Did the prophet observe optional prayers beyond the sunan ar-Rawwatib? Which Nawafil prayers exist and are proven to be authentic?

1 Answer 1


The Prophet (ﷺ) discoursed about these following Nawafil, which he committed to or/and recommended to pray:

  • Tahiyatul Wudu:

... So Bilal said: 'O Allah's Messenger! I have never called the Adhan except that I prayed two Rak'at, and I never committed Hadath except that I performed Wudu upon that, and I considered that I owed Allah two Rak'at.' So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "For those two."

At-Tirmidhi (3689) and Abu I'sa classed Hasan Sahih Gharib

At the time of the Fajr prayer, the Prophet (ﷺ) asked Bilal: "Tell me of the best deed you did after embracing Islam, for I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise." Bilal replied: 'I did not do anything worth mentioning except that whenever I performed ablution during the day or night, I prayed after that ablution as much as was written for me."

Al-Bukhari (1149)

  • The Witr prayer:

Narrated by Abu Hurayra: "My friend (the Prophet ﷺ) advised me to observe three things: [...] and (3rd) to pray witr before sleeping."

Al-Bukhari (1981)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "The witr is a duty for every Muslim, so if anyone wishes to observe it with five Rak'at, he may do so; if anyone wishes to observe it with three, he may do so, and if anyone wishes to observe it with one, he may do so."

Abu Dawud (1422) graded Sahih by Shaykh Albani

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "Verily, Allah Almighty has added one to your prayers, so perform it between the evening and dawn prayers (I'sha and Fajr): the Witr prayer, the Witr prayer."

Musnad Ahmad (27229) graded Sahih in As-Sahihah (1/221-1 - #108)

  • Salat az-Zahafah - 2 Rak'at after Witr (while sitting):

A'ishah said: 'He (ﷺ) used to pray thirteen Rak'at. He would pray eight Rak'at then pray witr, then pray two Rak'at sitting down. When he wanted to bow, he would stand and bow...'

An-Nasa'i (1781) graded Sahih by Shaykh Albani in Sahih Abu Dawud (1211); Muslim (746a)

Ibn Khuzaymah (1106) and others narrate that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

"... so when each of you has prayed Witr, he should perform two Rak'at; if he then manages to awaken [for Tahajjud] so be it, otherwise these two will be [the Night prayer] for him"

[strong recommendation]

Shaykh Albani discussed this in As-Sahihah (4/546-547 - #1993) who said: 'I used to hesitate in implementing these two Rak'at for an extended amount of time. But, when I came across this order of the Prophet (ﷺ), I then began to hold it and implement it. And I realised that the Prophet's (ﷺ) saying "make your last prayer at night the Witr prayer" was only a recommendation and not an obligation.' The Sunnah is to recite Surah Al-Zalzalah and Surah Al-Kafirun in these two Rak'at, which is reported in Ibn Khuzaymah (1104-5) with two chains of narration that strengthen one another, Musnad Ahmad (22246, 22313), and there are many other narrations.

  • Salat ad-Duha (before Adh-Dhuhr):

"[...] (2nd) to pray two Rak'at of Duha prayer [...]"

Al-Bukhari (1981)

A'bdullah bin as-Sa'ib narrated: 'Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) would pray four (Rak'at) after the Zawal of the sun before Adh-Dhuhr.' He (ﷺ) said: "It is an hour in which the Gates of the Heavens are opened, and I love that a righteous deed should be raised up for me in it."

At-Tirmidhi (478) graded Sahih by Shaykh Albani

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "A human being has three hundred and sixty joints for each of which he must give alms." The people asked him: 'Who is capable of doing this?' He replied: "It may be mucus in the mosque which you bury, and something which you remove from the road; but if you do not find such, two Rak'at in the forenoon will be sufficient for you."

Abu Dawud (5242) graded Sahih by Shaykh Albani

Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) said: "In the morning, charity is due from every bone in the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah's glorification is an act of charity. Every utterance of praise of Him is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Oneness is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Greatness is an act of charity, enjoining good is an act of charity, forbidding what is disreputable is an act of charity, and two Rak'at which one prays in the forenoon will suffice."

Muslim (720)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "Shall I not tell you what is closer than a battle, more plentiful than spoils, and a swifter return? One who performs ablution, then goes to the mosque for the Duha prayer, it is a closer battle, more plentiful spoils, and a swifter return."

Musnad Ahmad (6638) graded Hasan Sahih in Sahihut-Targhib (668)

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "[...] And he who goes out to say the Duha prayer, and takes the trouble for this purpose, will take the reward like that of a person who performs U'mrah. [...]"

