A Summary of the Non-Obligatory Prayers in the Maliki School

Answered by Shaykha Mona ElZankaly and Saira AbuBakr

Question: Assalaam alaykum,

I wanted to know the Maliki opinion for sunnah rakats for each fard prayer. I have been given different information regarding the sunnah prayers for Dhuhr and Isha, specifically.

Also, what are the amount of sunnah prayers to be performed for Jumah?

Jazak Allah khayr.

Answer: Walaikum salaam wa RahmatuAllah,

JazakuAllahu khairun for your question.

The witr prayer is the only daily confirmed sunnah prayer, in the Maliki school. The other daily non-obligatory prayers that are prayed immediately before or after the five obligatory prayers are considered confirmed nafilah (nafilah muakkadah). The exception to this is the fajr prayer i.e. the two non-obligatory rakahs that are prayed before the dawn obligatory prayer (subh prayer). These two rakahs fall under the category of raghiba. This category is considered below a sunnah but higher than a nafila. There are no other prayers in this category.

Summary of the non-obligatory prayers:

2 before the Subh prayer (Fajr prayer) Ruling: Raghibah

4 before Duhr and 4 after Duhr prayer. Ruling: Nafilah Muakkadah

4 before Asr prayer. Ruling: Nafilah Muakkadah

2 (but ideally 6) after Maghrib prayer. Ruling: Nafilah Muakkadah

3 Witr prayer- Ruling 2 shafi-Nafilah Muakkadah; 1 Witr-Sunnah Maukkadah

Sunnah Mukkadah/ Confirmed Sunnah: Voluntary prayers that Rasul Salla Allahu alayhi wa salaam never left and always performed.

Nafilah: Voluntary prayers that Rasul Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam sometimes preformed and sometimes left.

Raghibah: The word essentially means desirous and it is the ruling giving only to the two rakahs before the obligatory dawn prayer. It is given this name as Rasul salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam encouraged us to perform it.

There are no specific recommended nafilah/sunnah prayer for Jumu’a rather it is makruh (discouraged) to pray nafila after completing the Jumu’a prayer in the masjid (until people have dispersed/time has come for them to disperse and it is best to pray nafilah at home). It is haram to perform nafilah once the Imam has entered the masjid to deliver the sermon (khutbah). So one would not perform the greeting masjid prayer (tahiyyatul masjid) if one comes late.

The nafilah/sunnah prayers are prayed two rakah at a time, not 4 rakah at a time. If one mistakenly adds a third rakah one would complete a fourth rakah and perform two prostrations of forgetfulness before saying the salaam.

Below is what has been mentioned in the two main texts (Mukhtasar Khalil is the text that contains the dominant opinion of the school):

There is a general recommendation for the supererogatory(nafil) prayer (all the time). The recommendation is confirmed (takkadah) after the sunset (maghrib) prayer and (in general) after all (five) daily prayers, but specifically before and after dhuhr and before Asr without an (upper) limit such that if a person did two or four or six he has fulfilled the original recommendation.

Having said this, it is better or more complete (worship) that one performs four before and after dhuhr (due to what has been narrated in the prophetic traditions), four before Asr and six after maghrib. Furthermore, there is a confirmed recommendation for praying the morning prayer (Duha). The least of it is two, six is the middle number, eight is the upper limit and any more is considered makruh. (Taken from Al Sharh al Kabir on Mukhtasar Khalil)

It is recommended to pray two rakahs after maghrib and if one does more then it is beneficial (khair). There is a general recommendation to pray nafila prayers between Maghrib and Isha. Prophetic narration: The one who prays six rakahs after maghrib and does not utter vile speech between them, is equated with (a reward) of 12 years of worship. (Taken from Kifayatul Talib alRabbani Sharh of Risalah of Ibn Abi Zayd Al Qayrawani)

Approved by Shaykh Rami Nsour