How to do istikhara?
Istikhara” means to seek goodness from Allah (Exalted is He), meaning when one intends to do an important task they do istikhara before the task. The one who does the istikhara is as if they request Allah Almighty that, O the Knower of Unseen (Exalted is He) guide me if this task is better for me or not?
According to Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 21, Number 263:
Narrated Jabir bin ‘ Abdullah: The Prophet (Sallal Laho Alaihi Wasallam) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara, in all matters as he taught us the Suras of the Quran. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two Rakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):
WAY TO PERFORM ISTIKHARA:
First, pray Two Cycles (raka’) of ritual Prayer (nafil) such that in the first raka’ after Surah Fatiha (Allhamd) recite Surah al-Kafirun (Chapter 109) and in the second raka’ after Fatiha (Allhamd) recite Surah al-Ikhlas (Chapter 112). After finishing prayer recite this (supplication/dua’): Dua in Arabic Text above.
TRANSLATION: “O Allah! I seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) I seek strength, and I ask from You Your Great Blessings because You have the Power and I do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh, Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action (which I intend to do) is better for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for me and make it easy for me and then add blessings [baraka’] in it, for me. O, Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for me, bad for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and whatever is better for me, ordain [destine] that for me and then make me satisfied with it.”