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السلام و علیکم As an example consider Zuhr/Duhr prayer in which we have 4 Confirmed Sunnah 4 Farz/Farz 2 Confirmed Sunnah 2 Nafil

Suppose that when I enter Masjid/Mosque I see that the Jama'at is in progress.
Should i join the Jama'at or offer confirmed Sunnah first?
Or can I offer Sunnah AFTER Farz?
Same question for non-confirmed Sunnahs (for example, the Asr prayer).

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According to Hanafi fıqh, you should join Jama'at because of this hadith:

‏إذا أقيمت الصلاة، فلا صلاة إلا المكتوبة

When the Iqamah is called, no prayer should be performed except the obligatory prayer. (Riyad as-Salihin)

However, it is considered that this hadith involves prayers other than Fajr prayer because of it's virtues which are explained in some other hadiths.

So, for Fajr prayer, if you think you can catch the Jama'at even at the last sitting, you should first offer sunnah. On the other hand, if you are not sure to catch the jama'at, you skip the sunnah and join the Jama'at.

I should also add here that, while you are praying four-rak'a-sunnah (confirmed or nonconfirmed), you can finish your prayer after first sitting (that's after two rak'as) if the jama'at starts praying. if you standed up for third rek'ah and didn't reach to its Sujiud, you can make ending salam when you are standing; but if you reached to Sujiud of third rak'a, you complete your prayer to four rak'as.

Now, what do you do if you cut sunnah prayer two rak'as earlier or if you don't even start to it in order to join jama'at? You can offer the sunnah just after farz. This is for zuhr (or Juma), asr and isha. You can't pray nafilah after fajr prayer and after asr prayer because of makruh times (the ones for nafilahs in this case).

I wrote from "catching the farz" part of the Turkish book named Ni'met-i İslam.

Addition:

The explanation about Fejr prayer above is for the person who couldn't pray it at home. Praying sunnah of Fejr at home is better than praying it at the Masjid. The Prophet may peace and blessings be upon him prayed sunnah at home and doesn't tolerate who is praying it at the Masjid. If you are to pray it at the Masjid, you should pray on a place far from the rows of the Jama'at. For other sunnah prayers, there are different views whether it is better to pray it at home.

The case of Juma prayer also needs an explanation. In the Juma prayer, there is khutbah before Jama'at. So, you skip sunnah prayer if the khutbah starts in this case.

  • There's a hadith that prohibits praying anything other than what the congregation is praying while in the masjid. So you can't pray sunnah of Fajr in the masjid while they're praying salatul-Fajr – ashes999 Jun 24 '12 at 18:41
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    Hanefi ulema doesn't understand that hadith as prohibiting sunnah of Facr and their understanding results in that the person should pray sunnah on a place far from the rows of the Jama'at which I didn't mention in my answer. I also didn't mention that this is the case for the person who couldn't pray at home. It is better to pray sunnah at home. – sevenkul Jun 24 '12 at 19:51
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First of all Fardh means obligatory, so when you enter the masjid and the Obligatory is in progress than you must, must, must join the obligatory salaat. Outside of this you can make the sunnahs or not make them, if you do not make them, especially the confirmed sunnah's you have not sinned but you just missed out on making a sunnah prayer and gaining more reward.

If you want you can make the sunnah after the fardh, but that will be missing the point, the Prophet may peace and blessings be upon Him made certain sunnahs at certain times, ether before or after the salaat, so it would be pointless to make a sunnah prayer that was supposed to be at the first of the salaat, you can just make the sunnahs and nafils after the salaat and maybe add on to that (meaning to add extra salat to that, Tatawu' prayer which is the same as nafil prayers, so just make extra nafil prayer if you want.)

  • Thanks for your response. Would you please clarify what add on to that means?. – Mohammad Yaseen Jun 24 '12 at 2:46
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according to Jafari Fiqh, Yes. you can skip them and pray them later. also the Mustahab prayers can be done while walking in the way.

ref:

http://www.sistani.org/index.php?p=251364&id=48&pid=2206

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    This is a correct answer, I don't know why it's got downvoted. +1. – Gigili Jun 24 '12 at 11:13

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