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Istikhara by Papers

    قَالَ الإِمَامُ الْبَاقِرَ عَليهِ السَلامْ:

    إِذَا أَرَدْتَ أَمْراً فَخُذْ سِتَّ رِقَاعٍ فَاكْتُبْ قِي ثَلاثٍ مِنْهَا بِسْمِ اللهِ رَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ خِيَرَةً مِنْ اللهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ لِفُلانِ بْنِ فُلانَةَ افْعَلْهُ. وَ فِي ثَلاَثٍ مِنْهَا بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ خِيَرَةً مِنَ اللهِ لْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ لِفُلاَنِ بْنِ فُلاَنَةَ لاَ تَفْعَلْ. ثُمَّ ضَعْهَا تَحْتَ مُصَلاَّكَ ثُمَّ صَلِّ رَكْعَتَيْنِ فإِذا فَرَغْتَ فَاسْجُدْ سَجْدَةً وَ قُلْ فِيها مِائَةَ مَرَّةٍ أَسْتَخِيرُ اللهَ بِرَحْمَتِهِ خِيَرَةً فِي عَافِيَةٍ ثُمَ اسْتَوِ جَالِساً وَ قُلِ اللهُمَّ خِرْ لِي وَ اخْتَرْ لِي فِي جَمِيعِ أُمُورِي فِي يُسْرٍ مِنْكَ وَ عَافِيَةٍ ثُمَّ اضْرِبْ بِيَدِكَ إِلَىَ الرِّقَاعِ فَشَوِّشْهَا وَ أَخْرِجْ وَاحِدَةً افْعَلْ وَ الأُخْرَىَ لاَ تَفْعَلْ فَأَخْرِجْ مِنَ الرِّقَاعِ إِلَىَ خَمْسٍ فَانْظُرْ أَكْثَرَهَا فَاعْمَلْ بِهِ وَ دَعِ السَّادِسَةَ لاَتَحْتَاجُ إِلَيْها.

al‑Imam al‑Baqir (as) said: `If you intend to do something, then take six pieces of paper and on three of them write:

    بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ خِيَرَةً مِنْ اللهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ لِفُلانِ بْنِ فُلانَةَ افْعَلْهُ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Goodness is from Allah, the Great, the Wise for Fulan the son of Fulan (put your name here) he will do (it).

On the other three pieces of paper write:

    بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ خِيَرَةً مِنَ اللهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ لِفُلاَنِ بْنِ فُلاَنَةَ لاَ تَفْعلْ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Goodness is from Allah, the Great, the Wise for Fulan the son of Fulan (put your name here) he will not do (it).

Then place them under your prayer mat. Read a two rak`at Salat and when you finish, go into sajdah and recite the following one hundred times:

    أَسْتَخِيرُ اللهَ بِرَحْمَتِهِ خِيَرَةً فِي عَافِيَةٍ

I seek that which is good from Allah through His Mercy, the goodness for the outcome.

Then get up and while sitting say:

    اللهُمَّ خِرْ لِي وَ اخْتَرْ لِي فِي جَمِيعِ أُمُورِي فِي يُسْرٍ مِنْكَ وَ عَافِيَةٍ

Following this, with your hands shuffle the six papers and one by one choose three of them. If three of the cards come up with:

    بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ خِيَرَةً مِنَ اللهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ لِفُلاَنِ بْنِ فُلاَنَةَ افْعَلْهُ.

Then perform the action that you had intended to do. However, if three of the cards come up with:

    بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ خِيَرَةً مِنَ اللهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ لِفُلاَنِ بْنِ فُلاَنَةَ لاَ تَفْعَلْ

Then do not perform that action which you had intended to do. If one of the cards said to perform the act and the other one said not to perform the act, then pick up the cards until you have picked up five and see which of them is more and act according to it; and it is not necessary to pickup the sixth one. " 18

Notes:

18. Bihar al‑Anwar, Volume 88, Page 230, Hadith 5 / al‑Kafi, Volume 3, Page 470

Adapted from: "Istikhara: Seeking the Best from Allah (swt)" by: "Muhammad Baqir Haideri"