How many missed (qada) prayer should a person who has a lot of missed prayers perform a day?

The Details of the Question

- I have about 5-6 years of missed prayers. I have heard that a person who has a lot of missed prayers to perform should always be engaged in performing prayers and that it is a sin to pass some time that is enough to perform a missed prayer. What is the truth about the issue?
- Is it permissible to perform a few prayers every day as it is easy for me?
- I started by performing 4 rak’ahs of missed prayers every day and I thought I would increase it as I got used to it. Prayer is already hard for me. I do not want to make it easy for Satan to deceive me by increasing prayers all of a sudden.
- Should I not be engaged in other deeds of worship since I have missed prayers to perform?
- Should I not spend time with my family?
- Should I not spend time learning religious issues?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There are differences of ijtihad about what the believers who abandoned prayers without any excuse and who regretted afterwards and wanted to atone for them should do and how they should act:

According to one ijtihad, he should perform missed (qada) prayers all the time except for compulsory tasks as it is also stated in the question. He should not perform sunnah and nafilah prayers; instead, he should perform missed prayers.

According to another ijtihad, he does the compulsory tasks, performs sunnah prayers, learns religious knowledge and other sciences; he performs missed prayers at the time remaining from them.

It is permissible for those who has qada prayers to perform sunnah prayers and nafilah prayers like "duha, awwabin, tahajjud and tahiyyatul-masjid".

According to Hanafis, it is more virtuous and should be preferred to perform missed prayers instead of performing unnamed (absolute) nafilah prayers. Therefore, a believer who has qada prayers should perform the daily prayers together with their sunnahs and should perform his qada prayers as he finds enough time, without neglecting them. It does not fit a slave who has the feeling of responsibility to abandon sunnah prayers in order to perform qada prayers though he spends a lot of time doing many necessary and unnecessary worldly things.    

You can act in compliance with one those ijtihads based on your own state.

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