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Post-Prayer Litanies: Before or After the Sunna Prayers?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: My question is regarding the confirmed sunna payers and the prescribed supplications after obligatory prayers, like the ayat al-kursi. Which is superiour according to the Hanafi school: (a) reciting these supplications right after the obligatory prayers before the confirmed sunan (b) praying the sunna right after finishing the obligatory prayers and then the supplications or (c) reciting some of the supplications such as ayat al-kursi, and astagfirullAh, before the sunan?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well.

This is a matter in which there has been some difference of opinion between the scholars. The most that can be said is that it is something wherein there is some leeway. Therefore, we should not make it a matter of contention. However, with that said, it would be best, based on our sources, to either pray the sunna immediately after the obligatory prayers without any delay, or to pray it with a very brief pause incorporating some of the shorter prescribed litanies narrated from the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). If one does otherwise, reciting longer recitations such as the ayat al-kursi or the tasbihat, it would not, per se, be extremely blameworthy or disliked, especially if it is from oneโ€™s habitual practice, as there are positions that leave room for its allowance.

Imam Ibrahim al-Halabi discusses the issue in quite some length. He mentions two main positions: dislikedness in delaying praying the sunna prayer immediately after the obligatory prayer (with the allowance of a โ€œshortโ€ pause, detailed below), and the position of Shams al-A`immah al-Halwani that if one has a regular litany that he recites after the obligatory prayers, or a supplication, then it would be permitted for him to complete it before rising to pray the sunna. However, many scholars understood Halwaniโ€™s statement regarding this, specifically his usage of the term โ€œthere is no harm in itโ€ (la baโ€™s bihi), as indicative of it being โ€œagainst what is bestโ€ (khilaf al-awla)[Halabi, Halabi Kabir]

Reciting Shorter Litanies:

The first position, of dislikedness, was chosen by Imam Mawsili in his Ikhtiyar, Shurunbulali in his Imdad al-Fattah, Kamal Ibn Humma in his Fath al-Qadir, and others. Shurunbulali explicitly deems praying the sunna immediately following the completion of the obligatory prayer as being in accordance with the sunna.

These scholars, though, allow for a slight delay in order to recite shorter litanies and supplications that have been established in the prophetic narratives. This based on the narration of โ€˜A`isha (Allah be well pleased with her), from Muslim, that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), โ€œwould sit for the duration of saying, โ€˜allahuma anta al-salam wa minka al-salam wa ilayka ya`ud al-salam tabarakta ya dhal jalal waโ€™l ikramโ€™ then he would stand for the sunna.โ€ [Muslim, Sahih; Abu Dawud, Sunan; Tirmidhi, Sunan] Thus, they stated that any invocation or prescribed litany that generally approximates in length to these forms of supplications and praises are permissible to recite between the obligatory and sunna prayers. By โ€œapproximationโ€ what is meant is that it be similar in length to what has been established from the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), not exactly the same. Therefore, there is no harm if oneโ€™s recitation is slightly longer or shorter than what has been conveyed in the prophetic narratives. This would include reciting โ€œastagfirullahโ€ a few times, โ€œla ilaha ila Allah wahdahu la sharika lahuโ€ and so forth. [Ibn Hummam, Fath al-Qadir; Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah, Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Yet, regarding forms of prescribed litanies that exceed such a limit, such as the ayat al-kursi and doing oneโ€™s routine tasbihat, Ibn Hummam states that they have โ€œnot been established from the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).โ€ [Fath al-Qadir] This would also apply to doing the tasbihat thirty three times each, according to the above position.

Summary of the Positions:

To summarize, one can say, generally, that there are three positions in our school:

1. It is slightly disliked to delay the sunna prayers from the obligatory prayers. Therefore, one should always immediately pray them after completing the obligatory prayer without delay.
2. It is slightly disliked to delay the sunna prayers from the obligatory prayers, unless the delay is due to the recitation of a short litany akin in length to what has been established in the prophetic narratives in which case it would be permitted.
3. It is best for one to rise immediately for the sunna prayer after the obligatory prayers. However, if one wishes to supplicate or recite a litany that he or she has a habit of reciting then this is permitted. This is the position of Halwani, though some scholars interpreted it in a way to make it agree with the second position (by stating that โ€œkhilaf al-awlaโ€ is very close to being โ€œslightly dislikedโ€).

