Difference between Ishraq, Chasht, and Awwabin Prayer

Shaykh Jamir Meah explains the prayers of ishraq, duha, and awwabin, their virtues and rewards.

  1. What is the difference between the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers. Why are these separately described in hadiths?
  2. When should we pray the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers.
  3. What are the virtues mentioned in sahih hadith of praying the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers?

I pray you are well insha Allah.  

There is a difference of opinion on whether the Ishraq prayer and the Duha prayer, termed “Chasht” in the sub-continent, are two distinct prayers or one and the same prayer.  

This difference of opinion is based on the varying hadiths which indicate the two possibilities, such as “In the morning when the sun rises to the same height as it is at the time of Asr, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to perform two cycles of prayer. When the sun rose in the east to the height where it is in the west at the time of Dhuhr, he performed four cycles of prayer.” (Tirmidhi)

Both prayers are prayed after sunrise. However, the majority of jurists held that they are one and the same prayer. They explain the apparent discrepancies in hadiths as referring to an “optimal” time to pray it, i.e. straight after sunrise, and a “permissible” time to pray it, i.e. any time before noon. However, if one prays them separately as two distinct prayers this would be valid. And Allah knows best.  

The minimum cycles of the prayer are 2, and the maximum cycles are 8 . Some hold the maximum to be 12, though 8 is preferable to all. Ideally, it is prayed in cycles of two or four. 

Benefits of the Ishraq–Duha Prayer

Among the benefits of the ishraq or duha prayer, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, mentioned that

  1. It helps you accomplish all responsibilities for that day.
  2. A castle of gold is built in Paradise for the person.
  3. One’s sins are forgiven even though they are as much as the foam of the sea.
  4. One obtains the reward of one Hajj and one Umra – if one prays Fajr in congregation, then remains seated in the same place while engaging in remembrance until after sunrise, and then performs two cycles of prayer. (Mishkat; Tirmidhi)

Salat al-Awwabin (The Prayer of the Righteous)

Salat al-Awwabin is a sunna prayer that is prayed between Maghrib and ‘Isha. This position is held by many scholars and is based on various chains of narrations, which though individually weak, when combined, lend weight, especially in regards to virtuous actions. One example of the weak ahadith is, “Whoever prays six cycles of prayer after Maghrib and does not say anything bad in between them, will have a reward equal to the worship of twelve years.” (Tirmidhi)

Furthermore, it has been established in sound narrations that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, did pray voluntary pray in between Maghrib and Isha; “Hudhayfa said, ‘I came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and prayed Maghrib with him. When he had finished the prayer, he stood and prayed, and he kept praying until he prayed Isha.’” (Ahmad) And it has been narrated in various reports that the Companions would pray between Maghrib and Isha.  

However, other scholars hold that Salat al-Awwabin is the same as the Duha prayer, based on the wording found in the hadith, “The Prayer of the Penitent (Salat al-Awwabin) is when the feet of young camels are scalded [by the heat of sand].” (Muslim)

Salat al-Awwabin is prayed in cycles of two or four. The minimum is two cycles of prayer and its maximum is twenty cycles.  

The benefits of praying Salat al-Awwabin include, all of one’s sins being forgiven even if they are as much as the foam of the sea, and if one prays six cycles, it would be equal to the reward of twelve years of worship. (Tabarani; Tirmidhi)

(Tarshi al-Mustarshidin; Bushra al-Karim; Ahkam al-Qur’an)

Warmest salam,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)