What if I told you that there was something that you’re missing out on regularly? What if I told you that you could be getting an enormous reward, which you couldn’t possibly imagine, and it wouldn’t take you but a couple of minutes per day, literally, to obtain it? Would you be interested in finding out what it is? Well, here’s the information that you need to know.
There is a prayer that takes absolutely no time at all, and if you do it you will cause Allah’s love for you, as an individual to increase. Are there any of us that can honestly say that we are not in dire need of something that takes almost no time at all, which will increase His love for us? Of course not. The name of this prayer is ‘The Duha Prayer’. It is one that even though there are so many different narrations concerning it, it’s virtues, when it should be prayed and its benefits, most of us have neglected to see as important enough to be performed even every once in a while, all throughout our lives as Muslims.
First and foremost, the proof that Allah will love you for remaining firm upon this particular type of worship is the hadeeth of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), where he said, “My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.” This hadeeth was reported by Imam al Bukhari. What more do you need to show you that if you stick to doing this non-obligatory prayer, that Allah’s love will increase for you, and that he will aide you in ways that you can’t possibly imagine.
Now that we see the reason why praying “The Duha Prayer”, is a must for all of us, and not something that we should be readily leaving off, we need to know when it is prayed according to the Sunnah. Knowing when it is done according to the Sunnah is important because we are all familiar with the statement of the Prophet (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), when he said, “Who ever does an action that is not from this situation of ours (al Islam) than it will be rejected.” This hadeeth was reported by both Imam al Bukhari and Imam Muslim. So we see here that if we want to get the good that comes from praying this prayer, we must make sure that we are doing it according to the Sunnah.
Therefore, we want to start with discussing the time in which ‘The Duha’ prayer is performed. We understand that the earliest time in which one prays this prayer is about 15 minutes after the sun come rises and continues until a few minutes before the time for ‘The Dhur Prayer begins’. When we look at many of the prayer schedules we have grown accustomed to, we see a place on there for Ishraaq. Even though some people try to say that this is a separate prayer, we understand that it is in actuality the time in which the sun rises. As a matter of fact, Sheikh Bin Baaz (may Allah have mercy upon him) said in his book Majmoo’ al Fatawaah that, “Ishraaq prayer is Duha prayer done at the beginning of its time.” So we see here that when we pray it at the beginning of it’s time, we refer to it as a different name, even though it is in its essence the same prayer.
And as far as the time in which it ends, we have previously mentioned that it continues until shortly before The Dhur Prayer begins. As a matter of fact when we look at the statement of the Scholars about this issue, we see that Sheikh Uthaimeen (may Allah have mercy upon him) said something very similar in his book Sharhul Mumte’. In it he explained it as beginning, “from a quarter of an hour after the sun has risen until ten minutes before Dhur prayer.” So we see here that there is no excuse for us not to take advantage of all of the good that we can receive from performing this prayer. We literally have hours in which we can take a couple of minutes out of our day to pray to Allah and receive this immense reward.
Now, the question remains as to being as though the time period is so vast, when is the best time to pray Duha? This would be the next logical question on anyone’s mind. The answer to that was given to us by the best of Allah’s creation, the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). He said that “It is preferable to offer Duha prayer when the sun’s heat has become so intense that even the young of the camels feel it.” This particular narration can be found in the Saheeh of Imam Muslim. In this narration we see that even though it is good to pray it in the beginning of it’s time, that it’s best to wait until later in the day, when it becomes hot, to pray it. As a mater of fact Imam an Nawawi was recorded in Al Mawsoo’ah Al Fiqhiyyah as explaining that “The scholars defined this as being when one quarter of the day has passed, i.e., halfway between sunrise and Dhur prayer.”
As far as the number of rakaat (units of prayer) make up The Duha Prayer, we need to look at two different issues. The first is the least number of units that must be prayed in order for the prayer to be in accordance with the Sunnah. The second is the greatest number that may be prayed.
In terms of the least number of units, the scholars generally agree to the fact the two is the least number of units that need to be prayed in order for it to be acceptable. This is understood from the statement of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) when he said, “In the morning, charity is due on every joint of your bodies. Every utterance of Allah’s Glorification (i.e., saying Subhan Allah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of His Praise (i.e., saying Al-hamdu lillah) is an act of charity and every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (i.e., saying La ilaha illa Allah) is an act of charity; and enjoining M`aruf (good) is an act of charity, and forbidding Munkar (evil) is an act of charity, and two Rak`ah Duha prayers which one performs in the forenoon is equal to all this (in reward).” This hadeeth was reported by Imam Muslim. So in this hadeeth we find a clear proof that the least number of units that can be prayed is two units.
As far as the greatest number of units, there is a difference of opinion among the scholars. Here we just want to mention the statement that seems to be closest to that which is in accordance to the authentic narrations. This statement is that one can pray as many units of prayer they wish up until the time for this prayer is over. This is opinion is said to be the most correct opinion according to that which is reported by ‘Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) when she reported: “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) used to perform four Rak`ah of Duha prayer and would add to them whatever Allah wished.” This narration was reported by Imam Muslim. This is clear that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) used to add to these units of prayer what ever he added. The scholars also mention that there are no authentic narrations that limit what was mentioned in this narration when it was stated, “would add to them whatever Allah wished”. Therefore being as though there is nothing that limits it, we can not limit that which was left unrestricted.
So in conclusion, we see that we can pray as little as two units of prayer and obtain all of this good. We all know that this is not something that takes any real time from the course of our day. The opportunity in terms of the time period is wide open, so we can’t possibly say that we were busy and could not pray it. Therefore there is no real excuse for not getting up starting today or tomorrow and putting what we have just learned into action. After knowing all of the benefits that come from this prayer, there should not be one of us that feel as though this is something that we can do without if it is truly the pleasure of Allah that we are working to obtain.
May Allah write our names down with those that are diligent in performing this prayer, and doing it solely for His sake. Allahuma ameen.