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Often during the month of Ramadan, the subject of Tarawih, a prayer that is considered to be sunna, but one that the Prophet, alayhi salat wa salam, never left, often comes up. Many students are then eventually led to ask: what about the sunna prayers more generally? What about the tahajjud; or the sunna prayers before and after the fard prayers? How ought we to consider their priority?

To that end, the below indicates, according to the relied opinion of the Shafi’i school/madhhab, what the most prioritised of the nafila/sunna/mandub prayers, in order, with some further notes. May Allah bless us all abundantly in this month and out of it: amin!

  1. the ‘Eid al-Adha prayer, and then
  2. the ‘EId al-Fitr prayer, and then
  3. the prayer of the solar eclipse (kusuf), and then
  4. the prayer of the lunar eclipse (khusuf), and then
  5. the prayer for rain (istisqa), and then
  6. the Witr (the absolute minimum of which is 1 raka’, and the minimum optimal amount is 3 raka’at – the most is 11, although some said 13), and then
  7. the two Raka’s preceding the fard of the morning prayer (Subh), and then
    —[note: all of the above from 1-7 are considered mu’akkada, which means that the Prophet, ‘alayhi salat wa salam, generally did not leave them, whether he was a traveller or a resident]
  8. the rest of the Rawatib, whether the Mu’akkada [which are two raka’at before Dhuhr, two after Dhuhr, two after Maghrib, two after Isha’]; or the ghayr Mu’akkada [which are two additional before Dhuhr, two additional after Dhuhr, four (2×2) before ‘Asr; two before Maghrib; two before Isha’] and all of Rawatib are of the same rank, and then
  9. the Tarawih (which is considered to be mu’akkada), and then
  10. the Duha (which is considered to be mu’akkada), and then
  11. the Tawaf (the two raka’as that are prayed following the completion of the Tawaf), and then
  12. the Tahiyyat (the two raka’as that are prayed for greeting the masjid), and then
  13. the the two raka’as that are prayed after making the intention to enter into Ihram, and then
  14. the two raka’as that are prayed after making Wudu’
  15. And then thereafter, the remaining Nafila prayers, including Tahajjud (considered to be mu’akkada, although for the Prophet, it was wajib), Istikhara, Hajja, and so forth.

One more point: the order of the superiority is general, meaning without any other consideration. If however, there are other considerations, then the general superiority may be superseded by a specific superiority related to the other prayer. For example: the sunna of Subh is superior to the sunna after Maghrib. However, if one were to miss the sunna prayer of Subh, and then the time of Maghrib came in later in the day, one should not leave the sunna prayer of Maghrib in order to make-up the sunna prayer of Subh. The reason being that the sunna prayer of Maghrib at that time are *current* desirable prayers (sahib al-waqt), and this makes them specifically superior at that time; a specific superiority that takes precedence over the *general* superiority of the sunna prayer of Subh.

An extra note, which relates to Qiyam al-layl and Tahajjud:

Tahajjud is the name given to any prayer performed after one has performed the Isha prayer, if one has slept, even for moment, after Isha’. Any prayer at all – including makeups of fard prayers.

Qiyam al-layl is exactly the same as tahajjud, except that sleeping is not a condition.


Post Author: hah