Prayer Time

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The fourth matter: the Number of  As-Sunnan Ar-Rawatib:

Rawatib (in Arabic) is the plural of ratibah, which means permanent and continuous. As-Sunnan Ar-Rawatib are the voluntary prayers associated with the obligatory prayers.

The benefit of these prayers is that they make up for any shortfall that occurred during the obligatory prayers, as stated previously.

The Number of As-Sunnan Ar-Rawatib is ten units, as stated in the Hadith narrated by Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father), he said:

[حَفِظْتُ مِنَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَشْرَ رَكَعَاتٍ رَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ الظُّهْرِ، وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَهَا، وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْمَغْرِبِ فِي بَيْتِهِ، وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْعِشَاءِ فِي بَيْتِهِ، وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ صَلاَةِ الصُّبْحِ، وَكَانَتْ سَاعَةً لاَ يُدْخَلُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِيهَا‏.‏ حَدَّثَتْنِي حَفْصَةُ، أَنَّهُ كَانَ إِذَا أَذَّنَ الْمُؤَذِّنُ وَطَلَعَ الْفَجْرُ صَلَّى رَكْعَتَيْنِ‏].

[I remember ten rak'ahs (units of prayer) of Nawafil from the Prophet, two rak'ahs before the Dhuhr prayer and two after it; two rak'ahs after the Maghrib prayer in his house, and two rak'ahs after 'Isha' prayer in his house, and two rak'ahs before the Fajr prayer and at that time nobody would enter the house of the Prophet. Hafsa told me that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to offer two rak'ahs after  the Muadhdhin (the call maker) had made the Adhan and the day had dawned][1]

It is highly recommended for a Muslim to keep offering twelve units; for the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

[مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ مُسْلِمٍ يُصَلِّي لِلَّهِ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ ثِنْتَىْ عَشْرَةَ رَكْعَةً تَطَوُّعًا غَيْرَ فَرِيضَةٍ إِلاَّ بَنَى اللَّهُ لَهُ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ (أَوْ: إِلاَّ بُنِيَ لَهُ بَيْتٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ)]

[If any Muslim servant (of Allah) prays for the sake of Allah twelve units of voluntary prayers other than the obligatory ones in a day and a night, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise (or: a house will be built for him in Paradise)][2]

The above-mentioned units are the ten units mentioned previously in addition to four units before the Dhuhr prayer; At-Tirmidhi - in reporting the above hadith of Umm Habibah (May Allah be pleased with her)- added:

[أَرْبَعًا قَبْلَ الظُّهْرِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَهَا وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْمَغْرِبِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْعِشَاءِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ صَلاَةِ الْفَجْرِ].

[Four rak'ahs before Dhuhr prayer, two rak'ahs after it, two rak'ahs after Maghrib prayer, two rak'ahs after Isha prayer, and two rak'ahs before Fajr prayer][3]

Also, this is proven in the hadith mentioned in Sahih (Al-Bukhari) that Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said:

[أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان لا يدع أربعًا قبل الظهر، وركعتين قبل الغداة]

[The Prophet (peace be upon him) never missed four units of prayer before the Dhuhr prayer and two units prayers before dawn (Fajr) prayer][4]

The most emphasized of these Rawatib is the two units offered before the Fajr prayer, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

[رَكْعَتَا الْفَجْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا].

[The two Rak'ahs at dawn are better than this world and all it contains][5]

Also, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said regarding these two units (before Fajr prayer):

[وَلَمْ يَكُنْ يَدَعُهُمَا أَبَدًا].

[and he never missed them][6]


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[1] Agreed upon, narrated by Al-Bukhari (1180) and (1181), and Muslim (729).

[2] Narrated by Muslim (728) from the Hadith of Umm Habibah (May Allah be pleased with her).

[3]  Jami` At-Tirmidhi (415), he said it's Hasan Sahih, and classed as Sahih by Al-Albani (Sahih Sunan At-Tirmidhi 833, 839)

[4] Narrated by Al-Bukhari (1182).

[5] Narrated by Muslim (725).

[6]  Narrated by Al-Bukhari (1159).


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