An Important Consideration & Other Schools:

Imam Halabi mentions an important point regarding the above rulings being more applicable to an Imam who has lead prayer as opposed to the follower or the individual praying alone. He states:

โ€œThe upshot is that performing the sunna straight after the obligatory prayer without delay is recommended for everyone (s: whether an imam, follower, or person praying on his own), except that the recommended nature in relation to the Imam is stronger so much so that its delay leads to dislikedness, based on the narration of `Aโ€™isha, as opposed to the follower or one praying on his own.โ€ [Halabi Kabir]

Further, apart from the above Hanafi ruling, one should also realize that the other schools allow for an individual to busy himself with litanies and supplications immediately after the prayer, such as the Shafi`is and Malikis.

As such, the issue should not be made a point of dispute between people. Otherwise, one can choose whichever position he deems most suitable for himself for his own personal practice. What is important is that one perform both the sunna and the prescribed ltanies (dhikr), not leaving any of them. This should be done without any distractions, before speaking to others or engaging in worldly matters.

And Allah Knows Best

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

: ููŠ ุฑุฏ ุงู„ู…ุญุชุงุฑ ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ุฏุฑ ุงู„ู…ุฎุชุงุฑ

ู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูู‡ู ุฅู„ู‘ูŽุง ุจูู‚ูŽุฏู’ุฑู ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ูู…ู‘ูŽ ุฅู„ูŽุฎู’ ) ู„ูู…ูŽุง ุฑูŽูˆูŽุงู‡ู ู…ูุณู’ู„ูู…ูŒ ูˆูŽุงู„ุชู‘ูุฑู’ู…ูุฐููŠู‘ู ุนูŽู†ู’ ุนูŽุงุฆูุดูŽุฉูŽ ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽุชู’ { ูƒูŽุงู†ูŽ ุฑูŽุณููˆู„ู ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุตูŽู„ู‘ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ู‘ูŽู…ูŽ ู„ูŽุง ูŠูŽู‚ู’ุนูุฏู ุฅู„ู‘ูŽุง ุจูู…ูู‚ู’ุฏูŽุงุฑู ู…ูŽุง ูŠูŽู‚ููˆู„ู : ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ูู…ู‘ูŽ ุฃูŽู†ู’ุชูŽ ุงู„ุณู‘ูŽู„ูŽุงู…ู ูˆูŽู…ูู†ู’ูƒ ุงู„ุณู‘ูŽู„ูŽุงู…ู ุชูŽุจูŽุงุฑูŽูƒู’ุช ูŠูŽุง ุฐูŽุง ุงู„ู’ุฌูŽู„ูŽุงู„ู ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ุฅููƒู’ุฑูŽุงู…ู } ูˆูŽุฃูŽู…ู‘ูŽุง ู…ูŽุง ูˆูŽุฑูŽุฏูŽ ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ุฃูŽุญูŽุงุฏููŠุซู ูููŠ ุงู„ู’ุฃูŽุฐู’ูƒูŽุงุฑู ุนูŽู‚ููŠุจูŽ ุงู„ุตู‘ูŽู„ูŽุงุฉู ููŽู„ูŽุง ุฏูŽู„ูŽุงู„ูŽุฉูŽ ูููŠู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู’ุฅูุชู’ูŠูŽุงู†ู ุจูู‡ูŽุง ู‚ูŽุจู’ู„ูŽ ุงู„ุณู‘ูู†ู‘ูŽุฉู ุŒ ุจูŽู„ู’ ูŠูุญู’ู…ูŽู„ู ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู’ุฅูุชู’ูŠูŽุงู†ู ุจูู‡ูŽุง ุจูŽุนู’ุฏูŽู‡ูŽุง ุ› ู„ูุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽ ุงู„ุณู‘ูู†ู‘ูŽุฉูŽ ู…ูู†ู’ ู„ูŽูˆูŽุงุญูู‚ู ุงู„ู’ููŽุฑููŠุถูŽุฉู ูˆูŽุชูŽูˆูŽุงุจูุนูู‡ูŽุง ูˆูŽู…ููƒูŽู…ู‘ูู„ูŽุงุชูู‡ูŽุง ููŽู„ูŽู…ู’ ุชูŽูƒูู†ู’ ุฃูŽุฌู’ู†ูŽุจููŠู‘ูŽุฉู‹ ุนูŽู†ู’ู‡ูŽุง ุŒ ููŽู…ูŽุง ูŠููู’ุนูŽู„ู ุจูŽุนู’ุฏูŽู‡ูŽุง