All praise is due and belongs to Allâh. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allâh from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever that Allâh guides, none can mislead him, and whomever He sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger
(يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ )
(O you who believe, fear Allâh as he should be feared and die not unless you are Muslims) [Al-Imran: 102]
(يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا )
(O people fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. From it, He created its spouse, and from both of them scattered many men and women. Fear Allâh, by whom you ask one another, and (fear) the wombs (lest you sever its relationship). Allâh is ever watching over you). [An-Nisa: 1].
(يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا * يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا )
(O you, who believe, fear Allâh and say sound statements. He will mend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger shall win a great victory) [Al-Ahzab: 70-71].
O Muslims! One of the most prominent milestones and greatest rituals of Islam after the Oneness of Allâh (Tawhid) is the establishment of prayer. It is the second pillar of Islam, the most confirmed obligation, the greatest presentation, the most magnificent act of obedience to Allâh and the most expensive of all goods. So, whoever preserves and keeps to it, will have his religion preserved and whoever neglects it will have the rest of his deen neglected. The Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him, says, “The head of the matter is Islam and its pillar is the prayer” [Narrated by Ahmad].
One who contemplates on the situation of the Muslims today will find a lot of them being confined to observing the obligatory prayers. They never come to the mosque; except during the prayer or after the Iqamah has been said for it, thus missing the supererogatory prayers observed before the obligatory prayer. Then, after the prayer, they leave without observing the post-obligatory supererogatory prayers. In fact, many Muslims are uninformed of the voluntary prayers enacted, established and recommended by the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him). If a person does not observe the supererogatory prayers that accompany the obligatory prayers, then he is more likely to neglect other voluntary prayers.
Slaves of Allâh! Islam has exhorted us to get the best out of the supererogatory prayers and encouraged us to perform them. Following are some of the supererogatory prayers it has exhorted us to perform and shown to us:
As-Sunan Ar-Ratibah: These are twelve special rak’ahs to be observed in the day and night. On their excellence, the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) has said, “Whoever prays twelve rak’ahs in a day and a night, a house will be built in Paradise [Reported by Muslim and others].
These twelve rak’ahs came elaborated in another narration in [Sunan At-Tirmidhi], where the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) arranged them and said, “ Whoever prays twelve rak’ahs in a day and a night, a house will be built in Paradise: four before Zuhr and two after, two after Maghrib, two after Isha and two before Fajr“.
Among the Sunan (supererogatory) prayers that were recommended to be observed on a regular basis is what was narrated by Ibn Umar that the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “May Allâh show mercy to a man who prays four rak’ahs before the afternoon prayer (Asr) ” [Al-Albani graded it Hasan].
Furthermore, the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) urged us to observe some voluntary prayers before Maghrib, and said, “Pray two rak’ahs before the Maghrib prayer. He then said (again): Pray before the Maghrib prayer, pray two rak’ahs before the Maghrib prayer, pray two rak’ahs before the Maghrib prayer; then at the third time, he said, this applies to those who wish to do so. That was because he feared that the people might treat it as an act of Sunnah” [Narrated by Abu Dawud and graded Sahih by Al-Albani].
Al-Witr is also among the recommended supererogatory prayers. A lot of texts have been reported on its virtues, including; the hadith of Ali, may Allâh be pleased with him, who said, the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “ O people of the Qur’an, pray witr, for Allâh is Witr (One) and loves Al-Witr (the odd numbered).'” (Classed as Sahih by Al-Albani).
The time for observing Al-Witr prayer is after the evening prayers (Isha) until dawn (Al-Fajr), due to the saying of the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), “Indeed, Allâh has added one more prayer for you, which is Al-Witr, so observe it during the period between the ‘Isha’ prayer and the onset of dawn’” (Classed as Sahih by Al-Albani).
The lowest number of rak’ahs for Al-Witr prayer is one rak’ah owing to the saying of the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), “The Witr is a duty for every Muslim so if anyone wishes to observe it with five rak’ahs, he may do so; if anyone wishes to observe it with three, he may do so, and if anyone wishes to observe it with one, he may do so” (Classed as Sahih by Al-Albani).
Salatu Ad-Dwuha (Forenoon prayer) is one of the prayers recommended to us by our beloved Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him). It is the prayer of Al-Awwabeen (those who frequently return to Allâh in repentance. Abu Dharr, May Allâh be pleased with him, said, the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “When you get up in the morning, charity is due from every one of your joints. There is charity in every ascription of glory to Allâh; there is charity in every declaration of His Greatness; there is charity in every utterance of praise of Him; there is charity in every declaration that He is the only true God (worthy of worship); there is charity in enjoining good; there is charity in forbidding evil. Two Rak’ah of Dwuha (Forenoon prayer) is equal to all this (in reward)“. [Reported by Muslim].
Its time starts at the time the sun rises by the time equal to the length of a shaft and ends when the sun declines and passes the meridian, but it is desirable to delay it until the sun rises and the heat is intensified, which is about an hour before Dhuhr prayer.
O believers! It is recommended for a man to pray the supererogatory prayers at home. The Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “Pray you people in your homes, for the best prayer of a person is that which he prays in his house except the compulsory prayers” [Agreed upon].
