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The Obligatory Prayers

    Everyone who professes to be Muslim knows about the establishment of the five daily obligatory (fard) prayers. The times for these prayers have been detailed in the Qur’ân and Sunnah. In addition, the Prophet ( ) stressed or recommended the performance of extra prayers around the five daily prayers. Thus, the commonly known and recommended routine for the daily prayers is as follows:

    Fajr – 2 rak’ât (units) of sunnah mu’akkadah; 2 fard.

    Zuhr – 4 sunnah mu’akkadah; 4 fard; 2 sunnah mu’akkadah; 2 nafl.

    ‘Asr – 4 sunnah ghayr mu’akkadah; 4 fard.

    Maghrib – 3 fard; 2 sunnah mu’akkadah; 2 nafl.

    ‘Ishâ – 4 sunnah ghayr mu’akkadah; 4 fard; 2 sunnah mu’akkadah; 2 nafl; 3 Witr (wâjib); and 2 nafl.

    The performance of the fard in the masjid, with congregation, is extremely emphasized for men. For women, the home is a better place to pray. However, men should also pray some at home, as the Prophet ( ) said among other things,

    “O people! Offer (optional) prayers in your homes for truly, with the exception of the obligatory prayers, the best prayer is that of a man’s in his own home.” [RS-1128, from Bukhâri and Muslim]

    The twelve rak’ât (units of prayer) which are sunnah mu’akkadah have been established from several narrations of the Prophet ( ). For example:

    “He who observes twelve (sunnah) rak’ât in the course of a day and night will have a house built for him in Jannah: four before Zuhr and two after it; two after Maghrib; two after ‘Isha; and two before Fajr.” [M-1159, from Tirmidhi and Muslim]

    Among these twelve, the two before Fajr and four before Zuhr have been especially emphasized:

    The Prophet ( ) never omitted the four rak’ât before Zuhr and the two before the Fajr. [R-1100, from Bukhari]

    The four sunnah rak’ât before ‘Asr have been mentioned in another hadîth:

    “May Allâh have mercy upon the person who observes four rak’ât before the ‘Asr.” [M-1170, from Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud]


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Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756