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June 9, 2011

Ramadan 2011 Prep Tip #5: Increase in the voluntary prayers – Part 1

by Umm Muawiyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Note: Due to the fact that I’m half-asleep at the time of writing this, I won’t be putting up the evidence for the prayers. They’re all fairly well-known though.

If anyone wants the evidence for any of the points, please say so and I’ll put it up later, insha-Allah.]

Okay, so we’re working on our khushoo (humility) in the fard (obligatory) prayer.

What’s next? Well, that would be doing some of the other voluntary prayers on a regular basis. One of the virtues of the voluntary prayers is that, on the Last Day, they will compensate for the missed obligatory ones.

[Does a person sin if they do voluntary prayers one day and not the next?

NO, because they are voluntary not obligatory. However, one of the characteristics of the believers is regularity in doing the voluntary acts.

Proof? It’s all over the Quran and the Sunnah. Just look at how many times Allah mentions those who give charity or those who pray at night. Aren’t both of these acts voluntary?

Too often, many Muslims just stick to doing the obligatory acts. Whilst this is permitted, it is not a great thing. If we want to get closer to Allah, we need to start doing the acts which are voluntary and do them on a regular basis.]

On the Last Day, the voluntary prayers will compensate for the missed obligatory ones.

Okay, so which voluntary prayers can we offer?

Well, I would suggest starting with the 2 sunnah rakaahs before the (fard) Fajr prayer.

After this, one could add the witr (the time of which is from after the Isha prayer until before the adhan of Fajr). The witr prayer consists of at least ONE rakaah.It could also be 3, 5, 7, etc.

So, that’s 2 at the beginning of the day and 1 at the end.

What else?

You could do the rawatib prayers (there’s a nice house in Paradise for those who pray these).

Which ones are the rawatib prayers, you ask?

Well, the 2 rakaah of Fajr is one of the 12 rawatib prayers. The rest are mentioned below:

[Fard is in blue and Rawatib is in red.]

Fajr: 2   2

[That means that Fajr has two rakaahs of sunnah (rawatib) followed by the 2-rakaah fard prayer.]

Dhuhr: 2 2 4 2

[Some narrations imply that there are only 2 rawatib before Dhuhr but other narrations imply that there are 4.]

Asr: 4

[The 4 rakaahs before the Asr prayer are nawafil, not rawatib.]

Maghrib: 3 2

Isha: 4 2 W

[W = Witr]

Okay, some people might say “Oh, there are so many prayers!”

Well, nobody said that you had to start doing all the rawatib at once. This is a big misconception that many people have. They assume that you have to do all 12 or else leave all 12.

Yes, in order to get that house in Paradise mentioned in the hadeeth, you need to do all 12 on a regular basis. However, suppose you regularly pray the Fajr and Maghrib rawatib. You are still going to get the reward for those.

So, don’t leave all 12 just because you can’t do all 12.

You could aim to pray all 12 on a daily basis but then make sure that you try to do a portion of them regularly.

For example, suppose that tomorrow you decided you would never miss the Fajr rawatib.

You try this for one month. During this month, you pray some of the others but not consistently.

In the next month, you decide that you are going to be consistent with the Maghrib rawatib.

So, for this month, you pray both the Fajr and Maghrib rawatib regularly. As for the others, you might do them but not consisently.

Then, in the third month, you decide you’re going to pray two rakaahs before the Dhuhr prayr. So, you pray this and the Fajr and Maghrib rawatib consistently for this month.

And on this goes until you are consistent with all 12 rakaahs.

When I say “consistent”, it means that you do them every single day and never leave them* even if you are very tired.

[*An exception to this would be whilst traveling because the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) only prayed the Fajr rawatib and one rakaah of witr (along with the fard prayers, of course) at this time.]

Obviously, if you are very ill, you might have difficulty doing them. If you are unable to, then at least be sure to be regular with them when you get better. Don’t let this habit go.

In the next part, insha-Allah, I’ll talk about the tahajjud, dhuha, nawafil, etc prayers.

To be continued…

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