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[Sharh Muwatta Imam Malik – Shaikh Zubair Ali Zai] – Hadith No.7 –:– The Manner of Performing the Optional [Nafl) Raka’hs

Itihaf ul-Basim Fi Tahqiq Muwatta al-Imam Malik [Talkhis al-Qabisi] Riwayah Abdur Rahman ibn al-Qasim

Tahqiq, Takhrij, Sharh

Muhadith Zubair Ali Zai

Translated Abu Ubaydah
Translated, Checked & Additional Notes
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari


The Manner of Performing the Optional [Nafl) Raka’hs

as-Sa’ib Ibn Yazid: One hadith

[7]      From Malik from Ibn Shihab from as-Sa’ib Ibn Yazid from al-Muttalib Ibn AbI Wadaa as-Sahmi that Hafsa, the wife of the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhee Was-Sallam) said, “I never saw the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhee Was-Sallam) praying nawaafil sitting, until a year before his death, when he began to pray them sitting. He would recite the surah with a measured slowness so that it would seem to be longer than other Surahs which were actually longer than it.”


Ibn Shihab az-Zuhri clarified hearing this hadeeth from Sa”ib Ibn Yazid (RadhiAllaahu Anhu)) in Ibn Hibbaan (al-Ihsaan: (no.2521),or: (no.2530))


Al-Muwatta (Yahya’s narration (1/137 hadeeth no.307, book 8, chapter 7, hadeeth no.21  at-Tamheed (6/220) and al-Istidhkaar (no.277)

Transmitted by Muslim (no.733) from the hadeeth of Maalik.


1.Hafidh Ibn Abdul Barr said, “In the Arabic language the basis of salah is dua, however the Shariah name is  superior because it is decisive over its linguistic meaning.” [At-Tamheed [6/221]

2. Praying Nafl (optional) standing is more virtuous, praying them whilst purposely sitting down without any valid legislated reason in the Shari’ah is not indicative of reward.

3. The Majestic Qur’aan should be recited slowly, in a good way, with consideration, concern and pondering.

4. Standing whilst praying the nafl should be long and lengthy according to ones capability.

5. It is highly recommended to recite the Quran abundantly in the Nafl prayer.

6. It is permissible to sit and pray if their is a legislated reason.

7. There is only half the reward for praying whilst sitting however our Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) would receive the full reward for praying whilst sitting.

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  1. Does this also prove that he was reciting out loud as Hafsa was able to hear his recitation and described it as slow and measured? jazakumullahu khaira was salamu alaikum

    • It is possible the recitation may have been loud or slightly audible however there are possible reasons, i.e. the occasional higher tone whilst reciting some ayat which allowed Hafsah RadhiAllahu Anha to make this deduction, or she may have asked the Messenger of Allah Salalalhu Alayhi Wasallam, or the he may have informed her. So there are a few possibilities. Nonetheless there is no restriction in reciting loudly in the nawafil prayer as well as doing this in congregation. The evidence for this is the companions would pray with the Messenger of Allah and then return to their respective communities and lead them in the obligatory as well as optional prayers and they would recite loudly. Allah knows best

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