Abu Dawud (558) graded Hasan in Sahih Abu Dawud (567)

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "None preserves the Duha prayer, but the repentant. It is the prayer of the repentant."

Al-Mustadrak (1/459) which Al-Hakim classed Sahih; and it was graded Hasan in As-Sahihah (2/316 - #703)

A'isha said: 'The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) prayed the Duha prayer and then said': "O Lord, forgive me and turn to me; You are the Ever-Turning back (to his slaves), the Merciful" (Allahum-maghfirli wa tub a'lay-ya, Innaka antat-tau-wabur-Rahim) a hundred times.' Adab al-Mufrad (619) graded Sahih by Shaykh Albani | Allah says: "Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favor his favor. But if you turn away, then indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a great Day." [Hud 11:3] - "Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers, and give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers." [Nuh 10-12]

The Prophet (ﷺ) related that Allah, Blessed and Most High, said: "Son of Adam: Perform four Rak'at for Me in the beginning of the day, it will suffice you for the latter part of it."

At-Tirmidhi (475) classed Sahih by Shaykh Albani as well as the narration in Abu Dawud (1289) that it is narrated:

"Allah, the Exalted, says: Son of Adam, do not be helpless in performing four Rak'at for Me at the beginning of the day; I will supply for what you need till the end of it."

The meaning of "suffice" includes the protection of Allah from all evil and harm, protection against misguidance and sinfulness, alleviation of anxiety and worries, and forgiveness for one's shortcomings during that day, or a combination of any of the above.

  • 4 Rak'at before Dhuhr and 4 after it:

The Messanger of Allah (ﷺ): "Whoever maintains four Rak'at before Adh-Dhuhr and four after it, Allah makes him prohibited for the Fire."

At-Tirmidhi (428) and Abu I'sa graded it Sahih Gharib

And, it is narrated in Ibn Abi Shaybah (5940), graded Hasan in Sahih al-Jam'i (882) and in As-Sahihah (3/416-417 - #1431), that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: :

"Praying the 4 Rak'at (of Sunnah) before the Dhuhr Salah is equivalent in reward to praying the Salah during the time of As-Sahr (before dawn)."

  • Before leaving and when returning back home:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "When you leave your home, pray two Rak'at to prevent you from an evil exit. When you enter your home, pray two Rak'at to prevent you from an evil entrance."

Musnad al-Bazzar (8567) and in Kashf al-Astar (746) graded Hasan in Sahih al-Jam'i (505) and he said in As-Sahihah (3/315 - #1323): "The Isnad of this Hadith is acceptable and the narrators are trustworthy men used by Al-Bukhari"; also Al-Manawi stated in Fayd al-Qadir (1/334): 'Ibn Hajar said: 'It is a Hasan Hadith'.'

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: "When any one of you observes prayer in the mosque, he should reserve a part of his prayer for his house, for Allah would make the prayer as a means of betterment in his house."

Muslim (778); and in another narration in Ibn Majah (1376):

"When anyone of you has finished his prayer, let him give his house a share of that, for Allah will put something good in his house because of that prayer."

  • Istikhara prayer:

The Prophet (ﷺ) used to teach us the Istikhara for each and every matter as he used to teach us the Surat from the Holy Qur'an. (He used to say): "If anyone of you intends to do something, he should offer a two Rak’at prayer other than the obligatory prayer, and then say": [Du'a mentioned in the link]

Al-Bukhari (6382)

  • When entering the mosque to pray two Rak'at before sitting down (Tahiyyat al-Masjid):

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "If anyone of you enters a mosque, he should not sit until he has offered a two Rak'at prayer."

Al-Bukhari (1167)

  • After the Adhan, to pray two Rak'at:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "There is a prayer between the two Adhans (Adhan and Iqama), there is a prayer between the two Adhans." And then while saying it the third time he added: "For the one who wants to (pray)".

Al-Bukhari (627)

  • Before the Maghrib prayer, to pray two Rak'at:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "Pray before the Maghrib (compulsory) prayer." 'He (said it thrice) and in the third time, he said': "Whoever wants to offer it can do so." 'He said so because he did not like the people to take it as a Sunnah.'

Al-Bukhari (1183)

  • 4 Rak'at (in one unit, without dividing it into 2+2 prayer) after the two Sunnah of I'sha:

(A'bdullah ibn A'mr, A'ishah) and Ibn Mas'ud (quoted here) narrated: 'Whoever prays four [Rak'at] after I'sha, not separating them by Salam, they will equate to the like of them on Laylat al-Qadr.'

Ibn Abi Shaybah (7273-75) narrated in Mawquf-Form, graded Sahih in Ad-Da'ifah (5060 - 11/103); the virtue of this Hadith and its authenticity is discussed here.

