The Excellence of Sunnah Mu`akadah Solāh
By Al-Imam An-Nawawi
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of Al-`Ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam is His Messenger
1097. Umm Habibah (radiyallāhu`anha) the Mother of the Believers reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) saying:"A house will be built in Jannah for every Muslim who offers twelve raka`ah of optional Solāh other than the obligatory Solāh in a day and a night (to seek the Pleasure of Allah)."[this is recorded by Muslim].
At-Tirmidzi recorded Umm Habibah (radiyallāhu`anha) narrated that The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:"Whoever is regular with twelve raka`at of sunnah solāh , Allāh will build a house in Paradise: (as follows): 4 raka`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 Fajar (Dawn) Prayer."[Hadith sahih narrated by At-Tirmidzi No. 415 (Sahih) and by others. Hadith No. 6183 in Sahih al-Jāmi’]
Commentary: Tatawwu' means to offer more Nawafil (optional Solāh) on one's own after performing the Faraid (obligatory solāh). Thus, this Hadith tells us the merits of optional prayers and holds promise of (Jannah) for those who make it a practice.
1098. Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: I performed along with the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) two raka`at of optional prayers before Dzuhur and two after the Dzuhur (noon prayer), and two after the Friday prayer, and two after the Solāh Maghrib, and two after the Solāh `Isha' ."[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: There are two kinds of Nawafil which are performed before or after the obligatory prayer.
Firstly, the one which were performed by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) more frequently. According to the present Hadith, their total comes to ten raka`at while in other Ahadith their total is twelve or fourteen raka`at. They are called Sunnah Mu`akkadah or As-Sunnan Ar-Rawatib That is, the raka`ah which are proved from the saying and practice of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) and which were performed by him usually. These are said to be Compulsory Solāh .
Secondly, such Nawafil which were not performed by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) regularly. These are called Sunnah Ghair Mu`akkadah and are said to be Optional prayers. In any case, Nawafil have great importance in creating a special link between the worshipper and Allah, and for this reason the believers do not neglect them. But their status in Shari`ah is of Nawafil the performing of which is rewarding and omission of which is not sinful.
One thing that should be borne in mind in respect of As-Sunnan Ar-Rawatib or Mu`akkadah is that it is better to perform them at home. This was the usual practice of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), and this is what he ordained the Muslims.
1099.'Abdullah bin Mughaffal (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:"There is a Solāh between every Adzan and Iqāmah; there is a Solāh between every Adzān and Iqāmah." (While saying the same for the) third time (he (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) added), "It is for him who desires (to perform it)."[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: The two Adzān here means Adzān and Iqāmah, as has been elucidated by Imām An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh). That is, offering of two raka`at between Adzān and Iqāmah is Mustahabb (desirable). It comes in the category of Ghair Ratiba or Ghair Mu`akkadah Nawafil. These Nawafil can be performed after the Adzan of every Solāh before the congregation stands for the obligatory solāh.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[The Excellence of Optional Solah (Sunnah Mu’akad) Chapter # 195, Riyad-Us-Saliheen, Compiled By Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi]
Many Ahadith Mentioned the Virtues of Nawafil Solāh
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:
· “Prostrate as much as you can, because whenever you prostrate, Allāh elevates your rank by a degree and wipes out a sin from your record” (Muslim)
· “Whenever a servant prostrates to Allāh, Allāh 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 Mājah)
· “Solāh is the best thing that one can do, so perform as many as you possibly can” (At-Tabarāni)
· “Two light raka`at which you may think as insignificant to add to you deeds, it is better for you than possessing the whole world” (Ibn Al-Mubārak)
The Way To Perform Sunnah Solāh.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) described:
· “The night Solāh is done two (raka`at) at a time” (Al-Bukhari)
· “The Sunnah Solāh at night and during the day is done two raka‘at at a time” (Ahmad, Ibn Mājah and others).
The Time Frame For Sunnah Mu`akkadah or As-Sunnan Ar-Rawatib
Firstly, the time frame for a Sunnah prayer that comes before a fardhu prayer is from the beginning of the time for that prayer, until the iqāmah.
Secondly, the time for a Sunnah prayer that comes after a fardhu prayer is from after the Salam at the end of the fardhu prayer until the end of the time for that prayer.
Ibn Qudāmah (rahimahullāh) 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 Solāt Sunnah that comes after a fardhu solāt is from after the prayer is done until the end of the time for that prayer.”
Based on this, it is not correct to observe the Sunnah solāh before the time for the Solāh fardhu begins; rather you should wait until the time for that prayer comes, then pray it.
Sunnah before Solāh ‘Asar
The Solat ‘Asar (Late-Afternoon Prayer) has no regular Sunnah (basic recommended voluntary prayer). However, it is mustahab (preferable and recommended) that one performed four raka‘at of Sunnah before the `Asar Solah. It is categorised as Sunnah Ghair Mu`akkadah. The four raka‘at are of less reward and significance in importance of adhering to them compared to the "Sunnan al-Rawātib" described above. The four raka`at are those intended by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) in saying:
"May Allāh have mercy on one who prays four raka`at before the `Asar Solāh."
[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 four raka‘at voluntary prayers are to be done in two at a time according to Imām ash-Shāfi’ie and Imām Ahmad (rahimahullah).
Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[Adapted from the Islam Q&A (Fatwa Nos: 33779; 1048)]
Please See: The Excellence of Nawafil Solāh