“Deal with optional actions as if they are obligatory.”
– Ali Ibn Ahmad / Khilasat al athar, 3/401
Here are 18 voluntary acts from the Sunnah of Allah’s Beloved (peace be upon him) that are jewels left behind for those who truly desire the fragrance of Paradise and the Pleasure of Allah, Most High.
1] Fasting the white days: Messenger of Allah said, “Fasting three days every month is equivalent to fasting continuously.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
- Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not fail to fast the white days either when at home or on a journey.” [Nasai]
- Refers to the 13th, 14th and 15th day of every month
2] Tahiyat al Wudu: The Prophet said, “There is no Muslim who performs ablution properly, than gets up and offers two rak’at turning to them wholeheartedly, except that Paradise becomes necessary for him.” (Muslim) / “Oh Bilal, tell me about a work that you are most hopeful about (being rewarded for) from the works you have done in Islam, for I heard the thumping of your sandals in front of me in Jannah.” He said, “I did not do a work more hopeful to me, except that I never performed ablution in an hour of night or day without praying with that ablution what was written for me to pray.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
- The Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever of you performs Wudu’ carefully and then affirms: ‘Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallahu Wahdahu la sharika Lahu, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa Rasuluhu the eight gates of Jannah are opened for him. He may enter through whichever of these gates he desires to enter.” [Muslim]
3] Salat al Duha: The Prophet said 12 rakats of salatul Duha are rewarded by a castle of gold build for him in Jannah by Allah [Mishkat al Masabih] and 2 rakats of salatul duha results in all his sins being forgiven even if they are as much as the foam of the sea [ibid].
- Duha is performed when ¼ of the day has passed from Fajr and the sun has risen quite high such that the camels hooves begin to burn [Halabi in Sharh Kabeer, pg. 390].
- Be careful not to hit zawal time which is roughly 5 – 10 minutes before dhuhr.
4] Ishraq: The Prophet said, “Whoever performs fajr in jama’ and remains seated in worship until shurooq time and then performs 2 rakat nawafil prayer, then he will receive the reward of hajj and umrah.” [Tirmidhi]
- Minimum amount is 2 rakat and the recommended amount is 4. [Bahisti zewar, pg. 30]
- If you cant pray fajr in congregation due to a valid excuse, you may pray alone and be entitled to the same reward.
6] 6 rakats after maghrib: The Prophet said, “Whoever prays, after the Maghrib, 6 rakat without talking of anything indecent in between them, it would be equivalent to 12 years of worship for him.” [Tirmidhi]
- “Indecent” means without speaking about wordly (dunyawi) matters.
- Pray it after 2 rakats of sunnah and your post-salah Dhikr
7] 12 rakat nawafil during the day: The Prophet said, “A house will be built in Paradise for every Muslim who offers twelve units of Prayers other than the obligatory ones in day and night, to seek pleasure of Allah.” [Muslim]
- Typically refer to the sunnan before the Fara’id, but include general nawafil too such as Tahajjud, tahiyatain and Ishraaq etc.
- The Prophet said, “Has Allah not rendered for you the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation equal to Hajj, and the Fajr prayer in congregation equal to Umrah?” [Muslim]
8] Dhikr after Fard salat: The Prophet said, “O Messenger of Allah! The rich took the reward of akhirah, they do Hajj and we do not; they engage in jihaad, and we do not. So the Prophet, said, ” Shall I not tell you a thing upon which if you acted you would catch up with those who have surpassed you? Nobody would overtake you and you would be better than the people amongst whom you live except those who would do the same. Say Subhan Allah, Alhamdulillah and Allahuakbar 33 times each after every Fard Salat.” [Bukhari]
- This is a Bukhari narration, different narrations have different wording and instructions.
