Six Daily Voluntary Prayers In Islam That Ensures Paradise
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
The following are the highly recommended Salah – Sunnah or Nafl – that a practicing Muslim is advised to perform daily. These are obviously proven from several Sahih Hadith and Our Prophet (pbuh) diligently instructed his followers to perform these optional prayers. So what you read below are “voluntary” Salah over and above the 5 mandatory Fardh prayer.
On what grounds do we say these will ensure Paradise? Because one cannot follow these voluntary prayer unless, a Muslim is steadfast in Fardh (mandatory) Salah. More so even though someone diligently prays 5 times a day, the Taqwa (or fear of Allah) would have made him follow other mandatory obligations prescribed by Allah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Given that a Muslim fulfills all his duties sincerely it is assumed that he is of a high moral character. With that context it is not possible for the practicing (opportunist) Muslim to ignore the following six voluntary prayers.
1. Tahajjud (praying particularly in the last part of the night; before dawn)
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.” ~ Muslim 1163.
In another occasion, after Fajr (early morning) prayer The Prophet (pbuh) was interpreting someone’s dream and said to the person (pointing to his father),
“Abdullah is a good man. I wish he prayed Tahajjud.” Upon hearing the statement from the Prophet, this father never missed Tahajjud prayer in his life.
Tahajjud (or Qiyaam al-Layl) is a highly recommended Sunnah. Many texts from the Quran and Sunnah encourage praying it and speak of its high status and great reward. Tahajjud plays a great role in strengthening one’s faith and helping one to do good deeds.
Allah says (Quran 73:1-6) – “O you wrapped in garments (i.e. Prophet Muhammad)! Stand (to pray) all night, except a little. Half of it or a little less than that. Or a little more. And recite the Quran (aloud) in a slow, (pleasant tone and) style. Verily, We shall send down to you a weighty Word (i.e. obligations, laws). Verily, the rising by night (for Tahajjud prayer) is very hard and most potent and good for governing oneself, and most suitable for (understanding) the Word (of Allah).”
The Prophet (pbuh) said,
“Whoever spends its nights in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, he will be forgiven his previous sins.” ~ Nasai 22/107
In another narration The Prophet (pbuh) said,
“Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” ~ Bukhari 19/26, Tirmidhi 2/299
Thus praying at night, particularly the last part of the night, is most virtuous as it is the time when the prayers are accepted by Allah. One can pray 2 to 13 rakaats, (including Witr).
2. The 12 optional prayer before/after every mandatory Salah
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever prays twelve rakah during the day and night will have a house built for him in Paradise: 4 rakah before Dhuhr and 2 after it; 2 rakah after Maghrib; 2 rakah after Isha; and 2 rakah before Fajr.” ~ Tirmidhi 415
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “A house will be built in paradise for every Muslim who offers 12 rakah of optional salah other than the obligatory salah in day and night, to seek pleasure of Allah.” ~ Muslim.
It is narrated that The Prophet (pbuh) never left praying four rakah before Dhuhr and two rakah before Fajr under any circumstances. The Prophet said about the two rakah before the obligatory Fajr prayer, “They are dearer to me than the whole world.” ~ Muslim
3. Duha (Forenoon prayer)
Abu Huraira (ra) said, “My friend [The Prophet (pbuh)] advised me to observe three things: to fast 3 days of every month, to pray 2 rakahs of Duha (every day), and to pray Witr before going to sleep.” ~ Bukhari 30/88
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “In the morning charity is due from every bone in the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah’s glorification is an act of charity. Every utterance of praise of Him is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Oneness is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Greatness is an act of charity, enjoining good is an act of charity, forbidding what is disreputable is an act of charity, and two rak’ahs which one prays in the forenoon (Duha) will suffice.” ~ Muslim 6/101
A minimum two rakat is prescribed for Duha. However there are no maximum limit prescribed. In some narration scholars have capped at 8. One can pray as much as one wants. The recommended time is when one quarter of the day has passed (halfway between sunrise) and sun has reached zenith (before zawal).
