The virtues of Duha prayer are vast, uplifting, life-changing, and of immense benefit to those who implement the habit of praying it on a daily basis. What follows is an in-depth description of Duha prayer for readers who prefer to understand the full context of the prayer, including its definition, description, recommended times, virtues and rewards, number of rak’ahs, and related questions. For readers who are looking to quickly skim through the inspirational virtues, scroll down to “Virtues & Rewards of Duha Prayer”.
DEFINITION OF DUHA PRAYER
Duḥa is linguistically defined as the time of sunrise.
The jurisprudential definition: It is an optional two-rakʿah prayer that the Prophet ﷺ prayed frequently and advised the companions to pray, and its time is between sunrise and Dhuhr.
The ruling is that Duha prayer is a sunnah mu’akkadah (confirmed Sunnah), which entails massive rewards and blessings if established, but there is no sin on the one who leaves it.
DESCRIPTION OF DUHA PRAYER
Duha (forenoon or “chasht”) prayer, also referred to as Salāt al-Awwābeen (the prayer of the oft-repentant), is prayed like most other voluntary prayers in that you pray two units and you end the prayer with the tasleem to the right and left. If you wish to pray more than two units, then you may pray as many as you wish, two units at a time.
The Prophet ﷺ said,
| The [voluntary] prayers of the day and night are to be offered two by two. [at-Tirmidhi 597 and Ibn Mājah 1322]|
What is meant by two by two?
Ibn ʿUmar (RA) said,
|“Saying the tasleem after each two rakʿahs.” [Muslim]|
The time of Duha begins after the sun fully rises and it ends approximately 15 minutes before Dhuhr prayer. The most preferred time for Duha prayer is at the hottest part of the day, when the sun has reached its zenith (its highest point), and this is approximately halfway between sunrise and Dhuhr prayer.
The Prophet ﷺ said,
| The prayer of those who are repentant is observed when your weaned camels feel the heat of the sun. [Sahih Muslim 748]|
VIRTUES & REWARDS OF DUHA PRAYER
1. It fulfils charity on every joint in your body.
The Prophet ﷺ said,
| In the morning, every single joint of yours must pay a sadaqah (charity). Every SubhanAllah is a sadaqah, every Alhamdulillāh is a sadaqah, every La Ilaha Illa Allah is a sadaqah, every Allahu Akbar is a sadaqah, every commanding good is a sadaqah, and every forbidding evil is a sadaqah, and all this is accomplished through two rakʿahs one can pray in Duha [prayer]. [Sahih Muslim 720]|
This hadith emphasizes the status and virtue of Duha prayer, two rakʿahs of which is sufficient as a charity on behalf of every joint in the body, and a sign of genuine gratitude to Allah (swt).
2. It is the prayer of the oft-repentant.
The Prophet ﷺ said,
| None is diligent in establishing Duha prayer except one who is oft-repentant (awwāb), and it is the prayer of the oft-repentant. [Reported by Ibn Khuzaymah; authentic according to the conditions of Muslim. Sahih at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb 1/164]|
The term “Salat al-Awwabeen” comes from this narration, in which the Messenger ﷺ emphasizes that only the oft-repentant are persistent in praying Duha prayer habitually. Thus, one of the signs of true repentance is to return to Allah (swt) by not only cutting off a major sin, but striving diligently to increase in one’s voluntary deeds, especially the optional prayers.
3. It was an advice from the Messenger himself.
Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported,
|“My beloved (the Prophet ﷺ) advised me to do three things, which I will never abandon so long as I live: to fast three days of each month, to pray two rak’ahs of Duha prayer, and not to sleep until I pray Witr.” [Sahih al-Bukhāri 1981]|
Imam al-Qurtubi (RH) said,
|“The advice of the Prophet ﷺ to Abu Hurayrah and Abu ad-Dardā’ indicates the virtues of Duha prayer, and the vast rewards of the prayer as well as its significance; thus, both companions safeguarded this habit and never abandoned it.” [al-Qurtubi, Al-Mufhim Lima Ushkila min Talkhīs Kitab Muslim]|
4. Under certain conditions, the reward for praying it is equivalent to a complete Hajj and ʿUmrah.
The Prophet ﷺ said,
| Whoever prays the Fajr prayer then sits in his place of prayer remembering Allah until sunrise, then prays two rakʿahs, shall be rewarded as if he had performed Hajj and ʿUmrah, with a reward that is complete, complete, complete. [at-Tirmidhi 586, al-Mundhiri in at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb 1/220, and Sahih al-Jāmiʿ 6346]|
Note: This doesn’t fulfill the requirement to perform Hajj.
