Prayers: Short or long prayers

Q488 :Some people offer their prayers short, reciting only a short surah or a small number of Qur'anic verses, so that they can offer more raka'ahs in voluntary prayers. Others prefer to read longer passages of the Qur'an and they offer less in voluntary prayers, but perhaps spend the same time or even longer. Which method is preferable? Similarly, a person like myself whose mother tongue is not Arabic can say the glorification of Allah less times than an Arab doing one's prostration. Does a person who says more glorification earn more reward, although we may be in the same congregational prayer?

A488 : Scholars have expressed two different views with regard to the best situation a human being may be in: prostration during prayer, or standing up and reciting the Qur'an in prayer. In prostration, one expresses with the clearest possible gesture one's submission to Allah and recognition of His greatness. At the same time, he is glorifying Him as his Lord, the Most Supreme. On the other hand, when you stand up on prayer, reciting the Qur'an, you are in worship, reciting Allah's own words. When we try to compare both situations, the comparison is difficult to evaluate. Whichever one you choose is equally valid. My own personal preference is for a longer recitation of the Qur'an in the standing up position. Perhaps one should not dwell over much on these details. If you are engaged in worship, then Allah will reward you according to your concentration and the time you spend in prayer. There is little to choose between a person who spends half an hour offering voluntary prayers, and doing only two rak'ahs and another who does ten rak'ahs over the same period. When the choice is obvious in Ramadan when people offer taraweeh prayer, with some of them offering 8 rak'ahs over a period of , say, 30 minutes, while others offer 20 raka'ahs over a period of 20 minutes. The latter can hardly concentrate on their prayer, as they make it so short. They have hardly any time to glorify Allah during their prostration when they rise up again. This is a hasty prayer which runs against the recommendations of the Prophet. When you glorify Allah 3 or 4 times, because of the difficulty in pronunciation you may have as a non-Arabic speaking person, you are rewarded for your effort, and your reward may not be at all less than a person who says such a glorification 10 times over the same period. Allah knows the intention of everyone and He judges actions by intentions. This is clearly stated by the Prophet who says; "Actions are but by intentions. Every man shall have but that which he has intended."

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )