Fiqh takeaways – Sunnah Prayers (Part 1)

I’ve been regularly attending a class on fiqh, covering the text Muqodimmah Al-Hadromiyah by Shaykh Abdallah bin Abdul Rahman Bafadhol (the text used is an Indonesian translation by Abdul Qadir Ahmad Mauladdawilah, published by Ar-Roudhoh). For the sake of revising and reminding myself, and anybody who happens to come across this blog I’ve decided to do brief, ‘fiqh takeaway’ posts to summarise the lessons for the week. I’ll be starting with the chapter on sunnah prayers.

  • Witr
    • Afdal after the sunnah prayers offered in jemaah
    • Minimum of 1 raka’at, maximum of 11 raka’at (but to regularly pray only 1 rakaat of witr is a makruh act)
    • While wajib in the Hanafi madhab, it is a sunnah muakkadah (emphasised sunnah that the Prophet ﷺ was not known to have left) in the Shafi’i school
    • Best to pray the last raka’at of witr just before Fajr/Subuh
    • This time, the last third of the night, is called sahar, and it is the best for istighfar
    • Linguistic clarification: sahur is the food that is eaten, sohur is the time
    • Hadith:

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’”

[Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

    • Beneficial to recite the du’a of  Yunus ( عليه السلام‎) forty-one times after witr for relief from worry/stress. This is according to Imam Jafar as-Sadiq
    •  الله‎ يا Ya Allah two hundred times quietly for fulfilment of one’s hajat (wishes)
  • Rawatib prayers
    • The Prophet (ﷺ) used to lie on his right side after praying the two sunnah raka’ats of Fajr and recite a du’a (which unfortunately I was unable to take down and have been unable to trace so far…)
    • The rawatib sunnah prayers are afdal over the tarawih prayers in the month of Ramadan
    • Certain sunnah prayers fall under the category of Ghair muakkadah, i.e, there is dispute over whether Prophet (ﷺ) left them
    • There is khilaf among scholars over when Maghrib ends, that is, whether it ends with the beginning of Ishak or whether it ends approximately half an hour after the adhan of Maghrib.
    • As such, it is better to pray the fardh prayers immediately after the azan.
    • While there are two raka’ats of sunnah qabliyah prayer before the fardh Maghrib prayers, the Shafi’i madhab allows for them to be prayed after the fardh prayers
    • According to a narration from Tarmidhi, ibn Masud prayed four raka’ats of sunnah prayers before and after the communal Juma’ah prayers. This is not bid’ah.
  • Tarawih
    • The Prophet ﷺ prayed eight raka’ats of tarawih prayer, and an increasing number of sahaba would join him in prayer in the mosque. This continued for four days consecutively, and on the fifth day the jemaah showed up but the Prophet did not. This was out of mercy for the ummah so that they would not consider the tarawih an obligation upon them.
    • Umar instituted the practice of twenty raka’ats  prayed in jemaah during his time as Khalifa, as he noted the sahabah praying tarawih in Ramadan individually and wished to bring them together. This, Umar stated, was “nikmatul bid’ah”, or the best form of innovation. It should also be noted that none among the ummah ever fought with Umar over this issue.
    • The ustaz noted that the late scholar Habib Ahmad Semait often faced complaints from his jemaah over why they prayed twenty raka’ats when such a thing was never practiced by the Prophet ﷺ, with Habib Ahmad stating that they were free to pray eight raka’ats if they so wished and as it was not obligatory to pray tarawih they could choose to sit at the coffeeshop instead if they were so offended by it.
    • The people of Madinah prayed thirty-six raka’ats of tarawih during the time of Imam Malik. During that time, the people of Makkah made tawaf around the Ka’bah after every four raka’ats of prayer. As the Madinans were obviously unable to make tawaf, Imam Malik stated that they would substitute an extra sixteen raka’ats of prayer for the tawaf.
    • The ustaz said that anyone who would criticise the ijtihad of as great a scholar as Imam Malik, the teacher of Imam Shafi’i, in this day and age should first go to the mirror and check for his own flaws.
  • Duha
    • Duha is prayed a minimum of two raka’ats and a maximum of eight raka’ats
    • The prayer time starts approximately sixteen minutes after Syuruk
    • No difference between duha and ishraq prayers
    • Best prayed at approximately 9-10am, as per a hadith of the Prophet ﷺ which stated that the best time to pray was when weaning camels got up from resting on the sand (because of the heat from the sun)
    • Duha is valid until istiwa’ (true noon)
    • A hadith states that sadaqah is enjoined upon every joint of the human body, and two raka’ats of duha prayer is sadaqah for every joint in the body
    • He who prays two raka’ats of duha will not be written down as one who is unobservant and one who prays four raka’ats will be considered as a good person, one who prays ten raka’ats will have his sins forgiven and one who prays twelve raka’ats will attain Jannah. This is from a da’if (weak) hadith from Imam Nawawi (My notes are unclear on this point, if I misinterpreted my lessons here please forgive me).
This is the lesson as I remember it. Any mistakes here are my own. Wa Allahu Alam. More posts to come, insya Allah.
Peace be upon you.
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