Kitab Al-Salaah (The book of Prayer)
Besides the prescribed obligatory prayers, a person may come up with as
many voluntary prayers as is possible. Through voluntary prayers a
person receives additional rewards and through them he draws closer to
Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) although a person will not be punished for
neglecting to perform voluntary prayers.
However, the Prophet (peace be upon him) had set a tradition of
practicing certain voluntary prayers before and/or after the obligatory
prayers and every Muslim is strongly recommended to perform them. These
are as follows:
- DHUHR (NOON) PRAYER: Four (4) rakaats before (with each two
rakaats performed separately) and two (2) rakaats after.
- MAGHRIB (SUNSET) PRAYER: Two (2) rakaats after.
- ISHA (EVENING) PRAYER: Two (2) rakaats after.
- FAJR (DAWN) PRAYER: Two (2) rakaats before.
These Voluntary prayers are known in Arabic Language as (Rawatib) which
may be construed to mean definite practices and the Prophet (peace be
upon him) used to preserve their performance continuously whenever in
residence. However, during his travels he used to omit their practice
except the two rakaats before the Fajr prayer. Performance of these two
rakaats is so important that the prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“These two Rakaats are more important to me than the whole world”
(Reported by imam Muslim).
While there is no objection to perform these optional prayers at the
mosque, it is preferred to perform them at home in view of the
following saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “The best
the prayers are those which are fulfilled at one's home, with the
exception of the obligatory prayers (which are to be performed with the
congregation at the Mosque)” (Reported by Imam Abu Dawoud).
Fulfilling these twelve (12) voluntary prayers is a means to gain
admission to paradise as can be noted from the following saying of the
Prophet (peace be upon him): “Whoever prays optionally twelve
rakaats every one day and night, Allah will reward him by an
established dwelling in the paradise” (Reported by Imam
Besides the above twelve definite voluntary prayers, the person may
also pray four optional rakaats before Asr (Afternoon) prayer, and two
before Isha (Evening) prayer, because these were also reported to have
been practiced by the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Times When Performance of Voluntary Prayers is Prohibited
There are certain times when voluntary prayers are not allwoed to be
performed and these are as follows:
- In between the Fajr Prayer and the rising of the sun.
- In between when the sun is close to its zenith and the Dhuhr
- In between the Asr Prayer and until sunset.
However, a person can perform the two rakaats prayed as salutation to
mosques whenver a person enters a mosque even though the time of
entering the mosque may coincide with one of the above stated timings.
This is accordance with the following Prophetic (peace and blessings of
Allah be upon him) saying: “Anyone of you entering a mosque,
should not sit until after perfoming two rakaats” (Reported by