Is permissible for a person who has qada (missed) prayers of several years to make niyyah (intention) for a prayer as both qada and sunnah?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is not regarded permissible by Hanafi mujtahids and fiqh scholars except for some ilm al-hal books (like Najatul-Mu'minin) and some people who quote from those books to perform one prayer with two separate intentions as a qada (missed) prayer and a sunnah prayer.

As it is known, sheer intention for prayer is enough for the validity of sunnah and nafilah prayers but it is necessary to determine both the name and attribute of the prayer for fard and wajib prayers in intention like saying  "the fard of today’s noon prayer..." or "the qada of yesterday’s afternoon prayer...".(1) Therefore, it is permissible to have two separate intentions for one sunnah or nafilah prayer like making intention for both tahiyyatul-masjid prayer and duha prayer but it is not permissible to make two separate intentions for a fard prayer whether it is a missed (qada) prayer or a prayer performed on time. If it is made, the intention becomes valid for the stronger prayer.

Examples:

a. If one intention is made for a fard al-ayn prayer and fard al-kifayah prayer, the intention becomes valid for fard al-ayn prayer.
b. If one intention is made for a prayer whose time period has started and a prayer whose time period has not started, the intention becomes valid for the one whose time period has started
c. If one intention is made for a fard missed prayer and a fard prayer of the current time period, the intention becomes valid for the missed prayer if there is ample time and for the fard prayer of the current time period if there is not enough time.
d. If one intention is made for two separate qada prayers, the intention becomes valid for the first missed prayer for a person who is sahib at-tartib (otherwise, this intention is not valid.)
e. If one intention is made for a nafilah prayer and a janazah prayer, the intention becomes valid for nafilah prayer since it is a full prayer with ruku’ and sajdahs.
f. If one intention is made for a fard prayer (for instance a missed prayer), and a sunnah or nafilah prayer, the intention becomes valid only for the fard prayer according to Imam Abu Yusuf. However, according to Imam Muhammad, it is not valid for either of them. (2)

As it is seen, according to the statements of the most reliable resources some of which are mentioned in the footnote, a prayer performed with an intention for "both a qada prayer and a sunnah prayer of the current time period" is not valid as a fard, sunnah or nafilah prayer according to Imam Muhammad. It becomes valid only as a fard prayer according to Imam Abu Yusuf; no thawab is obtained from it for a sunnah or nafilah prayer. Since the ijtihads of two mujtahids are like that, it is definitely not significant to say "the following is stated in the book of such and such a person", who is not even regarded as a fiqh scholar.

Doubtlessly, the Muslims who abandon sunnah prayers by making intention as fard prayers instead of sunnah prayers will not be sinners. The qada prayers that they perform will be valid. However, they will be deprived of the thawabs of sunnah prayers and they will cause isa’ah (harming through being negligent) by abandoning muakkad sunnahs without any excuse. Besides, they will be exposed to the reprimanding and resentment of the Prophet (pbuh). (3)

Footnotes:

(1) Ibn Humam, Fathul-Qadir, Bulaq 1315, 1/186-187; Ahmad Tahtawi, Hashiya ala Maraqil-Falah, p. 179; Haskafi, ad-Durrul-Mukhtar, 1/279-280; Ibn Abidin, Raddul-Muhtar, Bulaq, 1272, 1/279-280; Hacı Zihni Ef., Nimet-i İslam (Kitabü's-Salat),p 84.
(2) Ibn Humam,  ibid, 1/187; Ibrahim al-Halabi, Ghuyatul-Mutamalli (Halabi Kabir), p. 249-251, Ist., 1325; Halabi Saghir, p. 121-122, Ist., 1309; Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wan-Nazair, p. 39-43, Damascus, 1403/ 1983; al-Bahrur-Raiq, 1/296-297, Beirut, nd.; al-Fatawal-Hindiyya, 1/65; Ahmad at-Tahtawi, ibid, p. 174; Ibn Abidin, ibid, 295-296; Zihni Efendi, ibid, 84-86; Ö.N. Bilmen, Büyük İslam İlmihali, İst., nd., p. 118-119.
(3) Babarti, al-Inaya, (Notes next to Fathul-Qadir). Bulaq, 1315, 1/13; Abu Ghudda, Taqdimatu Fathi Babil-Inaya bi Sharhi Kitabin-Nuqaya, 1/14-15, Halab, 1387/1967.

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