The Importance Of The Sunnah Salah
A person who leaves out the Sunan-e-Muakkadah Salaah out of carelessness, or habitually leaves them out, is considered a Faasiq (open transgressor). The following ruling is written in Tahtaawi, “A person who leaves out Sunan-e-Muakkadah is a Faasiq, a person who denies it is an innovator, and it is stated in Talweeh that leaving it out is close to Haraam.”
(Malfoozhaat Faqeehul Ummat, Vol. 1, Part 4, Pg. 16)
Based on the above, it is not permissible to leave out the Sunnahs.
The Virtues Of The Sunnah Salah
[Umm Habibah (radiallahu anha) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) saying, “A house will be built in Jannah for every Muslim who offers twelve Rak`ah of optional Salat other than the obligatory Salat in a day and a night (to seek the Pleasure of Allah).”
Commentary: Tatawwu` means to offer more Nawafil (optional prayers) on one’s own after performing the Faraid (obligatory prayers). Thus, this Hadith tells us the merits of optional prayers and holds promise of (Jannah) for those who make it a practice.
These 12 Rakaats have been specifically enumerated in another narration as: 2 Rakaats before Fajr, 4 Rakaats before Zuhr, 2 Rakaats after Zuhr, 2 Rakaats after Maghrib, and 2 Rakaats after ‘Isha.
Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salalm) said, “The first of man’s deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salat. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser. If any shortcoming is found in the obligatory Salat, the Glorious and Exalted Rubb will command to see whether His slave has offered any voluntary Salat so that the obligatory Salat may be made up by it. Then the rest of his actions will be treated in the same manner.”
The Virtues Of The Sunnah Of Fajr Salah
A’isha (radiallahu anha) related that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) said about the 2 rak’ahs before Fajr: “They are dearer to me than the whole world.” [Muslim]
Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) said: “Do not leave the two rak’ahs of Fajr, even if you are being attacked by cavalry.” [Abu Dawud]
A’isha (radiallahu anha) said: “I have never seen him (The Prophet – salallahu alayhi wa salam) more in haste to do a good deed than he was to do the two rak’ahs before the Fajr (salah).” [Muslim]
A’isha (radiallahu anha) also narrated: “The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) would pray the two rak’ahs before the dawn (fajr) salah in my house so quickly that i wondered if he had recited the Fatihah in them or not.” [Bukhari]
A’isha (radiallahu anha) further reported that: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) after reading al-Fatihah would recite Surah Kafiroon and Surah Ikhlas. [Abu Dawud]
The Virtues Of The Sunnah Of Zuhr Salah
Umm Habibah (radiallahu anha) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) said, “Whoever observes the practice of performing four Rak`ah before Zuhr prayer and four (2 sunnah, 2 nafl) after the Zuhr prayer, Allah will shield him against the Fire (of Hell).”
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: This Ahadith mean that a person who follows this course of practice, will die as a Muslim and will not remain in Hell for ever like the Kuffar (infidels) unless Allah has forgiven all his sins for him and would, as a result, save him from Fire altogether. That is, Almighty Allah will not let him live in Hell for ever. According to some Ahadith, the fire of Hell will not touch him, which also amounts to saying that he will not be kept in Hell for all eternity. If a Muslim is liable to punishment, his stay in Hell – for a few days or weeks or months depending on the nature of his sins – is not a contravention of such Ahadith because he will ultimately be released from Hell and brought to Jannah. “Allah will shield him against the Fire” should not be taken to mean that a Muslim will not be sent to Hell no matter what he does. If Almighty Allah does not forgive him in the very first instance, he will have to suffer the torment of Hell as long as He would like and then he will be sent to Jannah.
`Abdullah bin As-Sa’ib (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) used to perform four Rak`ah prayer after the declining of the sun before Zuhr prayer and would say, “This is an hour at which the gates of heaven are opened, and I like that my good deeds should rise to heaven at that time.”
Commentary: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) used to perform the four Rak`ah Sunnah of Zuhr prayer when the sun started declining. In fact, except for `Isha’ prayer, he would perform every Salat at its early hours.
The phrase “the gates of heaven are opened” means that the good deeds that people do are lifted to the heavens at that time.
`Aishah (radiallahu anha) reported: If the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) could not perform four Rak`ah before Zuhr prayer, he would perform them after it (i.e., after the obligatory prayer).
Commentary: This Hadith tells us about the preparation which the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) used to make for performing the Sunnah. Every Muslim should, therefore, make full preparation for performing Sunnah. If one is unable to perform it before the Fard prayer, then one must do it afterwards.
The Virtues Of The Sunnah Of Asr Salah
Ibn `Umar (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) said, “May Allah have mercy on a man who performs four Rak`ah before the `Asr prayer.”
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: The `Ulama’ have stated that these four Sunnah of `Asr prayer are Ghair Mu’akkadah (non-emphasised but praiseworthy to perform). Its importance is however evident from the fact that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) prayed for mercy on those who performed these Sunnah.
The Virtues Of The Sunnah Of Maghrib Salah
After Maghrib it is sunnah to pray 2 Rak’ahs. It is narrated by Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhuma) that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salam) would not miss them. It is preferable to recite after al-Fatihah Surah Kafiroon and Surah Ikhlas. Ibn Masood (radiallahu anh) said: “I cannot count how many times i heard the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa salam) recite, in the two rak’ahs after Maghrib and in the two rak’ahs before Fajr: Surah Kafiroon and Surah Ikhlas.”
There is no sunnah salah before Maghrib. Tawus narrated: “Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra) was asked about the two rak’ahs before Maghrib. He answered, “I have not seen anyone in the time of the Prophet (saw) praying them.” [Abu Dawud]
Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman said: ” I asked Ibrahim about the salah before Maghrib, he forbade me from this and said: “The Prophet (SAW), Umar (ra), and Abu Bakr (ra) did not pray it.” Imam Muhammad (ra) said: “We adhere to this. When the sun sets there is no salah on janazah or any other salah before the salah of Maghrib. And it is the opinion of Abu Hanifa (ra).”
The Virtues Of The Sunnah Of Isha Salah
The sunnah after Isha is 2 rak’ahs.
Hazrat Sa’eed Ibn Jubair (رضي الله عنه) narrates that the Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم أجمعين) used to regard the performing of four rakaats before the fardh of isha as mustahab. [ibid. pg.58]