I searched for this subject, but I found that the Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanafi madhhab differed in the ruling on the night prayer.

  • وقال تعالى: ﴿أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ ءانَاء ٱلَّيْلِ سَـٰجِداً وَقَائِماً يَحْذَرُ ٱلآخِرَةَ وَيَرْجُواْ رَحْمَةَ رَبّهِ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِى ٱلَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ﴾ [الزمر:9] 

The Almighty said: "He is safe, he is a priest, a prostitute, a prostitute, and he who preaches the Hereafter, and pleases the mercy of his Lord. Say: Are they equal to those who know and those who do not know?" [Al-Zumar: 9]

1- عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: 

أفضل الصيام ، بعد رمضان ، شهر الله المحرم . وأفضل الصلاة ، بعد الفريضة ، صلاة الليل 

الراوي: أبو هريرة المحدث: مسلم - المصدر: صحيح مسلم - الصفحة أو الرقم: 1163 1- From Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: The best fast, after Ramadan, the month of God Muharram. The best prayer, after the obligatory prayer, is the night prayer. Narrator: Abu Hurayrah Hadith: Muslim - Source: Sahih Muslim - page or number: 1163

Is the night prayer obligatory or desirable?

  • It is certainly not obligatory by all madhhabs. There are only five obligatory prayers. Consider editing your post. The quran verse you quote is an invitation to do night prayers not an order and the hadith too. See for example Taraweeh in mosque, Taraweeh for women and Time for optional night prayer
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 10:01
  • Your exemple talk about tarawih but my question is about night prayer Medi1Saif♦
    – Asma MENAI
    Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 17:08
  • Not all of them and the question I've posted already asks about the optional night prayer! Basically the argumentation for both is the same. Beside this the fact that there are only 5 obligatory prayers already make your question meaningless.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 16:42
  • But that question is about the time of the night prayer, but I am looking to find <if night prayer obligatory or desirable>Medi1Saif♦
    – Asma MENAI
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 18:39
  • And I'm saying from my first comment on that as there are only five obligatory prayers namely: fajr/sobh, dhohr, 'asr, maghrib and 'isha' (which are all mentioned in the quran) the night prayer per se is not obligatory.so your question doesn't make sense. Beside this the verse and hadith you mentioned shows that it is desirable as the wording doesn't indicate an order but says it is better to do so.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 10:58

1 Answer 1


There are five fard (obligatory) prayers in Sunni Islam:

You have to offer perfectly the five compulsory prayers in a day and night (24 hours), unless you want to pray Nawafil.
Sahih al-Bukhari 1891

Indeed, the hadith cited in the question confirms that the night prayer (tahajjud) is voluntary:

... the most excellent prayer after what is prescribed is prayer during the night.
Sahih Muslim 1163 a

It's described in the Qur'an as "additional":

And from [part of] the night, pray with it as additional [worship] for you; it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station.
Qur'an 17:79; see IslamAwakened for other translations

It's widely described as voluntary (but recommended) in Sunni fatawa: SeekersHub, Fatwa.ca, Islam Q&A, IslamWeb, Qibla.com, Darul Iftaa.

  • Does Nawafil means volunteer prayers? Or what?
    – Alex A
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 23:55
  • "Nawafil" refers to "voluntary" or "optional". I'm used to "nafl"; you might get a better answer from someone with more Arabic knowledge. Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 23:59

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