Q. I would like to know about the two rakaats sunnah before Fajr. If an individual arrives for the Fajr salaah in the masjid and the Iqamah is being called or the Imam has now started the first rakaah, can he perform his two sunnah? Is it permissible to perform these two sunnah immediately after the fard in Jamaat in the masjid (I saw a brother doing this and he told me that there are hadith that the Prophet (SAW) did this.) Can a person after leaving the masjid (after salaah) perform the salaah at home once it is before sunrise?
A. Yes, a person can perform his two rakaats Sunnah of the Fajr Salaah even if the Iqamah has been called or the Imam has started the first rakaat. Scholars have mentioned that this can be done on the condition that the person can get at least one rakaat of the Farz Salaah with the Imam. This however, should not be performed where the Farz Salaah is taking place.
It is not permissible to perform these two rakaats immediately after the Farz Salaat. The Prophet (SA) has given a clear instruction saying that after the Fajr Salaah is finished, there is no Salaah until sunrise. (Bukhari) Hence, even if a person is at home, he will not be allowed to perform these two rakaats before sunrise.
With respect to the statement that the Prophet (SA) performed these two rakaats (Sunnah) after the farz in the masjid, I have not seen, read or heard any hadith to this effect. In fact, the well established practice of the Prophet (SA) on a daily basis was that he would perform the two rakaats Sunnah of Farz Salaah as soon as the time entered, and then wait for the Iqamah for the Farz Salaah (Bukhari). It is also narrated that he would sometimes perform the two rakaats Sunnah, and then lie down on his right side, until the Iqamah is called for the Farz. (Bukhari)
As for saying that the Prophet (SA) performed his two Sunnah after the Farz Salaah in the masjid, a person must be careful of attributing this to the Prophet (SA) if it is not evident.
If one has missed his 2 Sunnah in Fajr Salaah, then some scholars have given the allowance to perform these as Qaza after sunrise, when the Makrooh time of Salaah has ended. This is the verdict of the great Hanafi Imam, Imam Muhammad (AR) (student of Imam Abu Hanifa (AR) ). It is also the opinion of Imam Shafi (AR), Imam Malik (AR) and Imam Ahmad (AR). (Kitabul Fatawa vol. 1 pg. 174).
The great expert scholar, Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri has stated that practice should be made upon this (in the time specified above. That is, after sunrise when the Makrooh time for Salaah has ended. This time ends approximately 15 minutes after the sun has risen). (Ma’arif As Sunnan vol.4 pg. 97,98). This allowance is based on the tradition of Abu Huraira (RA) which states that the Prophet (SA) said, ‘Whoever does not perform the two rakaats of Fajr (Sunnah rakaats), then let him perform these after the sun has risen’. (Tirmizi. Hakim has considered it Sahih). It is reported that Abdullah bin Umar (RA) performed these two rakaats after the Dhuha Salaah, when he missed it before the Farz of Fajr. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaiba with a good sanad).
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan