What should we do if iqamah is called while we are performing a sunnah prayer?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A person who is performing a sunnah prayer can perform it as two rak'ahs in order to perform the fard prayer with the congregation.

A person who sees that the morning prayer has started in congregation performs the sunnah of the morning prayer if he thinks that he can catch up with the congregation. If he deems it necessary, he can read only the chapter of al-Fatiha skipping "Subhanaka", "Audhu" and additional verses or chapter and uttering only one tasbih in ruku and sajdahs. He follows the imam after that. However, if he thinks that he will not be able to catch up with the congregation, he does not start the sunnah and follows the imam; he cannot perform this sunnah prayer later. If he has started the sunnah, he completes it; he does not quit it.

However, it is not the same for the noon, afternoon and night prayers. A person who sees that the congregation has started needs to follow the imam without performing the sunnah prayer.

If iqamah is called after a person starts a sunnah prayer…:

If he is performing the first rak'ah, he needs to salute at once and follow the imam. If he is performing the second rak'ah, he completes it, sits for tahiyyat, salutes and follows the imam. This is valid for sunnah prayers of both two and four rak'ahs. If he is performing the third rak'ah of a four-rak'ah sunnah prayer, he needs to salute and follow the imam.  However, if he is performing the fourth rak'ah, he completes it, salutes and follows the imam.

Some sunnah prayers that cannot be performed in time or that are left incomplete are performed afterwards as qada. For instance, if a person does not perform the sunnah of the noon prayer or starts it but leaves it incomplete in order to catch up with the congregation, he performs the four-rak'ah sunnah first followed by the two-rak'ah sunnah after performing the fard prayer. If the first sunnah of the Friday prayer cannot be performed before the sermon (khutbah), it is performed as qada after the fard of the Friday prayer. The sunnah prayers of the noon and Friday prayers that are performed as two rak'ahs and left are performed as four rak'ahs as qada after the fard prayer. 

As for the sunnah prayers of the other daily prayers mentioned above, a person can perform the four-rak'ah of the sunnah of the night (isha) prayer, which is sunnah ghayr muakkadah, if he wishes. However, the sunnah of the afternoon prayer is not performed after the fard prayer if it is not performed before the fard prayer.

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