Friday, July 16, 2010

Excellence of Sunnah Prayers

The Excellence of Sunnah Solāt

In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-ā’lamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger.

The terms Sunnah, Mustahabb (Encouraged), Nawafil (Optional), Tatawwu’ (Voluntary), and Mandûb (Recommended) are legal rulings that refer to acts that are enjoined upon us by Islamic Law without being obligatory.  They are interchangeably. They all refer to the same legal ruling. This is the approach of Fakhr al-Dîn al-Razî. Al-Subkî declares: “This is the approach of most Shâfî‘îe scholars and the vast majority of the scholars of Islamic jurisprudence.” [Al-Ibhâj (1/257)] The particularly encouraged activities is termed as being Sunnah Mu‘akkadah (Emphasized Sunnah).

The Sunnah Solāh has virtues and excellence. Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that whoever is regular with twelve raka‘at of Solāt Sunnah Allāh will build him a house in Paradise. A two light raka’at of which you may feel as insignificant to add to you deeds, but it is better for you than possessing the whole world.

The Excellence of the Sunnah Solah

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu’anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: "The first thing a person will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment is his Solat. If they are complete, it will be written for him that they are complete, but if there is a deficiency in them, Allah would say: "See if My Slave has any supererogatory prayers." Allah would also say: "Make up the deficiency in My Slave's obligatory prayers from the supererogatory prayers;" and then other actions will be accounted for accordingly." This is recorded by An-Nasa’ie and others.

So, these supererogatory prayers will be an endorsement for any deficiency in the obligatory prayers.

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:  “[Voluntary] Solāh is the best thing that one can do, so perform as many as you possibly can” This is recorded by At-Tabarāni.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Prostrate as much as you can, because whenever you prostrate, Allāh elevates your rank by a degree and wipes out a sin from your record” This is recorded by Muslim.

Rasūllullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “Two light raka‘at which you may think as insignificant to add to you deeds, it is better for you than possessing the whole world” This is related by Ibn Al-Mubarak.

Two Kinds of Nawafil Which Are Performed Before or After the Obligatory Prayer

There are two kinds of Nawafil which are performed before or after the obligatory prayer. Firstly, the one which were observed regularly by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) According to the present Hadith, their total comes to ten Raka'ah while in other Ahadith their total is twelve or fourteen Raka'ah. They are called Sunnah Mu'akkadah or As-Sunnan Ar-Rawatib That is, the Raka'ah which are proved from the saying and practice of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) and which were performed by him usually. These are said to be Compulsory prayers.

Secondly, the Nawafil that were not performed regularly by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam). These are called Sunnah Ghair Mu'akkadah and are said to be Optional prayers. In any case, Nawafil have great importance in creating a special link between the worshipper and Allah, and for this reason the believers do not neglect them. But their status in Shari'ah is of Nawafil the performing of which is rewarding and omission of which is not sinful. One thing that should be borne in mind in respect of As-Sunnan Ar-Rawatib or Mu'akkadah is that it is better to perform them at home. This was the usual practice of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), and this is what he ordained the Muslims.

1. Sunnat Al-Rawatib

1.1. Allah Promise Jannah for Those Who Make Sunnat Al-Rawatib a Practice.

It is described as Sunnah or Sunnah Mu‘akkadah (Emphasized Sunnah); regularly observed by the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) along with the five obligatory and he particularly encouraged it.

‘Aishah (radiyallāhu‘anha) narrated that The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has said:  "Whoever is regular with twelve raka‘at of sunnah (solāt) Allāh will build a house in Paradise: Four raka'āt before Dzuhur (Midday Prayer), two after it, two after the Maghrib (Sunset Prayer), two after  ‘Ishā’ (Evening Prayer) and two before the Solāt al-Fajar (Dawn Prayer)." This is related by At-Tirmidzi: Hādīth Hasan Gharib.

Imam Muslim recorded that Umm Habibah (radiyallāhu`anha) the Mother of the Believers reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) saying, "A house will be built in Jannah for every Muslim who offers twelve Raka'ah of optional Solat other than the obligatory Solat in a day and a night (to seek the Pleasure of Allah)." This is related by Muslim.

The Hadith tells us the merits of optional prayers and holds promise of (Jannah) for those who make it a practice.

In another version ‘Anbasah ibn Abi Sufyan narrated from the mother of the Faithfull Umm Habibah Ramlah bint Abu Sufyan (radiyallāhu‘anha) narrated that she heard the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying:  "Whoever prays twelve raka’at in a day  and a night a  house will be built for him in Paradise:  Four raka'āt before Dzuhur (Midday Prayer), two after it, two after the Maghrib (Sunset Prayer), two after  ‘Ishā’ (Evening Prayer) and two before the Solāt al-Fajar (Dawn Prayer)." This is related by at-Tirmidzi:  sahīh.

