Home » Shafi'i Fiqh » Qibla.com » Omitting Sunnas When Making Up Missed Prayers

Omitting Sunnas When Making Up Missed Prayers

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Sidi Mostafa Azzam

If one has many make-up prayers, in the Shafi”i school, is it O.K. to intentionally leave out the sunnahs in the prayers, and just perform the arkan?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The Permissibility of Omitting Sunnas

If by “O.K.,” you mean permissible, yes it is permissible, i.e. not forbidden (haram). If you fulfill the conditions (shurut) and integrals (arkan) and avoid the invalidators (mubtilat), then your prayer is valid and you have acquired no sin. You can know what these are by studying my Immaculate Raiment: The Essentials of a Valid Prayer. Even if you never perform a sunna in your life, you are not sinful, as long as you fulfill the essentials (fara’id).

The Superiority of Fulfilling the Sunnas

Even though it is permissible to omit the sunnas when performing missed prayers, the question remains, Is it superior? As we have learnt from Sheikh Amjad, the words of the fuqaha indicate that it is superior to fulfill the sunnas—not omit them—when performing missed prayers, even if they were missed without an excuse (see Nihayat al-Muhtaj, 1:381 (Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-`Arabi)).

Practical Considerations: The Urgency of Completing Them

Even if it is superior to fulfill the sunnas, one must remember that there is urgency in making up missed prayers, for it is a huge debt that you owe Allah (how high is He!), and no one wants to stand before his mighty and majestic lord on Resurrection Day with such a debt. Considering this, I once asked one of my sheikhs the question, “What if someone leaves out some of the sunnas when making up missed prayers?” He answered, “Better than making them up on the tiles of Hell.”

The Upshot

The upshot is that it is superior to fulfill the sunnas when making up missed prayers, but at the same time, you must complete them before you die. So keep both these factors in mind and hurry up and complete them as soon as possible, and at the same do your best to make it a good prayer. I generally don’t advise omitting very short sunnas, since they don’t really slow you down. And Allah knows best.

Mostafa Azzam


This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

Read answers with similar topics: