#78: The Muakkad and Non-Muakkad Rawatib Prayer

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. Can you explain which are the muakkad and non-muakkad rawatib prayers?

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those who follow his footsteps until the Last Day.

The Definition of Rawatib Prayers and Their Different Levels

Sunnah rawatib prayers are sunnah prayers performed before or after the five obligatory prayers. The wisdom of their sanctioning is to complete the deficiencies that happened when performing the obligatory prayers, such as getting distracted or losing concentration without reflecting on the verses recited. [1]

According to the above definition, rawatib prayer is a prayer bound with obligatory prayers whether it is performed before the obligatory prayer named as qabliyyah prayer or after the obligatory prayer or known as ba’diyah prayer.

In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, the Messenger PBUH said:

أَفْضَلُ الصَّلاَةِ بَعْدَ الصَّلاَةِ الْمَكْتُوبَةِ الصَّلاَةُ فِي جَوْفِ اللَّيْلِ

“The prayer most excellent after the prescribed prayer; is the prayer offered in the middle of the night,” [2]

Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali when commenting on the above hadith said: It means (the most excellent prayer) after the obligatory prayers and what followed them is the sunnah rawatib prayers. Indeed, rawatib prayer before and after the obligatory prayer is prioritized over qiamullail according to scholars for it is bound with the obligatory prayers. [3]

Rawatib prayer before the obligatory prayer is known as sunnah qabliyah, while rawatib prayer after the obligatory prayer is known as ba’diyah prayer. Sunnah rawatib prayers are divided into mu’akkad (prioritized) and ghairu mu’akkad (not prioritized).

First: Muakkad Rawatib Prayer

As for the number of rakaat for mu’akkad rawatib prayer is thabit with a hadith narrated by Ummu Habibah R.Anha, that explains there are twelve rakaat rawatib prayers as stated by Rasullullah PBUH:

مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ مُسْلِمٍ يُصَلِّي لِلَّهِ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ ثِنْتَيْ عَشْرَةَ رَكْعَةً تَطَوُّعًا غَيْرَ فَرِيضَةٍ إِلاَّ بَنَى اللَّهُ لَهُ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ.

If any Muslim servant (of Allah) prays for the sake of Allah twelve rak’ahs (of Sunan) every day, over and above the obligatory ones, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise,” [4]

In another hadith, the details of the twelve rakaat prayers from the above hadith are explained. From Ummu Habibah R.Anha, she said, the Messenger PBUH said:

مَنْ صَلَّى فِي يَوْمٍ وَلَيْلَةٍ ثِنْتَيْ عَشْرَةَ رَكْعَةً بُنِيَ لَهُ بَيْتٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ أَرْبَعًا قَبْلَ الظُّهْرِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَهَا وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْمَغْرِبِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْعِشَاءِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ صَلاَةِ الْفَجْرِ.

“A house will be built in paradise for anyone who prays in a day and a night twelve rak’as, four before and two after the noon prayer, two after the sunset prayer, two after the evening prayer, and two before the dawn prayer.” [5]

Through the narration of Ibnu ‘Umar RA, it is stated that the total rakaat of rawatib prayer is ten. He said:

حَفِظْتُ مِنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَشْرَ رَكَعَاتٍ رَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ الظُّهْرِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَهَا وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْمَغْرِبِ فِي بَيْتِهِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْعِشَاءِ فِي بَيْتِهِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ صَلاَةِ الصُّبْحِ.

“I memorized from the Prophet (ﷺ) ten (voluntary) Rak’at – two Rak’at before the Zuhr prayer and two after it; two Rak’at after Maghrib prayer in his house, and two Rak’at after ‘Isha’ prayer in his house, and two Rak’at before the Fajr prayer.” [6]

Here, we find that the Prophet PBUH once performed both of the total rakaats which are twelve and ten rakaat sunnah rawatib prayers. The difference in the total number of rakaat is when performing the qabliyah Zohor.

