#194: Qadha’ (Replacing) Sunnah Prayer


Assalamualaikum ustaz. Is it permissible for a person to qadha’ any sunnah prayer that he missed? Hope for an explanation.


Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

Sunnah prayer is among the deeds or worships that are sanctioned by syarak. The sunnah prayers encouraged are also promised their own special rewards and favours. Among them are that sunnah prayers are able to add or cover any imperfections in the obligatory prayers of a person. In a hadith from Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ عَمَلِهِ صَلاَتُهُ، فَإِنْ صَلَحَتْ فَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ وَأَنْجَحَ، وَإِنْ فَسَدَتْ فَقَدْ خَـابَ وَخَسِرَ، فَإِنِ انْتَقَصَ مِنْ فَرِيْضَةٍ شَيْئًا، قَـالَ الرَّبُّ تَبَـارَكَ وَتَعَالَى: اُنْظُرُوْا هَلْ لِعَبْدِي مِنْ تَطَوُّعٍ، فَيُكَمَّلُ بِهِ مَا انْتَقَصَ مِنَ الْفَرِيْضَةِ ثُمَّ يَكُوْنُ سَائِرُ عَمَلِهِ عَلَى نَحْوِ ذَلِكَ.

“The first of his deeds for which a man will be taken into account on the day of resurrection will be his prayer. If it is sound he will be saved and successful, but if it is unsound he will be unfortunate and miserable. If any deficiency is found in his obligatory prayer the Lord who is blessed and exalted will issue instructions to consider whether His servant has said any voluntary prayers so that what is lacking in the obligatory prayer may be made up by it. Then the rest of his actions will be treated in the same fashion.” [1]

The author of the book al-Fiqh al-Manhaji (1/509-528) when explaining sunnah prayers or nafal prayers stated: The word nafal (النَّفَلُ) lexically means addition. While the terminology is used to describe any prayers other than the obligatory prayers. It is named as such because the prayer is an additional prayer to the obligatory prayers. It is also called sunnah, mandub or mustahab.

Sunnah prayer is divided into two. One, sunnah prayer is performed in congregation and the other, sunnah is not performed in congregation.

Regarding sunnah prayer performed not in congregation, it can be further divided into, which are sunnah prayer that accompanies the obligatory prayer and sunnah prayer that doesn’t accompany the obligatory prayer.

First: Sunnah prayer that accompanies the obligatory prayer.

Sunnah prayer that accompanies the obligatory prayer is divided into two; sunnah muakkad and not muakkad. Sunnah muakkad are sunnah prayers performed before the Subuh prayer, two rakaat before and after Zuhur prayer, two rakaat after Maghrib prayer and two rakaat after Isya’ prayer. The most muakkad among all of these prayers is the two rakaat before Subuh prayer. [2]

Second: Sunnah prayer that doesn’t accompany the obligatory prayer.

This sunnah prayer is also divided into two, which are the specifically named and has a specific time and absolute sunnah prayer that doesn’t have any specific name or time.

Sunnah prayers that have specific names and times are as the following:

  • Tahiyyatul masjid prayer
  • Witir prayer
  • Qiamullail
  • Dhuha prayer
  • Idtikharah prayer

Whilst for absolute sunnah prayer that doesn’t have a specific name and time, it can be performed as many times as one wants and at any time that it isn’t makruh (discouraged) to perform prayer. This follows a hadith, where the Prophet PBUH said:

الصَّلاَةُ خَيْرُ مَوْضُوْعٍ اسْتَكْثِرْ أَوْ أَقِلَّ

“Prayer is the best of deed. Hence, perform the most or the least of it.” [3]

All of the above-stated prayers are not sunnah to be performed in congregation. As for sunnah prayers that are sunnah to be performed in congregation are the two Eid sunnah prayers, Tarawih prayer, sunnah eclipse prayer and sunnah istisqa’ prayer (asking for rain). [4]

The Ruling of Qadha Sunnah Prayer

In answering the above question, we state as follows:

The issue of qadha (replacing) a missed sunnah prayer have been discussed by scholars. According to Imam al-Nawawi, sunnah prayers are divided into two:

  1. That isn’t bound to time and is performed in conjunction with certain incidents such as an eclipse, asking for rain and tahiyyatul masjid. This type of sunnah prayer cannot be replaced if someone missed it.
  2. Bound to time, for instance, the two Eid sunnah prayers and sunnah rawatib prayers and there are three opinions on this second type of sunnah prayer. The most accurate opinion is that it can be qadha’ if one missed it.

This is also the opinion of Muhammad bin al-Hassan and al-Muzani. This is also the opinion of Imam Ahmad as iqrar by Imam al-Mardawi and Syeikhul Islam Ibn Taimiyyah. [5]

Whereas, according to Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik and Qadhi Abu Yusuf, sunnah prayer cannot be replaced. [6]

There are numerous hadiths that support the opinion of scholars that ruled it sunnah to qadha a missed sunnah prayer. Among them is a narration from Ummu Salamah R.Anha, she said:

شُغِلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَنِ الرَّكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ الْعَصْرِ فَصَلاَّهُمَا بَعْدَ الْعَصْرِ

“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) got distracted and did not pray the two Rak’ahs before ‘Asr so he prayed them after ‘Asr.” [7]

From Abu Hurairah RA, he said Rasullullah PBUH said:

مَنْ لَمْ يُصَلِّ رَكْعَتَىِ الْفَجْرِ فَلْيُصَلِّهِمَا بَعْدَ مَا تَطْلُعُ الشَّمْسُ

“Whoever did not pray the two Rak’ah (before) Fajr then let him pray them after the sun has risen.” [8]

Narrated by Qais bin Amir:

رَأَى النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَجُلًا يُصَلِّي بَعْدَ صَلاةِ الصُّبْحِ رَكْعَتَيْنِ . فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ

. قَالَ: فَسَكَتَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

The Prophet PBUH a man praying two rak’as after the Morning Prayer he said, “At the Morning Prayer pray two rak’as.” The man replied I had not prayed the two rak’as which precede them, so I prayed them just now,” and God’s Messenger said nothing.” [9]

Likewise, in a hadith narrated from Aisyah RA:

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ إِذَا لَمْ يُصَلِّ أَرْبَعًا قَبْلَ الظُّهْرِ صَلاَّهُنَّ بَعْدَهُ

“When the Prophet (S) would not perform the four Rak’ah before Az-Zuhr he would pray them after it.” [10]

The same for witir prayer, where Abu Sa’id al-Khudri narrated:

مَنْ نَامَ عَنِ الْوِتْرِ أَوْ نَسِيَهُ فَلْيُصَلِّ إِذَا ذَكَرَ وَإِذَا اسْتَيْقَظَ

“If anyone over-sleeps and misses the witir, or forgets it, he should pray when he remembers and when he awakes.” [11]


We choose the opinion that replacing a sunnah prayer that is bound to time such as the two sunnah Eid prayers, sunnah rawatib prayer and sunnah witir prayer is sunnah if one missed any of them. As for sunnah prayers that are performed when there is a certain incident that happens or in certain situations such as sunnah eclipse prayer, then it cannot be replaced.

The reason is this opinion is supported by various prophetic evidences whether it is in terms of the words, actions and iqrar of the Prophet PBUH.

Wallahu a’lam.


[1] Narrated by al-Nasa’ie (451), (452) and al-Tirmizi (411)

[2] Regarding this division, we’ve previously explained it in Ahkam Syar’iyyah titled: #78 The Muakkad and Non-Muakkad Rawatib Prayer. (https://maktabahalbakri.com/78-the-muakkad-and-non-muakkad-rawatib-prayer/)

[3] Narrated by Ibn Majah (901)

[4] See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, 1/509-528

[5] See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 4/41, al-Insaf, 2/187 and Majmu’ al-Fatawa, 23/127

[6] See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 4/43

[7] Narrated by al-Nasa’ie (587)

[8] Narrated by al-Tirmizi (423)

[9] Narrated by Abu Daud (1267) and Ibn Majah (1209)

[10] Narrated by Tirmizi (426)

[11] Narrated by al-Tirmizi (465), Abu Daud (1431) and Ibn Majah (1244)