Definition of Supererogatory Salat(Sunnah Prayers)
These are authorized types of Salat which are not obligatory.
The Merit of Supererogatory Salat
1- Supererogatory Salat causes Allah to love His servant more. It has been revealed in a Qudsi Hadeeth that Allah, the Exalted, says: “A servant of Mine continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works until I love him. Thus when I love him, I will be his ears which he hears with, his eyes which he sees with, his hands which he holds with and his feet which he walks with. If he asks Me, I shall grant him his request, and if he seeks protection from me, I shall protect him.” [ Source: Al-Bukhari.]
2- Supererogatory prayers make up for the deficiencies in the obligatory prayers. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Indeed, the first thing to be judged of mankind’s deeds on the Day of Resurrection is his As-Salat. Our Lord (Great and Exalted be He) will say to His angels, although He knows better (than them): ‘Look into the Salat of my servant, did he perfect it or was he deficient in it?’ If it was perfected, it will be written so. However, if it is deficient in any way, He (Allah) will say: ‘Look into his deeds, does he have any supererogatory acts?’ If he does, He says: ‘Make up my servants’ obligatory acts from his supererogatory ones,’ and the rest of his deeds are treated similarly.” [ Source: Abu Dawud.]
3- Supererogatory Salat is best performed at home
It is better to observe any supererogatory Salat at home than in a mosque, except for those for which praying in congregation is recommended, such as at-Taraweeh in the month of Ramadhan. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Indeed, the best Salat (performed) by a man is that which he observes in his house, except for the obligatory ones.” [ Source: Al-Bukhari.]
Types of Supererogatory Salat
Supererogatory Salat are numerous, some of the most important of these include:
First: Routine supererogatory Salat prayed with the obligatory Salat (As-Sunan ar-Rawatib)[ Ar-Rawatib: The plural of ratibah which is anything that is established and permanent.]
They are the prayers observed before or after obligatory prayers. The total number of these supererogatory Salat is ten or twelve raka’at, and they are:
- Two raka’at before Fajr
- Two or four raka’at before Dhuhr
- Two raka’at after Dhuhr
- Two raka’at after Maghrib
- Two raka’at after ‘Isha’
On the authority of Ibn ‘Umar , who said: “I learnt from the Prophet ﷺ ten raka’at: Two raka’at before Dhuhr prayer and two raka’at after it, two raka’at after Maghrib, in his house, two raka’at after ‘Isha’ in his house, and two raka’at before Salat Subhi.” [ Agreed upon.] A similar narration was also authentically reported from A’ishah ( may Allah be pleased with her), except that she mentioned four raka’at before Dhuhr (not two). [ Source: Muslim.]
The Obligatory Prayer
The best of these supererogatory Salats that the Prophet ﷺ kept to both on a journey and at home is the two raka’at before Fajr. This is evidenced by the hadeeth reported by A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that “The Prophet ﷺ was not as constant (in performing) any supererogatory Salat as the way he was with the two raka’at before Fajr.” [ Agreed upon.]
The Sunnah is to be short (in observing the two raka’at), without violating or reducing from its obligations. This is according to the statement authentically credited to A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that: “The Prophet ﷺ used to be short (in the recitation) in the two raka’at before Subhi prayer, such that I used to ask (myself) whether he had read al-Fatiha (or not).” [ Source: Al-Bukhari.]
It is permissible to pay it (the two rak’ats before fajr) back (after its time):
1- After salat al subh if he didn’t observe it, as evidenced by Qays Bin Amr that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Subhi prayer is two raka’at.” The man said, “I didn’t perform those two raka’at before the salah, so I performed them after the salah.” The Prophet kept silent.[ Source: Abu Dawud.]
2- After sunrise as evidenced from the statement of the Prophet “Whoever does not pray the raka’at before Fajr should do so after sunrise.” [ Source: At-Tirmidhi.]
- The virtue of praying four raka’at after Dhuhr has been established from the saying of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “Whoever prays before Dhuhr four and after Dhuhr four, Allah will make (entering) the Fire prohibited for him.” [ Source: Abu Dawud.]
- From the recommended Sunnah’s which are not emphasized are four raka’at before ‘Asr, due to the Prophet’s saying: “May Allah have mercy on he who prays four before ‘Asr.” [ Source: Abu Dawud.]
