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Salat, The Prayer   Wudhu, Ablution for Prayer  Types of Prayer   Salat's Raka`at   Prayer Timings   Mosque and its significance


Types of Prayers

There are four types of Prayers:
Fardh Sunnah Wajib Nawafil
1. Fardh
Fardh is an Arabic world, which means compulsory or obligatory. The Five daily prayer i.e., Fajr, Dhuhr, 'Asr, Magrhib and 'Isha are obligatory prayers. It is a sin to intentionally skip a Fardh Prayer. If a prayer is missed because of forgetfulness or due to some unavoidable circumstances, then offering the missed Prayer as soon as possible will rectify this mistake.
2. Sunnah
The Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, offered extra Raka'at of Prayer in addition to those of Fardh Prayers. These are called Sunnah Prayers. It is considered necessary by all jurists to offer these prayers. The willful neglect of Sunnah Prayers is censurable in the sight of Allah.

Following are the Sunnah Prayers:

a. Two Rak'at of Sunnah Prayer should be offered before the Fardh Prayer of Fajr. However, if a person joins the congregation without having offered Sunnah due to circumstances beyond his control, he can offer these after the Fardh prayer.
b. Four Rak'at of Sunnah Prayer before Fardh and two Rak'at after the Fardh in Dhuhr Prayer. In case one is unable to perform four Rak'at Sunnah before the Fardh in Dhuhr Prayer, one should offer these after the congregational Fardh Prayer. (Note: Followers of Hanfi school of thought offer two Sunnat while some other Muslims offer four Sunnat after Fardh in Dhuhr Prayer.)
c. Two Rak'at of Sunnah after the Fardh of Maghrib Prayer.
d. Two Rak'at of Sunnah after the Fardh of 'Isha Prayer.
3. Wajib
Wajib prayers are necessary and willful neglect is considered sinful. However, if someone misses any of these due to unavoidable circumstances, Qadha (make-up of missed prayer) is not required.

The following are Wajib Prayers:

a. Three Rak'at of Vitr after 'Isha
b. Two Rak'at of Eidul-Fitr and Two Rak'at of Eidul-Adha
c. Two Rak'at are offered while performing the Tawaaf of K'aba.
4. Nawafil
Nawafil plural form of an Arabic word Nafl which means voluntary or optional prayer.
Following are some of the Nawafil Prayers:
a. Eight Rak'at of Tahajjud
b. Two Rak'at after the four/two Rak'at of Sunnah at the end of Dhuhr Prayer
c. Four Rak'at before Fardh of 'Asr Prayer
d. Two Rak'at after the two Rak'at at the end of Maghrib Prayer
e. Four Rak'at of Ishraaq Prayer
f. Two Rak'at offered when one enters a mosque
g. Two Rak'at offered when seeking blessing fro God Almighty
h. Two Rak'at offered as Salat-ul-Hajaat
i. Two Rak'at offered as Thanksgiving Prayer
One may offer as many Nawafil Prayers as one wish. However, Nawafil should not be offered during the forbidden times for Prayers. Nawafil should not be offered between 'Asr and Maghrib Prayer. It is preferable to offer Nawafil Prayers at home rather than in a mosque. However, it is matter of personal choice and there is no compulsion in this matter. 

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