Prayers - We Will Be Questioned or Punished for Not Praying the Sunnah Parts
  • Question:

    Will we be questioned on the Day of Judgement on why we didn't pray the Sunnah parts of the prayers and is there a punishment for missing sunnah prayers and just doing the Fard ones, i.e. for Fajr, I usually only pray 2 fard and not sunnah, will I be questioned on this and punished?

    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question.

    As for the Sunnah which is not mua’akadah (ie. Non confirmed), there is certainly no blame in leaving those. As for that which is Sunnah mua’kadah, meaning the Prophet (peace be upon him) consistently performed it, it is blameworthy to consistently neglect it but not punishable.

    The obligatory prayers guard our iman and the Sunnah prayers guard our obligatory prayers. Therefore, to consistently leave the Sunnah prayers will eventually lead to the sacrifice of the obligatory prayers as well.

    We cannot however say that one will be sinful and punishable as a result of missing a Sunnah prayer since the very definition of a Sunnah in jurisprudence is an act that is recommended.

    Furthermore, in a hadeeth reported in both Bukhari and Muslim, a Bedouin asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about Islam. The Prophet responded: "five daily prayers." The Bedouin asked, "Am I obliged to perform any other prayer?" The prophet replied, "No, unless you want to do more." Then, the prophet continued, "and fasting the month of Ramadan" The Bedouin asked, "am I obliged to fast any more?" The prophet replied: " No, unless you want to do more ", the prophet continued: "and paying zakah" The Bedouin then questioned, "Am I obliged to pay any other zakah?", the prophet replied: " No, unless you want to do more" The man walked away and said, "By Allah, I will do no more nor less." The prophet said: "The Bedouin has succeeded if he is truthful."

    What I recommend to everyone who is trying to learn to pray Sunnah is to start with 2 rakaats before Fajr as they are the best of them, then be consistent with the witr, and then slowly start to pray the Sunnahs throughout the day.

    May Allah help us all make our prayers complete.

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Omar Suleiman
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Director – Islamic Learning Foundation
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