The sunnah prayers performed together with fard prayers before and after them are called rawatib prayers.
They are totally twenty rak'ahs a day: Two rak'ahs before the morning (fajr) prayer, four rak'ahs before and two rak'ahs after the noon (zuhr) prayer, four rak'ahs before the afternoon (asr) prayer, two rak'ahs after the evening (maghrib) prayer, and four rak'ahs before and two rak'ahs after the night (isha) prayer. Rawatib prayers are divided into two as sunnah al-muakkadah and sunnah ghayr muakkadah.
The sunnah prayers performed as two rak'ahs before the morning prayer, four rak'ahs before and two rak'ahs after the noon prayer, four rak'ahs before the afternoon prayer, two rak'ahs after the evening prayer, two rak'ahs after the night prayer, and four rak'ahs before and after the Friday prayer are sunnah al-muakkadah.
The sunnah prayers performed as four rak'ahs before the afternoon and night prayers are sunnah ghayr muakkadah.
It is mandub to add two more rak'ahs to the last sunnah prayers of the noon and night prayers by performing them as 4 rak'ahs.
It is mandub to perform six more rak'ahs after the two rak'ah sunnah al-muakkadah of the evening prayer; it is called awwabin prayer.
The strongest and most virtuous sunnah among sunnah al-muakkadah prayers is the sunnah of the morning prayer.
The Messenger of Allah states the following in a hadith regarding the issue:
"The two-rak'ah sunah of the morning prayer is better than the world and everything that is in the world."
The order of strength after the sunnah of the morning prayer is as follows: The sunnah of the evening prayer, the last sunnah of the noon prayer, the last sunnah of the night prayer, the first sunnah of the noon prayer...
Among sunnahs of ghar muakkadah, the sunnah of the afternoon prayer is more virtuous than the first sunnah of the night prayer. The following is stated in a hadith:
"May Allah not deprive a person who performs 4 rak'ahs before the fard of the afternoon prayer of His mercy!"
If there is enough time, sunnah al-muakadah prayers should not be abandoned. If there is enough time only for the fard prayer, the sunnah is abandoned.
The sunnahs of the morning and afternoon prayers cannot be performed after their fard prayers.
It is more virtuous to perform sunnah prayers at home. Thus, a person protects himself from show off and hypocrisy; in addition, he will prevent his home from being like a graveyard where prayers and worships are not performed. This what is meant by the following hadith: "Do not make your homes resemble graves."
Only at-Tahiyyat is read in the first sitting of four rak'ah sunnah al-muakkadah prayers. Subhanaka is not read at the beginning of the third rak'ah.
Salawat are read after at-Tahiyyat in the first sitting of sunnah ghayr muakkadah and mandub sunnah; and Subhanaka is read at the beginning of the third rak'ah.
Talking about worldly issues between the fard and sunnah prayers decreases the rewards of the prayer but it does not invalidate the sunnah prayer.
- It is reported from Ibn Abbas that performing the night and morning prayers in congregation is regarded as worshipping throughout the night in a sense.
Then, if those who cannot wake up in the middle of the night in order to worship try to perform the night and morning prayers in congregation, they may obtain rewards as if they way wake up in the middle of the night and worship.
Its time starts when the sun rises and it continues until the time of istiwa (twenty or thirty minutes before the sun reaches its zenith). It is a mandub prayer. It is performed as 2, 4, 8 or 12 rak'ahs. It is a prayer that the Messenger of Allah liked performing.
It is the nafilah prayer that is performed after the night prayer after a short sleep. The Messenger of Allah stated the following in order to encourage his ummah to perform it:
"Perform tahajjud prayer regularly because tahajjud prayer is the practice of the righteous people who lived before you. It makes you approach your Lord; it covers the evil deeds and prevents one from committing sins."
The following is stated in another hadith:
"If a person wakes up in the middle of the night and wakes his/her spouse up and both of them perform a prayer of two rak'ahs, Allah includes them in the group of those who mention His name a lot."
Its time: Aswad Ibn Alqama, one of the notables of Tabiun, said, "Tahajjud is after slepp." Therefore, it is necessary to sleep first for the tahajjud prayer. For, it is regarded makruh to worship throughout the night without sleeping in Islam. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prohibited Abdullah bin Amr, one of the Companions, from worshipping throughout the night; he ordered him to sleep for a while and to worship for a while.