ูŠูุทู’ู„ูŽู‚ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุนูŽู‚ููŠุจูŽ ุงู„ู’ููŽุฑููŠุถูŽุฉู . ูˆูŽู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ู ุนูŽุงุฆูุดูŽุฉูŽ ุจูู…ูู‚ู’ุฏูŽุงุฑู ู„ูŽุง ูŠููููŠุฏู ุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽู‡ู ูƒูŽุงู†ูŽ ูŠูŽู‚ููˆู„ู ุฐูŽู„ููƒูŽ ุจูุนูŽูŠู’ู†ูู‡ู ุŒ ุจูŽู„ู’ ูƒูŽุงู†ูŽ ูŠูŽู‚ู’ุนูุฏู ุจูู‚ูŽุฏู’ุฑู ู…ูŽุง ูŠูŽุณูŽุนูู‡ู ูˆูŽู†ูŽุญู’ูˆูู‡ู ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ู ุชูŽู‚ู’ุฑููŠุจู‹ุง ุŒ ููŽู„ูŽุง ูŠูู†ูŽุงูููŠ ู…ูŽุง ูููŠ ุงู„ุตู‘ูŽุญููŠุญูŽูŠู’ู†ู ู…ูู†ู’ { ุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุตูŽู„ู‘ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ู‘ูŽู…ูŽ ูƒูŽุงู†ูŽ ูŠูŽู‚ููˆู„ู ูููŠ ุฏูุจูุฑู ูƒูู„ู‘ู ุตูŽู„ูŽุงุฉู ู…ูŽูƒู’ุชููˆุจูŽุฉู : ู„ูŽุง ุฅู„ูŽู‡ูŽ ุฅู„ู‘ูŽุง ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ูˆูŽุญู’ุฏูŽู‡ู ู„ูŽุง ุดูŽุฑููŠูƒูŽ ู„ูŽู‡ู ุŒ ู„ูŽู‡ู ุงู„ู’ู…ูู„ู’ูƒู ูˆูŽู„ูŽู‡ู ุงู„ู’ุญูŽู…ู’ุฏู ูˆูŽู‡ููˆูŽ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ูƒูู„ู‘ู ุดูŽูŠู’ุกู ู‚ูŽุฏููŠุฑูŒ ุŒ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ูู…ู‘ูŽ ู„ูŽุง ู…ูŽุงู†ูุนูŽ ู„ูู…ูŽุง ุฃูŽุนู’ุทูŽูŠู’ุช ูˆูŽู„ูŽุง ู…ูุนู’ุทููŠูŽ ู„ูู…ูŽุง ู…ูŽู†ูŽุนู’ุช ูˆูŽู„ูŽุง ูŠูŽู†ู’ููŽุนู ุฐูŽุง ุงู„ู’ุฌูŽุฏู‘ู ู…ูู†ู’ูƒ ุงู„ู’ุฌูŽุฏู‘ู } ูˆูŽุชูŽู…ูŽุงู…ูู‡ู ูููŠ ุดูŽุฑู’ุญู ุงู„ู’ู…ูู†ู’ูŠูŽุฉู ุŒ ูˆูŽูƒูŽุฐูŽุง ูููŠ ุงู„ู’ููŽุชู’ุญู ู…ูู†ู’ ุจูŽุงุจู ุงู„ู’ูˆูุชู’ุฑู ูˆูŽุงู„ู†ู‘ูŽูˆูŽุงููู„ู ( ู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูู‡ู ูˆูŽุงุฎู’ุชูŽุงุฑูŽู‡ู ุงู„ู’ูƒูŽู…ูŽุงู„ู ) ูููŠู‡ู ุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽ ุงู„ู‘ูŽุฐููŠ ุงุฎู’ุชูŽุงุฑูŽู‡ู ุงู„ู’ูƒูŽู…ูŽุงู„ู ู‡ููˆูŽ ุงู„ู’ุฃูŽูˆู‘ูŽู„ู ุŒ ูˆูŽู‡ููˆูŽ ู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ู ุงู„ู’ุจูŽู‚ู‘ูŽุงู„ููŠู‘ู . ูˆูŽุฑูุฏู‘ูŽ ู…ูŽุง ูููŠ ุดูŽุฑู’ุญู ุงู„ุดู‘ูŽู‡ููŠุฏู ู…ูู†ู’ ุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽ ุงู„ู’ู‚ููŠูŽุงู…ูŽ ุฅู„ูŽู‰ ุงู„ุณู‘ูู†ู‘ูŽุฉู ู…ูุชู‘ูŽุตูู„ู‹ุง ุจูุงู„ู’ููŽุฑู’ุถู ู…ูŽุณู’ู†ููˆู†ูŒ ุŒ ุซูู…ู‘ูŽ ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ : ูˆูŽุนูู†ู’ุฏููŠ ุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽ ู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูŽ ุงู„ู’ุญูŽู„ู’ูˆูŽุงู†ููŠู‘ู ู„ูŽุง ุจูŽุฃู’ุณูŽ ู„ูŽุง ูŠูุนูŽุงุฑูุถู ุงู„ู’ู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูŽูŠู’ู†ู ู„ูุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽ ุงู„ู’ู…ูŽุดู’ู‡ููˆุฑูŽ ูููŠ ู‡ูŽุฐูู‡ู ุงู„ู’ุนูุจูŽุงุฑูŽุฉู ูƒูŽูˆู’ู†ู ุฎูู„ูŽุงููู‡ู ุฃูŽูˆู’ู„ูŽู‰ ุŒ ููŽูƒูŽุงู†ูŽ ู…ูŽุนู’ู†ูŽุงู‡ูŽุง ุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽ ุงู„ู’ุฃูŽูˆู’ู„ูŽู‰ ุฃูŽู†ู’ ู„ูŽุง ูŠูŽู‚ู’ุฑูŽุฃูŽ ู‚ูŽุจู’ู„ูŽ ุงู„ุณู‘ูู†ู‘ูŽุฉู ุŒ ูˆูŽู„ูŽูˆู’ ููŽุนูŽู„ูŽ ู„ูŽุง ุจูŽุฃู’ุณูŽ ุŒ ููŽุฃูŽููŽุงุฏูŽ ุนูŽุฏูŽู…ูŽ ุณูู‚ููˆุทู ุงู„ุณู‘ูู†ู‘ูŽุฉู ุจูุฐูŽู„ููƒูŽ ุŒ ุญูŽุชู‘ูŽู‰ ุฅุฐูŽุง ุตูŽู„ู‘ูŽู‰ ุจูŽุนู’ุฏ ุงู„ู’ุฃูŽูˆู’ุฑูŽุงุฏู ุชูŽู‚ูŽุนู ุณูู†ู‘ูŽุฉู‹ ู„ูŽุง ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ูˆูŽุฌู’ู‡ู ุงู„ุณู‘ูู†ู‘ูŽุฉู

