Is it permissible to perform only the fards of the daily prayers and to abandon the sunnahs?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Since the sunnahs of the morning and noon prayers are sunnah muakkadah, it is necessary not to abandon them. If they are abandoned, there is no sin but one loses a lot of thawabs. Abandoning them without any reason may deprive a person of the intercession (shafa'ah) of the Prophet (pbuh).

A) The sunnah muakkadah prayers that are connected with five daily prayers can be listed as follows:  

1. The two-rak’ah sunnah performed before the fard of the morning prayer: This prayer is the strongest sunnah. The Prophet (pbuh) states the following about it:

"Do not abandon the sunnah of the morning prayer even if horsemen chase you." (Ahmed b. Hanbal, II/405)

“The two-rak'ah sunnah prayer of the morning prayer is better than the world and everything in the world.” (Muslim, Musafirin, 96, 97; Tirmidhi, Salah, 190)

Hz. Aisha states the following:

"The Prophet (pbuh) did not perform any nafilah prayer regularly except the two rak’ah-sunnah of the morning prayer." (Bukhari, Tahajjud, 27; Muslim, Musafirin, 94; Abu Dawud, Tatawwu', 2; Ahmad b. Hanbal, VI, 43, 54, 170).

Other sunnah prayers are not performed as qada when they are missed but due to the hadiths above, a person who misses the morning prayer performs the sunnah of the morning prayer together with the fard if he performs it as qada on the same day before noon. On the other hand, a person who thinks that he can catch up with the imam even in the second rak’ah performs the sunnah of the morning prayer first and starts to follow the imam after that.

2. The four-rak’ah sunnah performed before the fard of the Friday and noon prayer. Hz. Aisha states the following:

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) did not abandon performing four rak’ahs before the noon prayer and two rak’ahs before the morning prayer." (Nasai, Qiyamul-Layl, 56).

3. The two-rak’ah sunnah performed after the fard of the noon prayer. This two-rak’ah prayer is sunnah muakkadah and it is mandub to perform it as four rak’ahs. The four-rak’ah sunnah performed after the fard of the Friday prayer with one salutation is among sunnahs that are muakkadah. The following is stated in a hadith:  

"The Prophet performed four rak’ahs before and four rak’ahs after the Friday prayer and he did not salute after the second rak’ahs." (Zaylai, Nasbur-Raya, II/206).

4. The two-rak’ah sunnah performed after the fard of the evening prayer. It is one of the sunnahs that the Messenger of Allah performed regularly.

5. The two-rak’ah sunnah performed after the fard of the night prayer. The evidence for it is the hadith stating that Allah will build a pavilion in Paradise for a person who performs twelve rak’ahs of nafilah prayers regularly every day and night. (Tirmidhi, Salah, 189; Nasai, Qiyamul-Layl, 66; Ibn Majah, Iqamah, 100)

B) Ghayr muakkadah sunnahs:

They are the sunnahs that the Prophet did not perform regularly and that he sometimes abandoned; they are called mandub. Those prayers are as follows:

1. The four-rak’ah prayer performed before the fard of the afternoon prayer with one salutation. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following about this prayer:

"May Allah have mercy on a person who performs a four-rak'ah prayer before the afternoon prayer." (Tirmidhi, Salah, 301).

2. The four-rak’ah prayer performed before the fard of the night prayer. The following was reported from Hz. Aisha:

"The Prophet performed a prayer of four rak’ahs before the fard of the night prayer." (Zaylai, ibid, II/145 ff; ash-Shawkani, ibid, III/18).

3. Awwabin prayer: Awwabin is the plural for of the word awwab, which means a person who turns toward Allah a lot. It can be performed as two to six rak’ahs. It can be performed with one, two or three salutations. The Prophet said that a person who performed six rak’ahs after the evening prayer would be regarded among awwabin and 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; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir; Istanbul 1985, V/64, 65; ash-Shurunbulali, Maraqil-Falah, Istanbul 1984, p. 74).

They are nafilah prayers connected with daily fard prayers.

For more information, please click on the link given below;

Sunnah Muakkadah

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