5. Forgiveness of one’s sins.
Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
| Whoever regularly prays the two rakʿahs of Duha, his sins are forgiven even if they are like [the vastness of] the foam of the sea. [at-Tirmidhi 476 and Ibn Mājah 1382. This narration is weak according to some scholars, but strengthened by multiple reports according to others]|
The Prophet ﷺ also said,
| If anyone sits in his place of prayer when he finishes the dawn prayer till he prays the two rakʿahs of the forenoon prayer, saying nothing but what is good, his sins will be forgiven even if they are more than the foam of the sea. [Abu Dāwūd 1287, Ibn Ḥajar in Takhreej Mishkāt al-Masābeeh 2/74, and al-Mundhiri in at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb 2/221]|
6. Equivalent to ʿUmrah and a lofty position.
Abu Umāmah (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
| If anyone leaves his home after performing ablution for the prescribed prayer in congregation (in the mosque), his reward will be like that of one who goes for Hajj after wearing (the clothes of) ihram. And he who goes out for the forenoon (Duha) prayer, and takes the trouble solely for this purpose, will have the reward like that of a person who performs ʿUmrah. And a prayer followed by a prayer with no worldly talk during the gap between them will be recorded in ʿIlliyyūn [Illiyyūn: The record of the righteous, or a high place for the righteous after death]. [Abu Dāwūd 558, Sahih al-Jāmiʿ 6556, al-Mundhiri in at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb 1/320, al-Khulāsaof an-Nawawi 1/313]|
7. Allah will suffice you!
The Prophet ﷺ said,
| Allah the Exalted says: ‘O Son of Adam, do not be heedless of praying 4 rak’ahs for Me in the beginning of your day and (as a result) I shall be your sufficiency at its end.’ [Abu Dāwūd 1289, Musnad Ahmad 22469, al-Haythami 2/239, and Sahih at-Targheeb 672]|
In another narration:
|“Allah the Exalted says: ‘O Son of Adam, pray to Me in the beginning of the day with four units and I shall thereby suffice you at the end (of it).’” [at-Tirmidhi 475, Sunan al-Bayhaqi 4786, Sahih Ibn Hibbān 2534, Ibn Ḥajar in Takhreej Mishkāt al-Masābeeh 2/73, and Sahih al-Jāmiʿ 4339]|
The meaning of “suffice” in these narrations, according to various scholars, includes the protection of Allah from all evil and harm, protection against misguidance and sinfulness, alleviation of anxiety and worries, and forgiveness for one’s shortcomings during that day, or a combination of any of the above. Reflect on the fact that Allah, the Creator and Sustainer, will Himself suffice you of any of your worldly needs in ways that you cannot begin to imagine.
The scholars differed about whether this hadith refers to 4 units of Duha prayer or if it refers to Fajr prayer with its sunnah. The scholars who held the view that the hadeeth refers to Duha prayer include Abu Dāwūd, at-Tirmidhi, al-Irāqi, Ibn Rajab, and others. The wise believer, therefore, would strive to implement both views – Fajr and its sunnah as well as four units of Duha prayer – in order to maximize the reward, protection, and blessings.
8. A palace of gold in Paradise.
Anas b. Mālik (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
| Whoever prays twelve rak’ahs of Duha, Allah will build for him a palace of gold in Paradise. [Classified as hasan by Ibn Ḥajar in Takhreej Mishkāt al-Māsabih 2/74 and Ibn al-Mulqin in Tuḥfatul Muhtāj 1/415. Classified as ghareeb by at-Tirmidhi, and daʿeef by al-Albāni]|
Abu ad-Dardā’ (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
| Whoever prays Duha will not be written amongst the heedless (people), and whoever prays four (rak’ahs) will be written amongst the worshipers, and whoever prays six (rak’ahs), it will suffice him on that day, and whoever prays 8 (rak’ahs) will be written amongst the pious, and whoever prays 12 rakʿahs, Allah will build for him a palace in Paradise. [Its narrators are trustworthy according to al-Mundhiri in at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb 1/320 and as-Safāreeni in Sharh Thulāthiyyat al-Musnad 2/306, and weak according to al-Albāni in Da’eef at-Targheeb 405]|
NUMBER OF RAK’AHS
5.1 Minimum number of rak’ahs
The minimum for Duha prayer is 2 rak’ahs according to scholarly consensus. [Al-Mawsuʿah al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 225]
5.2 Maximum number of rak’ahs
There is no clear report that indicates a restriction on the number of rak’ahs for Duha prayer; however, there are three common opinions on the matter:
First opinion: 8 Rak’ahs This is the opinion of Mālikis and Ḥanbalis based on the following report,
It was narrated from Umm Hāni’ bint Abu Tālib that on the day of the Opening (of Makkah), the Messenger of Allah ﷺ prayed Duha with eight rakʿahs, saying the salaam after each two rakʿahs. [Sunan Ibn Mājah 1323]
Umm Hāni’ said,
|“I never saw the Prophet ﷺ offering a lighter prayer than that [Duha] prayer, but he was performing perfect bowing and prostrations.” [Sahih al-Bukhāri 4292]|
The Mālikis considered it makrooh (disliked) to pray more than 8 rak’ahs if the additional prayers were with the intention of Duha, [The response to this is that any prayer performed at that time is considered Duha regardless, rather than only a nafl mutlaq (general voluntary prayer)] and they considered 6 rak’ahs to be moderate and preferred. [ad-Dusqooi, Hāshiyat ad-Dusooqi, 1/313]
Second opinion: 12 Rak’ahs This is the opinion of the Hanafis, Shāfiʿis, [The opinion of the Shāfiʿis, according to an-Nawawi, is 12 rakʿahs. Al-Majmūʾ 4/36] and one of the views of the Ḥanbalis, [Al-Mawsuʿah al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 226] based on the aforementioned narration,
|“Whoever prays Duha with twelve rakʿahs, Allah will build for him a palace of gold in Paradise.”|
This narration is weak [Ibn ʿĀbideen stated: What has been repeated (by many scholars) is that a weak narration may be acted upon for virtuous deeds. Hāshiyat Ibn ʿĀbideen, 1/459] according to most scholars of hadeeth; however, even if it reached a unanimous level of soundness, the narration would not necessarily indicate a maximum restriction on the number of units one can pray.
