I heard the first one should be longer than the second. But how do you decide which to recite?
It is better for the Surahs to be in order, for example you recite Surah Al-Falaq in the first rak'ah after Fatiha and then in the second rak'ah you recite Surah An-Nas after Fatiha. But it is not obligatory.
The third question is reciting the Surahs in sequence in salat. This is recommended but it's not mandatory.
A man led the prayer in congregation, and in the first rak‘ah after al-Faatihah he recited Soorat al-Masad (no. 111), then in the second rak‘ah he recited Soorat al-Feel (no. 105). That was in ‘Isha’ prayer. What is your opinion on that, may Allah reward you with the best reward, because I heard that it is not permissible to recite a soorah after another soorah that comes before it in the Qur’an?
IslamQA answered the following (and more, check out the source):
Praise be to Allah.
If the matter is as described, there is nothing wrong with that, but it would have been better if the soorah that was recited in the second rak‘ah was one that came after the soorah that was recited in the first rak‘ah, in accordance with the sequence of soorahs in the Qur’an.
And Allah is the source of strength. May Allah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions. End quote.
Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Razzaaq’Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Ghadyaan, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Qa ‘ood
Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah, 4/16
It is also recommended to recite in the first rak'ah a surah that is longer than what is recited in the second rak'ah.
The Sunnah is for the imam or the person who is praying on his own to recite in the first rak‘ah a soorah that is longer than what he recites in the second rak‘ah, because of the report narrated by Abu Qataadah (may Allah be pleased with him), according to which the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to recite in the first two rak‘ahs of Zuhr, al-Faatihah and two soorahs, and in the last two rak‘ahs he recited al-Faatihah (only), and he would make the first rak‘ah lengthy but the second not as long. And he did likewise in ‘Asr and Fajr.
Al-Bukhaari (734) and Muslim (685).
You can even skip reciting a surah after Fatiha, as it is only recommended.
So the Surah that we recite, whether in Fard or in Sunnah prayer, after the Fatiha, is recommended, but it is not mandatory.
1 – Reciting Qur’aan after al-Faatihah in prayer is not obligatory, either in a fard (obligatory) prayer or a naafil (supererogatory) prayer, whether the prayer is one in which Qur’aan is recited out loud or one in which it is recited silently, whether one is joining the prayer late or otherwise.
It was narrated that ‘Ata’ said: Abu Hurayrah said: In every prayer there is recitation. What we heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, we tell you, and what he did not tell us about we cannot tell you. Whoever recites Umm al-Kitaab (i.e., Soorat al-Faatihah) has done enough, and whoever does more than that, that is better.
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 738; Muslim, 396.
I hope this answers the question. Allah knows the best. For more information please check out the sources. You will get more information regarding which scholar said what.
I will split this into 3 parts
- Obligatory rules
- Rules you should follow
- Sunnah rules
The obligatory rule when choosing what to pray is that it must be either three ayats long or longer than surah kowthar(shortest surah in the quran)
There are 2 rules that should be followed when choosing surahs
- The second surah comes after the first in the quran
- The second surah can be immediately after but you can not miss 1 surah out and then pray the next one. However, you can pray anything after that surah. As this is quite confusing, here is an example:
Pray surah 105 in first rakah.
You can pray surah 106 in the second.
Do not pray surah 107.
You can pray any other surah after, e.g. 109,114.
There is one sunnah rule that you can follow when deciding the surah. This only applies to the farz of the salaah and is different for each salah.
For fajr and zohr, pray a surah from surah hujurat(49) to surah inshiqaaq(84).
For asr and isha, pray a surah from surah burooj(85) to surah al-layl(92)
For maghrib, pray a surah from surah dhuha(93) to surah naas(114)
Allah knows best