Incredible rewards for voluntary prayers!
Voluntary prayers are deeds which are greatly rewarded in Islam. We read in a hadith that the Prophet (SAW) asked Bilal (RA) at the time of Fajr prayer about what his most hopeful deed was, as the Prophet (SAW) had heard his Bilal (RA)’s footsteps before him in Paradise. We read:
Abu Huraira reported: “The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said to Bilal at the time of dawn prayer, ‘O Bilal, tell me of the most hopeful deed you practiced in Islam.
I heard the scuffle of your sandals before me in Paradise.’ Bilal said, ‘The most hopeful deed to me is that I do not perform ablution by day or night that I pray along with it as much as Allah decreed me to pray.’” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
This shows us the significance of our voluntary prayers and that they certainly help us to build up our good deeds. Indeed, Allah is Al-Kareem (The Most Generous).
In another hadith, we learn that the Prophet (SAW) prayed a voluntary prayer and then supplicated for the people of the household he prayed in. He asked Allah to give them goodness in this life and the next.
Anas reported: “The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, entered our home and it was only me, my mother, and my aunt Umm Haram. The Prophet said, ‘Stand that I may pray with you a voluntary prayer.’
He prayed with us, then supplicated for the people of the household to have every good in the world and in the Hereafter. My mother said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, here is your little servant. Supplicate to Allah for him.’ The Prophet supplicated for me to have every good and at the end of his supplication, he said, ‘O Allah, increase him in wealth, in children, and bless him in them.’” (Sahih Muslim)
We also learn that when the Prophet (SAW) arrived home in the forenoon after a journey, he would first pray voluntary prayers in the mosque.
“When the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, returned home in the forenoon after a journey, he would enter the mosque and pray two cycles before sitting down.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
This reminds us to reflect when we have returned from a journey and be grateful to Allah for our safe return.
It was advised by the Prophet (SAW) to pray voluntary prayers before the time of Maghrib prayer. In the same hadith, he added that this should be done if someone wishes to do so, as he did not want people to see those voluntary prayers as obligatory. We read in the hadith:
Abdullah ibn al-Muzanni reported: “The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ‘Pray before the sunset prayer.’ The Prophet said on the third time, ‘For whomever wishes,’ as he disliked for people to consider it an obligatory tradition.” (Sahih Bukhari)