Istikhara (Arabic) means to ask Allah to guide one to the right thing concerning any affair in one’s life, especially when one has to choose between two permissible alternatives. A traveller should consult good righteous persons before setting out on a journey, because Allah says, “And consult them (O Prophet) in affairs (of moment),” (Qur’an 3.159) and one of the characteristics of the believers is that “they (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation” (Qur’an 42.38).
Qatadah said, “Every people who seek the pleasure of Allah and consult with one another are guided to the best course in their affairs.”
The traveller should also make istikharah and seek guidance from Allah. Sa’ d ibn Waqas reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Istikharah (seeking guidance from Allah) is one of the distinct favours (of Allah) upon man, and a good fortune for the son of Adam is to be pleased with the judgment of Allah. And a misfortune of the son of Adam is his failure to make istikharah (seeking Allah’s guidance), and a misfortune for the son of Adam is his displeasure with the judgment of Allah.” Ibn Taimiyyah said, “He who seeks guidance from the Creator and consults the creatures will never regret it.”