Clarification on making up prayers

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

I read in one of your posts that one is not allowed to pray sunnah prayers if he has many prayers to make up. Does this mean that praying sunnah prayers are haram according to the Shafi school if one has many prayers to make up? Would this also include taraweeh prayers during Ramadan and janazah prayers? Also, if somebody can pray the sunnah prayers and have the time to make up prayers at the same time, is this allowed?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

Making up missed obligatory prayers takes precedence over non-obligatory prayers, since what is obligatory is more important than what is not. If one has missed obligatory prayers without a valid excuse, then one must obligatorily replace the non-obligatory prayers that one normally does with makeup prayers. If one has missed obligatory prayers with a valid excuse, it is not forbidden to pray non-obligatory prayers, although it remains recommended to replace them with one’s makeups. Note that there are only two valid excuses for missing a prayer: (1) sleep and (2) forgetfulness.

For the fiqh relating to making up missed prayers, please see:

Making up Missed Prayers 

Note also that there are certain types of sunna prayers that can be intended alongside any other prayer; one can pray such prayers by combining one’s intention and intending both the makeup prayer and the sunna prayer. Such sunna prayers include, for example, salat al-istikhara (the prayer of guidance) and salat al-haja (the prayer of need). For a complete list of such prayers, please see:

Combining Intentions in Prayer 

And Allah knows best.


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