The emphasized nawafil are those which were regularly performed by the Prophet (ﷺ) himself. The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that:
مَنْ صَلَّى فِي يَوْمٍ وَلَيْلَةٍ اثْنَتَيْ عَشْرَةَ رَكْعَةً سِوَى الْمَكْتُوبَةِ بَنَى اللَّهُ لَهُ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ: أَرْبَعًا قَبْلَ الظُّهْرِ، وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَهَا، وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْمَغْرِبِ، وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْعِشَاءِ، وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ صَلَاةِ الصُّبْحِ.
Any man who performs 12 rak’ats of nafl throughout day and night, Allah Almighty will build a house for him in the Paradise. They are: four rak’ats before the Zohr prayer; two rak’ats after the fardh of Zohr; two rak’ats after the Maghrib payer; two rak’ats after the Isha prayer; and two rak’ats before the Fajr prayer (Tirmizi). Hadrat Abdullah bin Umar RadhiAllahu Anhu narrates that he took ten rak’ats from the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): two before Zohr; two after Zohr; two after Maghrib (which the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to perform at home); two after Isha’ (which he used to perform at home); and two rak’ats before the Fajr (Al-Bukhari).
The Sunnah of Fajr
Hadrat Ayesha RadhiAllahu Anha narrates that the nafl which the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prayed most regularly was the two rak’ats before the fardh salat of Fajr (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). He (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that: «رَكْعَتَا الْفَجْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا» the two rak’ats of the nafl of the Fajr were better than the world and what was in it (Muslim and Ahmad). In these two rak’ats he used to recite the Surah Al-Kafiroon and surah Al-Ikhlaas. If for some reason one cannot perform them before the fardh, he can do so after the fardh or after the sunrise.
The Sunnah of Zohr
They are: before the fardh of zohr two or four rak’ats; and after the fard two or four rak’ats. When asked about the nawafil of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) hadrat Ayesha RadhiAllahu Anha said that he performed four rak’ats at her dwelling before zohr then he went to lead the fardh prayer then came back and performed two rak’ats at home (Muslim and Ahmad). Hadrat Abu Ayub Ansari RadhiAllahu Anhu narrated that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to pray four rak’ats before Zohr. He was asked whether the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to pray them regularly. He replied it was so. When asked about it, the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied the doors of heavens are opened at this time. I want that my good deeds are transmitted above on my behalf at this time (Ahmad). If one does not have a chance to pray them before the fardh, he should perform them after the fardh. Hadrat Ayesha RadhiAllahu Anha has narrated that if the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) could not pray them before the fardh he did them after fardh (Tirmizi).
The Sunnah of Maghrib
These are two rak’ats. The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to recite Surah Al-Kafiroon and Surah Al-Ikhlaas in them.
The Sunnah of Isha’
These are two rak’ats after the fardh of Isha’.
These nawafil were such sunnah which the Prophet (ﷺ) prayed for some time and gave them up on other times.
Two or four rak’ats before the Asr fardh: The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
«رَحِمَ اللَّهُ امْرَأً صَلَّى قَبْلَ الْعَصْرِ أَرْبَعًا» Allah’s mercy upon him who prays four rak’ats before Asr.
Two rak’ats before maghrib: The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
«صَلُّوا قَبْلَ الْمَغْرِبِ ، صَلُّوا قَبْلَ الْمَغْرِبِ ثُمَّ قَالَ في الثَّالِثَةِ لِمَنْ شَاءَ» Pray nafl before Maghib; pray nafl before Maghrib. The third time he said those of you who wish (Al-Bukhari). At this point nafl should be very short.
Two rak’ats before Isha’: The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
«بَيْنَ كُلِّ أَذَانَيْنِ صَلاَةٌ، بَيْنَ كُلِّ أَذَانَيْنِ صَلاَةٌ» ، ثُمَّ قَالَ فِي الثَّالِثَةِ: «لِمَنْ شَاءَ»
There is a salat between the two adzans [adhan+iqamat]. Then said it again. He said the same for the third time but added that for those who wish (all compilers).
Nawafil not connected with fardh prayers:
Witr: This is a sunnah muakkadah. Its time commences from the conclusion of the Isha’ prayer and lasts till the time before the fajr adhan. It is preferable to perform witr in late night but those who are afraid of missing it should pray it soon after the Isha’ prayer.
The manner of performing witr prayer: Witr means solitary and as such the worshipper should offer one rak’at. It is desirable to recite Surah Al-Ikhlas and the muawwadhatain after Surah Al-Fatiha. According to a narration when the Prophet (ﷺ) performed witr in three rak’ats he used to recite Surah Al-A’la after surah Al-Fatiha and in the second rak’at recited surah Al-Kafiroon and in the third rak’at recited surah Al-Ikhlas and the muawwadhatain. It is permissible to perform five, seven, nine and eleven rak’ats in witr. When it is more than one rak’at then it should be divided into units of two rak’ats and the solitary rak’at should be performed in the last. In another form all rak’ats may be performed in one sequence but recite one tashahhud in the penultimate rak’at and another tashahhud in the last rak’at and then recite salam.
Du’a-i-Qunoot: Qunoot is a supplication which may be recited either before the ruku’ of the last rak’at or after rising from the last ruku’. The wording is:
اللھُمَّ اِھدِنِی فِیمَن ھَدَیتَ وَعَافِنِی فِیمَن عَافَیتَ وَتَوَلنِی فِیمَن تَوَلَّیتَ وَبَارِک لِی فیِمَا اَعطَیتَ وَقِنِی شَرَّمَاقَضَیتَ فَاِنَّک تَقضِی وَلَا یُقضَیٰ عَلیکَ وَاِنَّہ لاَ یَذِلُّ مَن وَالَیَت تَبَارَکتَ رَبّنَا وَتَعَالَیتَ
“Allahummahdinin feeman hadait wa A’fini feeman A’fait a’tait wa tawallini feeman tawallait wa Barik li feema wa Qini sharra ma qadhait fainnaka taqdhi wa la yuqdha alaik innahu la yadhillu man walait tabarakta rabbuna wa ta’alait (Ahmad, Tirmizi, Aaabu Dawood, Nasai, Ibn Maja). Translation: O Allah! Guide me among those You guide. Grant me health and pardon among those You grant health and pardon, look after me among those You look after, grant me grace in what You have given me, and protect me from the evil of what you have ordained; for You decree and none decrees against You, and none is abased whom You befriend. And none is exalted whom You are at enmity with. O our Lord, who is above all things sacred and exalted.
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