Sunnah: Before Maghrib

Q623 :After the athan of Maghrib, some people offer two voluntary rak'ahs inside the mosque, before the obligatory prayer. Other people say that it is forbidden to pray in between the obligatory prayers of Asr and Maghrib. Please explain.

A623 : It is not correct to say that prayer is forbidden between the obligatory prayers of Asr and Maghrib. Indeed, prayer is not forbidden at any time. But it is discouraged to offer voluntary prayer at certain times. These include the period from completing the obligatory prayer of Asr until when Maghrib falls due. And also from the time one has finished the obligatory prayer of Fajr until the sun has risen well into the sky, i.e. about half an hour after sunrise. It is also discouraged to pray at the time when the sun is rising or setting or at the moment of midday when it is highest into the sky. The reason for this last restriction is that Islamic worship should not be confused with sun worship. The other two restrictions are a matter of regulation. However, scholars have two different approaches to this restriction. Some of them are of the view that the original state of affairs is that prayer is permissible at any time. A particular reason makes it discouraged in these specific times, so the restriction applies in all situations. It cannot be waived. The other approach is that the restriction is the initial state of affairs. This means that when you have prayed Fajr or Asr, there is a restriction on voluntary prayer. Therefore, if a new development takes place, such as entering a mosque, doing tawaf, reading a Qur'anic verse which includes a prostration, or sujood, then the new development takes precedence. This means that if you have offered your Asr prayer and then went to Makkah for tawaf, completing it before Maghrib is due, you may offer the two voluntary rak'ahs known as the Sunnah of tawaf. If you go to any mosque some time before Maghrib and you have already offered your Asr prayer, you may offer two rak'ahs of greeting to the mosque. Both approaches are equally sound, and whichever you may choose, you are well advised. According to some schools of thought, two voluntary rak'ahs are recommended before the obligatory prayer of Maghrib. Also, if you go to the mosque at the time when the athan is called, you may begin with two voluntary rak'ahs of greeting to the mosque. That is perfectly appropriate.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )