As Muslims, our faith is a source of comfort and strength in both good times and bad. One of the most powerful ways to strengthen our connection with Allah and deepen our faith is by performing voluntary prayers, known as Nawafil. Nawafil are not obligatory like the five daily prayers, but they are highly recommended and rewarding.
Nawafil can be performed at various times and occasions, except for some prohibited periods. They can be done individually or in groups and can consist of any number of raka’hs.
Nawafil prayers help Muslims increase their faith, gratitude, and spirituality. In this blog, we will explore some of the Nawafil prayers that the Prophet (SAW) used to perform regularly.
Types of Nawafil Prayers
The number of Nawafil prayers that we can offer is unlimited, and the more we offer, the greater the credit and reward in the eyes of Allah. There have been many devout servants of Allah who have dedicated themselves to offering Nafl prayers throughout the night and have even sacrificed their sleep for the sake of Allah.
Nawafil prayers were a regular and unchanging practice of our beloved Prophet (SAW), who used to offer them in abundance, especially at night.
There are many types of Nawafil prayers, some of which are:
- Taraweeh prayer
- Chasht prayer
- Ishraq prayer
- Salat Tasbih prayer
- Tahajjud prayer
- Istikharah prayer
- Salat al-Hajat (Prayer for the fulfillment of a need)
- Salat at-Tauba (Prayer for Repentance)
Each of these prayers has its own significance and benefits, and we can choose to offer them based on our personal preferences and needs.
Taraweeh prayer is a voluntary prayer (Nafl Prayer) that is performed during the holy month of Ramadan. This prayer holds great significance in the Muslim community and is considered a Sunnah, which is a recommended act performed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The word “Taraweeh” is derived from the Arabic word “Tarawih,” which means “relaxation.” This is because the prayer is performed in peace, with a short break between each of the four rakahs. The Taraweeh prayer is usually performed after the Isha prayer, which is the last obligatory prayer of the day, and before the Witr prayer, which is the final prayer of the night.
Read more about the Taraweeh Prayer in Ramadan: Your Ultimate Guide.
Tawaweeh prayer is performed in the sets of two raka’hs. There are two most common methods of Taraweeh prayer: the 20 raka’hs and the eight rakahs method, with a short break after every four raka’hs. The 20 raka’hs method is often followed in the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca during Ramadan. The eight rakahs method is commonly followed in many other parts of the world. Regardless of the method used, each rakah begins with the recitation of Surah al-Fatiha, which is the first chapter of the Qur’an and is followed by a portion of the Qur’an.
The Taraweeh prayer is usually led by an Imam or a prayer leader and is performed in the congregation. The prayer is a beautiful and unique experience, as it allows Muslims to connect with Allah and seek his blessings during the holy month of Ramadan. After the Taraweeh prayer, the Witr prayer is performed, which is a prayer consisting of three rakahs and is considered an essential part of the night prayer.
Dua for Taraweeh Prayer
You can read the detailed method of performing the Taraweeh prayer at quran-o-sunnah.com.
Chasht prayer is a type of voluntary (nafl) prayer that is performed after sunrise and before noon. The word chasht means the middle hour between sunrise and the meridian. According to some hadiths, the Prophet (pbuh) used to pray two or four rak’ahs for this prayer, but there is no fixed number of rak’ahs, and one may pray as many as one wishes.
The benefits of this prayer include forgiveness of sins, accomplishment of goals, and a castle of gold in Paradise. This last benefit is based on some weak hadiths that mention the reward of praying twelve rak’ahs of Duha (another name for chasht) as a castle of gold in Paradise. However, other authentic hadiths mention other kinds of rewards for those who pray voluntary prayers in general, such as gold and silver vessels, pearls, silk garments, and gazing at the Lord.
Dua for Chasht prayer
The Ishraq prayer is a voluntary (nafl) prayer that is performed after sunrise, approximately 15-20 minutes after the sun has fully risen. This prayer is believed to be highly effective in seeking forgiveness for one’s sins. It is a two-Rakats prayer.
To perform the Ishraq prayer, it is recommended to first offer the obligatory Fajr prayer, sit down and recite the dhikr (remembrance of Allah), and then wait until the sun has fully risen. After that, stand up and perform the two or four Rakats of Ishraq prayer.
However, if one is unable to perform the Ishraq prayer immediately after sunrise, it can be offered later in the day, either at home or after work. It is important to note that the Ishraq prayer is not mandatory, but it is a highly recommended act of worship that can bring immense benefits to one’s spiritual journey.
The Ishraq prayer is different from the Chasht prayer, which is another voluntary prayer that is performed in the forenoon when the sun has risen high in the sky. The Chasht prayer can be performed anytime between sunrise and noon, and it consists of two to twelve Rakats. The Chasht prayer is also known as Duha prayer by some scholars, but it is not the same as Ishraq prayer.
Salat Al-Tasbih Prayer
Salat al-Tasbih is a form of Nawafil prayers that involves reciting the tasbih (glorification) of Allah several times in each rakah. It is a voluntary prayer that is said to forgive many of the sins of those who perform it. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) advised Muslims to pray like this at least once in their lifetime.
The tasbih of this prayer is:
Subhaanallaahi walhamdu lillaahi walaa ilaaha illallaahu wallaahu akbar“All Glory and Perfection is to Allah, All praise is to Allah, there is no god but Allah, Allah is the Greatest”
Method of Salat Al-Tasbih Prayer
The above tasbih should be recited 300 times in four rak’ahs in the following method:
- Make the intention (niyyah) by reciting, “I intend to perform four rakats of the Salat al-Tasbih.“
- Say takbir “Allahu Akbar” and start the prayer
- Recite Sana (Subhanaka), then recite the tasbih 15 times
- Recite Surah Fatiha and another Surah, then recite the tasbih 10 times
- Go into Ruku (the bowing position), and after Tasbeeh (Subahaana Rabbiyal Azeem), recite the tasbih 10 times
- Stand up from Ruku and after saying Samee Allaahu Liman Hamidah, Rabbana Lakal Hamdh, recite the tasbih 10 times
- Go into the first Sajda and after Tasbeeh (Subahaana Rabbiyal Aa’la), recite the tasbih 10 times
- Sit up from the first Sajda in the Jalsa position (Sitting position between the two Sajdas) and recite the tasbih 10 times
- Go into the second Sajda and after Tasbeeh (Subahaana Rabbiyal Aa’la), recite the tasbih 10 times
- Rise up to proceed to the next rakah and repeat steps 3 to 9
- In the last rakah, after the second Sajda, sit for Tashahhud and recite At-tahiyyat, Durood-e-Ibrahim, and the Dua
This prayer can be performed at any part of the day or night except during the makrooh hours of sunrise and sunset. However, it is better before the Zuhr prayer. It is important to keep the mind focused on the Dhikr and not count loudly or on fingers or using a tasbih. This prayer will help you attain Allah’s forgiveness and mercy.
Tahajjud – The Best Voluntary Prayer
Tahajjud is also a voluntary night prayer in Islam. We offer it after sleeping, then waking for worship. It shows our devotion, seeks closeness to Allah, and involves reflecting on supplications. This prayer is valued for its spiritual importance and connection to Allah.
The method of Tahajjud is similar to other voluntary prayers, except that it is performed at night after sleeping. We can perform any amount of raka’hs we wish in sets of two or four. It is Sunnah to perform eight raka’hs of Tahajjud, followed by three raka’hs of Witr. We can also recite any portion of the Qur’an in the Tahajjud prayer.
Tahajjud is a great way to increase our faith, piety, and gratitude to Allah. It is the most sacred Nafl prayer, as it brings us peace, tranquility, and forgiveness. To learn more about Tahajjud, you can read our detailed blog post on How to Perform Tahajjud Prayer.
Sometimes, we need help making a big decision. Muslims pray the Istikhara prayer to ask Allah for guidance. We pray raka’hs nafl prayer and ask for help.
As Muslims, we follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) and perform the Istikhara prayer for any matter that is permissible (halal) or recommended (mustahabb), especially when we are uncertain or confused about it.
The method of Istikharah is simple. We perform two rak’ahs of Nafl prayer with the intention of seeking guidance from Allah. After completing the prayer, we can perform Dhikr and recite the supplication/dua of Istikhara as narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah Al-Salami (RA) in a Hadith.
If you want to learn more about Istikharah, how and when to perform it, and the signs of Istikharah, you can read our detailed blog post on How to Perform Istikhara.
After performing Istikharah, we act according to what we feel inclined to do. If our heart is still undecided, we may repeat the prayer until we feel clear about the matter. We do not expect to see a dream or a sign to indicate the answer. Rather, we trust in Allah’s wisdom and guidance.
Salat al-Hajat (Prayer for the fulfillment of a need)
Salat al-Hajat is a voluntary prayer to seek Allah’s help for a specific need. It can be performed anytime, except during the forbidden times of prayer. It consists of 4 to 12 raka’hs, divided into two units each. After making an ablution (Wudu) according to Sunnah and offering the prayer with sincerity and concentration, one should praise Allah, send blessings upon the Prophet (SAW), and supplicate with the following words:
(La ilaha illallah Al-Halimul-Karim. Subhan Allah Rabbil-`Arshil-`Azim. Al-Hamdulillahi Rabbil-`Alamin. As’aluka mujibati rahmatika wa `aza’im maghfiratika, wal-ghanimata min kulli birrin, was-salamata min kulli ithmin, la tada` li dhanban illa ghafartahu, wa la hamman illa farrajtahu, wa la Hajatan hiya laka ridan Illa Qadaitaha, ya arham ar-rahimin)
This means: ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah. Al-Halim (the Forbearing) and Al-Karim (the Generous). Glorious is Allah, Lord of the Magnificent Throne. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. I ask You for that which warrants Your mercy, and that which will determine Your forgiveness, and the spoils (fruits) of every righteous deed, and safety from every sin; do not leave a sin for me without forgiving it, nor a worry without relieving it. Or a need that pleases you without granting it. O Most-Merciful of those who have mercy.’
We should then ask Allah for our needs with humility and hope. Allah is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing, and All-Powerful. He responds to those who call upon Him with faith and trust.
Salat at-Tauba (Prayer for Repentance)
Salat at-Tauba is a voluntary prayer that Muslims can perform when they commit a sin and want to seek forgiveness from Allah. It consists of two raka’hs (units) of prayer, followed by a sincere supplication for Allah’s mercy and pardon. The prayer can be done anytime except when the obligatory prayers are due. After finishing this two raka’hs nafl prayer, raise your hands and supplicate to Allah for forgiveness, using these words or any other words from your heart:
We, as Muslims, can also seek forgiveness from Allah Almighty by frequently saying Astaghfirullah and doing Istighfar. May Allah accept your repentance and grant you His pardon. Ameen.
In ou other, we discuss Understanding the Concept of Tawbah.
Performing Nawafil prayers is a beautiful way to increase our devotion and faith towards Allah. These prayers offer us a chance to earn extra rewards and blessings in this life and the hereafter. With unlimited types of Nawafil prayers, each having its own significance and benefits, we can strengthen our connection with Allah and seek His mercy and guidance by performing them regularly. The Taraweeh, Chasht, and Ishraq prayers are just a few examples of the different types of Nawafil prayers that we can offer.