It is narrated from Hazrat Jaabir () that Rasulullah () used to teach us the dua of istikharah for important matters in the same manner as he used to teach us the Surahs of the Qur’aan.
He () used to say, ”When you intend doing any important work, then read two rakaats nafl salaat and thereafter read this dua.” (which is mentioned below) (Bukhari-pg. 944)
Rasulullah () once remarked to Anas () “O Anas! When you are undecided with regards to any matter, then seek counsel from your Rabb and do this seven times. Thereafter, whatever decision prevails in your heart regard it to be beneficial.” (Shaami-Vol.1, pg. 507)
Note: It is not necessary that one sees a dream or hears a voice. Asking another person to make Istikhaarah on one’s behalf is not substantiated from any hadith. To make Mashwarah (consultation) with someone else is Sunnat.
It has been mentioned in the hadith that whomsoever makes Mashwarah will never regret and whomsoever makes Istikhaarah will never be unsuccessful.
If one does not get the opportunity to perform Salaatul Istikhaarah and needs to make Istikhaarah urgently, then reciting the dua of Istikhaarah only will suffice. If one has not learnt the dua of Istikhaarah then one should recite this concise dua: