Fiqh 2.1: Their Significance, Supererogatory Prayers
At-tatawwu', or nawafil or supererogatory prayers, have been legislated
to make up for any deficiencies left in the performance of fard salah
(obligatory prayers). In salah, there are virtues that are not found in
any other form of worship. Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu
alehi wasallam said: "The first thing that the people will be called
to account for on the Day of Resurrection will be the prayers. Our Lord
will say to the angels although He knows better: 'Look into the salah
of my servant to see if he observed it perfectly or been negligent in
it. So if he observed it perfectly it will be recorded to his credit,
but if he had been negligent in it in any way, Allah would say: See if
My servant has any supererogatory prayers. Then if he has any supererogatory
prayers, Allah would say: Make up the deficiency in My servant's obligatory
prayer with his supererogatory prayers.' Thereafter all his actions will
be examined in like manner" (Abu Dawud).
Abu Umamah narrates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:
"Allah does not listen to anything from His slave as He does to the
two rak'at (of prayer) that he offers. Mercy descends over the servant's
head as long as he remains in prayer" (Ahmad and at-Tirmizhi). As-Sayuti
grades it sahih. In al-Muwatta', Malik says: "It has reached me that
the Prophet said: '(Try to) keep to the straight path although you won't
be able to do so completely; and know that the best of your deeds is the
salah, and only a (true) believer preserves his wudu.'" Muslim records
from Rabi'ah ibn Malik al-Aslami that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam
said: "Ask (anything)." Rabi'ah said: "I ask of you to
be your companion in paradise." The Prophet said: "Or anything
else?" Rabi'ah said: "That is it." The Prophet sallallahu
alehi wasallam said to him: "Then help me by making many prostrations
(i.e., supererogatory prayers)."
Fiqh 2.2: Offering Supererogatory Prayers in One's House
Ahmad and Muslim relate from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said:
"If one of you offers his prayers in the Mosque then he should make
a portion of his prayers in his house, as Allah has made his prayers in
his house a means of betterment (for him)."
Ahmad records from 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: "The
nawafil salah of a man in his house are a light; whoever wishes should
lighten up his house."
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam
said: "Make some of your prayers in your houses and do not turn your
houses into graves." This statement is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.
Abu Dawud records from Zaid ibn Thabit on sound authority that the Messenger
of Allah said: "A person's salah in his house is better than his
salah in my mosque, except for the fard salah."
These hadith prove that it is preferred to say one's nawafil prayers
in one' s house since prayers in one ' s house are better than those that
he performs in the mosque. An-Nawawi says: "The Prophet sallallahu
alehi wasallam encouraged one to offer nawafl in one's house because then
the prayers are more private and will have less of a chance of being done
for show and will be free from defects that vitiate good deeds. Furthermore,
this will be a blessing for the house as mercy and angels will descend
on it while Satan flees from it."
Fiqh 2.2 a: Supererogatory prayers, their Elongation
It is preferred to prolong the reciting by making many rak'at. The group,
except for Abu Dawud, reports that al-Mughirah ibn Shu'bah said: "The
Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would stand and pray until his feet
or shanks swelled. When he was asked about it, he said: 'Should I not
be a thankful slave?"' Abu Dawud records from 'Abdullah ibn Hubshi
al-Khath'ami that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam was asked: "What
is the best deed?" He said: "Prolonging the qiyam; (standing)
[in the prayer]." Then it was asked: "What is the best charity?"
He replied: "The sacrifice made by one who has little to give."
Then it was asked: "What is the best migration?" He responded:
"The migration from what Allah has forbidden." Then it was asked:
"What is the best jihad?" He replied: "Whoever strives
against the polytheists with his wealth and soul." They asked: "What
is the most honorable death?" He answered: "He whose blood is
spilled and whose horse is wounded."
Fiqh 2.3: It is allowed to make supererogatory prayers while in julus
It is acceptable for one to make nawafil while sitting even though he
has the ability to stand. It is also acceptable for one to make part of
such prayers sitting and part of them standing even if all of that is
in one rak'ah, (i.e., one sits for part of the first rak'ah and then stands
for the rest of it, or vice versa). All of that is acceptable without
any dislike for it. One may sit in any manner one likes although it is
preferable to sit cross-legged. Muslim records that 'Alqamah asked 'Aishah:
"How did the Prophet perform two rak'at while sitting?" She
replied: "He would recite while sitting and then when he wished to
make ruku', he would stand and bow." Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi,
an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah record that she said: "I never saw the Messenger
of Allah ever sitting while reciting during the night prayer until he
became old, then he would sit until when about thirty or forty verses
were left of his recital then he would stand, finish the recital and make
Fiqh 2.3 a: Different Types of Nawafil
Nawafil may be divided into two types: general and specific prayers.
The nawafil are said to be those prayers which are in addition to the
fard salah, as prayed by the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam.
An-Nawawi says: "If one decides to make nawafil prayers and he does
not make any intention concerning the number [of rak'at] he shall make,
then he may end the prayer after one rak'ah or make it two rak'at or increase
it to three or one hundred or one thousand, and so forth. If he prays
a number of [rak'at], without knowing how many, and then ends the prayer
his salah will still be valid." There is no difference of opinion
on this. The Shaf'iyyah are in agreement with it and there is a text attributed
to ash-Shaf'i on this point.
Al-Baihaqi records with a chain of narrators, that Abu Zharr prayed many
rak'at and then concluded his salah. Al-Ahnaf ibn Qais asked him: "Do
you know if you finished on an odd or an even number?" He replied:
"Even if I do not know, Allah knows. I heard my friend Abu al-Qasim
say: 'No slave makes a sajdah to Allah without Allah raising him a degree
and wiping out one of his sins due to it."' This is related by ad-Darimi
in his Musnad with a sahih chain, but it should be noted that there is
a difference of opinion over the integrity of one of its narrators.
The specific nawafil prayers are referred to as al-sunan ar-ratibah,
or the sunnah prayers that have a specific order, number, and so on. These
include the sunnah prayers of fajr, zuhr, 'asr, maghrib, and 'isha.
Fiqh 2.4: The Two rak'at of Fajr
There are a number of hadith that state the virtues of observing the
sunnah prayer at dawn time. For example: 'Aishah relates that the Prophet
sallallahu alehi wasallam said about the two rak'at before the fajr "They
are dearer to me than the whole world." This is related by Ahmad,
Muslim, and at-Tirmizhi. Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet said: "Do
not leave the two rak'at of the fajr, even if you are being attacked by
a cavalry." This is confirmed by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Baihaqi, and
at-Tahawi. The message of the hadith is that one should not leave the
two rak'at of the fajr no matter what the excuse, even while under enemy
attack or under most trying conditions. 'Aishah says: "The Messenger
of Allah was not so particular about observing any supererogatory prayer
as he was in observing the two rak'at before salatul fajr." This
is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, and Abu Dawud. She also reports
that the Prophet said: "The two rak'at of the fajr are better than
this world and all it contains." This is reported by Ahmad, Muslim,
at-Tirmizhi, and an-Nasa'i. Ahmad and Muslim also record that she said:
"I have never seen him [the Prophet] more in haste to do a good deed
than he was to perform the two rak'at before the morning [prayer]."
Fiqh 2.4 a: To Make Them Quickly
It is well-known that the Prophet would make a very short recital in
the two rak'at before the dawn. Hafsah reports: "The Prophet would
pray the two rak'at of fajr before the dawn in my house and he would make
it very quick." Naf'i states: "Abdullah [Ibn 'Umar] would also
make it very quickly." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and
Muslim. 'Aishah narrates: "The Prophet would pray the two rak'at
before the dawn prayer in my house so quickly that I wondered if he had
recited the Fatihah in them or not." This is related by Ahmad and
others. She also said: "When the Prophet prayed the two rak'at before
the dawn prayer I estimated the time that he took in recital was like
what it takes to recite al-Fatihah. This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i,
al-Baihaqi, Malik, and at-Tahawi. It is preferred to recite what has been
related from the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam: 'Aishah reports that
the Prophet would silently recite the following in the two rak'at before
"Say: O disbelievers," and "Say: He is Allah, the One."
This is related by Ahmad and at-Tahawi. He would recite them after al-Fatihah
as there is no prayer without the recital of al-Fatihah, as we have already
discussed. She also reports that the Prophet said: "These are the
two most blessed surahs," and he would recite them in the two rak'at
before salatul fajr. This is related by Ahmad and Ibn Majah. Jabir relates
that a man stood to pray the two rak'at before the dawn prayer and recited
"Say: O disbelievers!" in the first rak'ah until he finished
the surah. The Prophet said: "That slave knows his Lord." In
the second rak'ah he recited: "Say: He is Allah, the One"...to
the end of the surah. The Prophet said: "That slave (of Allah) believes
in his Lord." Talhah said: "I love to recite these two surahs
in these two rak'at." This is related by Ibn Hayyan and at-Tabarani.
Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would recite
the following in the two rak'at before the dawn prayer: "Say: We
believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us,"' and from surah
al-Imran, 'Come to common terms as between us and you.' This is related
Fiqh 2.5: First rak'ah of fajr
In the first rak'ah, after al-Fatiha, he would recite the verse: "Say:
We believe in Allah, and the revealation given to us and what was revealed
to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, and [in what] was given
to Moses and Jesus, and what was given to the Prophets, from their Lord
and we do not differentiate between any of them. And we are Muslims."
Fiqh 2.5 a: Second rak'ah of fajr
In the second rak'ah he would recite: "Say: O People of the Book,
come to a statement that is common between us and you; that we shall not
worship any save Allah and we shall not associate any partners with Him
and we shall not take others as Lords besides Allah. And if they turn
away then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered unto
He also reports, in a version recorded by Abu Dawud, that in the first
rak'ah the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would recite: "Say:
We believe in Allah..."
In the second rak'ah he would recite: "But when Jesus became conscious
of their disbelief, he cried: 'Who will be my helpers in the cause of
Allah?' The disciples said: 'We will be Allah's helpers. . . ' "
From the report of 'Aishah, mentioned earlier, it is concluded that it
is permissible just to recite al-Fatihah in each rak'ah.
Fiqh 2.6: Supplication after finishing the two sunnah rak'at before
the fajr prayer
An-Nawawi says in al-Azhkar. "It is related in the book of Ibn as-Sanni
from Abu al-Malih (whose name was 'Aamr ibn Usamah) on the authority of
his father that his father had prayed the two rak'at of the dawn [before
salatul fajr] and the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam was praying the
two rak'at close to him, and he heard the Prophet say, while sitting:
'O Allah, Lord of Jibrail, Israfeel, Mikail, and Muhammad, the Prophet,
I seek refuge in Thee from the Fire,'"...three times.
He also records from Anas that the Prophet said: "Whoever says,
on Friday morning before the salatul fajr,
'I seek the forgiveness of Allah, there is no other god except Him, the
Living, the Sustaining, and I repent unto him,' three times, Allah will
forgive his sins even if they were as abundant as the foam on the sea."
Fiqh 2.6 a: Lying down after the two sunnah rak'at of fajr
'Aishah says: "After the Prophet had prayed the two [sunnah] rak'at
of the fajr, he would lie down on his right side." This is related
by the group. They also record that she reported: "After the Messenger
of Allah had prayed the two [sunnah] rak'at of the fajr, he would lie
down if I was asleep or would talk to me if I was awake."
There is quite a difference of opinion over this point. Apparently, it
is preferred for one to do so if one prays these sunnah rak'at in one's
house and not in the mosque. Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari: "Some
of the early scholars were of the opinion that it is preferred to do so
if one prays in one's house rather than in the mosque." This has
been recorded from Ibn 'Umar. Some of our scholars reinforce this argument
by stating that there is no evidence that the Prophet ever did so in the
mosque. It has also been authentically recorded from Ibn 'Umar that "he
would throw pebbles at anyone who did so in the mosque," and this
was related by Ibn Abi Shaibah. Imam Ahmad was asked about it and he said:
"I do not do it but if a person does it, it is good."
Fiqh 2.7: Belated performance of sunnah rak'at of fajr
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet said: "Whoever fails to pray
the two [sunnah] rak'at of the fajr until the sun rises, [he should then]
pray them." This is related by al-Baihaqi. About its chain an-Nawawi
says it is good.
Qais ibn 'Umar relates that he went to the dawn prayer and found the
Prophet praying fajr. Although Qais had not prayed the sunnah prayer,
he joined the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and prayed with him. When
he had finished salatul fajr, he prayed the two rak'at (sunnah) prayer.
The Messenger of Allah passed by him and inquired: "What is this
prayer?" Qais then informed him of all that had happened. The Prophet
kept silent and did not say anything. This is related by Ahmad, Ibn Khuzaimah,
Ibn Hibban, at-Tirmizhi, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah. Al-'Iraqi says its
chain is hasan.
Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim relate from 'Imran ibn Hussain that, during
a journey, the Prophet slept past the time of salatul fajr and when he
woke he waited for the sun to rise a little and then he ordered the mu'zhzhin
to make the azhan. Then, the Prophet prayed the fajr sunnah, after which
he ordered the iqamah to be made and prayed salatul fajr. It is apparent
from this hadith that one is to make up the sunnah prayer before or after
the sun rises, regardless of whether only sunnah prayer is missed or both
sunnah and fard are missed, and whether there is a valid excuse or not.
It may be made up by itself or with the obligatory dawn prayer.
Fiqh 2.7 a: The Sunnah Prayer Of Zuhr
It has been related that the sunnah rak'at at zuhr are four, six, or
Fiqh 2.7 b: Reports concerning four rak'at
Ibn 'Umar said: "We observed and preserved from the Prophet ten
rak'at [of sunnah prayers]: two before zuhr and two after it, two after
maghrib in his house, two after 'isha in his house and two rak'at before
the fajr." This is related by al-Bukhari.
Al-Mughirah ibn Sulaiman reports that he heard Ibn 'Umar say: "The
Prophet never left the two rak'at before zuhr and two rak'at after it,
two rak'at after maghrib, two rak'a~ after 'isha and two rak'at before
fajr." This is related by Ahmad with a good chain.
Fiqh 2.8: Reports concerning six rak'at
'Abdullah ibn Shaqiq said: "I asked 'Aishah about the prayer of
the Prophet and she said: 'He would pray four rak'at before zuhr and two
after it."' This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and others.
Umm Habibah bint Abu Sufyan reports that the Messenger of Allah said:
"Whoever prays twelve rak'at during the day and night will have a
house built for him in paradise: four rak'at before zuhr and two after
it, two rak'at after maghrib, two rak'at after 'isha, and two rak'at before
fajr." This is related by at-Tirmizhi who called it hasan sahih.
Muslim reports it briefly.
Fiqh 2.8 a: Reports concerning eight rak'at
Umm Habibah reports that the Prophet said: "Whoever prays four rak'at
before zuhr and four after it, Allah will forbid that his flesh be in
the fire." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah,
and at-Tirmizhi who calls it sahih.
It is related that Abu Ayyub al-Ansari would pray four rak'at before
zuhr. The people said to him: "You made that prayer continue too
long!" He said: "I saw the Messenger of Allah doing so. I asked
him about it and he said: 'It is a time in which the doors of the heavens
are opened and I wish that my good deeds be raised (to heaven) during
it.'" This is related by Ahmad with a good chain.
Fiqh 2.8 b: The merits of four rak'at before zuhr
'Aishah said: "The Prophet never left praying four rak'at before
zuhr and two rak'at before fajr under any circumstances." This is
related by Ahmad and al-Bukhari. It is also related from her that during
those four rak'at, he would prolong the qiyam [the portion in which one
recites the Qur'an] and perfect the ruku' and sujud therein.
There is no contradiction between the hadith of Ibn 'Umar, which states
that the Prophet prayed two rak'at before zuhr, and other hadith which
state that the Prophet prayed four rak'at before zuhr. Ibn Hajar writes
in Fath al-Bari: "It is better to take them as describing different
circumstances, sometimes he prayed two rak'at and sometimes he prayed
four rak'at. Some say that it may be construed that if he prayed them
in the mos que , he prayed only two rak'at, and when he prayed in his
house, he prayed four rak'at. On the other hand, it could imply that he
prayed two rak'at in his house and then went to the mosque and prayed
two rak'at there also. Ibn 'Umar only saw what he prayed in the mosque
and not what he prayed in his house, while 'Aishah was aware of both of
them. The first interpretation is strengthened by what Ahmad and Abu Dawud
recorded from 'Aishah, namely, that the Prophet prayed four rak'at in
his house before zuhr and then he went to the mosque."
Abu Ja'far at-Tabari says: "Most of the time he prayed four rak'at
and occasionally he prayed two rak'at."
If one prays four rak'at before or after the noon prayers, it is preferred
to pray them in two sets consisting of two rak'at each, although it is
permissible to make them together with only one taslim at the end of the
four rak'at, as the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "The
prayers of the night and day are (sets of) two [rak'at]." This was
related by Abu Dawud with a sahih chain.
Fiqh 2.9: Making up the missed sunnah of zuhr
'Aishah reports that if the Prophet missed the four rak'at before zuhr,
he would pray them afterward. This is related by at-Tirmizhi who calls
it hasan ghareeb. Ibn Majah records that she said: "If the Prophet
missed the four rak'at before zuhr, he would pray them following the two
rak'at after zuhr."
The preceding is concerned with making up the sunnah prayers that one
is to pray before zuhr. Concerning making up the two rak'at after zuhr,
we have the following reports as recorded by Ahmad.
Umm Salamah says: "The Prophet prayed zuhr and then he received
some wealth and he sat to distribute it [and continued to do so] until
the mu'azhzhin made the azhan for 'asr. He prayed 'asr and came to me,
as it was my day, and he prayed two quick rak'at. I said: 'What are those
two rak'at, O Messenger of Allah? Have you been ordered to perform them?'
He said: 'No, they are the two rak'at that I perform after zuhr but I
was busy distributing this wealth until the azhan was made for 'asr and
I hated to miss them.'" This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, and
by Abu Dawud in somewhat different wording.
Fiqh 2.9 a: The sunnah of maghrib
It is sunnah to pray two rak'at after maghrib. Earlier we mentioned that
Ibn 'Umar narrated that the Prophet would not miss them. As to their content,
it is preferred to recite, after al-Fatihah: "Say: O Disbelievers,"
and "Say: He is Allah, the One," in the sunnah prayer after
Ibn Mas'ud says: "I cannot count how many times I heard the Messenger
of Allah recite, in the two rak'at after maghrib and in the two rak'at
before fajr 'Say: O disbelievers,' and 'Say: He is Allah, the One.'"
This is related by Ibn Majah and at-Tirmizhi. The later grades it hasan.
It is preferred to pray this sunnah prayer in one's house. Mahmud ibn
Labid reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam prayed maghrib
with the tribe of 'Abd al-Ashhal. After he made the taslim, he told them:
"Perform these two rak'at in your houses." This is related by
Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, and an-Nasa'i. We have already mentioned
that the Prophet prayed them in his house.
Fiqh 2.10: The sunnah of 'Isha
We have already mentioned the hadith which record that the Prophet sallallahu
alehi wasallam prayed two rak'at after 'isha.
Fiqh 2.10 a: NONSTRESSED SUNNAH PRAYERS (AS-SUNAN GHAIR AL-MU'AKKADAH)
We have been discussing the sunnah prayers which were stressed by the
Prophet and which he was careful not to miss. There are some other sunnah
prayers (al-sunan ar-ratibah) which are commendable, but are not "stressed."
Fiqh 2.10 b: Two or four rak'at before 'asr
Many ahadith have been related about this sunnah prayer and they all
support each other.
Such hadith include the following:
Ibn 'Umar reports that the Prophet said: "May Allah have mercy on
a person who prays four rak'at before 'asr prayer." This was related
by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi (who calls it hasan), Ibn Hibban, and
Ibn Khuzaimah. The latter two hold it as sahih. 'Ali reports that the
Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam prayed four rak'at before 'asr while
separating every two sets of rak'at with salutations to the angels close
to Allah, to the prophets, and to those who followed them - the believers
and Muslims. This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and atTirmizhi
who grades it hasan.
As for praying only two rak'af at this time, this would fall under the
generality of the Prophet's statement: "Between every azhan and iqamah
there is a prayer."
Fiqh 2.10 c: Two rak'at before maghrib
Al-Bukhari records, from 'Abdullah ibn Mughaffal, that the Prophet said:
"Pray before maghrib, pray before maghrib," and after saying
it a third time, he said: "For whoever wishes to do so," not
wanting the people to take it as a sunnah. Ibn Hibban records that the
Prophet prayed two rak'at before maghrib prayer.
Muslim records that Ibn 'Abbas said: "We would pray two rak'at before
maghrib, and the Prophet would see us but he would not order us to do
so, nor would he prohibit us."
Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari: "All of the evidence points to the
fact that it is preferred to say these two rak'at quickly like the two
rak'at before the salatul fajr."
Fiqh 2.11: Two rak'at before salatul 'isha
'Abdullah Ibn Mughaffal reports that the Prophet said: "Between
every azhan and iqamah there is a prayer. Between every azhan and iqamah
there is a prayer." And, after saying it a third time, he said: "For
whoever wishes [to pray it]." This is related by the group. Ibn Hibban
records from Ibn az-Zubair that the Prophet said: "There exists no
obligatory prayer without there being, immediately preceding it, two rak'at."
Fiqh 2.11 a: Separating The Obligatory Prayer From The Supererogatory
It is preferred to make a separation between the fard and nawafil prayers
after one finishes the fard prayer.
One of the companions of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam reports
that the Prophet prayed the afternoon prayer and right afterward a man
stood up to pray. 'Umar saw him and told him: "Sit, the People of
the Book were destroyed because they did not differentiate between their
prayers." The Prophet said: "Well said, Ibn al-Khattab [i.e.,
'Umar]." This is related by Ahmad with a sahih chain.
Fiqh 2.11 b: The Witr Prayer
Its excellence and justification: The witr prayer is one that the Prophet
sallallahu alehi wasallam practiced and which he encouraged others to
practice. As such, praying witr comes under as-sunnah al-mu'akkadah.
'Ali says: "The witr prayer is not required like your obligatory
prayers, but the Prophet would perform the witr prayer and say: 'O you
people [followers] of the Qur'an, perform the witr prayer, for Allah is
one and He loves the witr.'" This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i,
Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, at-Tirmizhi who calls it hasan, and al-Hakim who
grades it sahih.
The opinion of Abu Hanifah that the witr prayer is obligatory is a weak
opinion. Ibn al-Munzhir says: "I don't know anyone who agrees with
Abu Hanifah on this point."
Ahmad, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah record that Al-Mukhdaji [a
person of the Kinana tribe] heard from one of the Ansar, nicknamed Abu
Muhammad, that the witr prayer is obligatory. He went to 'Ibadah ibn as-Samit
and mentioned to him what Abu Muhammad had said. 'Ibadah observed: "Abu
Muhammad is mistaken for I heard the Messenger of Allah say: 'Five prayers
are ordained by Allah for his slaves. Whoever fulfills them properly without
any shortcoming, he will have a pact with Allah that He will admit him
into paradise. Whoever does not do them, he will have no pact with Allah,
and if He wills He may punish him and if He wills He may forgive him.'"
Also al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Talhah ibn 'Ubaidullah that the
Prophet said: "Five prayers during the day and night have been prescribed
by Allah." Hearing this a bedouin asked the Prophet: "Is there
anything else upon me [in the way of prayer]?" The Prophet said:
"No, unless you want to do more voluntarily."
Fiqh 2.12: Time for witr prayer
All the scholars agree that the time for the witr prayer does not begin
until after salatul 'isha and it continues until the time of salatul fajr.
Abu Tamim al-Jishani relates that 'Amr ibn al-'Aas was addressing the
people during a Friday Khutbah and he said: "Abu Basra related to
me that the Prophet said: 'Verily, Allah has added a prayer for you, and
it is the witr prayer. Pray it between salatul 'isha and salatul fajr.'"
Abu Tamim said: "Abu Zharr took me by my hand and we went in the
mosque to Abu Basra and [Abu Zharr] said: 'Did you hear what 'Amr just
said from the Messenger of Allah?' He answered: 'I heard it from the Messenger
of Allah!"' This is related by Ahmad with a sahih chain.
Abu Mas'ud al-Ansari relates: "The Prophet sallellahu alehi wasallam
would make the witr prayer in the first part of the night or the middle
of it or the latter part of it." Ahmad has reported it with a sound
'Abdullah ibn Abi Qais relates that he asked 'Aishah about the witr prayer
of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and she said: "Sometimes
he would make the witr prayer in the first part of the night and sometimes
he would make the witr prayer in the latter portion of the night."
Then 'Abdullah asked: "How was his recitation, audible or inaudible?"
She replied: "He did both. Sometimes he would be inaudible and sometimes
audible. Sometimes he would make ghusl and sleep and sometimes he would
make ablution and sleep [i.e., when he was sexually defiled]." This
is related by Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Muslim, and at-Tirmizhi. It is preferred
to pray it early if one suspects that one will not wake during the latter
portion of the night. It is, on the other hand, advisable to delay it
if one believes that one will be able to wake up during the latter portion
of the night.
If one suspects that one will not be able to perform the prayer in the
latter portion of the night, it should be prayed during the early portion
of the night (before sleeping).
Jabir reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whoever of you
fears that he will not be able to wake during the latter portion [of the
night], he should make the witr prayer during the early part [of the night].
And whoever of you believes that he will be able to wake during the latter
portion of the night, he should make the witr prayer during that latter
portion as it is the blessed time [the angels are attentive to the prayers
in the last portion of the night]." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim,
atTirmizhi, and Ibn Majah.
Jabir also narrates that the Messenger of Allah inquired of Abu Bakr:
"When do you perform the witr prayer?" Abu Bakr replied: "In
the early portion of the night after the night prayer" Then the Prophet
said: "And you, O 'Umar?" He answered: "During the latter
portion of the night." The Prophet said: "As for you, O Abu
Bakr, you have taken the careful way. As for you, 'Umar, you have taken
the way of hardship and firm will." This is related by Ahmad, Abu
Dawud and al-Hakim who says it is sahih according to Muslim's criterion.
However, the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would pray the witr prayer
near dawn time for it is the most blessed time, as mentioned previously.
'Aisha reports: "Out of the entire night, the Messenger of Allah
would sometimes perform the witr prayer during the early portion; sometimes
he would perform it during the middle portion; and sometimes in the latter
portion of the night, just before dawn." This is related by the group.
Nevertheless, considering the possibility of losing witr, the Prophet
advised some of his companions not to sleep until they had performed the
witr prayer in order to be on the safe side.
Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas would pray salatul 'isha in the Prophet's mosque
and then would pray one rak'ah of witr without making any addition to
it. The people said to him: "Abu Ishaq, do you make the witr with
just one rak'ah without adding any (other rak'ah) to it?" He said:
"Yes, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say: 'The one who does not
sleep until he makes the witr prayer is prudent.'" This was related
by Ahmad and its narrators are trustworthy.
Fiqh 2.13: Nature and number of rak'at for witr
It is permissible to perform the witr by praying two rak'at [and concluding
them] and then praying one rak'ah with a tashahud and taslim. Likewise,
it is allowed to pray all the rak'at with two tashahuds and one taslim.
One may pray a number of rak'at, one after another, without making any
tashahud, save in the one before the last rak'ah in which case one makes
the tashahud and then stands to perform the last rak'ah wherein one will
make another tashahud and end the prayer with the taslim. One may also
make only one tashahud and the taslim, in the last rak'ah of witr. All
of that is permissible and can be traced to the Prophet.
Talking about the thirteen rak'at in witr, at-Tirmizhi says: "It
has been related from the Prophet that he would perform the witr prayer
with thirteen, nine, seven, five, three rak'at or one rak'ah."
On the other hand, Ishaq ibn Ibrahim holds: "The meaning of the
statement that the Prophet prayed thirteen rak'at of witr is that during
the night he would pray thirteen rak'at including the witr prayer, and
so all of the night prayer came to be known as witr."
Ibn al-Qayyim's view is that "the clear, authentic sunnah is to
pray the witr with five or seven connected rak'at as reported by Umm Salamah
in her hadith. [She says] that the Prophet would perform the witr with
five or seven rak'at without breaking them apart with taslim or any speech."
This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah with a good chain.
As previously mentioned, al-Bukhari and Muslim quote 'Aishah saying that
the Prophet would perform thirteen rak'at during the night and would make
the witr prayer with five of them, and he would not 'sit' [during those
five] except in the last rak'ah of them. In another hadith, 'Aishah reports
that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would perform nine rak'at during
the night and that he would not sit during them until the eighth rak'ah
in which he would make remembrance of Allah, praising Him, and would make
supplication. Then, he would stand without making the taslim and pray
the ninth rak'ah, after which he would sit, make the tashahud and make
the taslim in such a manner that we could hear him. Then, he would pray
two rak'at after the taslim while sitting, and that would make eleven
rak'at. When he became older and heavier, he would make the witr with
seven rak'at, performing the (last) two rak'at like the first one. In
another version from her, it is stated: "When he became older and
bulkier, he would make the witr with seven rak'at, and he would not sit
during them, save in the sixth and seventh rak'ah and he would not make
the taslim, save in the seventh rak'ah." In yet another version,
it is stated: "He would pray seven rak'at and would not sit, save
in the last of them." This is related by the group.
All of the preceding ahadith are authentic and clear and there is no
contradiction in them. As to the Prophet's statement: "The night
prayer is in sets of two [rak'at]," it is not relevant here. This
is an authentic hadith, and the statement that he observed witr with seven
or five rak'at is equally true. Both statements confirm each other. The
seven, five, nine, and one rak'ah constitute the witr prayer, for witr
is the name given to the one rak'ah offered in conclusion of whatever
is offered prior to it. And the witr of the five, seven and nine rak'at
are all connected like the maghrib which is described as three connected
rak'at. If one breaks apart the five or seven rak'at with two taslim,
like in the eleven rak'at, it will all be called witr due to the last
odd rak'ah. This is supported by the Prophet's statement: 'The night prayer
is sets of two rak'at. If one fears the coming of the dawn, he should
perform one rak'ah, thereby making all of them odd [witr].' Therefore,
the Prophet's actions and statements are in agreement, each part confirming
the other." The fact is that the Prophet was responding to a question
about the night prayer when he said: "it is in pairs of two."
He was not speaking about witr, for the man had asked him about night
prayer, and not about the witr.
Fiqh 2.15: Recitation in the witr
It is permissible to recite after al-Fatihah any surah which one wishes
to recite. 'Ali says: "There is not a part of the Qur'an that is
obsolete, so make the witr prayer of whatever you wish from it."
However, it is preferred to recite, in the first of the three rak'at of
witr, al-A'la after reciting al-Fatihah. In the second rak'ah, it is preferred
to recite al-Kafirun. In the third rak'ah, it is proper to recite the
last three surahs of the Qur'an. This is narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud
and Tirmizhi, who relate from 'Aishah, on sound authority saying: The
Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would recite Ala'la in the first rak'ah,
Al-Kafirun in the second and the last three surahs in the third rak'ah.
