Performing two rakaats before Magrib Salah.
Dear Mufti Saab,
Can you give an explanation on the two rakaats which are performed before the Magrib Salah?
With respect to performing two rakaats of nafl (optional) Salah before the Fardh of Magrib (Salah), the great expert Jurist scholar of Hadith, Hafiz Badrudeen Al Aini, in his famous commentary on Sahih Al Bukhari has given the following explanation:-
The Salafus Saliheen (Pious Predecessors) have differed with respect to the Nafl (optional Salah of two rakaats) before Magrib. Some Sahabahs, Tabi’een and Fuqaha (early jurists) have allowed its performance, and their evidence is recorded by Imam Bukhari in his Saheeh which states, ‘From Abdullah Al Muzni who narrates from the Prophet (S.A.W) that he said, ‘Perform Salah before Magrib. He then said on the third occasion, ‘For whoever wishes to do so’. He said this fearing that people may take it as a Sunnah’. (Bukhari-Chapter of Salah before Magrib).
Based on this, some scholars, as mentioned above, have allowed its performance and quoted the above hadith as well as other ahadith as their proof. It is narrated from another group of Sahabahs (Companions) and other Tabi’een scholars that they did not perform these two rakaats of optional Salah before Magrib. While writing on this, the great scholar Ibn Al Arabi writes, ‘The Sahabahs had differences of opinion regarding the performance of these two rakaats, and no one after them performed these’. The great Tabi’ee Jurist expert and Muhaddith, Saeed bin Musayab said, ‘I have not seen any Faqeeh (Jurist from the Sahabahs or Tabi’ee) performing these two rakaats except the companion Saad bin Abi Waqas (R.A). Ibn Hazm mentioned the hadith which states that Sahabas like Abdur Rahman bin Awf, Ubai bin Kaab, Anas bin Malik, Jabir and five others from among those who participated in the Bai’ah of Ridhwan(R.A) used to perform these two rakaats of Nafl before Magrib Salah.
The great Tabi’ee scholar, Hasan Al Basri (A.r) was asked about these two rakaats, and he said, ‘They are two good things for those who intend the pleasure of Allah’. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said that these two rakaats are permissible to be read, but they are not Sunnah’. Imam Zuhri narrated from Saeed bin Al Musayyab that he said, ‘The Muhajir (migrant) Sahabahs never used to perform these two rakaats, but the Ansar used to perform these. Ibn Battal has mentioned from the great Tabi’ee scholar An Nakh’i that Abu Bakr (R.A), Umar (R.A) and Uthman (R.A) did not perform these two rakaats.
Ibraheem bin Yazeed An Nakh’i also said that the great Sahabahs who lived in Koofah like Ali (R.A), Abdullah bin Masood (R.A), Huzaifa (R.A), Ammar bin Yasir (R.A), and Abu Masood (R.A), did not perform these two rakaats before the Magrib Salah, and this is the verdict of Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Shafi.
With respect to the tradition narrated by Abdullah Al Muzni which states that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘Perform Salah before Maghrib’, the scholars have stated that this was in the beginning of Islam.
The great scholar and Muhaddith, Ibn Shaheen has stated that the above hadith of Abdullah Al Muzni is abrogated by the tradition of Abdullah bin Buraidah who narrates from his father that the Prophet (S.A.W) said, ‘Certainly at the time of the two Azan (that is, between the Azan and Iqamah) there are two rakaats, except Magrib Salah’. Abu Dawood has narrated the tradition of Tawoos who said that Abdullah bin Umar (R.A) was asked about the two rakaats before Magrib Salah and he said, ‘I did not see anyone at the time of the Prophet (S.A.S) performing them’. (Umdatul Qaari Vol 7. 7 page 246 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan)
Based on the differences held by the Sahabahs and Tabi’een, the scholars after them also held different opinions regarding this Nafl Salah. According to the Madhab of Imam Abu Hanifah (A.R), performance of these two rakaats is Mubah (allowed), and it is not regarded as a Sunnah or Mustahab Salah.
The allowance for this however, is that in performing it, one does not miss the first Takbeer of the Fardh of Magrib Salah with the Imam in congregational Salah. (Hashiya Radd Al Muhtar Vol. 2 Page. 14 H.M Saeed Karachi; Nasrul Bari-commentary of Sahih Al Bukhari Vol. 4 page. 380 Maktaba Shaikh Karachi).
While discussing this matter, the great scholar Allama Khalid Saifullah Rahmani writes, ‘Since it is not evident that the Prophet (S.A.S) himself performed these two rakaats before Magrib Salah, and it is feared that due to these two rakaats, the congregational Magrib Salah can be delayed, the Hanafi and Maliki scholars have not considered it Mustahab to perform these two optional rakaats before Magrib. This however, does not mean that the two rakaats is Makrooh (reprehensible). In fact it is Mubah (allowed) and permissible. (Kitabul Fatawa Vol. 2 page. 352 Zam Zam Publishers Karachi 2007).
With respect to the Shafi Madhhab, two famous opinions are narrated. Imam An Nawawi states that the accepted and correct opinion is that it is Mustahab. (Al Majmoo – Sharh Al Muhazzab Vol. 5 page. 11 Dar Al Kutub Al Ilmiyah Beirut 2017).
As for the Maliki Madhab, Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani , in his Fath Al Bari, has stated that some of the Maliki Jurists and scholars have claimed that the act of performing (two optional rakaats) before Magrib is abrogated. (Fath Al Bari Vol. 2 page. 107 Dar Al Kutub Al ilmiya Beirut).
With respect to the Madhab of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ibn Qudama has stated in his famous book Al Mughni, ‘As for the two rakaats before Magrib Salah after the Azan, the clear statement of Imam Ahmad is that these are permissible and are not Sunnah’. (Al Mughni Vol. 1 page 766 Dar Al Kutub Al ilmiya Beirut).
And Allah Knows best
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.