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Why Do Extra Worship? 5 Advantages of Nawafil

Nawafil: Secrets and Fruits

The two main sources of Islam are the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). We derive all religious knowledge from them and from them only we get to know what is lawful and what is not and from them we get to know the wisdom and secrets behind things, especially the acts of worship. Below are some of the fascinating facts about the performance ofnawafil as understood from the Quran and the Sunnah:

First: Nawafil are an invincible fence designed for the protection of the fara’id and safeguarding them against weakness and/or imperfection. The one who maintains performing nawafil is believed to be much keener on performing the fara’id; and the one who neglects nawafil, his next move is expected to be neglecting the fara’id, Allah forbids!

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Customarily, Satan first encourages one to leave and quit nawafil under the pretext that they are ‘not obligatory’. If Satan succeeds in this, he takes another move with the worshipper who has been misled and subjugated by his whims and whisperings.

The performance of nawafil is an indication that the fara’id are highly protected and well-maintained. It also indicates that neglecting the fara’id is very unlikely and that the worshipper who is keen on performing the nawafil is by definition much keener on performing the fara’id.

Second: Nawafil are to be used on the Day of Judgment in a way to make up for the shortage or defect in the performance of fara’id during a Muslim’s lifetime.

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To clarify this, has anyone seen a man with a broken limb such as an arm or a leg for example?! After applying a splint to the broken member it heals and gets sound as it was. Likewise, nawafil compensates for any shortcoming or blemish that may have affected the acts of worship or fara’id during one’s lifetime. This can be understood from the following hadith that reads:

On the authority of Abu Harairah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), who said:

The first of his actions for which a servant of Allah will be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayers. If they are in order, then he will have prospered and succeeded. And if they are corrupt, then he will have failed and lost.

If there is something defective in his obligatory prayers, the Lord (glorified and exalted be He) will say: See if My servant has any supererogatory prayers with which may be completed that which was defective in his obligatory prayers. Then the rest of his actions will be judged in like fashion.(It was related by At-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and Ahmad).

Third: Since the deeds of human beings cannot be void of defects, shortcomings and/or forgetfulness, their performance of nawafil is considered to be a compensation for any of the former.

Indeed, some scholars deem nawafil as additional acts of worship only in connection to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Because his behavior, worship and morals have reached the maximum possible human perfection which has been destined by Allah for him and that he was the infallible Prophet guided by Allah and preserved by Him from all evil.

They found an indication to this in the Quran in Allah’s saying,

{Moreover, keep a Prayer vigil with it, reciting from its verses during a part of the night as an extra devotion for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you in the Hereafter to a lofty Station of Praise among all humankind}. (Al-Isra’ 17:79)

Note the expression “for you” in the above ayah as it is – according to these scholars – an indication of restricting the basic meaning of the nafilah (which means increase or an additional thing) to what is performed (i.e., all acts of worship exceeding the fara’id) by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone and that any extra acts of worship done by any other Muslim is taken to be an expiation for sins and/or a compensation for any defective act of worship as is mentioned above.

In a comment on the above ayah in the Holy Quran: English Translation of the Meanings and Commentaries, the following is stated,

“This is held to be addressed specially to the holy Prophet who usually prayed more than the five canonical prayers. The Tahajjud was a prayer after midnight, in the small watches of the morning.”

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About Dr. Ali Al-Halawani
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation Studies. He is an author, translator, and writer based in Canada. To date, Al-Halawani authored over 400 original articles on Islam and Muslims, most of which can be accessed on www.aboutislam.net and other famous websites. He has recently started to self-publish his articles and new books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle. You can reach him at [email protected]