The most virtuous and prosperous time for tahajjud prayer is stated as follows in a hadith reported from Abu Hurayra in Muslim:
"The most virtuous prayer after fard prayers is tahajjud prayer. If you divide the night into two, the second part is the most virtous time. If you divide the night into three, the middle part is the most blessed and virtuous time."
Dawud (pbuh) divided the night into 6 and worshipped in the 4th and 5th parts. The Messenger of Allah praised worshipping like that in a hadith.
Its decree: The Prophet was ordered to perform tahajjud prayers by verse 79 of the chapter of al-Isra. As Mujahid, one of the tafsir scholars of Tabiun says, tahajjud prayer is nafilah for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), a means of increasing rewards and virtue. Tahajjud is mandub for the ummah and is a means of forgiveness of sins.
There are some salaf scholars who say tahajjud is fard, not nafilah, for the Messenger of Allah.
How is it performed? There are various narrations about the number of rak'ahs of the tahajjud prayer performed by the Messenger of Allah.
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari says it is four rak'ahs, with salutations after each two rak'ahs.
According to a narration from Hz. Aisha, "The Messenger of Allah performed 9 rak'ahs. However, when he got older, he started to perform 7 rak'ahs." That is the most famous narration.
It is a mustahab prayer. A Muslim who enters a mosque with an intention outside performing prayers like visiting, teaching or learning the Quran performs a nafilah prayer of two rak'ahs.
A person should perform Tahiyyatu'l-Masjid prayer before he sits down, which is better. He can perform it after sitting, too.
It is mustahab for a person who cannot perform Tahiyyatu'l-Masjid prayer when he enters a mosque due to lack of time or karahah to say:
"Subhanallah wal-hamdulillah wa la ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar. (Glory be to Allah; praise be to Allah, there is no god but Allah; Allah is the greatest.)"
If a person enters a mosque with the intention of performing a fard prayer or joining the congregation, it is regarded as Tahiyyatu'l-Masjid prayer.
It is mandub to perform a prayer of two rak'ahs after wudu or ghusl before the wetness dries if there is enough time. This is regarded as thanks for attaining the bounty of wudu or ghusl. However, this thanks is regarded to be performed if a person performs a fard or sunnah prayer after wudu or ghusl.
The first night of the month of Rajab is called Laylatur-Raghaib. It is a blessed night. There are a lot of rewards for spending this night worshipping. According to narrations, the Messenger of Allah performed 12 rak'ahs of nafilah prayers on that night.
It is bid'ah to perform Laylatur-Raghaib prayer in congregation. For, no nafilah prayer except tarawih prayer is performed in congregation.
Laylatul-Mi'raj (Night of the Ascension) is the 27th night of the month of Rajab. It is the holy night when the Messenger of Allah ascended to the sky and when 5 daily prayers were rendered fard. It is regarded mustahab to perform 12 rak'ahs of nafilah prayers on that night.
One should read al-Fatiha and an additional chapter or verses in each rak'ah and salute after every two rak'ahs. Then he should say, "Subhanallah wal-hamdulillah wa la ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar (Glory be to Allah; praise be to Allah, there is no god but Allah; Allah is the greatest)" 100 times. Then, he should say "Astaghfirullah" 100 times and read salawat 100 times.
It is mustahab to perform fasting on that day.
Laylatul-Barat is the 15th night of the month of Shaban. There are a lot of rewards for those who worship on that night.
The prayer to be performed on the night of Barat is called salat al-khayr (good prayer); this prayer consists of 100 rak'ahs; the chapter of al-Ikhlas is read 10 times after the chapter of al-Fatiha in each rak'ah.
Laylatul-Qadr is the 27th night of the month of Ramadan. The Quran was started to be sent down to the Prophet that night. There are a lot of rewards for those who worship on that night. As the Quran puts it, that night is better than one thousand months. That night is the night when divine mercy pours. Therefore, it is necessary to worship that night.
There is not a prayer peculiar to that night but it is said that at least two rak'ahs, at most one thousand rak'ahs and normally 100 rak'ahs can be performed. If a person performs two rak'ahs, he should read 200 verses in each rak'ah. If he performs 100 rak'ahs, he should read the chapter of al-Qadr and the chapter of al-Ikhlas 3 times after al-Fatiha in each rak'ah and salute after every two rak'ahs.
The supplication, "Allahumma innaka afuwwun tuhibbul-'afwa, fa'fu 'anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me) should be read a lot.
It is mandub to perform a two rak'ah prayer when a person starts a journey or returns from a journey.
Tasbih (glorification) prayer is a four-rak'ah prayer. It is reported that Hazrat Prophet advised Abbas, his uncle, to perform it. The following tasbih is read 75 times in each rak'ah: "Subhanallahi wal-hamdulillahi wa la ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar."
The places where this sentence is read are as follows:
*It is read 15 times after Subhanaka in the first rak'ah and 15 times before al-Fatiha in the second rak'ah.
*It is read 10 times each after al-Fatiha and an additional chapter are read.
* It is read 10 times after Subhana rabbiyal azim is read 3 times in ruku and 10 times again after standing up from ruku.
* It is read 10 times after Subhana rabbiyal ala is read 3 times in sajdah.
* It is read 10 times after getting up from sajdah.
* It is read 10 times after Subhana rabbiyal ala is read 3 times in the second sajdah.
Thus, the sentence beginning with Subhanaka is read 75 times in each rak'ah.
It is possible to salute at the end of the second rak'ah and perform the 3rd and 4th rak'ahs separately, or to stand up after the second rak'ah without saluting. The third and four rak'ahs are performed like the first and second rak'ahs. Thus, 300 tasbihat are read in 4 rak'ahs totally.
This prayer is advised to be performed at least once in one's life.
A person who commits a sin as a natural result of being a human must repent at once. It is mandub for a person who wants to repent of the sin he has committed to make wudu, go to an open area like the countryside, perform a two-rak'ah prayer and take refuge in Allah sincerely by asking forgiveness from Him.
A person who has a worldly or otherworldly wish makes wudu and performs two or four rak'ahs, or according to another view, twelve rak'ahs after the night prayer. Then, he praises Allah and sends salawat to Hazrat Prophet. After that, he says the prayer of need and asks Allah to realize his wish.
In the first rak'ah of hajah prayer, Ayat al-Kursiyy is read 3 times after al-Fatiha; in the remaining three rak'ahs, the chapter of al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq and an-Nas are read once after al-Fatiha according to a hadith.
Hajah supplication is as follows:
Allahumma inni as'aluka tawfiqa ahlil-huda wa a'mala ahlil-yaqini wa munasahata ahlit tawbati wa azma ahlis-sabr wa jidda ahlil khashyati wa talaba ahlir-raghbati, wa taabbuda ahlil-warai, wa irfana ahlil-ilmi hatta akhafuk.
Allahumma inni as'aluka makhafatan tahjizuni an ma'siyatika hatta a'amala bitaatika amalan astahiqqu bihi ridaka wa hatta unasihaka bit-tawbati khawfan minka wa hatta ukhlisa lakan-nasihata hubban laka wa hatta atawakkala alayka fil umuri wa husna zannin bik. Subhana khaliqin-nur.
O Allah, I beseech You for the inspiration of the guided, the deeds of the firm believers, the sincerity of the repenter, the determination of the patient, the effort of the God-fearing, the aspirations of the enthusiasts, the devoutness of the pious, the cognition of the knowledgeable - so that I fear You.
O Allah, I beg You for such fear that will restrain me from Your disobedience so that I may act in obedience to You earning Your consent. And so that I may repent sincerely out of Your fear. And so that I may achieve sincerity to You, so that I preach sincerely to attain Your love. And so that I may put my trust totally in You. (And I beg You for having) the best expectations from You.
O the Glorified, the Creator of light.
The prayer that is performed in order to understand whether something to be done will turn out to be good or bad, whether it will be better to do something immediately or to delay it is called istikhara prayer. It is a prayer of two rak'ahs.
A person who wants to make istikhara performs this prayer of two rak'ahs before he goes to bed and reads the chapter of al-Kafirun after al-Fatiha in the first rak'ah and the chapter of al-Ikhlas in the second rak'ah. Then, he reads the supplication of istikhara. After that, he lies down by turning to the qiblah (having wudu).