: ููŠ ุงู„ู…ุฌู…ูˆุน ุดุฑุญ ุงู„ู…ู‡ุฐุจ

ุงุชู‘ูŽููŽู‚ูŽ ุงู„ุดู‘ูŽุงููุนููŠู‘ู ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ุฃูŽุตู’ุญูŽุงุจู ูˆูŽุบูŽูŠู’ุฑูู‡ูู…ู’ ุฑูŽุญูู…ูŽู‡ูู…ู’ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽู‡ู ูŠูุณู’ุชูŽุญูŽุจู‘ู ุฐููƒู’ุฑู ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุชูŽุนูŽุงู„ูŽู‰ ุจูŽุนู’ุฏูŽ ุงู„ุณู‘ูŽู„ูŽุงู…ู ุŒ ูˆูŽูŠูุณู’ุชูŽุญูŽุจู‘ู ุฐูŽู„ููƒูŽ ู„ูู„ู’ุฅูู…ูŽุงู…ู ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ู…ูŽุฃู’ู…ููˆู…ู ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ู…ูู†ู’ููŽุฑูุฏู ูˆูŽุงู„ุฑู‘ูŽุฌูู„ู ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ู…ูŽุฑู’ุฃูŽุฉู ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ู…ูุณูŽุงููุฑู ูˆูŽุบูŽูŠู’ุฑูู‡ู ุŒ ูˆูŽูŠูุณู’ุชูŽุญูŽุจู‘ู ุฃูŽู†ู’ ูŠูŽุฏู’ุนููˆูŽ ุฃูŽูŠู’ุถู‹ุง ุจูŽุนู’ุฏูŽ ุงู„ุณู‘ูŽู„ูŽุงู…ู ุจูุงู„ูุงุชู‘ูููŽุงู‚ู ูˆูŽุฌูŽุงุกูŽุชู’ ูููŠ ู‡ูŽุฐูู‡ู ุงู„ู’ู…ูŽูˆูŽุงุถูุนู ุฃูŽุญูŽุงุฏููŠุซู ูƒูŽุซููŠุฑูŽุฉูŒ ุตูŽุญููŠุญูŽุฉูŒ ูููŠ ุงู„ุฐู‘ููƒู’ุฑู ูˆูŽุงู„ุฏู‘ูุนูŽุงุกู ู‚ูŽุฏู’ ุฌูŽู…ูŽุนู’ุชู‡ูŽุง ูููŠ ูƒูุชูŽุงุจู ุงู„ู’ุฃูŽุฐู’ูƒูŽุงุฑู

