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The Voluntary Worships of Prophet Muhammad

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do much Prayer, fasting, remembrance of God, supplication and other kinds of worship. When he performed an act of worship, he would continue with it and do it regularly. The rest of the article is a glimpse of the voluntary acts of worship of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).

His Voluntary Prayers

The Prophet never abandoned his Tahajjud Prayers and used to stand [in Prayer] until his feet were swollen. When he was asked about it, he said:

“Should I not be a grateful servant [of Allah]?” (As narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Describing his Tahajjud Prayer, the Companion Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“The other night I prayed with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he began with Surah al-Baqarah. I thought that he would bow after a hundred verses but he continued, so I thought he would pray one rak`ah with it. But then he began Surah an-Nisaa and recited it, and then Surah Aali `Imraan and recited it; and he recited slowly. When he came to a verse of praise he would praise Allah, and when he came to a verse of supplication he would supplicate, and when he came to a verse mentioning punishment he would seek refuge in Allah. Then he bowed in ruku`, saying, ‘Subhana rabbi al-`adheem.’ His ruku` was about as long as his standing. Then he said, ‘Sami`-Allahu liman hamidah’ and stood for almost as long as his ruku`. Then, he prostrated, saying, ‘Subhana rabbi al-a`la.’ His prostration was almost as long as he had been standing.” (As narrated by Muslim)

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If he missed his Tahajjud Prayer due to some reason, he used to make it up the following morning as `A’ishah reported:

“When he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) missed his Tahajjud Prayers due to pain or something else, he would pray twelve rak`ahs the next day.” (As narrated by Muslim)

Alongside the daily obligatory Prayers, the Prophet always used to pray ten rak`ahs regularly when at home: two before Dhuhr Prayer and two after it, two after Maghrib, two after `Isha and two before Fajr. He adhered more strictly to the Sunnah of Fajr than any other voluntary Prayer. He never missed these two rak`ahs or the Witr prayer, whether travelling or at home, and it was not reported that he performed any voluntary Prayers during his travels except the Sunnah of Fajr and the Witr. He would sometimes perform four rak`ahs before the Dhuhr Prayer, and once he prayed during the night reciting one verse of the Qur’an, which he kept on repeating until the morning.

His voluntary fasts:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was keen to fast on Mondays and Thursdays and said:

“Deeds are shown [to Allah] on Mondays and Thursdays, and I like to have my deeds shown while I am fasting.” (As narrated by at-Tirmidhi)

He also used to fast three days during every lunar month. Mu`adhah al-`Adawiyyah asked `A’ishah:

“Did the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fast three days of every month?”

She replied: “Yes.”

She asked:

“In which part of the month did he fast?”

`A’ishah said:

“It would not matter to him in which part of the month he fasted.” (As narrated by Muslim)

Ibn `Abbas reported:

“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would not fail to fast the days of the full moon (i.e. the 13th, 14th and 15th of the Islamic lunar months), whether at home or on a journey. (As narrated by an-Nasa’i)

Among the months other than Ramadan, he used to fast in the month of Sha`ban the most, as `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said:

“He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never fasted in any other month more than he did in Sha`ban; he used to fast nearly all of it.” (As narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet would also fast `Ashura (i.e. the tenth of Muharram) and encourage people to fast it.

His Remembrance of Allah:

As for Dhikr, the tongue of the Prophet Muhammad never ceased mentioning Allah, the Mighty and Majestic. He used to mention Allah in every condition. When he finished his Prayer he would ask Allah’s forgiveness three times and say:

“O Allah, You are peace and from You comes peace. Blessed are You, O Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (As narrated by Muslim)

After Prayers, he would also say:

“There is no god but Allah, alone, having no partner. His is sovereignty and to Him is all praise and He is over all things competent. O Allah, there is no preventer of what You grant and no granter of what You prevent, and no means will benefit a man of means against You.” (As narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

During his ruku’ (bowing) and sujud (prostration) he would also say:

“Exalted and Pure [You are, O Allah!], Lord of the angels and the spirit.” (Muslim)

His Supplication:

Anas reported that the most frequent supplication of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was:

“Our Lord, grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the Fire.” (As narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet would ask Allah’s forgiveness often. Ibn `Umar reported:

“We would count that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said a hundred times during one meeting, ‘My Lord, forgive me and accept my repentance. Indeed, You are the Oft-forgiving, the Merciful.’” (Abu Dawood and at-Tirmidhi)

Finally, a call for balance and moderation …

The Prophet Muhammad prohibited going to extremes in worship and warned against overexertion, as he said:

“Take on only what you can endure, for Allah does not lose interest until you do.”

Moreover, he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that:

“The best worship is that which is done consistently.” (As narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

[Adapted from the book “Forty Encounters with the Beloved Prophet – His Life, Manners and Characteristics” by Dr. Adel ibn ‘Ali al-Shiddy