Third opinion: Unrestricted
This is the opinion held by al-Aswad b. Yazīd (d. 75/694), Ibrahīm an-Nakhaʿī (d. 96/714), at-Tirmidhi (d. 279/892), al-ʿIrāqi (d. 806/1403), as-Suyūti (d. 911/1505), and many of the earlier and later scholars, as well as this author’s preferred opinion due to its evidence and reasoning.
Al-ʿIraqi (r) says, in his commentary on Sunan at-Tirmidhi,
|“None of the companions or [their] successors are known to have restricted it to twelve rakʿahs.” [As-Suyūti (RH) agreed with this opinion]|
Ibrahīm an-Nakhaʿī (RH) reports that al-Aswad b. Yazīd was asked, “How many rakʿahs are to be prayed for Duha?” He answered: “As many as you wish.”
In other words, there is no restriction on how many optional prayers you can pray at the time of Duha, and as the reports indicate, none of the companions or their successors were known to have restricted Duha prayer to twelve rakʿahs. Therefore, any nafl mutlaq (general optional prayer) prayed between sunrise and Dhuhr would fall under the category of Duha prayer, and Allah knows best.
5.3 Preferred number of rak’ahs
Even within each madhhab, the scholars held different opinions about the preferred number of rak’ahs to pray for Duha prayer as a habit.
The Mālikis preferred 6 rak’ahs, [ad-Dusqooi, Hāshiyat ad-Dusooqi, 1/313] the Hanafis preferred 4 or 8 rak’ahs, [Al-Haskafi, ad-Durr al-Mukhtār 1/459] the Shāfiʿis preferred 8 rak’ahs, [An-Nawawi, Rawdat at-Tālibeen, 1/332] and the Ḥanbalis did not specify a preferred number of rak’ahs.
Based on the authentic aforementioned evidences, what seems to be most preferable – and Allah knows best – is to pray at least 4 rakʿahs, as two individual units, based on the following two narrations:
1. ‘Aishah (RA) said,
|“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to observe four rak’ahs in the forenoon prayer and he sometimes observed more as Allah pleased.” [Sahih Muslim 719]|
2. The Prophet ﷺ said,
| Allah the Exalted says: ‘O Son of Adam, do not be heedless of praying 4 rakʿahs for Me in the beginning of your day, and (as a result) I shall be your sufficiency at its end.’ [Abu Dāwūd 1289, Musnad Ahmad 22469, al-Haythami 2/239, and Sahih at-Targheeb 672]|
QUESTIONS PERTAINING TO DUHA PRAYER
Q: Can it be prayed while the sun is rising?
No, that time is forbidden for prayer. The sun takes approximately 15-20 minutes to fully rise, so wait from the beginning of the known time of ‘sunrise’ for at least 15 minutes.
Q: Do I have to stand while praying Duha prayer?
No. It is permissible to pray a voluntary (sunnah) prayer while sitting, whether at home, at work, in a moving vehicle, or elsewhere, but the reward is decreased significantly if one has the physical ability to stand. [Based on the narration, “Whoever prays while standing, that is better, and whoever prays while sitting will have half the reward of one who prays standing.” Reported in Sahih al-Bukhāri 1116, Ibn Majah, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i. This applies to voluntary prayers] Nevertheless, it is lawful to sit, and in the case that one would not pray Duha unless they were able to sit, for whatever circumstances, then it is encouraged to pray it while sitting if that is the only option.
Q: Do I have to recite a specific surah in Duha prayer?
The Shāfiʿi opinion [ar-Ramli, Nihāyatul Muhtāj, 2/112] is to recite Sūrat al-Kāfiroon in the first rakʿah and Sūrat al-Ikhlās in the second rakʿah, due to the massive rewards of reciting both suwar.[It was narrated, “Qul Huwallāhu Aḥad is equivalent to one-third of the Qur’an, and Qul Yā Ayyuhal Kāfiroon is equivalent to one-fourth of the Qur’an.” Sahih Muslim 811 and Sahih al-Jāmiʿ 4405] The Hanafi opinion [Ibn ʿĀbideen, Hāshiyat Ibn ʿĀbideen, 1/458] is to recite Sūrat ash-Shams in the first rakʿah and Sūrat ad-Duha in the second rakʿah, based on a narration [Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bāri, 3/55] that is considered by some scholars to be fabricated. [Classified as mawdooʿ in as-Silsilah ad-Daʿeefah 3774] What seems to be most correct is that there is nothing clearly authentic narrated about the matter, so you may recite any sūrah you wish after Sūrat al-Fātihah.
Q: For the reward of Hajj and Umrah, can a woman receive this reward if she prays at home?Q: For the reward of Hajj and Umrah, does one need to remain in the same spot they prayed, or can they move about the prayer area?
There is a known difference of opinion about this matter; some scholars were of the view that moving about the mosque is fine because the entire masjid is considered the prayer place, while others emphasized the importance of staying in one’s particular prayer place due to several narrations, including the following:
I (Samik) asked Jābir b. Samurah: Did you sit in the company of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ? He replied,
| Yes, very often. He would not stand from the place he prayed the dawn prayer till the sunrise. When the sun rose, he would stand (to pray Duha). [Abu Dāwūd 1294]|
Ibn Ḥajar [d. 852/1449] stated,
|“The ‘place of prayer’ referred to in the hadith is the place in which the prayer took place (i.e., the masjid) … so if the individual moves about to another area within the masjid with the intention of waiting to pray (the Ishraq/Duha prayer), he will have the same (reward).” [Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bāri, 2/136]|
Zain ad-Deen al-ʿIrāqi [d. 806/1403] stated,
|“What is meant by ‘prayer place’? Does it refer to the specific place a person prays in, and moving about the masjid would cause him to lose the reward (of Hajj and Umrah)? Or does the prayer place refer to the entire masjid he prayed in? Perhaps it is both of these meanings and most likely the second meaning is more apparent and correct.” [al-ʿIrāqi, Ṭarḥ at-Tathreeb, 2/367]|
Q: Is it permissible to pray Duha prayer in congregation?
Some voluntary prayers are recommended to always be performed in congregation, such as the prayer for rain, the eclipse prayers, and taraweeh. Other prayers, such as the greeting of the masjid, Duha prayer, and the regular voluntary prayers, are generally to be prayed alone, but it is permissible to infrequently pray the latter in congregation.
Thus, it is permissible to infrequently pray Duha in congregation, but most of the narrations describing the Prophet ﷺ praying Duha were not in congregation, and praying it in congregation should not become a habit as that would contradict the sunnah. As for narrations which indicate that it is permissible, we have the following report:
Abu ‘Abdullah said: Abu Hurayrah (RA) said,
|“The Prophet ﷺ advised me to offer two rakʿahs of Duha prayer.” Itbān b. Mālik (RA) said, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ and Abu Bakr came to me after sunrise and we aligned behind the Prophet ﷺ and offered two rakʿahs.” [Sahih al-Bukhāri 1171]|
Q: Ishraq (or Shurooq) prayer – what is its relation to Duha prayer?
Some scholars specified that Ishrāq prayer was the prayer of 2 rak’ahs performed after one has remained in their prayer spot until sunrise – mentioned in virtue #4 above – and has the reward of a complete Hajj and Umrah; therefore, it is the earliest possible Duha prayer. Others, and this can be observed in many classical books of fiqh, stated that there is no difference between the two prayers, since any prayer between sunrise and Dhuhr falls under the category of “Duha”, including these two rak’ahs, and Allah knows best.
1. Set your intention now to begin praying Duha prayer habitually in order to obtain its vast rewards, blessings, and virtues, and encourage others to pray it habitually as well.
2. Take action! If necessary, set repeated reminders for yourself to establish this new habit.
3. Try to encourage your loved ones by striving for the reward of Hajj and Umrah together, particularly on days in which it is possible to remain in your prayer place until sunrise.
4. Share this article with others in order to maximize their reward and yours too.
May Allah grant us the vast blessings and virtues of Duha prayer, sound knowledge, and consistent implementation.(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)