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Supererogatory prayers (As Salât tatawu3)

In the Muslim religion, obligatory acts are distinguished from supererogatory acts. Concerning supererogatory prayers, we can say “As Salât tatawu3” (صلاة التطوع), this term designating in religious terminology a non-obligatory act of obedience through prayer, almsgiving, fasting, the pilgrimage and jihad.

About supererogatory prayers. It can be said to be a very beneficial worship that is among the greatest acts of worship. Several words (1) have been reported on this subject:

Supererogatory prayers, their importance!

Sheykh Al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said: “ On the Day of Resurrection, the supererogatory prayers will complete the obligatory prayers, if the faithful has not performed them perfectly. »

Imam al Ghazâlî said: Allah ordered the obligatory and supererogatory acts. The obligatory acts are capital, the basis of trade, and that which brings about salvation. The supererogatory acts are, themselves, the benefit and what makes it possible to reach high degrees. »

The 4 types of supererogatory prayers

There are 4 types of supererogatory prayers:

  1. The prayer that is not linked to a reason, nor to a time, nor to an obligatory act (Example: a supererogatory prayer performed out of pure desire and need, with the aim of getting closer to his Lord)
  2. The prayer that is linked to a time (Example: the Witr prayer)
  3. The one who is linked to an obligatory act (Example: Ar Rawâtib)
  4. Prayer linked to a pattern (Example: The prayer before leaving home)

The different supererogatory prayers

  • The “attached”, “Ar Rawâtib”:

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whoever continues the performance of 12 supererogatory rak’ats, Allah will build him a house in paradise: Two rak’ats before Fajr, four rak’ats before and two rak’ats after Dhor, two rak’ats after Maghrib , two rak’at after Isha» Narrated by At-Tirmidhi 379

These prayers are so-called “continuous” prayers for the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم never forsook them. Except when he was traveling.

What there is to know

  • The night prayer, “Qiyyam Al Layl”:

Abu Hurayrah reports that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The most meritorious prayer, after the obligatory prayer, is the night prayer”. Saheeh Muslim, 1163

The night prayer is a supererogatory prayer which is performed 2 units by 2 units, which means that the salutations are made every 2 units.

Ali Ibn Abi Talib reports that the Messenger of Allah said: Perform the prayer of Witr, O followers of the Quran, for Allah is One (Witr) and He loves Witr. » Sahih Abu Dawud, 1416

This prayer is performed with an odd number, and we can say that it closes all prayers. It is therefore possible to pray a single unit to perform the witr, or three or even five, by only pronouncing the tashahoud during the last unit of prayer. Its legislated time is between the ‘isha prayer (after its time) and the appearance of dawn, just before Al Fajr. You should know that you can only pray it once during the night (2):

The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “There cannot be two witr in the same night. » Reported by Abu Dawood, chapter of “The prayer” (hadith 1438)

  • The morning prayer, “Ad Duha”:

Aisha reports: “The Messenger of Allah صلىاللهعليهوسلم performed four units for the morning prayer and sometimes more. » Saheeh Mulim, 719

We can also cite these supererogatory prayers, some of which are strongly recommended:

  • The greeting prayer of the mosque
  • Prayers to be performed between the adhan (the 1st call to prayer) and the iqama (the 2nd call to prayer)
  • The 4 prayer units to perform after Friday prayer (joumou’a)
  • The 2 units of prayer to pray after performing ablution
  • The Eclipse Prayer

Forbidden times to pray (3)

You should know that there is certain forbidden times for performing prayeramong which :

  • The end of the dawn prayer. Until the sun stands at a height equal to the length of a spear
  • When the sun is at its zenith until it begins to tilt. This happens in the middle of the day, almost five minutes before the sun sets.
  • At the end of the ‘Asr prayer until sunset. Here we take into account the individual performance of prayer.
  • When one has completed the ‘asr prayer. One should refrain from praying until sunset. Except in a particular case in which prayer is no longer prohibited.

Some sunnan to know

  • Praying at home is better in the case of supererogatory prayers:

The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “The best prayer is that prayed at home, except the obligatory prayer” (which must be done at the mosque). Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim

  • The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم does not never neglected the Witr nor the 2 units of prayer before Fajr, even when he was traveling:

” The Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام was not as diligent in any ratibah as in the 2 rak’at of fajr, to the point that he did not abandon them neither when he was resident nor when traveling. And when traveling he only prayed the râtibah of the fadjr as a rātibah: he did not pray the rātibah of the dhohr, nor that of the maghrib, nor that of the ‘ichâ. » (4)

  • There sunnah to change location or to pronounce a word to separate a supererogatory prayer from an obligatory prayer: (5)

“The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم advised us not to join one prayer with another until we go out or speak. » Reported by Muslim

  1. Taken from the book “Boulough Al Marâm”, vol.1, p.353

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