Making Up The Missed Prayers (Shafii)

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How to perform of missed prayers?

The obligatory prayers are to be performed during their designated time periods. It is obligatory upon those who are required to perform prayers to perform them in their prescribed times.

  • Performing a prayer in its designated time is called ada.
  • To re-perform a prayer due to an excuse in its designated time is called i’adah.
  • To make up later a prayer, which is not performed during its prescribed prayer time, is called qada.

The person is not guilty of any wrongdoing if he delays such a prayer based on a valid excuse. If someone misses a prayer due to a valid excuse such as oversleeping, forgetting etc., he must still make it up later once the condition, which exempted him from prayer, has passed.

If someone delays a prayer beyond its designated time period without a valid excuse, he is guilty of a severe offense. In addition to making up the missed prayers, such a person must also repent and promise not to commit this sin again.

If one delays a prayer beyond its designated time for a valid excuse, it is recommended to make it up as soon as one finds time. It is obligatory to make it up when it is postponed. If someone delays such a prayer beyond its designated time period without a valid excuse, it becomes obligatory to make it up immediately.

If one forgets and delays the prayer beyond its prescribed time by indulging in play and entertainment, he will not be excused and become a sinner for his delay.

The obligation to perform a ritual prayer is dropped entirely for a woman who is menstruating or experiencing post-partum bleeding; hence, such a woman is not required to make up prayers, which she missed while she was in either of these states. Similarly, the obligation to perform the ritual prayer is dropped entirely for someone who is insane, someone who has lost consciousness, someone whose mind is clouded due to taking an unlawful substance such as alcohol, and due to any other valid excuse, are also subject to the same condition. If a state of insanity lasts the duration of the time period for a given prayer, the person concerned need not make up the prayer, which was missed if his insanity did not lead him to commit any sort of transgression; otherwise, he must make it up. The same ruling applies to drunkenness and a loss of consciousness.

The Shafiis hold that if someone commits apostasy, he is not exempted from making up the prayers he missed during his time as an apostate; rather, if he returns to Islam, he must make up the prayers he failed to perform while an apostate.

If there is a possibility for a believer to miss the time of prescribed prayer, he should first perform the prayer of the time and then perform the makeup prayers. One who remembers that he needs to perform makeup prayers while listening to Friday sermon may perform the makeup prayer after performing the Friday prayer.

I. The Sin of Not Performing the Prayers on Time

One of the most important matters concerning the salat is that they should be prayed in their specific times. It is stated in the Qur’an: “For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.” (al-Nisa, 4: 103)

When the question “Which deed is the dearest to Allah?” was asked to the Prophet (pbuh), he replied, “To offer the prayers at their stated fixed times.”[1]

There will be no barrier left between associating partners to Allah or denying Him and the person who leaves performing the prayer on time. In other words such people’s faith will be in danger.  Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) stated, “What lies between a man and infidelity is the abandonment of prayer.” [2]

The obligatory prayer, which is not performed in its prescribed time, becomes a debt on the responsible person. In order to be freed from this responsibility, it should be made up as soon as possible. In this regards, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said, “When anyone forgets the prayer, or oversleeps (and misses the prayer time), he should observe it when he remembers it.”[3]

II. Rules Regarding Making Up the Missed Prayers

No matter for what reason, be it due to forgetfulness, sleeping, or without a valid excuse, a prayer that is delayed beyond its prescribed time must be made up.

There is no prescribed time for the makeup prayers. According to the Shafiis, it is permissible to make up missed prayers during all times at which it would be forbidden to perform voluntary prayers unless one intends to make them up at these times in particular, in which case it is not permitted, nor will the made-up prayers be valid. It is likewise not permissible to make up missed prayers when the sermon for the Friday congregational prayer is being delivered from the moment when the orator sits down on the pulpit and until both sermons, including their associated parts, are concluded, no compensatory prayer will have any validity. Moreover, it is not appropriate to intentionally delay the performance of a makeup prayer until the reprehensible times despite having available time before.  Such prayers become invalid.

The makeup prayers can be performed before and after the obligatory cycles of the daily prayers. If someone has missed a number of prayers but is uncertain exactly how many, he must continue to make up the prayers until he feels completely certain that he has no more “prayer debts outstanding”, as it were.

According to the Shafii School, it is not permissible to delay the makeup prayers without a valid excuse such as working to earn livelihood, eating, sleeping, and acquiring obligatory knowledge. Performing supererogatory prayers is prohibited upon a person who has left-over makeup prayers that needs to be urgently performed. That person can start performing supererogatory prayers only after finishing all the makeup prayers he owes. It is considered reprehensible to perform even the rawatib Sunnahs attached to daily prayers for someone who owes makeup prayers until he completes performing the makeup prayers. The reason for this is that one should complete the makeup prayers as soon as possible. In other words, it is not even permissible for those who owe makeup prayers to delay their makeup prayers for such a short time that a supererogatory prayer can be performed. When he completes performing all the makeup prayers, then hen can begin to perform the Sunnah prayers.