Seeing something white or green in the dream indicates something good; seeing something black or red indicates something bad.
It is ordered that istikhara prayer be performed 7 nights like that and what comes to the heart be accepted.
Istikhara is made related to the issues that cannot be decided and that are hesitated. Istikhara is made when a person cannot decide what is better to do and hesitates. Istikhara is not made related to the issues that are definite, the issues that are known to be true or wrong and the issues that were consulted and decided. In those cases, the true way and what to do are known. There is no need for istikhara.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) advised his Companions to make istikhara. Those who cannot perform istikhara prayer can read istikhara supplication only.
The following is stated in a hadith:
"A person who makes istikhara will not be disappointed; a person who makes istikhara will not regret."
The istikhara supplication made by the Messenger of Allah is as follows:
Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi-ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika wa as'aluka min fadlika'l-azim. Fa-innaka taqdiru wa la aqdiru wa ta'lamu wa la a'lamu wa anta allamu'l-ghuyub.
Allahumma in kunta ta'lamu anna hadha'l-amra khayrun li fi dini wa maashi wa aqibati amri faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li. Summa barik li fih. Wa in kunta ta'lamu hadha'l-amra sharrun li fi dini wa maashi wa aqibati amri, fasrifhu anni wasrifni anhu waqdur li'l-khayra haythu kana. Summa ardini bih...
Its translation is as follows:
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 end, then decree and facilitate it for me, and bless me with it. And if You know this affair to be ill for me towards my religion, my life, and end, then remove it from me and remove me from it, and decree for me what is good wherever it be and make me satisfied with such.
When it does not rain, Muslims go out and pray Allah for rain. They take refuge in His mercy and grace and beg Him to send rain. It is called istithqa in religious terminology. It lexically means to ask for rain.
According to Abu Hanifa, what is meant by istithqa is to say prayers and ask for forgiveness. It is not sunnah but it may be permissible to perform prayers in congregation. If people want, they can perform prayers individually.
According to Imam Muhammad and Abu Yusuf, it is mandub to perform the istithqa prayer in congregation for Muslims like the Friday prayer. The preacher recites a sermon without ascending to the pulpit by leaning on a stick.
It is regarded as mustahsan (good) to pray for rain three days on end. If it does not rain at the end of the three days, it is necessary to keep praying. The following is stated in a hadith: "Allah likes those who insist on praying and begging." It is mandub to perform fasting on the day of istithqa and three days before it. For, the prayer of a fasting person is accepted. Those who are cross with each other should reconcile within these three days; people should give sadaqah; the things that have been taken inequitably should be returned to their owners.
While going out for istithqa prayer, it is necessary to go to an open area like the countryside or desert by lowering heads and on foot. It is necessary to repent for sins first, ask forgiveness for all believers and try to attract divine mercy.
Muslims take their children, domestic animals and their young ones to the prayer. The children and young animals are kept away from their mothers for a while; the weak and the old pray during these sad moments and the others say "amin".
To sum up, it is necessary to ask mercy and help from Allah in a sad, humble and respectful state. If rain starts before going out to the open area, it is necessary to go there as an indication of thanking Allah.
When it rains, it is necessary to say, "Allahumma sayyiban nafian", that is, "O Allah! Make this rain beneficial for us." If it rains more than necessary, it is necessary to say, "Allahumma hawalayna wa la alayna", "O Allah! Make it rain on places that will not cause any harm; do not make it rain on us."
The people who pray can open their hands, their palms facing the sky or facing the ground if they wish. For, it is reported that the Prophet prayed like that (his palms facing the ground). Shafii scholars say praying like this is not limited to istithqa prayer. In general, they regard it permissible to hold the hands with the palms facing the sky when they ask something from Allah and with the palms facing the ground when they want to take refuge in Allah from troubles and misfortunes.
The supplication of istithqa reported from the Messenger of Allah is as follows:
Allahumma asqina ghaythan mughithan hanian marian ghadaqan mujallilan sahhan amman tabaqan daiman.
Allahumma ala'z-zirabi wa manabiti'sh-shajari wa butuni'l-awdiyati.
Allahumma inna nastaghfiruka innaka kunta ghaffaran fa-arsili's-samaa midraran.
