Sunnah prayers include practices that we must guard and relax. Among its virtues, sunnah prayer will cover up the shortcomings of obligatory prayer. We know for certain that no one is sure that the five-day prayer is done perfectly. There are various kinds of sunnah prayers, such as duha prayer, tahajud, sunnah prayers before and after performing the 5 daily prayers, sunnah prayers during Ramadan, etc.
Sometimes we do not concentrate, do not present the heart, and are not tawadhu’ (calm) in prayer. By understanding the 13 virtues of Sunnah Prayers, hopefully, it will encourage us to continue doing sunnah prayers.
1. God’s Guardian
People who diligently practice the sunnah practices such as the virtue of the Dhuha prayer, then he will be a special guardian of Allah. Then what is meant by God’s guardian?
Allah Ta’ala said, “Remember, indeed the guardians of Allah, there is no concern for them and they (nor) are sad. (That is) those who believe and they are always fearful.” (Surah Yunus: 62 – 63)
Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullah said, “Every believer who is fearful, then he is the guardian of Allah.” (Majmu’ Al-Fatawa, 2: 224). So God’s guardian is not someone who has magic, can fly, and wears prayer beads and turban.
But what is meant by the guardian of Allah as mentioned by Allah Himself in the letter of Jonah above? “The requirement to be called a guardian of Allah is faith and piety.” (Majmu’ Al-Fatawa, 6:10)
2. Best Practice
From Tsauban, he said that the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “Bless you, and you can never be perfect. Know, your primary deed is prayer. No one keeps ablution but he is a believer.” (Narrated by Ibn Majah no. 277 and Ahmad 5: 276. Shaykh Al Albani said that this hadith is valid according to the source of Islamic Shari’a)
3. Close to the Prophet in Heaven
From Rabiah bin Ka’ab Al-Aslami – Allah is upon him hu anhu – he said, “I once spent the night with the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam, then I brought him water. So he said to me, “Ask me.” So I asked about the healthy way of life of the Prophet, “I just asked how to be a close friend in heaven.” He asked again, “Is there another request?” I replied, “No, that is all.” So he replied, “I want to make your wish come true by doing prostration (multiplying prayer).” (Narrated by Muslim no. 489)
4. Sin is Removed And the Degree is Exalted
Ma’dan bin Abi Tholhah Al Ya’mariy, he said, “I once met Tsauban as the slave of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam, then I said to him, “Tell me a deed that Allah will put me in heaven.” Or Ma’dan said, “I said to Tsauban, “Tell me a deed that Allah loves.” When asked, Tsauban was silent. Then I asked a second time, he was still silent. Until the third time, Tsauban said, “I once asked what was asked of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam. He said,
“You must increase prostration (multiply prayer) to Allah only then Allah will exalt your degree and abolish your sins.” Then Ma’dan said, “I also met Abu Darda’ and asked the same thing. Then Abu Darda’s friend answered as Tsauban answered me.” (Narrated by Muslim no. 488) Imam Nawawi rahimahullah said, “This hadith is an encouragement to increase prostration and what is meant is to increase prostration in prayer.” (Shahih Muslim Syarh, 4: 205).
5. Perfecting the Obligatory Prayer and Patching Its Shortcomings
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The first practice will be taken into account from a servant on the Day of Judgment is his prayer. If the prayer is perfect, it will be recorded for him a perfect reward. However, if the prayer is not perfect Allah Ta’ala says to His angel,
“Look at you whether my servant has a Sunnah prayer practice, and then complete his obligatory prayer? Consider zakat, too. Then the other practices are almost the same as that.” (Narrated by Abu Daud, no. 864, and Ibn Majah, no. 1425 and Ahmad, no. 103. Validation by Syaikh al Albani in Shahihul Jami’)
6. Sunnah Prayer Elevates the Degree and Removes Sin
The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “You must increase prostration (multiply prayer) only then Allah will elevate your rank and eradicate your sins.” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 488)
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7. Enter Heaven
From Rabi’ah bin Ka’ab al-Aslami radhiyallahu’anhu, he said, I had spent the night with the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, then I prepared ablution water and his needs. Then he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said to me, “Ask for something.”
So I replied, “I ask you to give me instructions about the causes so that I can accompany you in Heaven.” He replied, “Anything else besides that?” “That is enough, O Messenger of God,” I replied. Then the Messenger of Allah said, “If so, help me on your behalf (to realize your request) by increasing prostration (in prayer).” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 489)
8. Sunnah Prayer is the Most Important Practice After Jihad
In the hadith of the Tsauban, the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam reported, “Be istiqomah and you will not be able (for istiqomah in all obedience to be truly istiqomah), and know that your best deeds are prayer and do not keep ablution except a believer.” (HR Ibnu Majah is blessed by Syaikh al-Albani in Irwa ‘al-Ghalil)
9. Get the Goodness of God
From Jabir radhiyallahu anhu, he said that the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “If one of you has prayed in his mosque, then let him give a prayer for his house because God actually makes good in his house through his prayers.” (Narrated by Muslim)
10. Give a Beautiful Atmosphere at Home
From Zaid bin Tsabit Allah be upon him, “Let humans do the prayer (sunnah) in your house because the best prayer is prayer done in his house beside the obligatory prayer.” (Muttafaq Alaihi)
In Muslim history, “Do prayer (sunnah) in your house because the best of a person’s prayer is what is done at his house beside the obligatory prayer.” (Narrated by Muslim)
Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam said: “Make your house your place of prayer and do not make it your grave.” (Muttafaq Alaihi)
11. Have A Blessing From Angels
Imam an-Nawawi Rahimahullah said, “And indeed the suggestion to do the Sunnah prayers at home is because he is more hidden and further away from the riya, more awake from vanity. And look for the blessing of the house with that and because love and angels come down and make Satan run away.” (See Syarh an-Nawawi in the form of Sahih Muslim)
12. Sunnah Prayers Will Present the Love of Allah to His Servants
From Abu Hurairah radhiyallahu anhu; The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Salam said, “Verily Allah Almighty said, “Whoever is hostile to my guardians, truly I declare war on him. It is not my servant who draws near to me with something that I love more than the things that I oblige him. My servant ceaselessly draws close to me with sunnah worship until I love him. If I have loved him, I have become his hearing that he uses to hear, become his vision that he uses to see, became the hand that he used to do, and became his foot which he used to walk. If he asks me, I will give him. And if he asks me for protection, I will protect him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari)
13. A Form of Gratitude
It is narrated from yah Ayesha Allah be upon him, he said, “If the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam prayed, he stood up until both of his feet broke, then yah Aisha asked, ‘Why did you do all this even though Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala has given forgiveness to you for your past and future sins?” Then he replied, “Isn’t it okay if I am a grateful servant?” (Muttafaq Alaihi)