The virtues of Sunnah Mu’akkadah Prayers
Thu, November 18, 2010 1 Comment
The Virtue and times of Regular Sunnah Mu’akkadah
I would like to know whether you wait for the time of the prayer before praying any Sunnah which comes before it; or whether these Sunnah are prayed before the time for the prayer enters. If so; how long before a prayer can you pray the Sunnah which comes before it? For example, could I pray the 4 rak’ah Sunnah which comes before Asar 3 hours before the time for Asar enters? Or do I wait for the time of Asar to enter and then pray the 4 Sunnahs after the time for Asr has entered and follow them immediately by the fardhu rak’ats?.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks are due to Allah, and Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger.
Categories of regular Sunnah Mu’akkadah prayers
The regular Sunnah prayers fall into two categories:
- Sunnahs which are done before the fardhu prayer i.e two rak’ahs before Fajr and four before Zuhur.
- Sunnahs which are done after the fardhu prayer i.e two rak’ahs after Zuhur, two rak’ahs after Maghrib and two rak’ahs after ‘Isha’.
Many hadiths mentioned the virtues of optional Solah as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
- “Prostrate as much as you can, because whenever you prostrate, Allah elevates your rank by a degree and wipes out a sin from your record” (Muslim).
- In another narration: “Whenever a servant prostrates to Allah, Allah writes a reward for him, wipes out one of his sins and elevates his rank by one degree; so prostrate as much as you can” (Ibn Majah).
The way to perform Solah is as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) described:
- “The night Solah is done two (raka’ahs) at a time” (Al-Bukhari)
- “The optional Solah at night and during the day is done two Raka’ahs at a time” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah and others).
Virtues of Sunnah Mu’akkadah Prayers
In term of its virtue, Umm Habibah (radiallahu `anha) narrated that The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in which he said:
“Whoever is regular with twelve Rak’ah of Sunnah (prayer, Allāh will build a house in Paradise: (as follows): 4 Rak’at before and 2 after the Dzuhur (Midday) Prayer, 2 after the Maghrib (Sunset Prayer), 2 after the ‘Ishā’ (Evening) Prayer and 2 before the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer.”
[Hadith sahih narrated by at-Tirmidzi No. 415 (Sahih) and by others. Hadith No. 6183 in Sahih al-Jāmi’]
The time frame for a Sunnah
The time frame for a Sunnah prayer that comes before a fardu prayer is from the beginning of the time for that prayer, until the iqāmah.
The time for a Sunnah prayer that comes after a fardu prayer is from after the Salam at the end of the fardhu prayer until the end of the time for that prayer.
Ibn Qudāmah (rahimallah) said: “The time for every Sunnah prayer that comes before a fardhu prayer is from the beginning of the time for that prayer, until the prayer is done, and the time for every Sunnah prayer that comes after a fardhu prayer is from after the prayer is done until the end of the time for that prayer.”
Based on this, it is not correct to pray the Sunnah prayer before the time for the fardhu prayer begins; rather you should wait until the time for that prayer comes, then pray it.
The ‘Asar (Late-Afternoon) Prayer
The ‘Asar (Late-Afternoon) Prayer has no routine Sunnah (basic recommended voluntary prayer). However, it is mustahab (preferable and recommended) that one prays 4 rak’at before the ‘Asar Prayer. The 4 rak’ahs are of less reward and significance in importance of adhering to them compared to the “Sunnan al-Rawātib” described above. The 4 rak’at are the ones intended by the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in saying:
“May Allāh have mercy on one who prays 4 raka’at before the ‘Asar Prayer.”
[Narrated by at-Tirmidzi no. 430, reported by Ibn Umar and he declared it a Hassan and gharīb Hadith. Al-Albāni rated the Hadith as Hassan in Sahih al-Jami’ No. 3493]
All the foregoing 4-rak’ah voluntary prayers are to be prayed two at a time according to Imam ash-Shafi’ie and Imam Ahmad (rahimahumullah).
And Allaah Almighty Knows best.
[Adapted from the Islam QA (Fatwa Nos: 33779; 1048)]