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We pray 2 extra rakats after the morning prayer, 2 or 4 after duhr, 2 after maghrib and 3 after Isha.

I always knew that they were extra and it's good to pray them but I don't know what they mean.

Did Prophet Muhammad (pbup) used to do them and that's why we're doing them or did Allah (swt) say it's good to do them?

Also what's the benefit? Any extra prayer is good of course, I'm just wondering if there is a hadith or something that will kind of clarify it for me.

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As SystemDown said, these salats are called الرواتب Arrawatib.

Aishah narrated that Allah's Messenger (S) said: "Whoever is regular with twelve Rak'ah of Sunnah (prayer), Allah will build a house form him in Paradise: Four Rak'ah before Zuhr, two Rak'ah after it, two Rak'ah after Maghrib, two Rak'ah after Isha, and two Rak'ah before Fajr." (Hasan)

Atirmidhi

Two Rakat's before fajr and four before Dhur

It was narrated from Aishah that: The Prophet () would not omit four rak'ahs before Zuhr and two rak'ahs before Fajr. (Sahih)

أَخْبَرَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا عُثْمَانُ بْنُ عُمَرَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ مَسْرُوقٍ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ لاَ يَدَعُ أَرْبَعَ رَكَعَاتٍ قَبْلَ الظُّهْرِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ الْفَجْرِ ‏.‏ خَالَفَهُ عَامَّةُ أَصْحَابِ شُعْبَةَ مِمَّنْ رَوَى هَذَا الْحَدِيثَ فَلَمْ يَذْكُرُوا مَسْرُوقًا ‏.‏

Four before Dhur and two after

Ali narrated: "The Prophet (S) would pray four Rak'ah before Az-Zuhr and two Rak'ah after it." (Hasan)

in some hadiths it is four after,

The Prophet () said: "Whoever prays four rak'ahs before Zuhr and four after, the Fire will not touch him." (Sahih)

Four before asr

The Prophet {Peace be Upon Him} said that may Allah's mercy be on one who makes four before Asr. Atirmidhi

Two Rakas after Maghrib

Two Rakas after Isha'

3 witr

actually, if one wants one can make a seven Raka witr, five, three, or one. Annasa'i the Prophet {Peace be Upon Him} used to make thirteen Rakahs witr, atleast until He got older/weaker he than preformed seven. Atirmidhi The Prophet also used to finish witr when it was the time Dawn. Muslim

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They are called الرواتب Arrawatib, and yes the prophet did do them and advised his followers to do the same (i.e. it is Sunnah). See this sahih hadith:

Ibn Juraij said: "I said to Ata: 'I heard that you pray twelve rak'ahs before Jumu'ah. What did you hear concerning that?' He said: 'I was told that Umm Habibah bin Abi Sufyan said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah () say: 'Whoever prays twelve rak'ahs during the day and night, apart from the prescribed prayers, Allah (SWT), the Mighty and Sublime, will build for him a house in Paradise.'" (Sahih)

Sunan Al Nasaai

The nature and timing of these 12 was pieced together by scholars from various hadiths, and the widely accepted view is that they are:

  • Two rakats before Fajr.
  • Four rakats before Dhuhur and two after.
  • Two after Maghrib.
  • Two after Isha.
  • This doesn't address the "three after witr" he mentioned. – ashes999 Oct 6 '12 at 10:34

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