Volume - IV / CHAPTER - 2 / LESSON NO: 18
OF SUNNAT & NAFL PRAYER
Q 1: How many Sunnat-e-Muakkadah are there?
A. Following are the Sunnat-e-Muakkadah (emphasised Sunnah):
Two Rak'ahs before Fajr prayer, four Rak'ahs before Zuhr prayer and two after Zuhr, two Rak'ahs after Maghrib prayer, two Rak'ahs after 'Ishaa prayer and four Rak'ahs before Jumu'ah prayer and four after Jumu'ah. It means that one has to offer fourteen Rak'ahs of Sunnat-e-Muakkadah on Friday and twelve Rak'ahs on each of other remaining days. It is desirable that one should offer four Rak'ahs of Sunnat-e-Muakkadah after Jumu'ah prayer and then two Rak'ahs so that both "Ahaadess" (Prophetic sayings) to these effects are acted upon.
Q 2: What are the excellences of Sunnat-e-Muakkadah?
A. The Holy Prophet said: Allah Almighty will build a house for the believer who offers twelve Rak'ahs of "Tataww'o" (Nafl prayer means Sunnat-e-Muakkadah) daily in addition to "Fard" prayer for the sake of Allah.
(Four Rak'ahs before Zuhr prayer and two after Zuhr, two after Maghrib, two after 'Ishaa and two before Fajr prayer).
Q 3: Which Rak'ahs of all these are the most important?
A. Of all these Sunnat-e-Muakkadah, the two Rak'ahs of Fajr are the most important. The importance can be gauged from the fact that some Muslim scholars describe it as "Waajib". These Sunnats can not be offered sitting or while riding or in train in motion without any valid reason like that of Witr prayer. An Hadees in this respect says: do not forgo Fajr Sunnat under any circumstances even if enemy horses (forces) come pounding on you. After Fajr, the most important Sunnat are the four Sunnat of Zuhr prayer which are offered before Fard prayer. About these Sunnat an Hadees stressed: he will not attain my (Prophet's) intercession who abandons these Sunnat. After Zuhr Sunnat, the most important are the Sunnat of Maghrib prayer. An Hadees says: the one who offers two Rak'ahs (Sunnat) after obligatory prayer of Maghrib without talking to anybody, his (this) prayer is lifted up to "Illi-yeen" (a place in the seventh heaven under empyrean where the names of the believers deserving Paradise are entered and sheets of their actions are maintained) and then are the post-Zuhr's two Rak'ahs (Sunnat) and post-'Ishaa's two Rak'ahs (Sunnat).
Q 4: Will one have to offer Sunnat prayer if missed or not?
A. If one whose Fajr prayer was missed offers Fajr prayer before the Sun reaches the zenith should also offer Sunnat and if he has offered obligatory prayer but Sunnat were missed then he does not need to offer them. But it is better to offer the missed Sunnat after the Sun has risen. Offering the prayer before Sun rise is forbidden.
No other Sunnats than Fajr's are to be offered if missed, omitted.
As for Zuhr and Jumu'ah Sunnats, if one missed pre-Zuhr or pre-Jumu'ah's four Rak'ahs (Sunnat) and offered obligatory prayer then he should offer these Sunnat after the obligatory prayer is over provided the time is there i.e. the stipulated time of the prayer is not running out. It is better to offer them after "Fard" and then the post-Zuhr's or post-Jumu'ah's Sunnat.
Q 5: Can Nafl prayer be offered or not after Jama'at has been established?
A. No Nafl prayer even Sunnat-e-Muakkadah can be offered after Jama'at has been established except the Sunnat of Fajr and that too when one is sure to join Jama'at even Qa'adah after completing Sunnat otherwise not. These Sunnat should neither be offered adjacent to the row of Jama'at nor behind the row but at such a place in mosque that there is a cover between him and the Jama'at. And in case one finds Imaam (Jama'at) in Rukoo and he does not know whether it is the first Rakah's Rukoo or of the second then he should abandon Sunnat and join Jama'at.
Q 6: Will talk between the interval of Sunnat and Fard prayer vitiate Sunnat or not?
A. Talk between the interval of Sunnat and Fard prayer does not vitiate Sunnat. However, its reward is curtailed. So is the case with all those things,acts which are forbidden during prayer. It is also Makrooh to delay performance of the post-Fard Sunnat without any valid excuse, though it will be observed if delayed.
Q 7: What is recited in the first Qa'adah of four Rak'ahs Sunnat?
A. Only "Attahiyat (Tashah-hud)" is recited in Qa'dah Ulaa (first sitting posture) of four Rak'ahs Sunnat-e-Muakkadah. If one recites Durood Shareef by mistake in it then he will have to observe Sajdah Sahv in Qa'dah Akheera. Sana and Ta'awuz are also not recited in the third Rak'ah of these Sunnat. As for other four Rak'ahs Sunnat, prayer of "Mannat" (vow) and Nafl prayer one has to recite Durood Shareef in Qa'dah Ula and recite Sana and Ta'awuz in third Rak'ah.
Q 8: Can Nafl prayer be offered sitting or not?
A. Nafl prayer can be offered sitting even though one is able to offer these standing. But it is better to offer Nafl in standing posture as an Hadees says: the prayer offered while sitting is half of that offered while standing that means the reward is halved. However, the reward will not be curtailed if one is compelled to offer Nafl sitting owing to some valid excuse. Likewise, it is better to offer the post-Witr two Nafl prayer standing.
Q 9: How to offer Nafl prayer sitting?
A. The one who wants to offer Nafl prayer sitting should sit in Tashah-hud(sitting posture for observing Qa'dah) and fold the hands below the navel while doing Qiraa-at as is done in Qiyaam. And while observing Rukoo he should bow his head so much that it comes close to the knees.