Nafl salah, like Sunnah salat, is not obligatory but has extra benefits on the person performing them.
Types of Nafl prayers
Nafl salah can be prayed before or after any Fard or Sunnah salah, or on its own at any time that prayer is allowed, just to gain extra blessings. There is no fixed time or amount of Nafl salah, and is up to the person whoever they wish to pray. Generally they are done in sets of 2 or 4 rakahs. There is no sin for not praying Nafl prayers.
Below are some Nafl prayers that the Prophet told us about.
Ishraq prayer begins ten to fifteen minutes after sunrise and consists of two Raka’ahs. Praying ishraq is considered to yield greater rewards than performing the lesser Jihad according to some traditions.
Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said, ‘He who performs Fajr Salat with Jamaat and remains seated in the same place while engaging in Dhikr until after sunrise and thereafter performs 2 Rakaats Nafil Salat, (Ishraq), he will obtain the thawaab of one Hajj and one Umrah.’
Duha prayer begins after sunrise and ends at meridian, and is generally thought to include at least two raka’ahs, though in some traditions the number is four or even twelve. It is generally prayed when one-fourth of the day has passed. Performing this prayer is believed to be effective in seeking forgiveness for one’s sins.
Tahiyat Al-Masjid (Greeting Of The Mosque)
Also called “masjidus salam”, this is a highly recommended prayer consisting of two Raka’ahs and performed when first entering a mosque. It is considered to be a way of greeting the place of worship in order to draw nearer to Allah.
The word “Khawf” means fear. Khawf is a type of prayer that is prayed during time of fear. This prayer was performed by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in the Battle of Uhud. It is considered to be a substitute for normal prayers while on a battlefield.
When a person is about to travel, and also when they return from traveling, it is considered beneficial to pray two Raka’ahs in a mosque.
“Rabi’ah ibn Malik al-Aslami reported that the Prophet said: “Ask (anything).”
Rabi’ah said: “I ask of you to be your companion in paradise.”
The Prophet said: “Or anything else?”
Rabi’ah said: “That is it.”
The Prophet said to him: “Then help me by making many prostrations (i.e., supererogatory prayers).””
– (Muslim)- Sahih (authentic)