On the Virtues of Nawafil prayer
All praise is due to Allah as many times as the number of that which He has created. All praise is due to Allah filling all that which He has created. All praise is due to Allah Who decreed the prayer and made it the backbone of the acts of worship. All praise is due to Allah Who also enjoined Nawafil (extra acts of righteousness besides obligatory ones) as a means for multiplying one's good deeds.
I bear witness that there is no deity save Allah, having no associates. I also bear witness that our Master and Prophet Muhammad is the Servant of Allah and His Messenger. He was the best amongst those who drew closer to their Lord through acts of worship. He bowed and prostrated to Allah and excelled. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his pure blessed family and companions, and all those who follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.
As to what follows,
I urge you, O servants of Allah, and myself to be aware that you are asked to obey Him the Most Exalted in line with His orders: "indeed, the righteous will be amongst gardens and springs, accepting what their Lord has given them. Indeed, they were before that doers of good." (Adh-Dhariyat: 15-16).
Allah, the Most Exalted, has enjoined upon us to observe five obligatory prayers per day and night and further ordered us to be persistent in offering them. The Almighty says, "maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient." (Al-Baqara: 238). As such, whoever maintains the obligatory prayers, doing them at their prescribed times and fulfilling their pillars and state of devoted submissiveness, then Allah the Almighty will forgive them their misdeeds and admit them to His Paradise on the Day of Judgment. On this account, the Messenger of Allah pbuh said, "Allah the Almighty has made five prayers obligatory. If anyone performs ablution for them well, offers them at their (right) time, and observes perfectly their bowing and submissiveness in them, it is the guarantee of Allah that He will forgive him (his misdeeds)."
More to the point, Allah has really endowed upon us His favour by decreeing for us the Nawafil prayers as extra good deeds that can complement our obligatory ones and compensate for any deficiency in performing them. An illustration of this can be seen in the following Hadith. The Messenger of Allah pbuh said, "The first thing for which a servant of Allah will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be his Salat. If it is found to be complete then it will be recorded as complete, and if anything is lacking Allah will say: 'Look and see if you can find any voluntary prayers with which to complete what was defective in his obligatory prayers'."
The reason that Allah the Almighty has allowed for voluntary prayers to compensate for the uncompleted obligatory ones is to encourage Muslims to increase their Nawafil prayers and show agility in performing voluntary good deeds. It was narrated in this regard that the Messenger of Allah pbuh once said to Thawban, may Allah be pleased him, "Perform prostration before Allah more often. Indeed, for every prostration you make Allah will raise your status one degree and remove one from your sins." Prostration here means that which is performed during prayer.
Knowing the virtues of Nawafil prayers, let us advise each other about the Nawafil that the Prophet pbuh has instructed Muslims to perform. The first of these are the "Al-Sunan Al-Rawatib" (the Sunna prayers associated with obligatory prayers). Those optional prayers are performed either before or after the prescribed prayers. The Messenger of Allah pbuh has urged us to maintain them as he said, "For every Muslim who offers twelve Rakaas of optional prayer other than the obligatory one in day and night, seeking the pleasure of Allah, He will build a house for him in Paradise."
Our Master Muhammad pbuh has also defined those Rakaas as follows: "Four Rakaas before and two Rakaas after Dhuhr (noon) prayer, two after Maghrib, two after Isha and two before Fajr (dawn) prayer."
Indeed, the virtues of maintaining the Nawafil prayers are gracious, especially the two Rakaas before Al Fajr prayer. The virtues of these two Rakaas are so great that they should never be neglected nor should their rewards be underestimated. Emphasising their great status, the Prophet pbuh said, "The two Rakaas (before) the dawn (Fajr) prayer are better than this world and all that which in it." In another narration, he pbuh said, "The two Rakaas before the dawn (Fajr) prayer are dearer to me than the whole world."
For this reason, the Messenger of Allah pbuh always hastened to observe these two Rakaas. Sayida Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "I have never seen the Messenger of Allah pbuh hastening as much in observing supererogatory prayers as he did in the two rakaas before the dawn (obligatory) prayer." In like manner, he pbuh was also persistent in offering the four Rakaas before the Dhuhr prayer. It was narrated that Sayida Aish, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "The Prophet pbuh never missed the four rakaas before the Dhuhr prayer."
Similarly, the Prophet pbuh valued greatly the two Rakaas after the Dhuhr prayer. It was narrated in this regard that Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Prophet pbuh used to pray four Rakaas before Dhuhr prayer and two Rakaas after it." Truly, whoever wishes to attain more recompense, greater virtues and win Paradise as a perpetual abode, then he is recommended to pray four Rakaas after the Dhuhr prayer instead of two. The Prophet pbuh said, "Whoever prays four Rakaas before Dhuhr and four after it, Allah makes him prohibited for the Fire."
O Observers of Nawafil prayer,
Please know that amongst the other Nawafil prayers that the Prophet pbuh observed regularly are the two Rakaas after the Maghrib prayer. It was narrated that Ibn Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Messenger of Allah pbuh used to offer two Rakaas after the Maghrib prayer, in his house." Muslims can observe those two Rakaas either in mosque, at home or at the place where they establish the Maghrib prayer.
In fact, Ibn Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, was keenly interested in learning the Nawafil and offering them too. He mentioned that he offered along with the Prophet pbuh a number of Nawafil prayers. Those included two prostrations after the Isha prayer (i.e. two Rakaas after Isha prayer). The two Rakaas are part of the Sunan Al Rawatib. You are urged, therefore, to observe them consistently. This is because the benefits of Nawafil prayers are really gracious and whoever offer them regularly will draw nearer to Allah and the Almighty will grant him success and protection.
This was accentuated by the Prophet pbuh as he said that Allah the Almighty said, "The most beloved things with which My servant comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My servant keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he seeks My Protection (Refuge), I will protect him."
Moreover, by performing the Nawafil prayers often, one's soul will be purified, heart cleansed and spirit elevated. As a result, the believer will not only rejoice a peaceful and happy life, but will also meet his Lord on the Day of Judgment with a record of perfected obligatory acts of worship and plenty of voluntary ones. Ultimately, Allah the Almighty will engulf them with His mercy and open the gateways of Paradise for them to reside in it eternally.
Bearing this in mind, we pray to Allah, the Most Exalted, to help us remember Him much, appreciate His favours and perfect His acts of worship.
O Allah, we seek Your favour to guide us all to obey You and obey Your Messenger Muhammad and obey those You have commanded us to obey in line with Your orders: "O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you." (An-Nisaa: 59).
May Allah direct us all to the blessings of the Glorious Quran and the Sunna of His Messenger pbuh.
I say this and ask Allah for forgiveness for me and you, so invoke Him for forgiveness, for He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
All praise is due to Allah, abundant, good and blessed praise as our Lord loves and is pleased with. I bear witness that there is no deity save Allah, having no associates. I also bear witness that our Master Muhammad is the servant of Allah and His Messenger. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Master Muhammad, his pure family, companions, and all those who follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.
I urge you, O Servants of Allah, and myself to be aware that you are asked to obey Him, the Most Exalted and Sublime.
It is good to know that observing the Nawafil prayers regularly is amongst the best deeds that the believers may accumulate in their record of good deeds. Nawafil prayer can be offered in mosque or at home. The Messenger of Allah pbuh advocated in this regard, "When any one of you observes prayer in the mosque he should reserve a part of his prayer for his house, for Allah would make the prayer as a means of betterment in his house."
This means, if you offer the obligatory prayer in the mosque, then perform part of the Nawafil at home. This is conducive to set a role model for your children and wife. As such, the youngsters will learn such a habit and the elders will remember to perform it. All in all, Allah the Almighty will send down His mercy and angels to the house.
Thus, you are urged, dear worshipers, to strive in observing the Nawafil prayer so as to attain its abundant rewards.
That is said, please bear in mind that you are instructed to invoke peace and blessings on the Prophet pbuh. Allah, the Most Sublime, says, "indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace." (Al-Ahzab: 56).
On the same matter, the Prophet pbuh said, "For everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah."
O Allah, please confer Your blessings and grant peace upon our Prophet Muhammad pbuh, his family and all of the companions.
May Allah be pleased with the Rightly Guided Caliphs: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, and all of the noble Companions.
May Allah have mercy on the honourable martyrs of our nation and gather them with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favour of the prophets. May Allah make the dwelling of the martyrs, their families, parents and relatives Indeed, You answer to the supplications.
O Allah, please grant the best reward for the families of the martyrs and offer them patience and solace. May Allah grant victory to the soldiers of the Arab Coalition who gathered to restore the rights to their owners. O Lord, please be by their side and guide the Yemeni people to everything that is good. O Allah, make them rally for the word of truth and legitimacy, and bless them with welfare and stability, O the Most Generous.
O Lord, we beseech You to bless all of the Muslim countries and the whole world with stability and peace.
O Allah, we seek Your grace to increase the UAE in delight and beauty and give the best of rewards and recompense to whoever sowed the seeds of goodness and welfare in it. Indeed, You are the Most Merciful of the merciful.
May Allah grant success and continued health and care to the UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. May Allah also ensure success to his Vice-President, trustworthy Crown Prince and his brothers, Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Emirates.
O Allah, please forgive all of the Muslims, men and women, living and dead. May Allah have mercy on Sheikh Zayed, Sheikh Maktoum and the Late UAE Sheikhs. O Lord, forgive and show mercy on them and bless them with Your kindness and satisfaction. O Lord, forgive and show mercy on our parents, relatives and whoever has done a favour to us.
We pray to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, to continue blessing the UAE with stability and welfare and bless its provisions. O Allah, please continue blessing the UAE with safety and security.
O Allah, we seek Your favour to send us wealthy rain and make us not amongst those who are despondent. O Allah, relieve us! O Allah, relieve us! O Allah, relieve us! O Allah, give us from the blessings of the sky and grow for us from the blessings of the earth.
Remember Allah and He will remember you. Be grateful of His benevolence and He will increase His blessings to you.