Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
I have recently started to make up past prayers I have missed in my life and I was told by a close friend (hanafi) who is a mureed of Shaykh Nuh Keller, that it is permissible to leave out Sunna Mu’akada prayers and complete the equivalent kadaa fard with each salat instead. The reason he gave was that some scholars are of the opinion that Fard prayers are much more important and if one finds himself unable to read the sunna mu’akada as well as the kadaa fard then it is better to make up the fard and leave out the Sunna mu’akada. Is this opinion valid in Hanafi fiqh?? Please help.
Shaykh Nuh tells people to take a madhhab, learn it, and then follow it without exceptions, except in very extenuating circumstances. This is the path of taqwa.
In the Hanafi school, it is not permissible to leave out confirmed sunna (sunna mu’akkada) prayers, even if one has makeup prayers to perform. Rather, it is blameworthy to leave out sunnas and to make it a habit is sinful. This is the general ruling. [Note, though, that it is not expected that one makeuppast confirmed sunnas in the Hanafi school.]
If one finds it difficult to makeup prayers, the first thing is to look at oneself and remember the words of the Beloved of Allah, “Be avid for that which benefits you. Rely on Allah and do not be incapable.” Organize your time, make a schedule, and perform both your confirmed sunna prayers, which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) essentially never left, as well as your makeup prayers.
In the rare situations where this proves difficult or not possible, consult a scholar and seek their advice.
As an aside, both non-performance of prayers and misperformance are sins. As such, one should repent as well as make them up. Also, it is not permitted to talk without a valid Shariah-reason about having prayers to makeup; it is like talking about zina: haram.
And Allah alone gives success.