Allahumma asqina'l-ghaytha wa la taj'alna mina'l-qanitin.
Allahumma anbit lana'z-zar'a wa adirra lana'd-dar'a wa asqina min barakati's-samai wa anbit lana min barakati'l-ard.
Allahumma'r-fa' anna'l-jahda wa'l-jua wa'l-urya wa'kshif anna mina'l-balai ma la yakshifuhu ghayruka.
Oh Allah! Pour down upon us abundant healthy beneficial rain that covers all places and flows everywhere.
O Allah! Send the rain to the mountains, tree roots and valleys.
O Allah! We ask your mercy. There is no doubt that you are the most merciful. Send us plenty of rain from the sky.
O Allah! Water us with rain; do not make us among those who lose their hope.
O Sublime Creator! Make the plants grow, let the udders be refilled with abundant milk; water us with the bounties of the sky and bloom crops for us.
O Lord! Remove poverty, nakedness and hunger from us. Make us get rid of this misfortune, which can be eliminated by nobody except you.
Why is Istithqa Prayer and supplication performed?
There is a great lesson of warning in istithqa prayer and supplication. It is a duty of servitude for us to remember all the time our Merciful and Generous Lord, whose endless mercy and help we constantly receive, to turn to His great house in gratitude understanding that we are in need of Him through all occasions, and to pray and beg Him.
Let us think: if the beneficial rain that occasionally comes down onto the earth from clouds stopped, and rivers, streams and brooks dried consequently, who would send us water? If God Almighty stopped and dried the resources of fresh water that gush forth all the time and that serve us, who could give it to us?
Man sometimes needs to think of these facts and thank and praise Allah endlessly but he often acts heedlessly and shows ingratitude toward the bounties.
God Almighty sometimes sends misfortunes like drought as a punishment for man's heedlessness and ingratitude. Thus, He makes man feel his weakness and awakens him from the sleep of heedlessness; He wants to make man beg and pray Him, and open his hands modestly in His presence.
If people pray and worship a lot but if the misfortune does not end and it does not rain, we should not say that our prayers are not accepted. On the contrary, it is necessary to say, "the time for prayer has not passed yet; the time for worshipping has not ended yet" and we should keep worshipping and praying.
When there is a solar eclipse, a prayer of two rak'ahs is performed in congregation without calling adhan and iqamah. The imam recites a lot. According to Abu Hanifa, in this prayer, the qiraah (reading the Quran) is silent but according to Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad, the qiraah is loud. After the prayer, the imam stands facing the qiblah, and turning to people and prays Allah until the sun appears. The congregation says amin.
Khutba is not recited after the kusuf prayer. If there is nobody to lead the prayer, people can perform it individually.
When there is a lunar eclipse, Muslims perform this prayer in their houses individually. It is performed as two or four rak'ahs reading silently or aloud like the kusuf prayer. According to Abu Hanifa, performing this prayer in the mosque is not sunnah. However, if it is performed in congregation, it is permissible.
* Solar eclipses and lunar eclipses are the times for these prayers. That is, when the sun and the moon, which are the source of light for the day and night, are shadowed for a temporary period by God Almighty, they show the magnificence of God; thus, God Almighty calls His slaves to worship Him through these eclipses. The prayer is not performed in order to end the lunar and solar eclipses, which last for a certain time that can be calculated by astronomers.
* It is known based on what magnificent laws solar and lunar eclipses take place. Therefore, it is a very important duty for a person who is a thinker to think about the power and magnificence of the Creator, who imposed these laws so regularly and perfectly, and to prostrate humbly before His power and magnificence.
To revive the last ten days of Ramadan by performing prayers.
It is mandub. The Messenger of Allah always revived the last ten days of Ramadan and worshipped. What is meant by it is to revive the Night of Power (Laylatul-Qadr). For, Muslims are encouraged to seek Laylatul-Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadan in a hadith. When the last ten days are revived, Laylatul-Qadr is also revived.
It is also mandub.
It is also mandub.
The Messenger of Allah said,
"There is nothing that Allah finds lovelier than worshipping in the first ten nights of Dhul-hijjah. Fasting one day in Dhul-hijjah is equal to fasting the whole year; worshipping one night in Dhul-hijjah is equal to worshipping on Laylatul-Qadr."