  • To pray the Qiyamul-layl (or when waking up in the night which also becomes the Tahajjud prayer):

The rewards and virtues for Qiyamul-layl are explained here

  • When you are distressed (e.g.: with a great problem, concerns, etc.), to pray two Rak'at for it (as a means) to ask for the help of Allah:

Hudhayfah said: "When anything distressed the Prophet (ﷺ), he prayed."

Abu Dawud (1319) and Shaykh Albani classed it Hasan in Sahih Abu Dawud (1192); as well as Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (3/172) in which he also classed the subsequent Hadith as Hasan that is mentioned in the Tafsir of At-Tabari, pertaining to the following Ayat (at the end) with the incident of Ibn A'bbas that news was brought to him of his brother's death whilst he was travelling:

'He said: "Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un" (Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return)" [Al-Baqarah 2:156]. Then he swerved from the road and made his camel kneel, then he prayed two Rak'at in which he made the sitting lengthy. Then, he got up and walked towards his camel, saying (by reciting the Quran): "And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashiun (the true believers in Allah)"' [Al-Baqarah 2:45] / Tafsir ibn Kathir (1/156)

And in Abu Dawud (4985-6), which Shaykh Albani classed Sahih in Irwa ul-Ghalil (223), it is narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

"... so that I pray and get comfort." [...] "Get up, Bilal, and give us comfort in prayer."

  • Two Rak'at of Salat at-Tawbah:

The Messanger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "When a servant (of Allah) commits a sin, and he performs ablution well, and then stands and prays two Rak'at, and asks pardon of Allah, Allah pardons him." He then recited this verse [I'mran 3:135]: "And those who, when they commit indecency or wrong their souls, remember Allah" - End Quote of the Hadith - [...] and seek forgiveness for their sins - and who can forgive sins except Allah? And [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know."

Abu Dawud (1521) classed Sahih by Shaykh Albani

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Whoever performs ablution like this ablution of mine and offers two Rak'at prayer, without allowing his thoughts to stray, his previous sins will be forgiven."

Al-Bukhari (164)

Further, the Hadith about Wudu that it cleanses you from your sins narrated by Muslim (832), and in a slightly different version by Ibn Majah (282)

  • Nawafil after Jumu'ah:

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: "When any one of you observes the Jumu'ah prayer (two obligatory Rak'at in congregation), he should observe four (Rak'at) afterwards."

Muslim (881a)

"When you observe prayer after (the two obligatory Rak'at) of Jumu'ah, you should observe four Rak'at (and A'mr in his narration has made this addition that Ibn Idris said this on the authority of Suhayl): "And if you are in a hurry on account of something, you should observe two Rak‘at in the mosque and two when you return (to your house)."

Muslim (881b)

A'bdullah ibn U'mar, while describing the voluntary prayer of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), said: "He did not observe (Nafl) prayer after Jumu'ah till he went back and observed two Rak'at in his house." Yahya said: I guess that I uttered these words (before Imam Malik) that he of course observed (them).

Muslim (882b)

Some scholars, by interpreting these narrations, suggest to pray after the Jumu'ah prayer, 4 Rak'at in the Mosque and 2 at home which would be 6 in total.

Hint: Combining a two Rak'at prayer with more than one intention, then read this.

  • What about nafil prayer that appears after praying sunah prayer I.e. after 2 of zuhr some people pray extra 2/2+2 nafil prayer?
    – Mehedi
    Aug 14, 2021 at 16:12
  • There are various ahadith about the Sunnah of Dhuhr: It is narrated to pray 2 before and 2 after Dhuhr, 4 before and 2 after Dhuhr or 4 before and 4 after Dhuhr. The last example is not considered as Sunnan Al Rawatib (Sunnah Prayers associated with Fardh Prayers), but who regulary commits to the last example, will be safeguarded from Jahannam. There is no 4+2 after Dhuhr - perhaps one of those whom you saw that prayed 2 more intended it for something else (like Istikhara or a voluntary prayer regarding a huge problem).
    – harmer
    Aug 14, 2021 at 17:43
  • I will edit all of those listed to also provide further information on the benefits of those voluntary prayers.
    – harmer
    Aug 14, 2021 at 17:45
  • +1. "4 Rak'at (in one unit, without dividing it into 2+2 prayer) after the two Sunnah of Isha" - should it be regular? Everyday?
    – user31217
    Dec 15, 2021 at 12:43
  • 1
    @Afiq | Many updates will come since there are a lot of information to be investigated and processed yet, like for example the mention and explanation around the Tarawih prayer. There are still some prayers that have to be included and ofc the current state of this thread will be improved, inshallah.
    – harmer
    Jan 29, 2023 at 15:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .