As-salam Aleikum. Can you please explain to me about an optional prayer called salatul awwaabeen, after maghrib and before Isha? Please explain also different views from schools of law.
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Thanks for your question, and we implore Allah earnestly to increase your knowledge about Islam and to grant you religious commitment.
In the first place, we would like to clarify that Awwabin are the plural of Awwab and this refers to the one who is obedient, or one who turns to obedience.
Salat al-Awwabin is the other name of Salat- ad-Duha according to the greatest majority of Muslim scholars. They derive this fact from the many Prophetic hadiths narrated in this regard. Salat al-Awwabin consists of 2, 4, 6 or 8 Rak’ahs, prayed after the sun has risen and before the time for Zuhr approaches. It is better to delay it until the day is hotter.
Zayd ibn Arqam (may Allah be pleased with him) said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) went out to the people of Qubaa’ and found them praying. He said: “Salat al-Awwabin is when the young camels lift up their feet (because of the heat of the sand).” (Reported by Muslim)
With all the above in mind, some Muslim jurists especially the Shafi`ies state that Salat al-Awwabin refers to optional prayer between Maghrib and `Isha. They stated that this optional prayer consists of 6 Rak`has. They quoted that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying, “He who performs 6 Rak`has after Maghrib while not supplicating against others, it will be as if he has worshipped Allah for twelve consecutive years.ž
Al-Mawirdi stated that the above prayer referred to in the hadith is known as Salat al-Awwabin, and the Prophet used to perform it after Maghrib.
Based on what is mentioned above, we can conclude that there are two interpretations for Salat al-Awwabin, and both the two interpretation refer to voluntary prayer (i.e. whether Duha prayer or the prayer after Maghrib). Each opinion has its supporting evidence as clarified above. Hence, one can’t be dubbed as doing something wrong if he considers Salat al-Awwabin to be the other name of Duha prayer or to the optional prayer after Maghrib.