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In Islam, a nafl prayer (Arabic: صلاة نفل, ṣalāt al-nafl) or supererogatory prayer is a type of optional Muslim salah (formal worship). As with sunnah prayer, they are not considered obligatory but are thought to confer extra benefit on the person performing them. An example is the offering of duha prayers. According to the following hadith, nafl not only draws one closer to God but also helps one attain the better success in the afterworld i.e. Paradise:
- "Rabi'ah ibn Malik al-Aslami reported that the Prophet said: "Ask [anything]." Rabi'ah said: "I ask of you to be your companion in paradise." The Prophet said: "Or anything else?" Rabi'ah said: "That is it." The Prophet said to him: "Then help me by making many prostrations [i.e. supererogatory prayers]"." (sahih)
Tahiyatul wudu is the nafl prayer after doing wudhu.
Tell me that deed of yours which is most hopeful (for reward) after embracing Islam, for I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise (in my dream).
I have not done anything extroadinary except that whenever I perform wudu during the day or night, I salah (tahiyatul wudu) after that, as much as was written or granted for me."
Abu Hureyrah narrated that Muhammad said to Bilal
Tell me about the most hopeful act (i.e one which you deem the most rewarding with Allah) 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 said :
I do not consider any act more hopeful than that whenever I make ablution (wudu) at any time of night or day, I offer salah (prayer) for as long as was destined for me to offer.
After completion of the wudhu of two rakats is full of blessings (sawāb). It is related in the Hadith that performance of the two rakaats of Tahiyatul wudhu namaz makes paradise obligatory (wajib) for the performer ( [according to whom?]) There are also many other benefits.
Tahajjud prayer is said to be the most rewarding supererogatory prayer. The time begins in the midnight when one wakes up and performs this salah at midnight or any time at night before the Fajr Salah i.e. (obligatory salah). It is said that Allah listens and fulfills every wish an individual does at midnight as he comes on the first sky. He is the nearest at that time. Tahajjud prayer has 12 Rakats or more or less if one wants.
The time for the Ishraq prayer begins ten to twenty minutes after sunrise and consists of two Raka'ahs. Praying ishraq is considered to yield greater rewards than performing the lesser Umrah according to some traditions.“According to majority of scholars of Hadith and Fiqh, Duha Prayer and Al-Ishraq Prayer are all names of the same salah (ritual Prayer). It is a recommended Prayer without any fixed number of raka'ahs, and its time proper starts a little after sun rise (approximately fifteen minutes after sunrise) and extends up to the time of the declining of the sun from the meridian.
A minority of scholars[who?], however, have made a distinction between Al-Ishraq Prayer and Duha Prayer. According to them, Al-Ishraq Prayer is done after sun rise (around fifteen minutes after) while Duha Prayer is done much later.
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim has cited the various views about the importance of this prayer. Some say[who?] that one should not exaggerate its importance, and therefore do it only sparingly and not consistently, while others[who?] insist that it should be performed consistently.
Muhammad is reported to have said, 'He who performs Fajr salah with Jamaat and remains seated in the same place while engaging in Dhikr until after sunrise and thereafter performs 2 Rakaats Nafil Salah, (Ishraq), he will obtain the thawaab of one Hajj and one Umrah.' (Tirmidhi). In another hadith, Muhammad also is reported to have said that Allah says, 'O son of Aadam, perform 4 Rakaats of Salah (Ishraq) in the early part of the day. It shall help you in accomplishing all your responsibilities during the rest of the day' (Mishkat)(Mishkat is Hasan-chain).
As for the precise intention to be formulated while praying Duha Prayer or Al-Ishraq Prayer, or others, there is no hard and fast rule to follow. Since it is an optional Prayer, it is enough to say in one’s mind that one is praying nafl or sunnah of Duha or Ishraq. One may perform any number of raka`ahs from a minimum of two raka`ahs up to preferably eight raka`ahs.
Duha prayer begins after sunrise and ends at meridian, and is generally thought to include at least two raka'ahs, though in some traditions the number is four or even twelve. It is generally prayed when one-fourth of the day has passed. According to the Sunni thought, performing this prayer is believed to be effective in seeking forgiveness for one's sins.
Chasht prayer begins when the sun rises a quarter in the morning, and it ends before the time of Dhuhr prayer (i.e. obligatory prayer). It has been said that the one who performs chasht nafls, has a reward of 1 castle of Gold in Jannah. i.e. 1 Chasht prayer = 1 gold castle. Hazrat Fatima used to be regular in this supererogatory prayer. The supererogatory morning prayer has been narrated from Muhammad, through paths that have reached mass-narration levels - from 19 to over 30 Companions - according to Imam al-Tabari, al-`Ayni in `Umdat al-Qari, al-Haytami, al-Munawi, and al-Qari in Sharh al-Shama'il, Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari, al-Kattani in Nazm al-Mutanathir, and as per the monographs compiled by al-Hakim and al-Suyuti as well as the recensions of Abu Zur`a al-`Iraqi in Tarh al-Tathrib, Ibn al-Qayyim in Zad al-Ma`ad, and al-Shawkani in Nayl al-Awtar. According to the vast majority of the Ulema of the Salaf and Khalaf it is a desirable and recommended prayer.
Four Rak'aah Sunnah of Zuhr
Muhammad is reported to have said that Whoever performs the four rakaats before and after the Zuhr salah with constancy, Allah Ta'ala makes the fire of Hell haram (forbidden) for him. [Mishkat,(Hasan-Chain) p. 104; Tirmizi, Abu Da'ud, Nisai, Ibn Majah]
Muhammad is reported to have said that after the worshipper prays the four rakaats of Zuhr salah, the doors of heaven are opened, i.e. the salah becomes accepted by Allah, and the cause of its acceptance comes down on the worshipper as rays of mercy. [Mishkat, p. 104]
4 Rak'aah Sunnah of Asr Muhammad said: "May Allah (swt) have Mercy on the one who offers four (rak'ahs) before 'Asr prayer." (Abu Dawud)
Tahiyyatul Masjid (Nafl prayer when entering Masjid)
Abu Qatada narrated that Muhammad said: “If any one of you enters a mosque, he should pray two raka’ats before sitting.”Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim(Sahih)
- This is a 2 Rak'aah Nafl prayer which one should perform as one enters the Masjid and on proper times.
Any ‘Nafl’ or voluntary prayer offered by Muhammad are known as Sunnah prayers. Muhammad offered these ‘nafl’ prayers on a regular basis:
- Two rakahs before the obligatory Fajr prayers.
- Four rakahs before and two rakahs after the obligatory Dhuhr prayers.
- Two rakahs after the obligatory Magrib prayers.
- Two rakahs after the obligatory Isha prayers.
- The tahajjud or late night prayers ending with the ‘witr’ prayer.
- The ‘Ishraaq’ prayers after the sun has risen completely.
- The ‘Duha’ prayers which are prayed an hour or two after the ‘Ishraaq’ prayers.
The supererogatory morning prayer has many names. Among them:
- Salat al-Duha or Sibhat al-Duha - Sibha meaning a supererogatory prayer in general and Duha meaning morning, mid-morning, or late morning. This is the name that reoccurs the most in the narrations. It is the late morning prayer when the sun is very hot. The reason for this name is that one leaves dunya at that time to return to Allah Most High and makes up for the Night prayer that he missed. Hence Salat al-Duha is even more stressed for those who miss tahajjud and is its replacement.
- Salat al-Awwabin - is the "prayer of the Oft-Returning" as specified by Muhammad and is offered between Maghrib prayer and Isha prayer.
- Salat al-Ishraq - is the "sunrise prayer" or the prayer performed very shortly after sunrise.
- Salat al-Fath - is the "victory prayer" as it was established that Muhammad prayed it the morning he entered Makka (in al-Bukhari and Muslim) and this has become the Sunna of military leaders upon entering a newly conquered region.
The word "Khawf" means fear. Khawf is a type of prayer that is prayed during time of fear. This prayer was performed by Muhammad in the Battle of Uhud. It is considered to be a substitute for normal prayers while on a battlefield.
- Mohammad, Mamdouh N. (2003). Salat: The Islamic Prayer from A to Z. Dr Mahmdouh N Mohammad. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-9652877-4-6.
- Targhib p. 427. vol. I ref. Abu Yate ba Isnad-e-Sahib
- Al-Sunan al-Sughra #1,659
- Sahih Muslim #1,175
- Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal #23,317
- Sunan Ibn Majah #1,371
- Mishkaat pg.116
- Sunan al-Tirmidhi #438
- Kanz al-Ummal #23437, 23461
- Ibn al-Qayyim, Zad al-Ma`ad (1:356)
- Itr, I`lam al-Anam Sharh Bulugh al-Maram, p. 628
- Abu’l-Hasan Ahmad al-Quduri, "Mukhtasar al-Quduri"