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Reciting another surah after surah Al-Fatiha in the third & fourth rak’ah of an obligatory

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Saad Peters al-Attas

While praying alone, can we recite a surah after surah Al-Fatiha in the third & fourth raka of an obligatory prayer? Is it our choice? OR is it a sin if we do so. What if one reads a short surah by mistake.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah The Beneficent Most Merciful.

And may His peace and blessings be upon His beloved messenger, family and companions.

If one is praying a fard prayer alone it is not recommended in our mathhab to read a surah after fatihah in the third and fourth raka’ah, because of the hadeeth in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Nasai and Ibn Majah, which states that the prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) use to read the fatihah followed by a surah in the first two rak’as of thuhr and ‘asr, and in the second two the fatihah only. Maghrib and ‘Isha is included in this hadeeth because it has more then two rak’ats like thuhr and ‘asr.

It is not left to our choice whether suras are placed in the beginning or the end or middle, but rather the choice of the shari’ah.

If one should read a surah in the third or the fourth rak’ah intentionally it would be considered an act of offence (makruh) and if done unintentionally such as reading a surah by mistake one has not committed any act of offence. In both cases ones prayer would not be invalid.

If one is praying a sunnah prayer one is allowed to recite a surah after the fatihah in each rak’ah if one does not separate the prayer with a tashahud after each two rak’as, but rather with one at the end, such as witr. If one does the tashahud after every second rak’ah one is not allowed to do so then, based on the fard prayer.

And Allah alone knows best.

Saad Peters al-Attas

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