Rules Concerning the Supererogatory (nafl) Prayer to be Performed at Home on Eid

Rules Concerning the Supererogatory (nafl) Prayer to be Performed at Home on Eid

Question:

I would like to know about the rules in relation to the nafl prayers that I and my family will be performing on Eid day at home, in accordance with the Hanafi School.

Answer:

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The various classical Hanafi jurists (fuqaha) indeed mention that those who miss or are unable to perform Eid Prayer with the main congregation at the musalla/mosque should perform supererogatory (nafl) prayers at home – as per the statement of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him): “One who misses the Eid Prayer should perform four rak’at.” (Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq 5713, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 5799, Radd al-Muhtar 2/175 and Bada’i al-Sana’i 2/249)

In relation to this, a few matters are worth addressing:

1) Ruling

This prayer, to be performed at home, is not necessary or a makeup (qada) for the Eid Prayer. Rather, it is recommended (mustahab) and a good way to earn reward and express thankfulness to Allah Most High for granting one the ability to fast and worship during Ramadan. Imam Kasani (may Allah have mercy on him), the renowned Hanafi jurist, states that it cannot be deemed necessary (wajib) due to the absence of any obligating evidence (Radd al-Muhtar 2/175 and Bada’i al-Sana’i 2/249). 

It is worth keeping in mind that Fajr Salat on Eid day is obligatory (fard) and far more important, thus it must not be missed at any cost. 

2) Intention

Two types of intentions have been mentioned in classical Hanafi works with regards to this prayer. Imam Kasani (may Allah have mercy on him) and others have described it as ‘similar’ (mithl) to the mid-morning prayer (salat al-duha), i.e. a regular supererogatory (nafl) prayer. 

However, Imam Ibn Abidin (may Allah have mercy on him) states that the ‘likeness’ is in reference to not having extra takbirat, otherwise the prayer is the actual Duha prayer itself. Furthermore, it is stated in Al-Muhit al-Burhani, the famous encyclopaedic Hanafi work in approximately 25 volumes, “The Eid Prayer has been prescribed in place of the Duha Prayer. As such, if one is unable to perform the Eid prayer – due to not meeting the required conditions – the matter will go back to the original ruling, which is to perform Salat al-Duha.” (Radd al-Muhtar 2/175 and Al-Muhit al-Burhani 2/112)

As such, even though a general nafl intention is acceptable, it is superior to make an intention of Salat al-Duha (mid-morning prayer). There are many hadiths which encourage this prayer, for example:

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) relates, “My Dear One (Allah bless him & give him peace) advised me of three things, which I shall not leave until I die: Fasting three days each month, performing the Duha Prayer and performing the Witr Prayer before retiring to bed.” (Bukhari 1178 and Muslim 721)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Whoever adheres to the Duha prayer shall have his sins forgiven, even if they are like the foam of the sea.” (Tirmidhi 438)

Sayyiduna Abu Dhar (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “In the morning, charity is due on behalf of every joint bone of one’s body. Every utterance of Allah’s Glorification (i.e. saying Subhan Allah) is an act of charity, every utterance of His Praise (i.e. saying Al-hamdu lillah) is an act of charity, every utterance of declaration of His Oneness (i.e. saying La ilaha illa Allah) is an act of charity, every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (i.e. saying Allahu akbar) is an act of charity, enjoining the good is an act of charity and preventing the wrong is an act of charity. The two rak’at mid-morning/Duha Prayers will suffice for all of this.” (Muslim 1181)

3) Time

There is more or less agreement amongst all the scholars that the time for Salat al-Duha begins from after sunrise when the sun has risen to a spear’s length above the horizon (approximately 15 minutes after sunrise) and ends when the sun reaches its zenith (istiwa’). However, it’s preferred time is at mid-morning (i.e. midway point between sunrise and zenith). It would be best to perform it after the Eid Prayer has been executed in at least one of the mosques in one’s city. (Umdat al-Fiqh 2/302 and Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 1/112, for more details, and the difference – if any – between Salat al-Duha and Salat al-Ishraq, please refer to a previous answer titled: When Can One Pray Salat al-Duha?)

4) How many units (rak’ats)?

While the minimum is two raka’ts for Salat al-Duha, one should try and perform the optimal amount of four, especially on the day of Eid – for two reasons:

Firstly, this was the general practice of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) relates that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) would offer four rak’ats at the time of Duha, and increase on it whatever Allah Willed.” (Muslim 719)

Secondly, as mentioned above, the Companions Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud’s (may Allah be pleased with him) recommendation, for the one who misses the Eid Prayer, was of performing four rak’at (Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq 5713).

