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Did our beloved prophet (saw) observe extra (nafil) prayer after praying rawwatib(12 raka sunnah) prayer like I saw in the mosque people pray 2/4 raka nafil after every salah?

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Yes, there are various reports on the voluntary prayers that the Prophet (ﷺ) was committed to or recommended to do.


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) which Abu 'Isa classed Hasan Sahih Gharib and Shaykh Albani graded it Sahih in Sahihut-Targhib (201) refering to the narration in Ibn Khuzaymah (1209); in Musnad Ahmad (22996, 23040), and others.

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 (Isha and Fajr): the Witr prayer, the Witr prayer." Musnad Ahmad (27229)

  • 2 Rak'at after Witr (while sitting):

Aishah 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, Muslim (746a); and graded Sahih in Ibn Khuzaymah (1103), Ad-Darimi (1515, 1516, 1540), Ibn Hibban (2442, 2616, 2634, 2635, 2640, 2687) - (2577), Ibn Khuzaymah (1106) and Ad-Darimi (1635): 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). It was discussed in As-Sahihah (4/546-547 - #1993) and Albani 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 Witr (odd-numbered)" 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 and 1105) with two chains of narration that strengthen one another, and there are other narrations.

  • The Duha prayer before Dhuhr:

Abdullah 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; Ibn Hajar graded it Hasan

"[...] (2nd) to pray two Rak'at of Duha prayer [...]" Al-Bukhari (1981)

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Whoever performs Fajr in congregation, then sits while remembering Allah until the sun rises, then he gets up and performs two Rak'at, he will have the reward of Hajj and Umrah." Mu'jam al-Kabir (7741) and Shaykh Albani said in As-Sahihah (7/195 - #3403): 'This is a Hasan Isnad. Its narrators are trustworthy.' Al-Haythami in Majma' Az-Zawaid (10/104) and Al-Mundhiri in At-Targhib (1/178) also stated that its Isnad is Hasan. Point to be noted is that it is mentioned in the hadith to pray when the sun has risen. The prayer is often refered as Salatul Ishraq, and its name was established later, yet it is simultanously the Duha prayer. Allah says in [Sad 38:18]: "And glorify the praises of your Lord in the evening and at the time of Ishraq".

"Narrated Abu Buraydah: 'I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: "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 by Shaykh Albani in Sahihut-Targhib (668)

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) and Musnad Ahmad (17390) graded Sahih; Sunan al-Kubra al-Bayhaqi (4901), Sahih Ibn Hibban (2534), Ibn Hajar in Takhrij Mishkāt al-Masabih (2/73) | The meaning of "suffice" in these narrations, according to various scholars, 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. Reflect on the fact that Allah, the Creator and Sustainer, will Himself suffice you of any of your worldly needs in ways that you cannot begin to imagine. | Also in another narration by Nu'aym ibn Hammar: 'I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say': "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." Abu Dawud (1289) graded Sahih by Shaykh Albani

From Sakhr Al-Ghamidi that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "O Allah, bless my Ummah in what they do early (in the day)." He said: "Whenever he (ﷺ) would dispatch a military expedition or an army, he would send them in the first part of the day." And Sakhr, a man who was a merchant, used to send his goods for trade during the beginning of the day, so he became rich, and his wealth increased. [Abu 'Eisa said:] 'The Hadith from Sakhr Al-Ghamidi is a Hasan Hadith. We do not know of a narration that Sakhr Al-Ghamidi reported from the Prophet (ﷺ) other than this Hadith. Sufyan Ath-Thawri reported this Hadith from Shu'bah, from Ya'la bin 'Ata.' Narrated in At-Tirmidhi (1212) Ibn Majah (2236), in Musnad Ahmad (15443, 19479) and others; classed as Sahih by Shaykh Albani in Sahih Abu Dawud (2345) to which he said: '...and strengthened by Ibn Abd al-Barr, al-Mundhiri, al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, and As-Sakhawi.'