Fiqh 2.15 a: Al-Qunut in the Witr
It is part of sunnah to supplicate with qunut in the witr prayer during
the entire year. Ahmad, at-Tirmizhi, an-Nasa'i, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah,
and others record that al-Hassan ibn 'Ali said: "The Messenger of
Allah taught me the [following] words to say in the witr prayer: 'O Allah,
guide me among those whom You have guided. Grant me safety among those
whom You have granted safety. Take me into Your charge among those whom
You have taken into Your charge. Bless me in what You have given me. Protect
me from the evil that You have decreed, for You decree and nothing is
decreed for You. And there is no humiliation for whom You take as a ward.
Blessed and Exalted are You, our Lord. ' "
At-Tirmizhi grades this hadith as hasan, and says: "... nothing
is known from the Prophet concerning qunut more authentic than that."
Commenting on its status, an-Nawawi says that its chain is sahih. Ibn
Hazm has some reservations about its soundness, but says: "This hadith,
although it is not one that can be used as a proof, is all that we have
from the Prophet, and a weak hadith is dearer to me than mere opinion."
Ahmad says this is also the view of Abu Musa, Ibn Mas'ud, Ibn 'Abbas,
al-Bara', Anas, al-Hassan al-Basri, 'Umar ibn 'Abdul'aziz, al-Thauri,
Ibn al-Mubarak, and the Hanafi school. This, an-Nawawi says, gives credibility
to the report.
Ash-Shaf'i and others are of the opinion that the qunut in the witr prayer
should be made during the latter half of the month of Ramadan. This is
based on what Abu Dawud records that, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab convoked the
people in prayer, under the leadership of Ubayy ibn Ka'b, and they prayed
together for twenty nights, and he did not make the qunut except for during
the latter half of the month of Ramadan. It is moreover related that Muhammad
ibn Nasr asked Sa'id ibn Jubair about the qunut in the witr prayer. Sa'id
answered: " 'Umar sent an army that suffered serious setback, which
caused 'Umar to be alarmed, so, when it was the latter half of Ramadan,
he made the qunut to supplicate for them."
Fiqh 2.16: How to perform the qunut
It is permissible to make the qunut before going into ruku' (bowing),
or lt may be recited when one stands up straight after the ruku'. Humaid
says: "I asked Anas: 'Is the qunut before or after the ruku'?' He
said: 'We would do it before or after.'" This was related by Ibn
Majah and Muhammad ibn Nasr. In Fath al-Bari, Ibn Hajar comments that
its chain is faultless.
If one makes the qunut before the ruku', one should make the takbir and
raise one's hands after the recital, and similarly make another takbir
after the qunut, and then bow. This has been related from some companions.
Some scholars hold that it is preferable to raise one's hands in supplication
during the qunut, while others disagree.
As to wiping face with hands after the qunut, al-Baihaqi writes: "It
is preferred not to do so and to confine one's self to what the early
generations did. They raised their hands but did not wipe their faces
during the prayer."
Fiqh 2.17: Supplications after the witr
It is preferred for a person to say after the taslim: "Glory be
to the Master, the Holy," three times aloud, saying the third time:
"Lord of the angels and the souls." Abu Dawud and anNasa'i record
that Ubayy ibn Ka'b said: "The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam
would recite al-A'la and al-Kafirun in the witr prayer. When he made the
taslim, he would say: 'Glory be to the Master, the Holy ,' three times,
prolonging the third repetition and saying it aloud." This is the
wording in which an-Nasa'i recorded it. Ad-Daraqutni has the addition:
"And he would say, 'Lord of the angels and the spirits. "' He
would then make supplications and, according to what Ahmad, anNasa'i,
Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmizhi record from 'Ali, he would say at
the end of his witr: "O Allah, I seek refuge in Your pleasure from
your anger. And I seek refuge in Your granting well being from Your punishment.
And I seek refuge in You from You. I cannot reckon Your praise: You are
as You have praised Yourself."
Fiqh 2.17 a: Prohibition of two witr prayers in one night
Whoever has performed the witr prayer and then wishes to do some more,
he may do so but he is not to repeat the witr.
Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and at-Tirmizhi have recorded from 'Ali that he
heard the Messenger of Allah say: "There are no two witr prayers
in one night." At-Tirmizhi grades it hasan.
'Aishah relates that the Prophet would make the taslim in such a manner
that we could hear him and then, he would pray two rak'at while sitting.
This is related by Muslim.
Umm Salamah also narrates that he prayed two rak'at while sitting, after
the witr prayer. This was related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, and
Fiqh 2.18: Making up a missed witr
According to al-Baihaqi and al-Hakim, the majority of the scholars maintain
that it is correct to make qada' for a missed witr prayer. Al-Hakim grades
the following report by Abu Hurairah as sahih according to the criterion
of al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet said: "If the morning approaches,
and you have yet to pray witr, you should pray the witr prayer."
Abu Dawud records from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri that the Prophet said: "If
one of you sleeps [past the time of] the witr prayer or he forgets it,
he should pray it when he remembers it." Al-'Iraqi says that the
chain of this hadith is sahih.
Ahmad and at-Tabarani record with a hasan chain that the Prophet sallallahu
alehi wasallam would perform the witr prayer in the morning [if, for some
reason, he had missed it during the night].
Generally speaking, there is a difference of opinion over what time it
may be made up. The Hanafi school holds it should be performed during
those times in which it is not forbidden to observe prayers. The followers
of Shaf'i say that it may be made up during any time of the night or day,
while according to Malik and Ahmad a missed witr prayer is to be made
up for after the dawn.
Fiqh 2.18 a: Al-Qunut in the five prayers
It is legitimate to recite the qunut aloud in any of the five daily prayers
at those times when Muslims are faced with calamities. Ibn 'Abbas relates
that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam made qunut consecutively
for one month in the zuhr, 'asr, maghrib, 'isha, and fajr prayers. At
the end of every prayer, after saying: "Allah hears him who praises
Him" in the last rak'ah, he would supplicate against Re'l, Zhakwan,
and 'Usiyyah'ø of Banu Sulaim, and the people behind him would say 'Ameen'.
This is related by Ahmad and by Abu Dawud adding that these three had
killed the emissaries that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam had sent
to them. 'Ikrimah says: "That was the begining of the qunut."
Abu Hurairah reports that whenever the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam
wanted to supplicate against or for someone, he would make qunut after
going into ruku'. Sometimes, he would say: "Allah hears him who praises
Him. Our Lord, to you is the praise. O Allah! Save al-Walid ibn al-Walid
and Salamah ibn Hisham and 'Iyash ibn Abi Rabi'ah and the oppressed [and
weak] believers. O Allah, put hardship and pressure on the tribe of Muzhar
and give them years of famine like those during the time of Yusuf."
He would say this aloud in some of the prayers. Also in the dawn prayer,
he would say: "Oh Allah, curse so and so," cursing two tribes
of Arabs until Allah revealed: "It is no concern at all of thee [Muhammad]
whether He relent toward them or punish them, for they are evildoers ."
This is related by Ahmad and al-Bukhari .
Fiqh 2.19: Al-Qunut in salatul fajr
It is not correct to make qunut in the dawn prayer except during times
of calamity, in which case it may be made in any of the five daily prayers.
Abu Malik al-Ashja'i said: "My father prayed behind the Prophet sallallahu
alehi wasallam when he was sixteen years old, and he prayed behind Abu
Bakr, 'Umar, and 'Uthman. I asked him, 'Did they make the qunut'?' He
said, 'No, son, it is something that has been innovated."' This is
related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmizhi who calls it sahih.
Anas said that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would not make the
qunut in fajr unless he was supplicating for a people or supplicating
against a people. This is related by Ibn Hibban, al-Khatib, and Ibn Khuzaimah
who said it is sahih.