These extra twelve raka’āt of Optional Solāt, according to Imām Nasā‘ie and Tirmidzi are Sunnan Al-Rawatib: two rak’āt before the obligatory solāt of Early morning (Fajar), and four raka’at before mid day (Dzuhur) and two raka’āt after it, and two raka’āt after the obligatory of early evening solāh (Maghrib) and two rak’āt after the obligatory solāh of night (‘Ishā’). 

Ibn 'Umar  (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: “I performed along with the Messenger of Allah  (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) two Raka'ah of optional prayers before Zuhur and two after the Zuhur (noon prayer), and two after the Friday prayer, and two after the Maghrib (evening) prayer, and two after the 'Isha' (night) prayer.” This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

1.2. The Merit of Sunnah Al-Fajar.

Aishah (radiyallāhu‘anha) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The two raka‘āt before Solāt al-Fajar are better than the world and all that it contains.” This is related by by Muslim.

Aishah (radiyallāhu‘anha) narrated:The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was never more regular and strict in offering any Nāwafil than the two raka‘āt sunnah before Solāt Fajar.” This is related by by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

1.3. Sunnat Before And After Solāt Dzuhur Is A Shield Against The Fire Of Hell.

Umm Habibah (radiyallāhu‘anha) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever observes the practice of offering four raka‘ahs before Solāt Dzuhur and four raka‘āt after it will shield him against the fire of hell.” This is related by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidzi.

1.4. Qiyam al-Layl (Late Night Prayers).

Qiyam al-Layl (Late Night Prayers) is categorised as being Sunnah Mu‘akkadah, the emphasized sunnah by Rasulullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: The best Solāh after the obligatory Solāt is the Qiyam al-Layl (Night Prayer).This is recorded by Muslim.

In another narration The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The most beloved solah to Allah is the Solah of Dawud (‘alaihissalam), and the most beloved fasting to Allah is the fasting of Dawud (‘alaihissalam). He used to sleep half the night, stand in Solah for one-third of the night, and sleep for one-sixth, and he used to fast alternate days.”.This is recorded Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

One of the characteristics of servants of the Most Merciful is that they get up at night and perform late Qiyām al-Layl (Night Prayers). Night vigil is a source of great spiritual energy.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “Keep up your Night Prayers. It was the way of the virtuous who came before you; it draws you nearer to your Lord, atones for your sins, forbids you from evil and protects the body from sickness.” This is recorded by At-Tirmidzi.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said:"When a man wakes up his wife at night and they observe two raka‘at (units) together, they are written down among the men and women who remember Allāh." This is related by Abu Dawud.

The Qur’ān also commends the one, who utilizes the early hours of each day to engage in remembrance of Allāh: “Is one who worships devoutly during the hours of the night prostrating himself or standing [in adoration] and who places his hope in the mercy of His Lord [like one who does not]? Say are those equal: those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endowed with understanding that receive admonition.”  [Az-Zumar 39:9]

1.5 - One Should Make Al-Witir As The Last Solāh (At Night).

The Witr Solāt is described by most jurists as being Sunnah mu‘akkadah. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Make Witir as your last solāh (prayer) at night.” This is related by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim.

The Witr solāt is a solāh that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) never left off, regardless of whether he was at home or on a journey. Moreover, he enjoined this solāt upon his followers and encouraged them to perform it, going so far as to warn them against leaving it.

For this reason, the Hanafî school of thought considers it an obligatory solāt. They declare it wâjib and make a distinction between wâjib (obligatory) and fardhu (emphatically obligatory) which others scholars do not do.

A number of early scholars considered it to be obligatory only upon those who have committed the Qur’ān to memory. They derive this ruling from the hadîth: “Perform the Witr solāh, O people of the Qur’ān!” This is related by Ibn Majah; al-Nasa‘ie; Abu Dawud.

2 - The Non Stressed Sunnah Prayers (As-Sunan Ghair Al-Mu'akkadah)

The Sunnah Prayers which were stressed by the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) and which he was careful not to miss. There are some other Sunnah Prayers or As-Sunan Ghair Al-Mu'akkadah or Al-Sunan Ar-Ratibah which are commendable, but are not “stressed.”