Those who leave this world after having performed their prayers in awe and without delaying them beyond their prescribed times will be in the presence of Allah and His Messenger in the Hereafter and their efforts will have made it easy for them to enter Paradise. Those who owe less than five daily makeup prayer (who are also called sahib al-tartib) should perform their makeup prayers beginning from the first prayer, which was delayed beyond its prescribed time, and follow the order of the daily prayers (i.e. Dawn, Noon, Late Afternoon, Evening and Night).

According to the Shafiis, maintaining the original order among prayers that have been missed is, in and of itself, an emulation of the Sunnah, whether they are many or few. If someone reverses their order, the prayer that was improperly performed before another prayer that should have preceded it will still remain valid, but the worshiper concerned will not have emulated the Sunnah. Hence, it is preferable to repeat this prayer.

One should maintain not only the order between the makeup prayers but also the proper order between the missed prayers and the current prayer.  This is an emulation of the Sunnah under the condition that there no fear that the time period for the current prayer will run out.

If the prayer is delayed beyond its prescribed time due to a valid excuse, then it becomes a Sunnah to observe the order. As for the prayers, which were beyond their prescribed time without a valid excuse, it is obligatory to observe the order between them. When a follower of the Shafii School, who owes makeup prayers, performs a supererogatory prayer in congregation, he makes his intention as to perform a makeup prayer. For example when the congregation is performing a Tarawih prayer, he makes his intention to perform the obligatory cycles of the missed Dawn prayer. If the person is performing a makeup prayer of three or four-cycles, then he should stand up to complete the prayer when the congregation finishes their two-cycle supererogatory prayer.

If someone who has already performed the obligatory cycles of the Noon prayer or a person,who is sahib al-tartib, would like to make up the Dawn prayer behind an imam, who is leading the obligatory cycles of the Noon prayer, then he may leave the prayer by giving the salam when the imam stands up for the third cycle or he may wait for the imam until he completes the remaining two cycles and give salam together with the imam. Waiting for the imam is preferable.

It is not necessary, when making up prayers in such a situation, to specify the exact day for which one is making up the prayer; rather, it is sufficient to specify that it is the Noon prayer, the Late Afternoon prayer, etc. In other words, one makes his intention by saying “I intend to perform for the sake of Allah, the first Dawn prayer that I missed.”

If someone misses a prayer, he should make it up in the same form in which it was missed. Hence, if someone misses a four-rak’ah prayer while traveling a distance sufficient to warrant the shortening of prayers, he should make it up as a two-rak’ah prayer even if, when he makes it up, he is not traveling anymore.

Call for prayer (adhan) is Sunnah before the five daily prayers. Even if these prayers are missed and need to be made up, they are subject to the same ruling. If someone is going to perform more than one makeup prayers consecutively, it is enough to say one call for prayer for all of them at the beginning of the first one. Similarly, it is Sunnah to say call for the commencement of prayer (iqamah) before every obligatory prayer.

If the makeup prayer is performed at night, the recitation is recited aloud and if it is performed during the day, the recitation is read quietly. For example, if one makes up a missed Noon prayer at night, its recitation is recited aloud whereas, , one who makes up a missed Evening prayer during the day recites the recitation inaudibly.

If the supererogatory prayers attached to the daily prayers or other supererogatory prayers such as the Mid-morning or the Festival prayer are not performed in their proper times, it is recommended to make them up. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), who said “When anyone forgets the prayer, or oversleeps (and misses the prayer time), he should observe it when he remembers it”[4] made up the final Sunnah of the Noon prayer, which he had not performed, after the Late Afternoon prayer.[5]

It is recommended to make up the Sunnah cycles of the missed Dawn prayer before making up its obligatory cycles if it is made in the same day before the time of the Noon prayer. In fact, when Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) could not wake up for the Dawn prayer during an expedition, he made it up altogether with its Sunnah cycles when he woke up.[6]

It is Sunnah to make up the Witr prayer if it is missed. Similarly, the Tarawih prayer should be made up even if its time passes.

The supererogatory prayers, which do not have a specific time such as the prayers of the solar and the lunar eclipses, are not made up when they are missed. It is not obligatory to make up a supererogatory prayer that was commenced but could not be completed for any kind of reason.

[1] Al-Bukhari, Mawaqit al-salat, 5

[2] Muslim, iman 134; Abu Dawud, sunnah.

[3] Muslim. Masajid, 56

[4] Al-Bukhari, Mawaqit al-Salat, 37; Muslim, Masajid, 314

[5] Al-Bukhari, Mawaqit al-Salat, 1

[6] Muslim, Masajid, 680; Abu Davud, Salat,11

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Shafi’i School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

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