- Salah has been legislated – yet not emphasized - before ‘Asr, Maghrib, and ‘Isha due to the Prophet’s saying: “Between every two calls to prayer (meaning the Adhan and Iqamah) is a prayer (which he repeated thrice, then said) for he who wishes.” [ Agreed upon.]
- It is permissible for one to make up Sunnah prayers due to forgetting to pray them or missing them due to sleep, even during the times which it is disliked to pray, since the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did so when he prayed the Sunnah following Dhuhr, which he had missed, after praying ‘Asr.
Secondly: The Witr prayer
Its Ruling and Virtue
Salatul Witr is an emphatic Sunnah. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Indeed Allah is Witr (i.e. One) and loves odd numbers of things, so observe the odd numbered Salat (i.e. the Salatul Witr), O’ people of the Qur’an.” [ Source: Abu Dawud.]
Furthermore the Prophet ﷺ used to be consistent in praying it, whether he was at home or traveling.
Description of Salatul Witr
1- The least number of raka’t of Salatul Witr is one, and the highest number is eleven or thirteen. They should be observed as two raka’at at a time with one rak’ah at the end, to make it odd.
2- The least number of raka’t of the more perfect form of Witr is three raka’at, thus: He first observes two raka’at and says at-Tasleem, then the remaining one rak’ah is said and at-Tasleem is also said to round up the Witr. The three raka’at can also be said together with just one at-Tashahud.: It is recommended to recite suratul al-A‘la after Fatiha in the first rak’ah, and in the second rak’ah, suratul al-Kafirun, while in the third, suratul al-Ikhlas.
This was authentically reported from Ubayy bn Ka’b t,, who said: The Prophet ﷺ used to recite, in the first rak’ah of Salatul Witr, “Sabbihisma Rabbikal ‘Ala” and in the second; “Qul-Ya Ayyuhal Kafirun” and in the third; “Qul Huwa llahu Ahad.” [ Source: An-Nasai.]
Time of Salatul Witr
From after ‘Isha’ prayer until the appearance of the Dawn (Fajr). Observing it is best in the last third of the night. This is due to the statement of the Prophet ﷺ “Indeed the Salat in the last part of the night is witnessed,” in the hadeeth: “Whoever hopes to get up at the end of the night, let him make Witr at the end of the night; for indeed the Salat in the last part of the night is witnessed, and that is better.” [ Source: Muslim.]
Moreover, he should not repeat Witr in the same night; due to the Prophet’s saying: “There are no two Witrs in one night.” [ Source: Abu Dawud.]
The Supplication of Witr
It is permissible to supplicate in the last rak’ah of Witr before [ Source: Abu Dawud.] or after rising from bowing [ Source: Al-Bukhari.].
The hands are raised and supplications (reported from the Prophet) are said. For example: “Allahummahdini fiman hadayta, wa ‘aafini fiman ‘aafaita, wa tawal-lani fiman tawallaita, wa baarik li fima a’ataita, wa qini sharra ma qadaita, fa innaka taqdhi wa la yuqdha ‘alaika, innahu la yadhillu man walaita wala ya ‘izzu man ‘aadaita tabaarakta Rabbana wata ‘alaita.” Meaning: “Oh Allah, guide me along with those whom You have guided, pardon me along with those whom You have pardoned, be an ally to me along with those whom You are an ally to and bless for me that which You have bestowed on me and protect me against the evil of what you have decreed. For verily, You order and none can order You. For surely, he whom You show allegiance to is never abashed and he whom You take as an enemy is never honored. O’ our Lord, Blessed and exalted are You.” [ Source: At-Tirmidhi.]
1- The Sunnah is to say after Witr: “Subhanal Malikil Quddus” [ Source: Ahmad.] (Meaning: Glorified is Allah, The Sovereign, The all-Holy) three times. The voice is raised and lengthened on the third, and one may add: “Rabbul mala’ikati war-ruh” (meaning The Lord of the angels and the Ruh) to it.
2- It is not authorized to wipe the face after the supplication of Witr, or at any other time (when prayer is said), because this has not been reported (in any authentic hadeeth) from the Prophet ﷺ
3- The supplication of Al-Witr is permissible all year long and not specific to the last half of Ramadhan. Such a supplication is recommended in all the prayers at the time of a grave affliction.