The other nameof Duha salah is Salat al-Ishraaq. It is called as such because it is done immediately after sunrise (shurooq) viz. 20 mins after sunrise. So in short, Ishraaq prayer is Duha prayer done at the beginning of its time.
It is mustahab (recommended) to stay in the masjid after Fajr prayer until the sun rises, because this is what the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions did, and because there is great reward in that. Sahih Muslim (670) has it that when the Prophet (pbuh) had prayed Fajr, he would sit in his prayer place until the sun had risen properly.
4. Tahiyyat-ul-Masjid (Prayer after entering the masjid)
Tahiyyat-ul-Masjid is a prayer in which 2 nafl rakat are performed at the time of entering the mosque.
The Messenger said, “If anyone of you enters a masjid, he should pray two rakat before sitting.” ~ Dawud 2/77
5. Salat al-Witr (last prayer with odd rakat prayed at night)
This prayer contains odd rakat. The Prophet (pbuh) used to pray Witr as 1 rakah, and 3, and 5 and 7 , and 9. Praying Witr salah anytime after Isha and before Fajr is highly recommended. One should make Witr as the last salah (prayer) at night, because The Prophet (pbuh), “Make Witr as your last salah (prayer) at night.” ~ Bukhari and Muslim.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Perform Witr before morning comes.” ~ Muslim 754
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “O people of the Quran, pray Witr, for Allah is One and loves that which is odd-numbered.” ~ Abu Dawud 1416
The Sunnah indicates that if a person thinks he will be able to get up at the end of the night (Tahajjud), it is better to delay it, because prayer at the end of the night is better and is witnessed by the angels. But whoever fears that he will not get up at the end of the night should pray Witr before he goes to sleep, because of the hadith of Jaabir (ra) who said:
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever fears that he will not get up at the end of the night, let him pray Witr at the beginning of the night, but whoever thinks that he will be able to get up at the end of the night, let him pray Witr at the end of the night, for prayer at the end of the night is witnessed (by the angels) and that is better.” ~ Muslim 755.
With the above hadith, it is advised that ideally one should pray Witr in Tahajjud. However If one thinks he won’t be able to get up, then his Witr should be the last prayer of Isha salah.
6. Salat at-Tahiyatul Wudu (Nafl prayer after doing Wudu)
After performing wudu, one should pray 2 rakat of nafl, known as Tahiyyat al-Wudu. Several hadith have mentioned the blessings and benefit of doing so. For example:
“There is no Muslim who performs wudu and performs it well and then stands and offers 2 units of prayer with devotion of heart and mind in the two of them, except that Paradise becomes guaranteed for him” ~ Muslim 288
At the time of the Fajr prayer The Prophet (pbuh) asked Bilal (ra):
“Tell me of the best deed you did after embracing Islam, for I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal replied, “I did not do anything worth mentioning except that whenever I performed ablution during the day or night, I prayed after that ablution (Tayyatul Wudu) as much as was written for me. ~ Bukhari 19/30
If one performs these regularly, in addition to the mandatory Fardh prayers, one ensures his place in Jannah, if Allah wills. That’s because if any Muslim sincerely performs 5 mandatory prayers AND the above listed voluntary prayers, he is likely abstain from other haram or forbidden acts that displeases Allah. Plus, on the day of Qiyamah if the mandatory prayers were not perfect, Allah will ask the Angels to check if the believer has any optional prayer with which the mandatory prayers can be completed.
Other Optional Prayers Performed on Need Basis (not daily)
There are other non-Mandatory prayers like the ones listed below. However these are not required to be prayed daily. These are need based prayers, given the situation you are in:
- Salat al-Istikhara – Prayer to help you make important decisions of your life.
- Salat al-Taubah – Prayer for repentance for sin
- Salat al-Tarawih – Prayer in Ramadan after Isha salah
- Salat al Janazah – Funeral prayer which is near-mandatory for a Muslim
- Salat before journey
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Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
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