It is stated in Al-Muhit al-Burhani, “If one wishes to offer prayer, then one may perform two rak’ats, and if one wishes, one may perform four rak’ats. However, it is better to perform four due to what has been related from Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) that whoever misses the Eid Prayer should perform four rak’at. One should recite Surat al-A’la (87) in the first, Surat al-Shams (91) in the second, Surat al-Layl (92) in the third and Surat al-Duha (93) in the fourth rak’ah. Much reward has been promised by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) for performing this prayer.” (Al-Muhit al-Burhani 2/112)

Note that the recommendation by Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) to recite the aforementioned four chapters/surahs of the Qur’an has been mentioned in various other classical Hanafi works as well. These include, Al-Binaya sharh al-Hidaya 3/139, Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, Fatawa Qadhikhan 1/163 and Maraqi al-Falah 536. However, I was unable to find an original source for it.

Finally, if one chooses to perform four rak’ats, it is permitted to offer them in cycles of two and a single cycle of four, without dislike. However, according to the Hanafi School, it is better to perform all four rak’ats in a single cycle, i.e. with one taslim. It is related from Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that he would perform the daytime prayers in cycles of four (Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba 6545). Imam Sarakhsi states that it is superior to perform the supererogatory prayers (nawafil) of the day in cycles of four, taking analogy from the daytime fard prayers. (Al-Mabsut 1/159 and Fatawa Usmani 1/134)

5) Audible or silent recitation

The basic principle is that the supererogatory/voluntary prayers (nawafil) performed during the day are to be performed silently, unless there is specific evidence that they should be performed audibly such as the Jumu’a and Eid prayers. As for the nawafil prayers performed at night, one has a choice, although performing them audibly is superior. Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) states that there is no difference of opinion between the imams in that nawafil prayers of the day should be performed silently. (Al-Majmu’ 4/370)

According to the Hanafi School, it is necessary (wajib) to recite silently in the supererogatory/ voluntary prayers performed during the day due to continuous practice [from the time of Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, and his companions], and because they follow the obligatory (fard) prayers [such as Zuhr and Asr]. As such, it is disliked (makruh) to recite audibly in them. (See: Maraqi al-Falah with Hashiyat al-Tahtawi 253, Al-Muhit al-Burhani 1/300, Al-Fatawa al-Tatarkhaniyya 1/277 and Majma’ al-Anhur 1/156)

Based on the above, it is necessary to recite silently in the Duha Prayers, and disliked to perform them audibly. This is regardless of whether one performs Salat al-Duha alone or with a congregation.

6) Congregation

The general rule in the Ḥanafi school is that it is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahrim) to perform supererogatory/optional prayers in congregation, if it involves openly inviting others to join in (tada’i). However, the prayer for rain (salat al-istisqa’), solar eclipse prayer (salat al-kusuf) and tarawih prayers are exempted. This is because, other than these prayers, there is no precedence for a congregation in the time of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions. (Fatawa Usmani 1/448) 

Imam Haskafi (may Allah have mercy on him) states, “It is disliked (makruh) to perform the witr and nafl prayers, outside of Ramadan, in congregation. This is when it involves openly inviting others such that four individuals pray behind one Imam.” Imam Ibn Abidin (may Allah have mercy on him) comments, “This is because performing supererogatory (nafl) prayers in congregation is not recommended, because the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) did not do so outside of Ramadan.” (Radd al-Muhtar ala ‘l-Durr al-Mukhtar 2/28 and 2/49)

The significant condition stipulated by the jurists (fuqaha) is “tada’i” – i.e. openly inviting others to congregate. They also mention that the presence of five individuals (including the imam) in the congregation represents tada’i. As for the basis of the permissibility of a congregation without tada’i, there are certain hadiths such as the one where Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) says, “Once I spent the night in the house of my aunt Maymuna (may Allah be pleased with her). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stood for the night prayer, so I joined him and stood on his left side, but he drew me to his right by holding me by the head.” (Bukhari and others)

Based on the above, it would be disliked to openly invite others and have a large number for the Duha prayer. However, if it does not involve inviting others and is restricted to members of one household only, it would be permitted to perform Salat al-Duha in congregation. If members of one’s household exceeds the number stipulated by the fuqaha, it is hoped that this would not be blameworthy, given it is a one-off occasion and the congregation is still relatively small.

On a side note, there is no problem whatsoever in performing Fajr salat in congregation, and with audible recitation. As such, it is advised that one commence their day of Eid with performing Fajr Prayers together as a family, In Sha Allah.

And Allah knows best 

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester, UK

Question #: 7717
Published: 21/05/2020