Making the supplication which is usually made upon completing the Qur’an while in the prayer has not been legislated.
Making up (for missed) Witr Salat during the day
It is permissible to make-up the missed Salatul Witr during the day, but as an even-numbered raka’at. This has been authentically reported from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), who said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to observe twelve raka’at in the day, if he was unable to pray the (supererogatory) Salat in the night as a result of pain or for any other reason.” [ Source: Muslim.]
Third: Salatu at-Taraweeh
At-Taraweeh: This is the night prayer observed during Ramadhan. It is named at-Taraweeh because they used to take a break after every four raka’at that were observed due to the length of the Salat.
Merit of Salat at-Tarawih
At-Taraweeh is an emphatic Sunnah ordained by the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in the blessed month of Ramadhan.
Rule Tarawih prayer
The Prophet ﷺ observed it with his companions in the mosque for a number of nights, but left doing so after this for fear that it may be made obligatory on them. Then the companions observed it (in congregation and in the mosque) after him. [ Agreed upon.]
Number of rak’ahs of Salat at-Tarawih
The best number of raka’at that should be observed, in Salat at-Tarawih, is eleven; because this was the (number) the Prophet ﷺ observed the most. This is according to the statement by ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) when she was asked about how the Prophet ﷺ prayed during Ramadhan. She replied: “The Prophet of Allah ﷺ never observed more than eleven raka’at in Ramadhan, or at any other time.” [ Agreed upon.]
Salat at-Taraweeh with the intention of Salat al-‘Isha’.
Whoever has not prayed Salat al-‘Isha’ yet, but arrives when people are observing at-Taraweeh, he should join them with the intention of ‘Isha’; and when the imam says at-Tasleem, he stands to complete his ‘Isha’ prayer.
1-The Night Salat is an emphatic Sunnah throughout the year. It is improper to cease observing the night Salat. On the authority of ‘Abdullah bn Mas’oud t, who said: “In the presence of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ a man was mentioned. They said he would sleep until morning and would reach the morning without waking up for the Prayer. Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “In his ear the Satan urinated.” [ Agreed upon.]
It is disliked for a person to cease to continue the observation of the night Salat after he has become accustomed to it.
On the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr bn al-‘As t, who said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘O Abdullah! Do not be like so and so who used to stand up for the night Salat, but suddenly left it.’”
2-It is recommended when going to sleep to make the intention to observe night Salat. If you wake up, it is Sunnah to say invocations of waking up, remove the effects of sleep from your face by rubbing it with your hands, and use Siwak. Hudaifa reported: Whenever the Prophet got up for prayer during the night, he cleansed[ Passing it over his teeth and rubbing them.] his mouth with Siwaak (the tooth-stick), then recited the last ten ayats from Surat Al ‘Imran. [ Agreed upon.]
It is related that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas spent the night in the house of Maymuna, the wife of the Messenger of Allah, who was his maternal aunt. He said, “I lay down across the bed and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his wife lay lengthwise. The Prophet ﷺ slept until half the night had passed– or thereabouts. Then the Prophet ﷺ woke up, sat up and removed the effects of sleep from his face by rubbing it with his hands. Then he recited the last ten ayats from Surat Al ‘Imran.
Waking up for Prayer
3- It is recommended for a man when he wakes up for the night Salat to wake his wife too. A wife should also do the same for her husband. The Prophet ﷺ said: “When a man wakes his wife up and they observe two raka’at together, they will be written in the list of adh-Dhakirun and adh-Dhakirat (meaning: those males and females who are in constant remembrance of Allah.)” [ Source: Abu Dawud.]
4- Whoever is overwhelmed (disturbed) during his night Salat by sleep should leave it (the Salat) and then recline for a while, until he is no longer sleepy. On the authority of A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet ﷺ was reported to have said: “When one of you dozes off while performing Salat, he should lie down till his drowsiness has gone away from him. When one of you performs Salat while dozing, he may abuse himself instead of seeking pardon (as a result of drowsiness).’’ [ Agreed upon.]
5-“Allah (in the manner that suits His Majesty) descends to the closest heaven to the earth, when it is the last third of the night, and says: “Who will call unto Me so that I shall respond to him, and who is he who will seek forgiveness from Me so that I shall forgive him?” [ Agreed upon.]
Fourth: Salat ad-Duha (Fore-noon Salat)
The time of Duha:
It is the Salat that is recommended at the time of ad-Duha, and the time of ad-Duha extends from when the sun has risen and ascended to the length of a spear (this ascension is about 20 mins from the time of sunrise) and continues until a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes before the time for dhuhr prayer. It is easy to tell when its time begins as it is when it starts to become hot, as the Prophet ﷺ has said: “The prayer of those who constantly turn to Allah is at the time when the newborn camels (feet) burn[ The feet of the smaller camels due to the severe heat of the sand.] (from the heat of the desert sand).” [ Muslim.]
Merit of the Fore-noon Salat:
- Allah the Most High said in a Qudsi hadeeth: “O son of Adam, observe four raka’at of Salat (ul Duha) for Me in the early part of the day, and I shall suffice you in the rest.” [ Abu Dawud.]
- It is also amongst those things which fulfills giving charity for each joint in one’s body[ The bones and joints of the body.]. The Prophet ﷺ has said: “In the morning of each day there is a charity upon each of you for each joint in your body. Every Tasbeehah is a charity, every time one says ‘Alhamdulillah’ is a charity, every time you say ‘Laa ilaaha illallah’ is a charity, every utterance of ‘Allahu Akbar’ is a charity, commanding good is a charity, forbidding evil is charity, and two units of prayer at the time of Duha takes the place of all of that.” [ Muslim.]
- Whoever observes four rak’ahs, Allah will suffice him for the whole day. Allah the most High said in a Qudsi hadeeth: “O son of Adam, observe four rak’ahs of Salat for Me in the early part of the day, I will I will suffice you in the rest.” [ Abu Dawud.]
- Whoever prays it after praying Fajr in a congregation, and he also said words of remembrance of Allah before it until the sun rose, receives the reward of a Hajj and an ‘Umrah. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun has risen, and then prays two raka’at, he has the reward of Hajj and ‘Umrah.” The Prophet (then) said: “Completely, completely, completely.” [ Source: At-Tirmidhi and Al-Bani considered it to be authentic.]
Number of raka’at (units) of the Fore-noon Salat
It is permissible to observe two, four, six or eight raka’at, saying tasleem after every two rak’ats, because the Prophet ﷺ used to do so.
Fifth: Salatu Tahiyyatul Masjid (Salat for saluting the mosque)
It is a two- raka’at Salat prescribed upon anybody who enters the mosque, before he sits down.
The evidence for this is taken from the statement of the Prophet ﷺ: “When any of you enters a mosque, he should perform two rak’ahs before sitting down.” [ Agreed upon.]
However, the routine supererogatory Salats observed at the time for obligatory Salats (i.e Ar- rawaatib), or even the obligatory Salat itself, can stand in its place. Thus, if one enters the mosque to observe Salatu Dhuhr, for example, and (just after he enters) he observes the supererogatory Salat before Dhuhr, he is not required to observe Salatu tahiyyatul Masjid anymore, because the supererogatory Salat has stood in its place.
It is a two-raka’at Salat that a servant of Allah observes (to seek guidance from Allah) when he is confused or unsure regarding an affair, before making a decision on it. After the prayer, one should say a particular supplication which the Prophet ﷺ used to teach to the companions as he used to teach them Surahs (Chapters) from the Qur’an.