Syafi’iyyah scholars generally chose the opinion which state the mu’akkad rawatib prayer is 10 rakaat. This is as stated in Matan Zubad ibn Ruslan (pg. 12), which is among the basic matan in fiqh madhhab Syafi’e:

ثِنْتَانِ قبلَ الصُّبْح والظُّهْرِ كَذَا   وبَعدَهُ ومَغْرِبٍ ثُم العِشَا

Hence, here, we conclude the mu’akkad sunnah rawatib prayers are:

  • Two rakaat before Subuh
  • Two or four rakaat before Zohor
  • Two rakaat (from four rakaat) after Zohor
  • Two rakaat after Maghrib
  • Two rakaat after Isya’ [7]

Second: Non-Mu’akkad Rawatib Prayer

Whereas, the non-mu’akkad sunnah rawatib prayers are:

  • Two last rakaat (from four rakaat) before Zohor
  • Two last rakaat (from four rakaat) after Zohor
  • Four rakaat before Asar
  • Two rakaat before Maghrib
  • Two rakaat before Isya’ [8]

The evidence for the sanctioning of the prayers is the general statement of Rasullullah PBUH:

بَيْنَ كُلِّ أَذَانَيْنِ صَلاَةٌ ثَلاَثًا لِمَنْ شَاءَ.

“Between every pair of adhans, there is a prayer; between every pair of adhans there is a prayer.” Then he said on repeating it a third time, “for him who wishes.” [9]

Meanwhile, there is also a specific hadith that narrates the encouragement of performing qabliyah Asar prayer of four rakaat. From Ibnu ‘Umar RA, Rasullullah PBUH:

رَحِمَ اللَّهُ امْرَأً صَلَّى قَبْلَ الْعَصْرِ أَرْبَعًا.

“May Allah mercy on a person who prays four Rak’at before the ‘Asr prayer.” [10]

As for the qabliyah Maghrib prayer, Anas bin Malik RA said:

كَانَ الْمُؤَذِّنُ إِذَا أَذَّنَ قَامَ نَاسٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَبْتَدِرُونَ السَّوَارِيَ حَتَّى يَخْرُجَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَهُمْ كَذَلِكَ يُصَلُّونَ الرَّكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ الْمَغْرِبِ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ بَيْنَ الأَذَانِ وَالإِقَامَةِ شَيْءٌ.

“When the Mu’adh-dhin pronounced the Adhan, some of the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) would proceed to the pillars of the mosque (for the prayer) till the Prophet (ﷺ) arrived and in this way they used to pray two rak`at before the Maghrib prayer. There used to be a little time between the Adhan and the Iqama.” [11]

Likewise, for sunnah qabliyah Isya’, it is sanctioned through the statement of the Prophet PBUH:

بَيْنَ كُلِّ أَذَانَيْنِ صَلاَةٌ ثَلاَثًا لِمَنْ شَاءَ.

“Between every pair of adhans, there is a prayer; between every pair of adhans there is a prayer.” Then he said on repeating it a third time, “for him who wishes.” [12]

(See Hasyiyah Bujairimi ‘ala al-Khatib, 1/415)

Conclusion

According to the above evidences and statement, the number of rakaat for muakkad sunnah rawatib is 10 rakaat, while the non-muakkad is 12 rakaat as previously explained. However, it is best for us to increase our sunnah prayers the best we could regardless of whether they are mu’akkad or otherwise.

Wallahu a’lam.

 

[1] See al-Iqna’1/115; Hasyiyah al-Bujairimi ‘ala al-Khatib, 1/413-414

[2] Narrated by Muslim (1163)

[3] See Latha’if al Ma’arif1/34

[4] Narrated by Muslim (728)

[5] Narrated by al-Tirmizi (380) and Ibn Majah (1196)

[6] Narrated by al-Bukhari (1180)

[7] See al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah, pg. 284 and Matla’ al-Badrain, 1/132

[8] See al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah, pg. 285 and Matla’ al-Badrain, 1/132-133

[9] Narrated by al-Bukhari (624)

[10] Narrated by al-Tirmizi (430)

[11] Narrated by al-Bukhari (625)

[12] Narrated by al-Bukhari (624)

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