharah (No.2) which is in doubt status, it is done as the final step, namely: you ought not to do it if you have not done 2 previous steps of that. And actually before Istikharah, you should use thinking about the issue, then –if you didn’t conclude-, consulting to aware (related) individuals, then it is better if you prayer+Zikr-Istikharah, afterwards (in such positive-holy situation of praying, look at your inside and feel which way/item your inside is more inclined to, then do that. If you were still confused/doubted about which way you should choose, afterwards use Istikharah by Quran.

Of course, Kilise mentioned some assumptions which seem to be profit. Anyhow, the significant point which ought to be paid attention is that Istikharah (as much as I’ve perceived) is not like sortes/augur or prediction, but it just help us in the situations which we are doubted (e.g.) doing/choosing 2 issues or practices, then Istikharah help us to choose the more appropriate way (and actually helps us to exit from such confusing position.

Meanwhile, to the best of my knowledge, there is no guarantee in the accuracy of the Istikhara if we directly refer to it (without passing its previous steps such as thinking/consulting to aware related individuals and …). Besides, AFAIK, Allah asks us not to use Istikharah as much as possible and factually use/apply our mind/intellect/decision (+consulting) instead of that, and in truth it ought to use just in really doubt situation, otherwise its response might be …

Eventually, by doing Istikharah (in its accurate way), it will indicates/helps you to choose the best way for you (that you really have very doubt about the best way). But the significant point is that:

Perhaps, occasionally, you follow the result of Istikhara, but you apparently assume that the helping/result of Istikhara wasn’t be profitable for you, but the fact is that:

Your profits (that Allah knows everything) was not in that, and actually if you would choose the other way (against Istikharah), its consequence would be harmful for you (in long-term period) … God willing it can help you to some extent.

Source: www.islamquest.net (in Arabic/Farsi)



Istikhara is definitely one of those things that has a lot of mystery behind it in our community. Let me help clarify it for you:

Istikhāra literally means "to seek that which is good" and is the third part of a 3-step decision making process:

  1. Preparation - Use your own rationale and assess your circumstances. Do your own research.
  2. Istishāra (seek advice) - Ask someone of experience and knowledge in the topic you're looking for guidance on
  3. Istikhāra (seek goodness) - Maybe you've narrowed it down, but are conflicted in making your final decision. You want confidence and clarity, and this is where istikhāra finally comes into play

Now, what about the outcome? You will NOT necessarily see a dream/vision/sign/etc. Allāh ﷻ will place a bit of inclination in your heart towards going through with the action or not. Istikhāra is a natural process. Don't expect anything otherworldly. All istikhāra ensures is that you have the blessings of Allāh backing your choice (source)

Insha'Allah things work out for you.

  • Note that this site is not meant as a platform to promote your website! – Medi1Saif Oct 30 '17 at 10:30
  • I fixed it. Insha'Allah this is more in line with commenting policies – Munir Eltal Oct 30 '17 at 12:03

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