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "If anyone goes out from his house after performing ablution for saying the prescribed prayer in congregation (in the mosque), his reward will be like that of one who goes for Hajj pilgrimage after wearing ihram (robe worn by the Hajj pilgrims). And he who goes out to say the mid-morning (duha) prayer, and takes the trouble for this purpose, will take the reward like that of a person who performs umrah. And a prayer followed by a prayer with no worldly talk during the gap between them will be recorded in Illiyyun." Abu Dawud (558) graded Hasan by Shaykh Albani; also recorded in Musnad Ahmad (22273, 22304) and others

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "None preserve the forenoon prayer, but the penitent. It is the prayer of the penitent." In Al-Hakim (4/174) and Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah (1224) graded Hasan by Shaykh Albani in Al-Silsilah 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] (For clarification: This Verse is refering to this Du'a, and to the Prayer of Duha, yet it should be noted that this is also a general meaning, so it would be wise to repent as often as possible and, if required in certain situation (because of debt, etc.) to intend, or in the main, to seek forgiveness.)

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Whoever prays twelve Rak’at of Duha, Allah will build for him a palace of gold in Paradise." In Takhrij Mishkat al-Masabih (2/74) and Ibn al-Mulqin in Tuhfatul Muhtaj (1/415) classified as Hasan by Ibn Hajar

  • 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) graded Sahih; narrated in Ibn Abi Shaybah (5940) and in Shu'ab al-Iman (2808): 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)." Graded Hasan by Shaykh Albani in Sahih al-Jam'i (882) and in As-Sahihah (3/416-417 - #1431)

  • 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 Kashaf al-Astar (746) graded Hasan by Shaykh Albani in Sahih al-Jam'i (505) and he said in As-Silsilah 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 (1/334) stated: "Ibn Hajar said: 'It is a Hasan hadith'." Shaykh Albani was asked if these ahadith refer to a resident or a traveller, and he said that it tends towards the traveller. It could be argued that those mentioned ahadith do not mention travelling, therefore they could be interpreted as general, and to underline this argument: In Futuhat (5/105-107) there is a specific narration, which was judged as Hasan Gharib, which is referenced from At-Tabarani in his work Al-Manasik: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "No one left behind his family with anything better than two Rak'at that he performs among them when he intends to travel." It is mentioned in the revised and edited version by I'sa Walley in Kitab al-Adhkar (probably still refering to Ibn Hajar) that this narration is considered Hasan li Ghayrihi. And Allah knows best about this matter. Further narrated in Musnad Ad-Daylami (1096), Al-Kanz (41540), Al-Jam'i al-Hadith (1850) and Al-Maqdisi in Akbar As-Salah (16 and 25)

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: "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." Ibn Majah (1376) graded Sahih

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) never went out of my house without raising his eye to the sky and saying: "Ya Allah, I seek refuge in Thee lest I stray or be led astray, or slip or made to slip, or cause injustice, or suffer injustice, or do wrong, or have wrong done to me." Abu Dawud (5094) graded Sahih; and: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: When a man goes out of his house and says: "In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah; there is no might and no power but in Allah," the following will be said to him at that time: "You are guided, defended and protected." The devils will go far from him and another devil will say: 'How can you deal with a man who has been guided, defended and protected?' Abu Dawud (5095) graded Sahih

  • Istikhara prayer:

Sa'd narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "From (the signs of) the son of Adam's prosperity, is his satisfaction with what Allah decreed for him, and from the son of Adam's misery is his avoiding to request guidance from Allah, and from the son of Adam's misery is his anger with what Allah decreed for him". At-Tirmidhi (2151) graded Hasan by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (11/184); and it is also narrated in Al-Hakim (1/699) graded Sahih to which Imam Dhahabi agreed upon

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 (before the Iqamah):

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)

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Pray two Rak'at before the Maghrib prayer." He then said (again): "Pray two Rak'at before the Maghrib prayer, it applies to those who wish to do so." 'That was because he feared that the people might treat it as Sunnah.' Abu Dawud (1281) graded Sahih by Shaykh Albani

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

(Abdullah ibn 'Amr, A’ishah) and Ibn Mas'ud (quoted here) narrated: "Whoever prays four [Rak‘at] after ‘Isha’, 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 As-Silsilah ad-Da'ifah (5060); 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 here explained;

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "Whoever gets up at night and says: 'La ilaha il-lallah, wahdahu la sharika lah, la hul mulk, wa la hul hamd, wa huwa 'ala kulli shay-in Qadir - al-hamdu lil-lahi wa subhanal-lahi wa lailaha il-lal-lahu wa-l-lahu akbar, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa bil-lah.' (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah. He is the Only One and has no partners . For Him is the Kingdom and all the praises are due for Him. He is Omnipotent. All the praises are for Allah. All the glories are for Allah. And none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, And Allah is Great And there is neither Might nor Power Except with Allah). And then said: Allahummaghfir li (O Allah! Forgive me) - Or invokes (Allah), he will be responded to and if he performs ablution (and prays), his prayer will be accepted." Al-Bukhari (1154)

and in this version: 'La ilaha il-lallah, wahdahu la sharika lah, la hul mulk, wa la hul hamd, yuhyi wa yumit, bi-yadihil khayr, wa huwa 'ala kulli shay-in Qadir - subhan-allahi wal-hamdu lillahi wa la ilaha il-lal-lahu wa-l-lahu akbar, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa bil-lah.' (... He (Allah) gives life and induces decease, In His Hand is all good ...)" Narrated in Al-Kanz (21381) graded Sahih by Shaykh Albani in Sahih al-Jam'i (6156)

or: "La ilaha illallah, wahdahu la sharika lah, lahul-mulk wa lahul-hamd, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay-in Qadir - subhan-allahi wal hamdu lillahi wa la ilaha illallahu wal-allahu akbar, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahil-'Aliy-yil-'Azim" (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone, with no partner or associate. His is the dominion and all praise is to Him, and He is Able to do all things. Glory is to Allah, praise is to Allah, none has the right to be worshiped but Allah, Allah is the Most Great, and there is no power and no strength except with Allah, the Most High, the Most Supreme), then he supplicates: "Rabbighfirli (O Lord, forgive me), "he will be forgiven." Walid said: "Or he said: Then if he supplicated, it will be answered for him then if he stood up and performed ablution and then performed prayer, his prayer would be accepted." Ibn Majah (3878) graded Sahih

  • When you have a problem (or something distresses you) which is really concerning you, 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) graded Hasan by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (3/172) and by Shaykh Albani in his Sahih Abu Dawud (1192); also narrated in Musnad Ahmad (23299), in Shu'ab al-Iman (2913), in Sharh As-Sunnah (1016b), Ath-Thiqat (12792) and this topic was mentioned in an extract of this journal; Tafsir Ibn Kathir (1/156), which Ibn Hajar also classed Hasan in his al-Fath, it is mentioned in the commentary on the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer)" [Al-Baqarah 2:45] - (With regard to the word "As-Salah (the prayer)": Prayer is one of the greatest means of helping oneself to be steadfast, as Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "Recite (O Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Quran), and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat). Verily, As-Salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed, etc.) and the remembering (praising, etc.) of (you by) Allah (in front of the angels) is greater indeed (than your remembering (praising, etc.) Allah in prayers, etc.)" [Al-‘Ankabut 29:45]) - then he narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) 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 (i.e. the true believers in Allah)" [Al-Baqarah 2:45] Narrated in Shu'ab al-Iman (9233), and others.

  • 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 [Qur'an 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; and in At-Tabarani's Ad-Du'a (1848) as well as Musnad Ahmad (27546): "The one who does wudu’ and does it well, then stands and prays two Rak’at or four (one of the narrators was uncertain), in which he remembers Allah and focuses well, then asks Allah for forgiveness, He will forgive him." The editor of Al-Musnad said: "It's isnad is Hasan." Also quoted by Al-Albani in As-Silsilah As-Sahihah (7/177-84 - #3398).

  • 4 Rak'at (2+2) after Jumu'ah in the mosque or two Raka't after Jumu'ah when you want to go home instead:

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 'Amr in his narration has made this addition that Ibn Idris said this on the authority of Suhail): "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)

'Abdullah b. 'Umar, 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)


It should be noted that those voluntary prayers, like the prayer to leave and return to the house, that it is permissible to make two intentions in one prayer. For example, you want to go to the mosque to pray Adh-Dhuhr, then what you are allowed to do is to make the intention to pray two Rak’at of Sunnah before Adh-Dhuhr as well as the prayer to leave your home simultaneously, before you go outside to the mosque. So, you would combine both prayers in one. You can not do this with every prayer, such as the obligatory prayer; for more information, read this.

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  • 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 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 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 at 17:45

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