How do I perform the voluntary (mustahab) prayers?
Voluntay or recommended (mustahab) prayers are very rewarding. They are of two types:
1) Nawafil ( prayers that are recommended to be offered before or after the daily prayers. Nawafil like set prayers can be offered within certain times before or after Wajib prayers, as will be mentioned.
2) Other recommended prayers: These are many different prayers like Mustahab prayers in the month of Ramadan or other months, prayers when visiting the Imams (a.s), etc.
The method of offering a Mustahab prayer is generally similar to the Wajib prayer, except Mustahab prayer is always either in a unit of two Rak’at or one Rak’at forms. It will never be in 3 or 4 Rak’at. Also, for Nawafil one can do without reciting the 2nd Sura. So once you have finished Surah Fatiha, you have the option of going straight to Ruku’.
Just as there are 17 rak’at of obligatory prayer in a day, there are 34 rak’at of voluntary prayers as per below:
2 rak’at before Fajr prayer
8 rak’at before Dhuhr prayer- prayed in sets of 2 rak’at
8 rak’at before Asr prayer-prayed in sets of 2 rak’at
4 rak’at after Maghreb prayer in sets of 2 Rak’at
2 rak’at while sitting after Isha prayer (this counts as 1 rak’at)
8 rak’at of Salatul Layl (prayed between midnight and Fajr)-prayed in sets of 2 rak’at
2 rak’at of Shaf’ prayer (prayed between midnight and Fajr)
1 raka’h of Witr prayer (prayed between midnight and Fajr)
Perhaps the most rewarding of the above prayers are the Shaf’ prayer, the Witr prayer, and the 2 rak’at performed while sitting after Isha prayer.
Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei