The Sunnah Prayers Before and After Each Fard Prayer Come to Twelve in a Day: Whoever Prays them, Allah will Build for them a House in Jannah―What are they and when are they Prayed?

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The Sunnahs of the Five Daily Prayers (As-Sunan Ar-Rawātib)

Imām At-Tirmidhi reported (no. 414) from A’ishah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) that Allāh’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

مَنْ ثَابَرَ عَلَى ثِنْتَىْ عَشْرَةَ رَكْعَةً مِنَ السُّنَّةِ بَنَى اللَّهُ لَهُ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ أَرْبَعِ رَكَعَاتٍ قَبْلَ الظُّهْرِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَهَا وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْمَغْرِبِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْعِشَاءِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ الْفَجْرِ

“Whoever prays regularly twelve rak’ahs of Sunnah prayers, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise:
Four rak’ahs before Dhuhr,
Two rak’ahs after Dhuhr,
Two rak’ahs after Maghrib,
Two rak’ahs after ‘Ishā,
And two rak’ahs before Fajr.”
(Graded sahīh by Shaikh Al-Albānī)

At-Tirmidhi also reported (no. 415) from Umm Habeebah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) that Allāh’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

مَنْ صَلَّى فِي يَوْمٍ وَلَيْلَةٍ ثِنْتَىْ عَشْرَةَ رَكْعَةً بُنِيَ لَهُ بَيْتٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ أَرْبَعًا قَبْلَ الظُّهْرِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَهَا وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْمَغْرِبِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْعِشَاءِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ صَلاَةِ الْفَجْرِ

“Whoever prays twelve rak’ahs (Sunnah Prayers) in a day and night, a house will be built for him in Paradise:
Four rak’ahs before Dhuhr,
Two rak’ahs after it,
Two rak’ahs after Maghrib,
Two rak’ahs after ‘Ishā,
And two rak’ahs before the Fajr Prayer.”
(Graded sahīh by Shaikh Al-Albāni)

The Two Rak’ahs Before Fajr

Imām At-Tirmidhi stated: “Chapter: That which has been narrated concerning the two rak’ahs before Fajr in terms of excellence.” Then he reported (no. 416) from A’ishah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) that Allāh’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

رَكْعَتَا الْفَجْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا

“The two rak’ah of Fajr are better than the world and what is in it.” (Graded sahīh by Shaikh Al-Albāni)

The Sunnah Prayers Will Make Up The Shortfall In The Obligatory Prayers On The Day Of Resurrection

At-Tirmidhi stated: “Chapter: That which has been narrated concerning the first matter for which a person will be accountable for on the Day of Resurrection is the Prayer (As-Salāh).”

At-Tirmidhi reported (no. 416) from Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) that Allāh’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ عَمَلِهِ صَلاَتُهُ فَإِنْ صَلُحَتْ فَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ وَأَنْجَحَ وَإِنْ فَسَدَتْ فَقَدْ خَابَ وَخَسِرَ فَإِنِ انْتَقَصَ مِنْ فَرِيضَتِهِ شَيْءٌ قَالَ الرَّبُّ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ انْظُرُوا هَلْ لِعَبْدِي مِنْ تَطَوُّعٍ فَيُكَمَّلَ بِهَا مَا انْتَقَصَ مِنَ الْفَرِيضَةِ ثُمَّ يَكُونُ سَائِرُ عَمَلِهِ عَلَى ذَلِكَ

“The first deed for which a servant will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection is his Prayer (Salāh). If it is complete, he will be successful and saved, but if it is deficient or corrupted, he will have failed and lost.

So if there something is deficient in his obligatory Prayers, the Lord (the Mighty and Majestic) will say: ‘Look, are there any voluntary Prayers for my worshipper?’ So with the voluntary Prayers what was deficient in his obligatory Prayers will be completed. Then the rest of his deeds will be treated in the same manner.” (Graded sahīh by Shaikh Al-Albāni)

The Four Rak’ahs Before ‘Asr

At-Tirmidhi reported (no. 429) from ‘Alī (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) that he said:

انَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُصَلِّي قَبْلَ الْعَصْرِ أَرْبَعَ رَكَعَاتٍ يَفْصِلُ بَيْنَهُنَّ بِالتَّسْلِيمِ عَلَى الْمَلاَئِكَةِ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) would pray four rak’ahs before the ‘Asr Prayer separating between them with sending salām (tasleem) upon the angels that are close to Allah and upon those who follow them from the Muslims and the believers.” (Graded hasan by Shaikh Al-Albāni)

At-Tirmidhi (rahimahullāh) said: Ishāq Ibn Ibrāhīm (d. 238AH) would not divide the four rak’ahs before ‘Asr into twos (with a tasleem), and he would use this hadeeth as a proof for that. Ishāq (rahimhullāh) said: “It’s meaning is that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) would divide the four rak’ahs with tasleem, meaning with a tashahhud.” Ash-Shāfi’ī and Ahmad held that the Sunnah prayers of the night and day should be prayed in twos, so they opted to divide the four rak’ahs before ‘Asr (into twos).

At-Tirmidhi reported (no. 429) from Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) that Allāh’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

رَحِمَ اللَّهُ امْرَأً صَلَّى قَبْلَ الْعَصْرِ أَرْبَعًا

“May Allah have mercy upon a man who prays four rak’ahs before ‘Asr.” (Graded hasan by Shaikh Al-Albāni)

The Sunnah Prayers Should Be Prayed In One’s Home

Zaid Ibn Thābit narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

فَصَلُّوا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ فِي بُيُوتِكُمْ، فَإِنَّ أَفْضَلَ الصَّلاَةِ صَلاَةُ الْمَرْءِ فِي بَيْتِهِ إِلاَّ الْمَكْتُوبَةَ

“O people, pray in your homes for indeed the best Prayer is the Prayer of a person in his home except for the obligatory Prayers.” (Al-Bukhārī, no. 731)

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) said that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Do not turn your houses into graveyards, and do not make my grave into a place of ritual celebration. And send your prayers (salutations of peace and blessings of Allah and His praise) upon me, for indeed your prayers will reach me wherever you may be.” 

Reported by Abu Dawood with a hasan chain of narration, and all of its narrators are trustworthy. Abu Dawood (2042), authenticated by Al-Albāni.

‘Alī Ibn Al-Husayn stated that he saw a man coming to a gap that was next to the grave of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam), so he entered it and started supplicating. So ‘Alee Ibn Husayn prohibited him from that and told him: “Shall I not relay to you a hadeeth that I heard from my father, from my grandfather, from the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam)? He said: “Do not take my grave as a place of ‘eid (ritual celebration), nor your homes as graves. And send prayers upon me for verily your salutations (tasleem) will be conveyed to me from wherever you are.” 

It is reported in Al-Mukhtārah. Reported by Abu Ya’lā in Al-Musnad (1/361, no. 469), Ad-Diyā Al-Maqdisee in Al-Mukhtārah (468), authenticated by Al-Albāni in Tahdheer As-Sājid (p. 85).

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  1. Jazak Allah Khair. Concerning gaining the reward a house in Paradise, can this also include those voluntary prayers outside of the ones mentioned in the Hadith; such as Salat ad-Duha and others?

    • Assalāmu ‘alaikum,

      One of the narrators of the hadeeth in Sunan An-Nasā’ī (no. 1797) is Atā Ibn Abī Rabāh. The wording is:

      مَنْ رَكَعَ اثْنَتَيْ عَشْرَةَ رَكْعَةً فِي الْيَوْمِ وَاللَّيْلَةِ ، سِوَى الْمَكْتُوبَةِ: بَنَى اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَهُ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ

      “Whoever prays twelve rak’ahs in a day and night other than the obligations, Allah will make for him a house in Jannah.” (Graded saheeh by Al-Albāni)

      ‘Atā would pray them in one time (as he did on an occasion as duhā prayer before jumu’ah).

      However, what seems correct is that they are referring to the Sunan Ar-Rawātib before after the Fard Prayers, as is apparent from the above narrations. In fact, Ibn Taymiyyah stated that if you were to enumerate the rak’ahs of Prayer of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) in the day and night, they would come to forty rak’ahs or so. And Allah knows best.

  2. Asalaamu alaikum. I’m a bit confused, please forgive me. The article starts by stating the twelve Sunnah Prayers, 4 rakat before dhuhr, 2 rakat after dhuhr, 2 rakat after Maghrib, 2 rakat after Isha & 2 rakat before Fajr which makes 12 rakat in total. Then later on the author titles a paragraph ‘The four rakat before Asr’. Please forgive my ignorance and explain Inshaa’Allaah because this would make 16 rakat in total. BarakAllaahu feek.

    • Wa ‘alaikumus-salām,

      The twelve rak’ahs are mentioned in the hadeeth and their places. The additional four before ‘Asr are for increased reward from Allah and His mercy.

  3. السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

    Do the sunnah prayers have to be prayed at the prescribed times of salah specifically?, if there are unforeseen circumstances and they are missed can they be made up or is it better to leave them and pray the next fard salah along with the prescribed sunnah for that salah ?

    If you could advise please

    ‏بارك الله فيك

    • As-salāmu-alaikum-wa-rahmatullāh

      It is allowed to make up missed Sunan ar-Rawātib (connected to Fard prayers) if they are missed for a reason, forgotten, etc., as long they are not made up in the prohibited times. That is the position of the Shāfi’iyyah, the Hanābilah, supported by Ibn Taymiyyah, the preference of Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn ‘Uthaimeen.

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