Abandoning the performance of Al-Sunan Al-Rawatib

Q: I perform all the Salah (Prayers) on their due times and in congregation, but after the obligatory Salah are over, I do not offer the Sunnah (supererogatory) Salah or the Witr (Prayer with an odd number of units). My father blames me for that and says that I have to offer the Sunnah Salah and the Witr, because they are obligatory. I tell him that these Salah are Nafilah (supererogatory) and the one who offers them will be rewarded and the one who neglects them will not be punished. Is it obligatory for me to offer the Sunnah Salah and Witr? What is the ruling if I do not?

A: The Sunnah Salah which are offered before or after obligatory Salah are known as Sunan Ratibah (supererogatory acts that were stressed and regularly performed by the Prophet) and they are stressed Sunan that should be maintained regularly. They are two or four Rak`ahs (units of Prayer) before the Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer and two after it, two Rak`ahs after the Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer, two Rak`ahs after the `Isha' (Night) Prayer, and two Rak`ahs before the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer. Likewise, Witr (Prayer with an odd number of units) is a stressed Sunnah which should not be neglected and you have to regularly observe it, seeking the reward from Allah (Glorified be He) and following the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in observing it. However, they are not obligatory and there is no blame on whoever does not observe them.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.