His Guidance in Voluntary and Night Prayers

  • he pbuh generally performed sunnah prayers1 and other voluntary prayers at home, particularly the sunnah of maghrib.

  • he pbuh regularly performed ten rak`ahs when not travelling: two before thuhr and two after it, two after maghrib and two after `ishaa' in his house, and two before fajr prayer.

  • he pbuh adhered more strictly to the sunnah of fajr than any other voluntary prayer to the extent that he never missed it and the witr2 prayer, whether he was travelling or at home. it is not reported that he performed any voluntary prayers during his travels except the sunnah of fajr prayer and the witr prayer.

  • he pbuh used to lie down on his right side after the sunnah before fajr prayer.

  • sometimes he pbuh performed four rak`ahs before thuhr prayer, and if he missed the two sunnah rak`ahs after thuhr he performed them after `asr.

  • he pbuh usually performed the night prayer standing, although he might pray sitting, or recite the qur'an while sitting until he was about to finish the recitation, when he would stand up and then bow for ruku`.

  • at night, he pbuh used to perform eight rak`ahs, two at a time, followed by witr of five consecutive rak`ahs sitting only after the fifth. or he might perform a witr of nine rak`ahs sitting after the eighth and then rising to perform the ninth, at the end of which he would sit for tashahhud and conclude the prayer. after that he might perform another two rak`ahs prayer. or else he might perform witr as seven rak`ahs in the same manner, followed by two rak`ahs while sitting.

  • he pbuh might perform witr prayer in the early, middle or later part of the night. he pbuh said:

make witr your last voluntary prayer for the night."3

  • he pbuh would sometimes perform two more rak`ahs sitting after witr and might recite the qur'an while sitting but when he was about to make ruku` would stand up.

  • if he pbuh was overcome by sleep or pain, he would perform twelve rak`ahs during the following day.

  • once he performed the night prayer reciting one single verse of the qur'an, which he kept repeating until the morning.

  • he pbuh sometimes recited the qur'an in a low voice during night prayer and other times aloud. he pbuh would sometimes stand a long time during prayer and sometimes would decrease it.

  • he pbuh would recite in the witr prayer the surahs al-a`la, al-kafirun and al-ikhlaas. after concluding the prayer, he would say: “subhan al-malik il-quddus” three times.4


1voluntary prayers that were performed by the prophet on a regular basis.

2the last voluntary prayer of the night.

3 al-bukhari and muslim.

4 abu dawud, an-nasa'i and ibn majah.

Previous article Next article