: ููŠ ุงู„ููˆุงูƒู‡ ุงู„ุฏูˆุงู†ูŠ ุนู„ู‰ ุฑุณุงู„ุฉ ุงุจู† ุฃุจูŠ ุฒูŠุฏ

ุซูู…ู‘ูŽ ุดูŽุฑูŽุนูŽ ูููŠู…ูŽุง ูŠูŽู†ู’ุฏูุจู ุนูŽู‚ูุจูŽ ุงู„ุตู‘ูŽู„ูŽุงุฉู ุงู„ู’ู…ูŽูู’ุฑููˆุถูŽุฉู ููŽู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ : ( ูˆูŽู…ูู…ู‘ูŽุง ุฑููˆููŠูŽ ) ุนูŽู†ู’ู‡ู ุตูŽู„ู‘ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ูˆูŽุณูŽู„ู‘ูŽู…ูŽ ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ุฃูŽุฐู’ูƒูŽุงุฑู ( ูููŠ ุฏูุจูุฑู ) ุจูุถูŽู…ู‘ู ุงู„ุฏู‘ูŽุงู„ู ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ุจูŽุงุกู ุฃูŽูŠู’ ุนูŽู‚ูุจูŽ ( ูƒูู„ู‘ู ุตูŽู„ูŽุงุฉู ) ู…ูŽูู’ุฑููˆุถูŽุฉู ( ุฃูŽู†ู’ ุชูุณูŽุจู‘ูุญูŽ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ูŽ ุซูŽู„ูŽุงุซู‹ุง ูˆูŽุซูŽู„ูŽุงุซููŠู†ูŽ ) ุชูŽุณู’ุจููŠุญูŽุฉู‹ย  ูˆูŽุชููƒูŽุจู‘ูุฑูŽ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ูŽ ุซูŽู„ูŽุงุซู‹ุง ูˆูŽุซูŽู„ูŽุงุซููŠู†ูŽ ) ุชูŽูƒู’ุจููŠุฑูŽุฉู‹ ( ูˆูŽุชูŽุญู’ู…ูŽุฏูŽ ) ุจูููŽุชู’ุญู ุงู„ู’ู…ููŠู…ู ( ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ูŽ ) ุชูŽุนูŽุงู„ูŽู‰ ( ุซูŽู„ูŽุงุซู‹ุง ูˆูŽุซูŽู„ูŽุงุซููŠู†ูŽ ) ุชูŽุญู’ู…ููŠุฏูŽุฉู‹ ( ูˆูŽุชูŽุฎู’ุชูู…ูŽ ุงู„ู’ู…ูุงุฆูŽุฉูŽ ุจูู„ูŽุง ุฅู„ูŽู‡ูŽ ุฅู„ู‘ูŽุง ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ูˆูŽุญู’ุฏูŽู‡ู ู„ูŽุง ุดูŽุฑููŠูƒูŽ ู„ูŽู‡ู ู„ูŽู‡ู ุงู„ู’ู…ูู„ู’ูƒู ูˆูŽู„ูŽู‡ู ุงู„ู’ุญูŽู…ู’ุฏู ูˆูŽู‡ููˆูŽ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ูƒูู„ู‘ู ุดูŽูŠู’ุกู ู‚ูŽุฏููŠุฑูŒ)

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.