It is also related that az-Zubair, Abu Bakr, 'Umar, and 'Uthman did not
make the qunut in the dawn prayer. This is the opinion of the Hanafiyyah,
the Hanbaliyyah, Ibn al-Mubarak, al-Thauri, and Ishaq. The followers of
Shaf'i are of the opinion that the qunut is to be made after the ruku'
of the second rak'ah in the obligatory dawn prayer. This opinion is based
on the following two reports. Ibn Sireen narrates that Anas ibn Malik
was asked: "Did the Prophet make the qunut in the dawn prayer?"
He answered: "Yes." They asked him: "Before the ruku' or
after it?" He replied: "After it." This is related by the
group save at-Tirmizhi.
There is a report from Anas which says: "The Messenger of Allah
sallallahu alehi wasallam did not stop making qunut during the dawn prayer
until he left this world." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bazzar, adDaraqutni,
al-Baihaqi, and al-Hakim who says it is sahih.
However, there remains some doubt concerning this evidence since the
qunut which they asked Anas about, as is clear in the narrations of al
Bukhari and Muslim, was the qunut during the time of calamities. Concerning
the latter hadith (the one mentioned in support of their stand), in its
chain of narrators there is Abu Ja'far ar-Razi who is not a credible source
and, thus, one cannot build a case upon his hadith. How could it be that
the Messenger of Allah never stopped performing this qunut until his death,
and yet, the rightly guided caliphs did not perform it? It is even confirmed
that Anas himself did not make the qunut in the dawn prayer! If we must
accept this latter hadith as authentic, it would mean that the Prophet
always made supplications and remembrance ( zhikr), after the ruku', until
his death. This would also come under qunut and, in this sense, it would
be more befitting. Still, this is one of the matters in which it is acceptable
to have differences of opinion, and one may either do it or leave it.
The best guidance is that of Muhammad sallallahu alehi wasllam.
Fiqh 2.20: The Late Night Prayer, tahajjud (qiyam al-Layil)
Its excellence and merit from the Qur'an: Allah ordered his Messenger
to perform salatul tahajjud:
"And some part of the night awake for prayer, a largess for thee.
It may be that thy Lord will raise thee to a praised position."
This order, although it was specifically directed to the Prophet, also
refers to all the Muslims since the Prophet is their example and guide
in all such matters.
Those who regularly perform the tahajjud prayers are the Righteous and
are more deserving of Allah's bounty and mercy. Allah says: "Lo!
Those who keep from evil will dwell amid gardens and watersprings, taking
that which their Lord gives them. For, lo, they were doers of good. They
used to sleep but little of the night and before the dawning of each day
would seek forgiveness.''
Allah praised and complemented the deeds of those who perform the late-night
prayers. "The slaves of the Beneficent are they who walk upon the
earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: 'Peace'
and they who spend the night prostrating before their Lord and standing"
[ al-Furqan: 63-64 ].
Allah bears witness to their belief in His signs. He says: "Only
those believe in Our revelations who, when they are reminded of them,
fall down prostrate and hymn the praise of their Lord and they are not
scomful: who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope
and spend of what We have bestowed on them. No soul knows what is kept
hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.''
Allah proclaims that those who do not possess these qualities cannot
be treated as equal to those who possess them: "Is he who pays adoration
in the watches of the night, prostrate and standing, aware of the Hereafter
and hoping for the mercy of his Lord equal to a disbeliever? Say: 'Are
those who know equal with those who know not?' But only men of understanding
will pay heed.''
Fiqh 2.21: Hadith regarding Tahajjud
The preceding section was primarily concerned with what Allah says about
those who perform salatul tahajjud. There also exist a number of ahadith
that reinforce the importance of tahajjud.
'Abdullah ibn as-Salam reports: "When the Prophet sallallahu alehi
wasallam came to Medinah, the people gathered around him and I was one
of them. I looked at his face and understood that it was not the face
of a liar. The first words I heard him say were: 'O people, spread the
salutations, feed the people, keep the ties of kinship, and pray during
the night while the others sleep and you will enter paradise in peace."'
This is related by al-Hakim, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmizhi who calls it hasan
Salman al-Farsi relates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:
"Observe the night prayer, it was the practice of the rightous before
you and it brings you closer to your Lord and it is penance for evil deeds
and erases the sins and repells disease from the body."
Sahl ibn Sa'd reports: "Gabriel came to the Prophet sallallahu alehi
wasallam and said: 'O Muhammad, live as long as you like, for you are
to die. Do whatever deed you wish, for you are to be rewarded. Love whomever
you wish, for you are to be parted. And know that the honor of the believer
is in the night prayer and his glory is being free from want from the
Abu ad-Darda' reports that the Prophet said: "Three people are loved
by Allah, and He laughs for them and He grants them glad tidings. [The
first is] a man who fights behind a group that flees and does so with
his own soul for Allah's sake, regardless of whether he is killed or he
is aided by Allah and made victorious. Allah says: 'Look to my slave there
who is patient with his life for My sake.' [The second is] the one who
has a beautiful wife and a soft bed and rises during the night. Allah
says: 'He leaves his desires and remembers Me and if he wished he would
sleep.' [The third] is a person who is traveling with a group and they
pass the night awake and then sleep, but he still observes his prayer
in hardship or ease."
Fiqh 2.22: Etiquettes of Late Night Prayer
The following acts are sunnah for one who wishes to perform the tahajjud
prayers. Upon going to sleep, one should make the intention to perform
the tahajjud prayers. Abu ad-Darda' relates that the Prophet sallallahu
alehi wasallam said: "Whoever goes to his bed with the intention
of getting up and praying during the night, and sleep overcomes him until
the moming comes, he will have recorded for him what he had intended,
and his sleep will be a charity for him from his Lord." This is related
by an-Nasa'i and ibn Majah with a sahih chain. Upon waking, one should
wipe one's face, use a toothstick, and look to the sky and make the supplication
which has been reported from the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam: "There
is no God but Thee, Glory be to Thee, I seek forgiveness from You for
my sins, and I ask for your mercy. O Allah, increase my knowledge and
let my heart not swerve after You have guided me, and bestow mercy upon
me from Thyself. All praise be to Allah who has given us back life after
our death and unto Him is the resurrection."
Then, one should recite the last ten 'ayat of al-'Imran, starting with,
"Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and [in] the difference
of night and day are tokens (of His sovereignty) for men of understanding."
Then one should say, "O Allah, to You belongs the praise. You are
the Light of the heavens and the earth and what is therein. And to You
belongs the praise. You are the truth and Your promise is true. And the
meeting with You is true. And the paradise is true. And the Fire is true.
And the prophets are true. And Muhammad is true. And the Hour is true.
O Allah, to You have I submitted. And in You have I believed. And in You
have I put my trust. And to You have I turned. And by You I argue. And
to You do I turn for my decisions. Forgive me of my former and latter
sins, and those done in private and those done in public. You are Allah,
there is no God besides Thee."
One should begin Qiyam al-Layil with two quick rak'at and then one may
pray whatever one wishes after that. 'Aishah says: "When the Prophet
prayed during the late-night, he would begin his prayers with two quick
rak'at." Both of these reports are related by Muslim.
Fiqh 2.23: One should wake up one's family for tahajjud
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet said: "May Allah bless the
man who gets up during the night to pray and wakes up his wife and who,
if she refuses to get up, sprinkles water on her face. And may Allah bless
the woman who gets up during the night to pray and wakes up her husband
and who, if he refuses sprinkles water on his face." The Prophet
sallallahu alehi wasallam also said: "If a man wakes his wife and
prays during the night or they pray two rak'at together, they will be
recorded among those (men and women) who (constantly) make remembrance
of Allah." This is related by Abu Dawud and others with a sahih chain.
Umm Salamah narrates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam got up
during the night and said: "Glory be to Allah. What trials are descended
with the night. And what has descended of treasures. Who will waken the
lady occupants of the rooms (i.e., his wives) for prayers; how many a
well dressed in this world will be naked in the hereafter." This
is related by al-Bukhari
Al-Bukhari and Muslim record that the Messenger of Allah asked 'Ali and
Fatimah: "Do you not pray [during the night]?" 'Ali said: "O
Messenger of Allah, we are in Allah's hands. If He wishes to make us get
up, we get up." The Prophet turned away when he said that. Then,
they could hear him striking his thigh and saying: "Verily, man disputes
a lot." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Fiqh 2.24: One should stop praying tahajjud and sleep if one becomes
'Aishah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "When one of you
gets up during the night for prayer and his Qur'anic recital becomes confused
to the extent that he does not know what he says, he should lie down."
This is related by Muslim.
Anas narrates that the Messenger of Allah entered the mosque and saw
a rope stretching between two posts. He asked: "What is this?"
The people told him that it was for Zainab [bint Jahsh] who, when she
became tired or weary, held it (to keep standing for the prayer). The
Prophet said: "Remove the rope. You should pray as long as you feel
active, and when you get tired or weary, you should lie down to rest."
This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
One should not overburden one's self with the night prayer and should
only pray it to the extent that is reasonable, and not leave that practice
unless there is some great need to do so. 'Aishah reports that the Messenger
of Allah said: "Do (good) deeds according to your capacity, for by
Allah, Allah does not weary from giving rewards unless you get tired of
doing good deeds." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim also relate from 'Aishah that the Messenger of
Allah was asked: "What is the most loved deed to Allah?" He
answered: "One that is performed constantly even if it is a small
deed." And Muslim recorded that 'Aishah said: "The Messenger
of Allah was constant in his deeds, and if he did something, he would
do it consistently."
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "O
'Abdullah, do not become like so-and-so who used to make the tahajjud
prayers and then he stopped praying it." This is related by al-Bukhari
Al-Bukhari and Muslim also record, on the authority of 'Abdullah ibn
Mas'ud, that it was mentioned to the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam
that a man slept until the morning. [ThereuponJ he said: "Satan has
urinated into the ears of that person." They also record from Salim
ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, from his father, that the Messenger of Allah
said to his father, "Abdullah would be a good man if he would pray
the tahajjud prayers." Salim said: "After that, 'Abdullah would
not sleep during the night save for a small amount at a time."
Fiqh 2.24 a: The recommended time for tahajjud
Salatul Layil may be performed in the early part of the night, the middle
part of the night, or the latter part of the night, but after the obligatory
While describing the salah of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam,
Anas would say: "If we wanted to see him praying during the night,
we could see him praying. If we wanted to see him sleeping during the
night, we could see him sleeping. And sometimes he would fast for so many
days that we thought he would not leave fasting throughout that month.
And sometimes he would not fast (for so many days) that we thought he
would not fast during that month." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari,
and anNasa' i .
Commenting on this subject, Ibn Hajar says: "There was no specific
time in which the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would perform his
late night prayer; but he would do whatever was easiest for him."
Fiqh 2.25: Best time for tahajjud
It is best to delay this prayer to the last third portion of the night.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Our Lord
descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring:
'Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something
of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may
forgive him?"' This is related by the group.
'Amr ibn Abasah reports that he heard the Prophet say: "The closest
that a slave comes to his Lord is during the middle of the latter portion
of the night. If you can be among those who remember Allah, the Exalted
One, at that time then do so." This is related by al-Hakim who grades
it sahih according to Muslim's standards, and at-Tirmizhi calls it hasan
sahih. AnNasa'i and Ibn Khuzaimah also recorded it.
Abu Muslim asked Abu Zharr: "Which late-night prayer is the best?"
He said: "I asked the Messenger of Allah the same that you asked
me and he said, 'The (one done during) middle of the latter half of the
night, and very few do it.'" This is related by Ahmad with a good
'Abdullah ibn 'Amr reports that the Prophet said: "The most beloved
fast to Allah is the fast of David. And the most beloved prayer to Allah
is the prayer of David. He would sleep half of the night and then pray
during the next third of the night and then sleep during the last sixth
of the night. And he would fast one day and not fast the next." This
is related by the group except at-Tirmizhi.
The number of rak'at to be performed during tahajjud: The tahajjud prayer
does not entail a specific number of rak'at which must be performed nor
is there any maximum limit which has to be performed. It would be fulfilled
even if one just prayed one rak'ah of witr after the obligatory night
Samurah ibn Jundub says: "The Messenger of Allah ordered us to pray
during the night, a little or a lot, and to make the last of the prayer
the witr prayer." This is related by at-Tabarani and al-Bazzar.
Anas relates that the Messenger of Allah said: "Prayer in my mosque
is equal to ten thousand prayers [elsewhere]. And prayer in the inviolable
mosque is equivalent to one hundred thousand prayers [elsewhere]. And
prayer in the battlefield is equivalent to one million prayers [elsewhere].
And what is more than all of that is two rak'at by a slave [of Allah]
during the middle of the night." This is reported by Abu ash-Shaikh,
Ibn Hibban in his work ath-Thawab, and al-Munzhiri, in his book at-Targhib
watTarhib, is silent about it.
Iyas ibn Mu'awiyyah al-Mazni reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi
wasallam said: "The night prayer should certainly be performed even
if it is for the length of time that it takes one to milk a sheep. And
whatever is after the obligatory 'isha is of the tahajjud." This
is related by at-Tabarani, and all of its narrators are trustworthy save
Muhammad ibn Ishaq.
Ibn 'Abbas relates: "I mentioned the tahajjud prayer and some of
the people said that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: 'It may
be half of the night, a third of the night, a fourth of the night or a
fraction of the time for milking a camel or a sheep.""
Ibn 'Abbas also narrates that the Prophet ordered them and encouraged
them to make the tahajjud prayer to the extent that he said: "You
should perform salatul layil even if it is just one rak'ah." This
is related by atTabarani in al-Kabir and al-Awsat.
Fiqh 2.26: It is preferable to pray eleven or thirteen rak'at for tahajjud
One may choose between praying them all together or to separate them.
'Aishah says: "The Messenger of Allah never prayed more than eleven
rak'at, during Ramadan or otherwise. He would pray four rak'at, and don't
ask about how excellent they were or how lengthy they were. Then, he would
pray four rak'at, and don't ask about how excellent they were or how lengthy
they were. Then, he would pray three rak'at. I asked: 'O Messenger of
Allah, do you sleep before praying witr?' he replied: 'O 'Aishah, my eyes
sleep but my heart does not sleep."' This is recorded by al-Bukhari
and Muslim who also record that al-Qasim ibn Muhammad said that he heard
'Aishah say: "The Messenger of Allah's prayer during the night would
be ten rak'at and then he would make witr with one rak'ah."
Fiqh 2.26 a: Making qada' for the missed tahajjud
Muslim records that 'Aishah said: "If the Prophet sallallahu alehi
wasallam missed the late-night prayers due to pain or anything else, he
would pray twelve rak'at during the day."
'Umar reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Whoever
sleeps past his full portion [of the late-night prayers] or part of them,
he should pray between the dawn and noon prayers and it would be recorded
for him as if he had prayed during the night." This is related by
the group except for al-Bukhari.
Fiqh 2.27: The legality of the Tarawih prayer
The specific prayers during the month of Ramadan, which are known as
tarawih, are sunnah for both men and women, and they are to be performed
after the obligatory 'isha and before the performance of the witr. They
should be prayed in sets of two rak'at each. It is allowed to pray them
after witr; though, this is not the best thing to do. They may be performed
until the end of the night.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would
encourage people to perform the special prayers during Ramadan without
commanding them as obligatory and he said: "Whoever prays during
the nights of Ramadan [tarawih] with a firm belief and hoping for reward,
all of his previous sins would be forgiven." This is related by the
'Aishah says: "The Prophet offered salah in the mosque and many
people prayed with him. The next day he did the same and more people prayed
with him. Then the people gathered on the third night but, the Prophet
did not come out to them. In the morning, he said to them: 'Surely I saw
what you did, and nothing prevented me from coming out to you, save that
I feared that [that prayer] would be made obligatory upon you.' And that
was during Ramadan." This is related by the group except for at-Tirmizhi
Fiqh 2.27 a: The number of rak'at of Tarawih
'Aishah reported that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would not
pray more than eleven rak'at during Ramadan or otherwise. This is related
by the group.
Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban have recorded in their sahihs on the authority
of Jabir that the Prophet prayed eight rak'at and the witr prayer with
the companions. Then, the next day, the people waited for him but he did
not come out to them.
Abu Ya'la and at-Tabarani record, with a hasan chain, from Jabir that
Ubayy ibn Ka'b came to the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and said:
"O Messenger of Allah, I have done something last night," (i.e.,
during Ramadan). The Prophet said: 'And what was that, O Ubayy?' He said:
The women in my house said, 'We don't recite Qur'an [well or much] so
can we pray behind you?' I prayed eight rak'at and the witr prayer with
The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam was pleased with that
and did not say anything."
This is the sunnah that has been related from the Messenger of Allah
and nothing besides that is authentic. It is also true that during the
time of 'Umar, 'Uthman, and 'Ali the people prayed twenty rak'at, and
this is the opinion of the majority of the jurists of the Hanafi and Hanbali
schools as well as that of Dawud.
At-Tirmizhi says: "Most of the people of knowledge follow what has
been related from 'Umar and 'Ali and other companions of the Prophet,
[i.e., that they prayed] twenty rak'at. And this is the opinion of al-Thauri,
Ibn al-Mubarak, and ash-Shaf'i. And so I found the people of Makkah praying
Some of the scholars are of the opinion that the sunnah is eleven rak'at,
including witr, and it is also preferred to pray the remainder [of the
twenty rak'at] .
Al-Kamal ibn al-Hamam says: "The evidence indicates that the sunnah
of the twenty rak'at is what the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam himself
did and then he stopped out of fear that it would become something obligatory
(for his followers), therefore, the rest of the rak'at are only preferred.
It is however, confirmed that he only prayed eleven rak'at, including
the witr, as is stated in the two sahihs. According to the scholars, the
sunnah is eight rak'at while it is preferred to pray twelve rak'at."
Fiqh 2.28: Praying tarawih in congregation
It is allowed to pray tarawih of the month of Ramadan in a congregation
just as it is allowed to pray them on an individual basis. The majority
of the scholars, however, prefer to pray them in congregation. The Prophet
sallallahu alehi wasallam, as stated earlier, prayed tarawih in congregation
with the Muslims but he discontinued since he feared that it would be
'Umar was the one who convoked the Muslims to pray tarawih behind one
imam. Abdurahman ibn Abdulqari reports: "One night during Ramadan,
I went with 'Umar to the mosque and the people were praying in different
groups. Some were praying by themselves and others were praying in small
groups. 'Umar said: 'I think it would be better if I gathered them under
one imam .' Then he did so and appointed Ubayy ibn Ka'b as the leader
of the prayer. Then I went out with him on another night and all the people
were praying behind one imam and 'Umar said: 'What a good innovation (bid'ah)
this is,' but, it is better to sleep and delay it until the latter portion
of the night." The people (however) prayed it at the beginning of
the night. This is related by al-Bukhari, Ibn Khuzaimah, alBaihaqi, and
Fiqh 2.29: The recitation of the Qur'an in tarawih
There is no particular sunnah regarding the recitation during salat at-tarawih.
It is related that some people of the early generations would pray with
two hundred 'ayyahs or so and the people would be leaning on staffs due
to the protracted standing during the salah. They would not leave their
prayers until shortly before dawn and some of them would rush their servants
to prepare food for them fearing that dawn may break soon. They would
recite al-Baqarah in eight rak'at and if they would complete it in twelve
rak'at, they would consider their prayers to have been very short.
Ibn Qudamah says: "Ahmad said: 'Recite of the Qur'an what is easy
for the people and do not be hard upon them, especially during the short
nights [i.e., during the summer].'"
[On the same subject], Al-Qadi says: 'It is not preferred to recite less
than the entire Qur'an during the month: in this way, the people will
be able to hear the whole Qur'an. Do not recite more than one reading
of the Qur'an as this may be hard upon the people. [While reciting], consideration
should be given to the condition of the people. If the people concur that
they would prefer a long recital, that would be best.'
Likewise, Abu Zharr said: 'We prayed with the Prophet sallallahu alehi
wasallam until we feared that we would miss the pre-dawn meal. And the
imam would recite two hundred 'ayyahs.'"
Fiqh 2.29 a: The excellence of the duha prayer
Many hadith describe the excellence of the duha prayer.
Abu Zharr reports that the Prophet sallallahu aleihi wasallam said: "Charity
is required from every part of your body daily. Every saying of 'Glory
be to Allah' is charity. Every saying of 'Praise be to Allah' is charity.
Every saying of 'There is no God but Allah' is charity. Every saying of
'Allah is the Greatest' is charity. Ordering the good is charity. Eradicating
the evil is charity. And what suffices for that (as a charity) are the
two rak'at of duha." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.
Ahmad and Abu Dawud record from Buraidah that the Prophet sallallahu
alehi wasallam said: "In a human (body) there are 360 joints and
man must make a charity for each one." The people said: "Who
can do that, O Messenger of Allah?" He responded: "One may cover
the mucus that one finds in the mosque or remove something harmful from
the road. If one could not do that, he could pray two rak'at of duha and
that will be sufficient for him."
Talking of the legal import of these hadith, ash-Shaukani says: "These
two hadith point to the greatness, excellence, and importance of the duha
prayer, stressing its legality as its two rak'at suffice for 360 charities.
Something like this should be performed regularly and persistently. The
hadith also establish the importance of saying 'Glory be to Allah', 'Praise
be to Allah', and 'There is no God but Allah.' And [the importance of]
ordering the good, eradicating the evil, removing the spittle, removing
what is harmful from the path, and such other acts that will fulfill what
is required of a person of daily charities."
An-Nawas ibn Sam'an relates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam
said: "Allah said: 'Son of Adam, do not fail in performing four rak'at
in the early day as it will be sufficient for the latter part of the day."'
This is related by al-Hakim and at-Tabarani and its narrators are trustworthy.
Ahmad, at-Tirmizhi, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa'i relate it on the authority
of Na'im al-Ghatfani with a good chain. At-Tirmizhi's wording is: "Son
of Adam, pray four rak'at for Me in the early day and it will be sufficient
for you for the latter part of the day."
'Abdullah ibn 'Amr says: "The Messenger of Allah sent an expedition
and they obtained lots of booty and returned quickly. The people talked
about their quick victory, abundant booty, and quick return. At this the
Messenger of Allah said: 'Shall I not guide you to a closer battle, a
greater booty and a quicker return? Whoever makes wudu' and then goes
to the mosque to pray duha, that is the closer battle, better booty, and
quicker return."' This is related by Ahmad and at-Tabarani. Abu Ya'la
has something similar to it.
Abu Hurairah says: "My friend [the Messenger of Allah] advised me
to do three things: fasting three days of every month, praying the duha
prayer, and praying the witr prayer before I sleep." This is related
by alBukhari and Muslim.
Anas says: "During a journey, I saw the Messenger of Allah pray
eight rak'at in the early day. When he finished, he said: 'I prayed my
prayer wishing and fearing. I asked my Lord for three things and He gave
me two and withheld one. I asked Him not to put my ummah to trial by famine
and He granted that request. And I asked that they would not be overtaken
by their enemies and He granted that request. And I asked that they not
be split into groups and parties and He refused that request."' This
is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, al-Hakim, and ibn Khuzaimah who classifies
it as sahih.