Nafl salahs are voluntary to perform but carry with them great benefits and gives one the chance to earn extra rewards from Allah (SWT). Among the virtues of offering Nafl salah, Rasool Allah (SAW) said “The first of his deeds for which a man will be taken into account on the day of judgement will be his salah. If it is sound he will be saved and successful, but if it is unsound he will be unfortunate and miserable. If any deficiency is found in his Fardh prayers, the Lord who is blessed and exalted will issue instructions to consider whether His servant has performed any Nafl prayers so that what is lacking in the obligatory salah may be made up by it. Then the rest of his deeds will be treated in the same fashion.”(Tirmidhi)
There are various types of nafl salah each with their own special virtues:
This is two rakats performed after the completion of wudhu. A benefit of this salah is narrated in a hadith, “He who observes two rakats with full devotion after performing wudhu well, becomes entitled to enter Jannah.” Abu Hurairah (RA) also reported that Rasool Allah (SAW) once said to Bilal (RA), “Tell me, Bilal, of the deed you have done since becoming a Muslim for which you expect the best reward, for I heard the sound of your sandals in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal (RA) replied, “I have done nothing in the hope of the best reward except offering nafl prayer immediately after doing wudhu at any hour of the day or night.”(Bukhari)
This is two rakaats performed just after entering a masjid. It is said in a hadith, “When one of you enters the masjid, he should pray two rak’at before sitting down.”(Bukhari)
Ishraaq (also known as Duha prayer)
The preferable method of performing Salatul Ishraaq is to remain seated in your place of salah after Fajr and engage in dhikr, then approximately 15-20 minutes after sunrise, a minimum of 2 rak’at of salah should be performed.
A virtue of performing this salah is reported in a hadith, “He who performs Fajr Salah in jama’ah and remains seated in the same place while engaging in dhikr until after sunrise and thereafter performs two rak’at Nafl Salah (Ishraaq) will obtain the reward of one Hajj and one Umrah.” (Tirmidhi)
Abu Bakr (RA) relates that Rasulullah (SAW) said that whenever one has done a sinful act he should make wudhu, perform two rak’at Nafl and thereafter sincerely repent and seek Allah’s forgiveness. This salah can be performed at any time.
Istikarah means seeking the guidance and blessings of Allah (SWT) before one intends to carry out something important (for example, getting married, starting a new job etc). Great merit has been attached to this prayer. It is Sunnah to offer two rak’at of istikharah prayer in order to seek Allah’s help towards making the correct and good decision. Thereafter the dua for istikharah should be recited. ”
Tahajjud brings the most reward out of all the Nafl salah. It consists of a minimum of two rak’at, and a maximum of eight or twelve rak’at (according to one’s capacity). This is prayed at any time after the ‘Isha salah and can be prayed right until Fajr begins. (Please note: your Witr prayer is the last prayer of the night. When praying Tahajjud, remember to save time to pray Witr afterwards). To wake up in the middle of the night for Tahajjud salah is very beneficial and loved by Allah (SWT). Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said, “When the last of the night remains, Allah descends towards the lowest heavens and proclaims “Who is there who supplicates me and I grant his supplication? Who is there who begs me for anything and I grant it to him? Who is there who seeks my forgiveness and I forgive him?” (Bukhari)
May Allah (SWT) grant us the ability to try performing these salawaat and make them regular habits, Ameen.
Rafeeah Laher is a South African based freelance writer and IT specialist. She humbly requests the du’as of her readers, jazak Allah khair.