May Allâh bless me and you with the Glorious Qur’an and benefit me and you with the verses and wise reminder it contains. I said what you have heard and I ask the forgiveness of Allâh for you and me; for He is the All-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
All praise is due and belongs to Allâh, Lord and Cherisher of the worlds. May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon the seal of the prophets and messengers.
Praise be to Allâh, and peace and blessings be upon the seal of the prophets and messengers, either:
Slaves of Allâh! In this life, one is exposed to a lot of things and issues with unknown consequences, the good and evil of which he knows not. Nor does he know of their usefulness or harm. Thus, he gets confused and dwells in hesitation. Should he do this deed or not? Issues, which at times are very crucial, and relate to his future life, such as marriage, job, travel, trade, and so on. This is all the more reason the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), has legislated for us, Salâh Al-Istikhaarah (Istikhara means to ask Allâh to guide one to the right sort of action concerning any job or a deed). So, when one intends to do something, or determines to carry out a certain matter, or an issue comes up in his mind and would like to embark on it, or a job is offered to him, he should do istikhaarah by asking his Lord to choose the best for him, and then proceeds relying on Allâh, the Most Blessed and Most High.
According to Sahih Al-Bukhari, Jabir, may Allâh be pleased with him, said, The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara, in all matters as he taught us the Surahs of the Qur’an. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any thing he should offer a two rak`ah prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer): — ‘Allâhumma inni astakhiruka bi’ilmika, Wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, Wa as’aluka min fadwlika Al-`azim Fa-innaka taqdiru Wala aqdiru, Wa ta’lamu Wala a’lamu, Wa anta ‘allamu l-ghuyub. Allâhumma, in kunta ta’lam anna hadha-lamra Khairun li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati `Amri (or ‘ajili `Amri wa’ajilihi) Faqdurhu li wa yas-sirhu li thumma barik li Fihi, Allâhumma Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hadha-lamra shar-run li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati `Amri (or fi’ajili `Amri wa ajilihi) Fasrifhu anni was-rifni anhu. Waqdur li al-khaira haithu kana Thumma ardini bihi.‘ (O Allâh! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, And Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You are the All-knower of the unseen. O Allâh! If You know that this affair is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter–(or he said: If it is better for my present and later needs)–Then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, And then bless me in it, and if You know that this affair is harmful to me in my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter–(or he said: If it is worse for my present and later needs)–Then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, and make me satisfied with it). The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) added that then the person should name (mention) his need”.
Moreover, Istikhaarah prayer is offered as two rak’ahs besides the non-obligatory prayer. It does not have a specific time. It is offered at all times in the day or night, but it is better to explore those times when prayer is likely to be answered. Salâh Al-Istikhaarah is one of the most viable means by which a Muslim can proceed with his determination, and it reveals to him the path of goodness; because he reposes trust in Allâh without any other object besides Him, and surrenders his affair to Allâh, the Most Purified and Exalted. In fact, “It is part of man’s happiness to consult and do Istikharah with his Lord, and to be satisfied with whatever He may decree. Indeed, it is part of the miserableness of man to abandon doing Istikhaarah, and to express indignation towards what Allâh has decreed.”
There are great virtues and solemn impacts resulting, from one’s commitment to observing the supererogatory prayers and consistently maintaining them. Below are some as follows:
They bring the love of Allâh to the slave. In Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, in what he narrates from his Lord, the Almighty that: (And My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (prayer or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him. When I love him I become his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks (something) from Me, I will give it to him, and if he asks My Protection (refuge), I will protect him).
Among the fruits of supererogatory prayers is that they make up for the shortage that occurs in the obligatory prayer. It has been narrated in Sunan Abu Dawud and others that the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, ” The first thing about which the people will be called to account out of their actions on the Day of Judgment is prayer. Our Lord, the Exalted, will say to the angels – though He knows better: Look into the prayer of My slave and see whether he has offered it perfectly or imperfectly. If it is perfect, that will be recorded perfect. If it is defective, He will say: See there are some optional prayers offered by My slave. If there are optional prayer to his credit, He will say: Compensate the obligatory prayer by the optional prayer for My slave. “
Seize the vacant time to perform some additional prayers; for your death can be sudden.
How many a healthy person have you seen quite free from all ailments but he gave up his sound soul inadvertently.
O Muslims! Behold! Let’s take provisions from the supererogatory prayers, perhaps we might earn the love of Allâh and His satisfaction with us on the day of meeting with Him. We should not be act niggardly to ourselves by not performing some extra sujud (prostration) or ruku’ (bowing); for its usefulness is great in this world and the hereafter. It requires nothing but a few minutes to observe them. How much are in need to be committed to these supererogatory prayers, maintain them!
Invoke much prayers and blessings of Allâh upon this noble leading Prophet, the one Allâh, the Most Exalted and Glorified, has commanded you to do so when He said,
(إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا )
Allâh sends His Salâh (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad) and also His angels too (ask Allâh to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salâh on (ask Allâh to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet him with the Islamic way of greeting [Al-Ahzab: 56