Salat al Duha

(c) “My beloved instructed me never to leave three things until I die: fasting three days of the month, praying Salat al-Witr before sleep, and praying the 2 rak`ats of Salat al-Duha, which is Salat al-Awwabin.” Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Ahmad in his Musnad.

(d) Something similar is narrated from Anas by al-Asbahani in al-Targhib and al-Bazzar in his Musnad as cited by Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir and al-Suyuti in al-Jami` al-Saghir (#5012).

7. Al-Haytami said in al-Minhaj al-Qawim (p. 249): “Its time is after the elevation of the sun from the horizon about a spear-length and until it reaches its zenith, while waiting for the end of the first quarter of the day is best due to a sound hadith to that effect.” He means the hadith of Zayd ibn Arqam. Al-Ghazzali in the Ihya’ pointed out that this preference is in keeping with the fact that all four quarters of the day and night contain a prayer.

8. Abu Zur`a al-`Iraqi said in Tarh al-Tathrib (3:71): “Our Shafi`i colleagues said that Duha is the best voluntary prayer after those regularly offered with the fard prayers (rawatib) but al-Nawawi in al-Majmu` put Tarawih before it, i.e. between the Rawatib and Duha.” So did al-Hadrami in his Muqaddima. Shaykh al-Islam al-Haytami his commentary on al-Muqaddima al-Hadramiyya entitled al-Minhaj al-Qawim (p. 248-249) explained that this is due to the fact that Tarawih is prayed in congregation.

III. Its length

Its length is between 2 as in most of the narrations – and this is its minimum by Consensus – to 12 rak`ats, although the basis seems 4 as per the hadith of `A’isha in Muslim, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, and others: “Yes, the Messenger of Allah (saws) used to pray Duha in 4 rak`ats. After that he may add whatever Allah wished” and other narrations, and this is the best number according to a number of the Imams of Hadith, among them al-Hakim and al-Kattani;  8 – as per the hadith of Umm Hani’ in al-Bukhari and Muslim – being the best number according to the majority of the Fuqaha’ and the maximum for most of the Shafi`is according to al-Nawawi in al-Majmu` and for the Hanbalis as per Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni; while the Jumhur said it is up to twelve as chosen by al-Ruwyani in al-Hilya, al-Rafi`i in al-Sharh al-Saghir and al-Muharrar, al-Nawawi in al-Rawda and al-Minhaj, and others so as to take into consideration the weak marfu` narrations that mention twelve rak`ats from Abu Dharr, Abu al-Darda’, and Anas narrated by al-Tirmidhi (gharib), Ibn Majah, al-Bayhaqi, al-Tabarani, and others. Cf. Tarh (3:71), I`lam (p. 624), Nayl and Fath al-Bari; while al-Tabari narrates from al-Aswad that there is no limit to their number, and attributes it to a number of the Salaf. And Allah knows best.

IV. Its immense merit and required character

There is a sadaqa incumbent* upon every limb and joint of a servant who wakes up in the morning, which is remitted by praying Salat al-Duha as per the following narrations:

(a) Muslim in his Sahih from Abu Dharr: The Prophet (saws) said: “In the morning every single joint of yours must* pay a sadaqa. Every tasbih is a sadaqa, every tahmid is a sadaqa, every tahlil is a sadaqa, every takbir is a sadaqa, every commanding good is a sadaqa, and every forbidding evil is a sadaqa, and all this is accomplished through two rak`ats one can pray in Duha.”

(b) Abu Dawud in his Sunan and Ahmad in his Musnad from Abu Burayda: The Prophet (saws) said: “There are three hundred and sixty joints in a human being, and he must* pay a sadaqa for each one of them.” They said: “Who can do such a thing, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “Bury the dirt [lit. sputum] you see in the Mosque; remove a dangerous object from the road; and, if you unable, then the two rak`as of Duha accomplish it for you.” Its chain is strong as per Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut in Sahih Ibn Hibban (4:520 #1642) and al-Tahawi’s Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (#99).

*I.e. it is mustahabb as stated in Tarh al-Tathrib (3:69).

The above two hadiths are proofs of the huge merit of the Duha prayer as they indicate that it fulfills the performance of three hundred and sixty charities. Ibn `Abd al-Barr said these hadiths are the most emphatic evidence that has reached us concerning the immense merit of Salat al-Duha. Tarh (3:71).

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