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The status of sunnah&Witr prayers and some other questions regarding prayers

By: admin


I have a few more questions on prayers, which I would be grateful if you can clarify.

  1. What is the status of non-fardh(1) prayers i.e. prayers other than e.g. the 3 compulsory rak`ahs of Maghrib. Some people say these are optional and yet other people say that one is committing a sin by not offering these. Please clarify the status of the Sunnah and Witr prayers.

  2. Can the Fajr prayer be performed right up to a few minutes before sunrise?

  3. Likewise, can the Maghrib prayer be performed right up to a few minutes before `ishaaprayer time?

  4. For combined prayers, can the Zuhr and Asr prayers be performed either at Zuhr time or at Asr time depending on necessity?

  5. Likewise, can Maghrib and `Ishaa be performed either at Maghrib time or both at `Ishaatime? In this last case, I know a brother who performs both prayers at Maghrib time since he cannot keep his wudhu to perform the `Ishaa prayer at it’s proper time. My understanding has been that this can only be done with a good reason e.g. traveling.

Please clarify.


Answers to your questions follow:

  • The only obligatory rak`ahs are those known as “Fardh“. All Muslims shall be held accountable if they intentionally miss these rak`ahs and offering these rak`ahs shall insha’Allah be a source of great reward in the hereafter. Those rak`ahs, which are usually known as Sunnah, are the naf’l(2)rak`ahs that were normally offered by the Prophet (pbuh). These rak`ahs are a part of the uswah-e-hasanah (the finest model) of the Prophet (pbuh). Although missing these rak`ahs shall not be punished in the hereafter but offering these rak`ahs shall insha’Allah be greatly rewarded. One should always remember that according to the Qur’an , if one has true love for God in his heart, he should follow the uswah(model) of the Prophet (pbuh), which shall result in getting God’s love in return (Aal Imraan3: 31).
    Witr prayers are basically a part of the Tahajjud prayers, which were obligatory for the Prophet (pbuh) but were naf’l for other Muslims. The Prophet (pbuh) used to offer his tahajjud prayers in odd numbers (normally eleven). For this purpose, he used to end his tahajjud prayers with either one, three, five etc. rak`ahs. This is the reason that these prayers were known to be witr – as witr means odd (as in odd numbers). The prescribed time for the tahajjud prayers was in the very late night or the very early morning hours. Because of the extra-ordinary reward of the tahajjud prayers and because of the importance that the Qur’an attached to these prayers a number of Muslims also started offering the tahajjud prayers regularly. However, there were other Muslims, who desired to earn the great reward attached to these prayers but could not get up so early in the morning to offer the tahajjud prayers at their prescribed time. When these Muslims asked the Prophet (pbuh) regarding their problem, the Prophet (pbuh) allowed them to offer witr(i.e. odd number) rak`ahs after the `ishaa prayers. This is how witr prayers started being offered after `ishaa prayers. This explanation clearly tells us that the witr prayers, like the Sunnah, are naf’l prayers. Offering them shall be a source of great reward but by missing them one shall not be held answerable on the Day of Judgment.

  • Although it is not recommended to delay offering the Fajr prayers till very close to sunrise but if a person could not wake up at the right time, he may offer these prayers at any time before sunrise, even to the extent that if a person could complete only one of the two (obligatory) rak`ahs before sunrise and the second one after sunrise, he would be said to have offered his prayers within the prescribed time limit.

  • Again the recommended time for Maghrib prayers is after sunset. But in case a person is delayed due to some pressing circumstances, and has to offer his Maghrib prayers anytime before the horizon is completely darkened, he would be said to have offered his prayers within the prescribed time limit,however,please,do bear in mind that according to prophet Muhammad(pbuh) the best of deeds in the sight of Allah is salah at the beginning of its time” (Bukhari)

  • Yes. When so required, the Zuhr and the `asr prayers may be combined and offered at either the time for Zuhr or for `asr or even in between the two timings.

  • Yes. However,we really could not understand the reason that you have given for the brother’s combining Maghrib and Isha prayers.If he cannot keep his wudhu(3) from Maghrib to `ishaa, then why can he not perform a fresh wudhu? We think that in such a situation, rather than combining the two prayers, he should perform a fresh wudhu and then offer the `ishaa prayers at its proper time. We fully agree with your understanding in this case.

  • Regards

  • UIUK team


  1. i.e. the non-obligatory prayers. []
  2. That is supererogatory. []
  3. The ritual ablution necessary for prayers. []
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