The Sunnah (voluntary) Prayers of the Obligatory ‘Asr Prayer – Sunday 5th May, 2013
It is a recommended Sunnah act to offer two rak’ah voluntary prayers after ‘Asr prayer. Narrated A’isha (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) never abandoned offering two rak’ah (voluntary prayer) before Fajr (Dawn prayer) or two rak’ah (voluntary prayer) after the ‘Asr Prayer. [As-Silsilah as-Saheeha authenticated by Al-Bani: no.2420, and no. 3174]
Shaykh Albani (Rahimahullaah) said, “Many people do not know that it is recommended Sunnah act to offer two rak’ah voluntary prayers after ‘Asr prayer. It is reported by Muslim on the authority of ‘Aisha (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) that she said, “Any time the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) entered upon me after offering the obligatory ‘Asr prayer, he offered two rak’ah Sunnah prayer.” [also reported by an-Nasaa’i and authenticated by Al- Albani no. 574]
It is correct that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was occupied from offering the two rak’ah sunnah prayer after Dhuhr prayer and he made them up after the ‘Asr prayer. However, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) continued offering them (these two ra’kah) and it became a Sunnah.
On these occasions, it is incumbent upon us to remember another fact which many became heedless of. There is a hadeeth which mentions clearly that no salaat is to be offered after ‘Asr prayer until the sun sets. What is meant here is the prohibition of the time from when the sun becomes yellow (during its setting) and not directly after the ‘Asr prayer.
In addition to the aforementioned hadeeths of ‘Aisha (Radhia-Allaahu ‘anha), Muslim reported a Hadeeth on the authority of ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib (Radhia-Allaahu ‘anhu) who said, that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, concerning the ‘Asr prayer: “No prayer should be offered after ‘Asr except when the sun is high (i.e. in its early time).” [As-Silsilah as –Saheeh no.528/7]
Accordingly, it is prescribed to offer the salaat if the sun is white and high and does not decline for setting. This hadeeth of Ali bin Abi Talib (Radhia-Allaahu ‘anhu) restricts the known ahadeeth which are generally saying, ‘No Salaat is to be offered after the ‘Asr until the sun sets.’ [Agreed upon]. Accordingly we say, ‘No salaat is to be offered except when the sun is high and clear.” Similarly, we have the hadeeth of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in which he says, “Do not be keen to offer the salaat at the setting of the sun”( i.e. when it is yellow) Before the sun becomes yellow, it is permissible to offer the salaat. In this way all the ahaadeeth become joined together without contradictions and one can offer two rak’ah Sunnah prayer after the ‘Asr as he can offer two or four before according to the following Hadeeths: “There is a salaat between the two adhaans (i.e. adhaan and iqammah), there is a salaat between the two adhaans. And while saying it the third time he added, ” for the one who wants to (pray).” [Al-Bukhari] because he didn’t want people to take it as obligatory.
He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) also said, “May Allaah have mercy on a person who prays four rak’ah before the Asr prayer.” [Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawoud and at-Tirmidhi]
In Conclusion: The person is allowed to offer four Rak’at Sunnah prayer before the ‘Asr prayer or at least two Rak’ah prayer. Similarly, he is allowed to offer after Asr prayer two Rak’ah Sunnah or more until the sun starts to become yellow and to set at which it becomes forbidden.