Are there any prayers that the Prophet (pbuh) performed after the morning prayer (fajr)? Is it permissible for a person who starts to perform awwabin prayer as four rak’ahs to perform it as two rak’ahs?

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Are there any prayers that the Prophet (pbuh) performed after the morning prayer (fajr)? Is it permissible for a person who starts to perform awwabin prayer as four rak’ahs to perform it as two rak’ahs?

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(editor) on Fri, 12/01/2018 - 14:29

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Nafilah prayers are not performed after the fard of the morning prayer (fajr). They can only be performed after the sun rises and the time of karahah ends. It is called duha prayer.

Duha prayer is at least two rak’ahs; according to the sound view, it can be performed as four rak’ahs or up to eight rak’ahs. It is a mandub prayer. Its time period starts when the sun raises a spear-length and ends twenty minutes before zawal time. The following is reported from Hz. Aisha:

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) performed duha prayer as four rak’ahs in the form of two plus two rak’ahs; he did not speak any worldly things after the first two rak’ahs." (as-San'ani, Subulus-Salam, Cairo 1950, II / 16)

The narration of Muslim is as follows:

"Hz. Prophet performed duha prayer as four rak’ahs and he would add as many rak’ahs as Allah wished."

Awwabin prayer is known as a six-rak’ah sunnah ghayr muakkadah prayer performed only after the sunnah of the evening prayer. However, it is used for both the nafilah prayers performed after duha prayer and evening prayer (maghrib). Awwab is a noun meaning he who turns to Allah by abandoning sins and doing good deeds. Its plural form is awwabin. Awwabin prayer means the prayer of those who obey Allah a lot. Zayd b. Arqam, one of the Companions, saw some people performing prayers at the time of duha. He said,

"Those people know that it is more virtuous to perform prayers at a time other than this time. For, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, ‘Awwabin prayer is performed when the feet of young camels burn because of heat.’" (Muslim, Salah, 19)

Zayd b. Arqam states the following in another narration: "The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) went to the people of Quba. When he arrived, they were praying. He said to them, `Awwabin prayer is performed when the feet of young camels burn because of heat.` buyurdu" (A. Davudoğlu, Sahih-i Müslim Tercümesi ve Şerhi IV, 2132).

It is not stated in those hadiths how many rak’ahs should that prayer be performed. Islamic scholars say the time when heat increases is the best and most appropriate time for duha prayer. For, the time for duha prayer is the early part of the day; it can be performed at earlier hours.

The following hadith reported from Thawban expresses the importance of awwabin prayer:

"The Messenger of Allah liked performing prayers after the half of the day. Hz. Aisha said, 'O Messenger of Allah! Do you like performing prayers at this time too?' The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "The gates of the sky are opened at this time and God Almighty looks at His slave with mercy. This prayer was performed regularly by Hz. Adam, Nuh, Ibrahim and Isa." (al-Asqalani, Bulûgu`l Merâm, Terc. A. Davudoğlu, II / 48).

Various hadiths stating that awwabin prayer is four rak’ahs. There are also hadiths stating that it is performed after the evening prayer and as six rak’ahs; it is known that they are more common in practice. (Tirmidhi, Salah, 32 1).

The nafilah prayer performed as two to six rak’ahs after the Sunnah of the evening prayer is also called "awwabin". Hz. Prophet (pbuh) said that a person who performed six rak’ahs as nafilah after the evening prayer will be regarded among awwabin (those who commit sins but repent immediately after it); then, he read the following verse:

"Your Lord knoweth best what is in your hearts: If ye do deeds of righteousness, verily He is Most Forgiving to those who turn to Him again and again (in true penitence)." (al-Isra, 17/25; see Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, İstanbul 1985, V, 64, 65; Shurunbilali, Sharhu Nuril-Izah, İstanbul 1984. p. 74)

Nafilah prayers can be performed as two or four rak’ahs. Therefore, if a person who starts with the intention of four rak’ahs but salutes after the second rak’ah, his prayer is valid.

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