- Pray the sunnan prayers after the fard and then do these adkhar (plural of Dhikr). [Imdad al Fattah, pg. 328]
9] Ayat al Kursi: The Prophet said, “The one who recites ayat al kursi after every obligatory prayer, then death will be the only thing preventing him from entering pradadise.” [Ibn Hibban]
10] Repeating the adhan: The Prophet said, “Whoever repeats the words of the muadhin with conviction will enter Paradise.” [Muslim]
- It is preferred that whoever is listening to the adhan repeat it with the caller, except for the two “hayya ‘alas-salah, hayya ‘alal-falah” phrases, after which he should say “La haula wa la quwatah illa billah.” [Fiqh as-sunnah, vol. 1, pg. 99]
11] 4 Sunnan of dhuhr: Prophet said, “Whoever performs the four rakaats before and after the Zuhr salat with constancy, Allah Ta’ala makes the fire of Hell haram (forbidden) for him.” [Mishkat, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Nasai & Ibn Majah]
- The order is as follows: 4 sunnah Dhuhr 2 sunnah 2 nawafil
12] Tahajjud prayer: The Prophet said, “Oh people, spread the salutations, feed the people, keep the ties of kinship, and pray during the night while the others sleep and you will enter Paradise in peace.” [Al Hakim, Ibn Majah & Tirmidhi]
- If you miss Tahajjud, you can pray it at Duha time (Shama’il Baab fi Ibada)
- If you cant wake up for Tahajjud, recite last 2 verses of surah kahf (Tafsir Tha’labi and Maariful Quran)
- Recite the longest suwar you know and recite surah ikhlaas
- Pray your Witr after Tahajjud
13] Salatul Tasbih: The Prophet said, “He who performs this prayer will have his past and future sins forgiven & he also said, “O ‘Abbas, O Uncle, shall I not give you, shall I not present to you, shall I not donate to you, shall I not tell you ten things which, if you do, Allah will forgive your first and last sins, past and present sins, intentional and unintentional sins, private and public sins? [Abu Dawood & Tirmidhi]
- Takes about half an hour, try to do it once a week on Friday
- Do not count tasbih on your hand if you can remember it [Radd al Muhtar]
14] Freedom from hypocrisy and Hell fire: The Prophet said, “Whoever pray in congregation for 40 days wherein he makes the first takbeer (takbeer tahriman), freedom from 2 things are written for him: From the hell-fire and from hypocrisy.” [Tirmidhi, declared Hasan by Al Baani]
15] One years worship per step: The Prophet said, “The person who has a bath on Friday and goes early to the mosque on foot, and not by a vehicle, listens to the khutbah and does not do any foolish act while it is being delivered, will get the reward of one year’s worship, one year’s fasting, and one year’s prayer; for every step that he takes.” [Tirmidhi]
16] Raised amongst the Prophets: The Prophet said, “Whoever recites Surah Qadr once after wudu’ will be recorded among the truthful. Whoever recites it twice will be recorded among martyrs. Whoever recites it three times will be resurrected among prophets.” [Daylami]
17] Freedom from the hell-fire: The Prophet said, “When you finish the Maghrib prayer, say ‘O Allah, save me from the Fire’ (Allahumma ajirni min al-nar) seven times. If you do so and then die that night, you will be granted protection from the Fire. And do the same after the Fajr prayer, and if you die during the day, you will be granted protection from the Fire.” [Abu Dawood]
18] Safety from the punishment of the grave: The Prophet said, “Whoever recites surah mulk at night, it will protect him from the punishment of the grave.” [Nasai]
- Other hadith mention that it will intercede for its reciter until he is forgiven (Ibn Hibban) and “It defended whoever recited it until it put him into paradise.” (Fath al Qadir, 5/257 / Sahih al Jami’a, 1/680, / Tabarani in Al Aswat)
- It should be recited after ‘isha
Rewarding forms of Dhikr:
a. The Prophet said, “Who ever says, ‘Radheetu billaahi Rabban, wa bil Islaami deenan, wa bi-Muhammadin Nabiyyan’ (I am pleased with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion and with Muhammad as my Prophet, Jannah becomes obligatory for him to ente). [Abu Dawood]
The Prophet said, “Whoever recites (the above)…4 times in the morning or evening, hell fire becomes forbidden for him.” [Fortress of a Muslim]
c. 100 of these is unparalleled to anything else: The Prophet said, “Whoever says ‘Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi’ (Allah is free from imperfection and to Him belongs all the praise) 100 times a day, all his sins will be wiped out even if they are equal to the extent of the foam of the ocean.” [Bukhari & Muslim] / “Whoever says at morning and evening time, one hundred times, none shall come on the Day of Resurrection with anything better except someone who has said the same or more. [Muslim]
- Takes literally less than 3 minutes
d. Dhikr of this makes Jannah guaranteed: The Prophet said that Whoever says Allahumma anta Rabbi la ilaha illa anta, Anta Khalaqtani wa ana abduka, wa ana ‘ala ahdika wa wa’dika mastata’tu, A’udhu bika min Sharri ma sana’tu, abu’u Laka bini’matika ‘alaiya, wa Abu Laka bidhanbi faghfirli innahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa anta during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise. [Bukhari]
e. Miscellaneous adhkar: The Prophet said, “Whoever seeks forgiveness for believing men and believing woman, Allah will write for him a good deed for each believing man and believing woman.” [Tabarani]
- Say “Allahummagh firli muslimeena wal muslimaat wal mu’minina wal mu’minaat.”
f. 2 more amazing adhkar: The Prophet said, If anyone recites two hundred times daily, surah ikhlaas, the sins of fifty years will be wiped out, unless he is in debt.” [Tirmidhi and Darimi (Darimi’s version reported it as ’50 times’, not 200)]
Prophet said: “Whoever enters a market and says: ‘Laa ilaaha ill Allah Wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahul Mulku Wa lahul Hamdu yuhyi Wa yumeetu Wa huwa Hayyun laa yamoot, bi yadihil khayr, wahuwa ‘alaa kulli shay’ in qadeer’ Allah will write for him a million good deeds erase a million of his bad deeds and build for him a house in Jannah.” [Bukhari]
Source: 18 pathways to Jannah