The Number of Sunnah Mu’akaddah (Emphasised) Rakaʿāt’s [Concise]

The fuqahā (jurists) have differed in their opinion on the number of rakaʿāt’s (units) which hold the status of sunnah mu’akaddah (emphasised) during the day and night.

Some have suggested 10 rakaʿāt’s (units) which hold the status of sunnah mu’akaddah (emphasised). These are: 2 before the fajr ṣalāh, 2 before the zuhr ṣalāh, 2 after the zuhr ṣalāh, 2 after the maghrib ṣalāh, and 2 after the isha ṣalāh.

However, according to the Hanafi scholars there are 12 rakaʿāt’s (units) which hold the status of sunnah mu’akaddah (emphasised): 2 before the fajr ṣalāh, 4 before the zuhr ṣalāh, 2 after the zuhr ṣalāh, 2 after the maghrib ṣalāh, and 2 after the isha ṣalāh.

Apart from the above, there is mention of other rakaʿāt’s (units) in the prophetic narrations which hold virtue, although not emphasised like the above.

Below we will cite a few prophetic narrations in this regard:

‘Abdullah b. Shaqiq said:

I asked ‘A’isha about the Messenger of Allah’s (ﷺ) voluntary prayers, and she replied: Before the noon prayer, he used to pray four rakaʿāt’s (units) in my house; then would go out and lead the people in prayer; then come in and pray two rakaʿāt’s (units). He would then lead the people in the sunset prayer; then come in and pray two rakaʿāt’s (units). Then he would lead the people in the ‘Isha prayer, and enter my house and pray two rakaʿāt’s (units). He would pray nine rakaʿāt’s (units) during the night, including witr … and when it was dawn he would pray two rakaʿāt’s (units). (Muslim)

This hadith is evidence for the hanafi scholars where Rasūlullāh ‎ﷺ performed 12 rakaʿāt’s (units) during the day and night.

We also learn that Rasūlullāh ‎ﷺ would generally perform the sunnah ṣalāh at home. For this reason, the fuqahā (jurists) have considered the performance of sunnah ṣalāh at home (in general circumstances) as preferable. Although, there is no dislike in performing them in the masjid.

Aishah narrated that Allah’s Messenger ‎(ﷺ) said:

“Whoever is regular with 12 rakaʿāt’s (units) of Sunnah (prayer), Allah will build a house for him in Paradise: Four rakaʿāt’s (units) before Zuhr, two rakaʿāt’s (units) after it, two rakaʿāt’s (units) after Maghrib, two rakaʿāt’s (units) after Isha, and two rakaʿāt’s (units) before Fajr.” (Tirmidhī)

This hadith gives glad tidings of a house in paradise for the one who performs 12 rakaʿāt’s (units) of sunnah ṣalāh regularly during the day and night.

In other narrations, there is mention of 10 rakaʿāt’s (units) of sunnah ṣalāh during the day and night. These narrations have mention of 2 rakaʿāt’s (units) before the zuhr salah instead of 4.

These narrations (which have been omitted for sake of brevity) are used in evidence by other fuqahā (jurists) who do not follow the hanafī school of thought.

The hanafi scholars have opted to give preference to narrations with mention of 12 rakaʿāt’s (units) and have considered them to be emphasised sunnah ṣalāh. From the emphasised sunnah ṣalāh, some are more strongly emphasised than others.

It ought to be remembered that the 12 rakaʿāt’s (units) which are sunnah mu’akaddah (emphasised) should be strictly adhered to. Omitting them without a valid excuse is lamented and disliked. Although, to omit them due to a valid excuse like travelling or sickness is permissible.

(Adapted from Nafl wa Sunnat Namāzō(n) ke Faḍāil wa Aḥkām by Muftī Muhammad Riḍwan. 

Published by Kutub Khāna Idāra Gufrān, Rawalpindi.)

Categories: FiqhTags: , , , ,

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