2.1 - There is Two raka’at nawafil Between Every Adzan and Iqamah

‘Abdullah bin Mughaffal (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “There is a Solat between every Adzan and Iqamah; there is a Solat between every Adzan and Iqamah.” (After saying the same for the) third time, Rasulullah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) added, “It is for him who desires (to perform it)." This is related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and the group.

Ibn Hibban recorded from Ibn Az-Zubair (radiyallāhu`anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “There exists no obligatory solah without there being immediately preceding it two raka’at nawafil.”
Imam An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh) elucidated it by saying: The offering of a two raka’at between the Adzan and Iqamah is considered as Mustahabb (desirable). It comes in the category of Ghair Ratiba or Ghair Mu'akkadah Nawafil. It can be performed after the Adzan of every Solat and before the [Iqamah, preceding] the congregation stands for the obligatory Solat. Thus, this includes Solah al-Juma’ah as well.

Many hadiths have been related about this Sunnah Prayer and they all support each other. Such hadith include the following: 

Ibn 'Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) reports that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “May Allah have mercy on a person who prays four raka'at before 'Asar prayer.” This was related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidzi (who calls it hasan), Ibn Hibban, and Ibn Khuzaimah. The latter two hold it as sahih. ‘Ali reports that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) prayed four raka’at before ‘Asar while separating every two sets of raka’at with salutations to the angels close to Allah, to the prophets, and to those who followed them - the believers and Muslims. This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'ie, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmidzi who grades it hasan.

As for praying only two raka’at at this time, this would fall under the generality of the Prophet's statement: “Between every adzan and iqamah there is a prayer.”

Al-Bukhari recorded from ‘Abdullah Ibn Mughaffal (radiyallāhu`anhu), that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “Pray before maghrib, pray before maghrib,” and after saying it a third time, he (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “For whoever wishes to do so,”  wanting the people to take it as an optional Sunnah. Ibn Hibban records that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) prayed two raka'at before Maghrib prayer. 

Muslim records that Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: We would pray two raka'at before maghrib, and the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) would see us but he would not order us to do so, nor would he prohibit us.” 

Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (rahimahullāh) says in Fathul-Bari: “All of the evidence points to the fact that it is preferred to say these two raka’at quickly like the two raka’at before the Salatul Fajar.” 

The two raka’at solah nawafil before ‘Isha is classified as Ghair Mu’akkadah. It is applicable by the generality of hadith narrated by 'Abdullah bin Mughaffal (radiyallāhu`anhu) on two raka’at nawafil between every Adzan and Iqamah.

2.5 -  Solāt ad-Duha.

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu‘anhu) said:“My Khalil (friend) (the Prophet Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) advised me to observe three things and I shall not leave them till I die: “To observe Saum (Fasting) three days every (lunar) month; To offer the Solāt ad-Duhā; To offer Solāt al-Witir before sleeping.” [This is related by Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Dharr (radiyallāhu`anhu) reports that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: Charity is required from every part of your body daily. Every saying of ‘Subhānallāh (Glory be to Allah)’ is charity. Every saying of ‘Alhamdulillāh (Praise be to Allah)’ is charity. Every saying of ‘La ila haillallah (There is no God but Allah)’ is charity. Every saying of ‘Allāhuakbar (Allah is the Greatest)’ is charity. Ordering the good is charity. Eradicating the evil is charity. And what suffices for that (as a charity) is the two raka’at of Solah Duha.” This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.
Buraidah (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: In a human (body) there are 360 joints and man must make a charity for each one.” The people said: “Who can do that, O Messenger of Allah?” Rasulullah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) responded: “One may cover the mucus that one finds in the masjid or remove something harmful from the road. If one could not do that, he could pray two raka’at of The Solah Duha and that will be sufficient for him.” This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.

2.6. Sunnat al-Wudhū’.

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu‘anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to Bilal ibn Rabab (radiyallāhu‘anhu):“Tell me about the most hopeful act (i.e one which you deem the most rewarding with Allāh) you have done since your acceptance of Islam because I heard the sound of the steps of your shoes in front of me in paradise.” Bilal ibn Rabab (radiyallāhu‘anhu) said : “I do not consider any act more hopeful than that whenever I make wudhū  (ablution) at any time of night or day, I offer solāh (Sunnat al-Wudhū’) for as long as was destined for me to offer.” This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

2.7.   Tahiyatul Masjid.

If anyone enters a masjid, he should offer two raka’āt before sitting. Abu Qatādah (radiyallahu‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If any one of you enters a masjid, he should observe solāt two raka’āt before sitting.” This is narrated by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim. 

Allāh the Exalted knows best.

No comments: