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Is praying 2 Rakaat after Maghrib Adhan Sunnah?

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 It is Sunnah of Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) to hasten towards praying the Fardh of Maghrib after sunset.


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In order to arrive at a conclusion we need to look at the Authentic traditions on the subject in their entirety. To begin, praying of two Rakaat after the Maghrib Salah and before the Fardh prayers is something which some of the companions did (quickly) before the best of creation Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) arrived to lead them in prayer. We also learn from the same Authentic tradition that the interval between Maghrib Adhan and Iqama (establishment of congregational prayer) was short.

حدثنا محمد بن بشار قال حدثنا غندر قال حدثنا شعبة قال سمعت عمرو بن عامر الأنصاري عن أنس بن مالك قال كان المؤذن إذا أذن قام ناس من أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يبتدرون السواري حتى يخرج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وهم كذلك يصلون الركعتين قبل المغرب ولم يكن بين الأذان والإقامة شيء قال عثمان بن جبلة وأبو داود عن شعبة لم يكن بينهما إلا قليل

Sayyidina Anas bin Malik (RA) narrated that When the Mu'adhdhin pronounced the Adhan, some of the companions of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) would proceed to the pillars of the mosque (for the prayer) till the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) arrived and in this way they used to pray two Rakat before the Maghrib prayer. There used to be a little time between the Adhan and the Iqama. Shu'ba said, "There used to be a very short interval between the two (Adhan and Iqama)." [Bukhari]

We also learn that the companions continued to take these two Rakaat as optional even after the passing away of Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam).

حدثنا عبد الله بن يزيد هو المقرئ قال حدثنا سعيد بن أبي أيوب قال حدثني يزيد بن أبي حبيب قال سمعت مرثد بن عبد الله اليزني قال أتيت عقبة بن عامر الجهني فقلت ألا أعجبك من أبي تميم يركع ركعتين قبل صلاة المغرب فقال عقبة إنا كنا نفعله على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قلت فما يمنعك الآن قال الشغل

Sayyidina Mahmud bin Ar-rabi' Al-Ansari (RA) narrated that I went to Sayyidina 'Uqba bin 'Amir Al-Juhani (RA) and said, "Is it not surprising that Sayyidina Abi Tamim (RA) offers two Rakat before the Maghrib prayer?" Sayyidina 'Uqba (RA) said, "We used to do so in the life-time of Allah's Apostle (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam)." I asked him, "What prevents you from offering it now?" He replied, "Business." [Bukhari]

This clearly establishes that it is a permissible matter which is optional for those who wish to do so, however the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) himself forbade this to be made into a Sunnah.

حدثنا أبو معمر حدثنا عبد الوارث عن الحسين عن عبد الله بن بريدة قال حدثني عبد الله المزني عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال صلوا قبل صلاة المغرب قال في الثالثة لمن شاء كراهية أن يتخذها الناس سنة

Sayyidina 'Abdullah Al-Muzni (RA) narrated that Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, "Pray before the Maghrib (compulsory) prayer." He (said it thrice) and in the third time, he said, "Whoever wants to offer it can do so." He (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said so because he did not like the people to take it as a tradition. [Bukhari]

We find no evidence that the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) himself prayed these two Rakaat, on the contrary we find that he (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) used to hasten the Maghrib Salah.

حدثنا ‏ ‏عمرو بن علي ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏صفوان بن عيسى ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏يزيد بن أبي عبيد ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏سلمة بن الأكوع ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏كان النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يصلي المغرب ساعة تغرب الشمس إذا غاب ‏ ‏حاجبها ‏

Sayyidina Salamah Ibn Akwah (RA) said, "The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) used to do the Maghrib Salah immediately after the sun had set when its upper side would disappear. [Abu Dawud]


 

Shaykh (Mufti) Taqi Usmani (HA)

Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him with 'afiyet) said in discussion regarding the permissibility of praying two rakah prior to the fardh salah of maghrib,

The correct and just thing is that there is no proof (daleel) of two rakah prior to maghrib being disliked (karahiyet). And there are many proofs of its permissibility.

However, it must be taken into account that at places where there is time interval prior to congregational salah (jamah), like in the blessed Haramain, then being stubborn that I am a Hanafi and whatever happens I am not going to pray is not the proper attitude. In these situation it should be offered.

 

1 One thing that has to be always avoided is: creating fitnah.

 

2 Praying these two rakah are permissible and wherever there is time available (between adhan and jama'h) they should be offered. However, it should not be offered at places where none has even heard about this issue. Initiating these prayer in this situation will create a fitnah resulting in useless discussions.

 

3 However, mention the permissibility of this issue at an appropriate opportunity.

 

Inman al Bari, volume 3, pages383-5