Invocation for seeking Allah’s Guidiance
The Prophet ﷺ said: “When any of you wishes to decide on an affair, let him observe two raka’at of Salat, other than the obligatory, and then say: ‘Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi ‘ilmika, wa astaqdiruka biqudratika, wa as-aluka min fadlikal ‘adheem. Fainnaka taqdiru wa la aqdiru, wa ta‘lamu, wa la a‘lamu, wa anta ‘Allamul-ghuyub, Allahumma in kunta ta’alamu anna hadhal amra khayrun lii fee deeni wa ma‘aashi wa aaqibati amri’ - or he said: ‘Aajili amrii wa aajilihi’ – ‘faqdurhuli wa yassirhu lii thumma baariklii feeh. Wa in kunta ta‘lamu anna haadhal amra sharun lii fee deeni wa ma ‘aashi wa aaqibati amri’ – or he said:‘Aajili amrii wa aajilihi’ – ‘fassirhu ‘anni wassrifni ‘anhu. Waqdur liyal khaira haythu kaana thumma ardini bihi.’ Meaning: ‘O Allah, I seek your counsel by Your Knowledge and by Your Power I seek strength, and I ask You from Your Immense Favor. For verily, You are Able while I am not and verily, You Know while I do not and You are the Knower of the unseen. O Allah, if You know this affair to be good for me in relation to my religion, my life and my end, then decree and facilitate it for me, and bless it for me. However if You know this affair to be ill for me regarding my religion, my life and my end, then remove it from me and remove me from it, and decree for me what is good wherever it may be, then make me be satisfied with this.’ And he mentions the affair to be decided.” [ Source: Al-Bukhari.]
Signs of Istikharah
There is no problem repeating the Istikharah, and it is not a condition that the person who seeks Allah’s counsel should have a dream which clarifies to him that which he seeks counsel about. It is for him just to proceed on whatever he chooses and has sought Allah’s guidance about, provided that he has not chosen to sin or severe ties of kinship. If he succeeds in what he has chosen, then that is the good he has asked for and if he does not succeed, that is equally the good he has asked for.
Seventh: Two- raka’at Salat after ablution
This is due to what was authentically narrated from Abu Hurairah t, that: “The Prophet ﷺ said to Bilal t, during Fajr Salat: ‘Oh Bilal, tell me what is the best of the most rewarding deeds you have performed in Islam, because I heard the beat of your sandals before me in Paradise?’ Then he (Bilal) replied: ‘I have not done anything worth mentioning, except that when I perform ablution at any time (of the night or the day) I observe with that ablution (a supererogatory Salat) that has been written for me.’” [ Source: Al-Bukhari.]
Eighth: Unconditional supererogatory Salat
It is that which is not restricted to a particular time or reason. Unconditional supererogatory Salats are allowed at all times except during periods in which Salat is forbidden.
Examples of Unconditional Supererogatory Salats(The night Salat)
The Prophet ﷺ said: “The best of all Salats, after the obligatory ones, is the Night Salat.” [ Source: Muslim.]
And He ﷺ also said: “Indeed there are in Paradise, chambers whose inner parts are visible from the outer parts and outer parts from the inner parts.” Following the mention of this a Bedouin Arab stood up to ask: “That is for whom, Oh Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet replied: “For those who speak good, feed the poor, fast continuously and stand for Allah’s sake in Salat during the night, when people are asleep.” [ Source: At- Timiridhi.]
The Night Salat in the light of Medicine
Standing in the night for Salat causes a reduction in the secretion of the hormone cortisone (i.e. natural cortisone of the body) –which is secreted specifically some hours before waking up. This (period) often coincides with the pre-dawn (last third of the night). This (reduction in secretion) prevents a sudden rise in the blood sugar level, a rise which may prove hazardous to diabetics.
Periods in which (observing) Salat is prohibited
1- From after Fajr (Dawn) Salat until after the sunrise and its ascension up to the length of a spear. This period usually lasts for about a third of an hour (20 mins) after sunrise.
2- When the sun shines directly overhead (at the meridian) until it tilts (towards the west).
3- From after Salat ul‘Asr until sunset.
The evidence for the above is taken from the hadeeth of ‘Uqbah bn ‘Aamir who said: “The Messenger of Allah used to forbid us from praying in three periods and from burying (naqbura) [ Naqbura: Bury.] our dead therein; when the sun rises baazigatan[ Bazighah: Very clear.] (clearly) until it ascends up, at the midday until the sun tilts (towards the west), and when the sun inclines ( Tadayyafa [ Tadayyafa: Inclines.]) to set until it sets.” [ Source: Muslim.]
Observing theConditional Salats(Salats which areobserved due to specific reasons) duringprohibited periods.
It is permissible to observe conditional Salats- i.e those that have specific causes e.g. Salat observed for greeting the mosque and Salatul Janaazah (Salat observed on a deceased) – even if it has to be during the prohibited periods.