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There is no religion or nation or law that gave voluntary acts as much importance as Islam did. The pieces of evidence proving this fact are uncountable in the sources of Islamic Shariah. These are the voluntary deeds. If one does them, he will earn a huge reward from Allah; and if one does not do them, there is no sin.


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Any deed which is supererogatory and not fardh (obligatory) is called a Nafil Deed. The Plural of Nafil (نفل) is Nawafil.



  1. But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] - He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers. Surah Luqman 34:39
  2. No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah - then We are going to give him a great reward. Surah Nisa 4:114
  3. And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive. Surah Al Insan 76:8
  4. And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty. Surah Maidah 5:2



  1. The Prophet said: The dearest to Allah is the one who is most beneficial to people. The dearest deed to Allah is bringing happiness to a Muslim, or dispelling a grief from him, or settling his debt, or feeding him while he is hungry. It is dearer to me to support my Muslim brother to satisfy need than to make one month I'tikaf in the mosque. Whoever controls his anger Allah will cover his faults. And whoever goes out with a Muslim till fulfilling his necessity, Allah will make his feet stable on the Day while feats slip.  At-Tabrani , Sheikh al-Albani graded it as Hasan in Saheeh al-Jami’
  2. Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar(R): Allah's Messenger () said, "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection. " Sahih al-Bukhari 2442 [2]
  3. It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Mas'ud al-Ansari (R) who said: A man came to the Messenger of Allah () and said: My riding beast has been killed, so give me some animal to ride upon. He (the Prophet) said: I have none with me. A man said: Messenger of Allah, I can guide him to one who will provide him with a riding beast. The Messenger of Allah () said: One who guides to something good has a reward similar to that of its doer. Sahih Muslim 1893 a[3]
  4. “My slave does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My slave continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory (Nafil deeds) works so that I will love him, When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, he seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it.” Sahih al-Bukhaari, 6502


Examples of Nafil Deeds

  1. Prayers (Besides Farz Salah)
  2. Fasts (Besides Ramazaan Fasts)
  3. Charity (Besides Zakat)
  4. Hajj/ Umrah (Pilgrimage)
  5. Removing impediments from road etc


Details of Nawafil deeds

1. Nawafil Prayers

One of the greatest acts of worship that a Muslim can do and draw close to Allaah is prayer. The Prophet () said: “Prayer is the best thing prescribed, so whoever can do a great deal of it, let him do that.” Narrated by al-Tabaraani and classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ (3870) [4].


It is better to offer naafil prayers at home, unless it is Sunnah to pray them in congregation in the mosque, such as the prayers to be offered at the time of an eclipse, or it is narrated that it is encouraged to offer them in the mosque, such as naafil prayers before Jumu’ah. That was proven from the words and actions of the Prophet .


It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar(R) that the Prophet said: “Perform some of your prayers in your houses and do not make them graves.”Sahih al-Bukhaari, 422; Sahih Muslim, 777) [5]


Types of Nafil Prayers

  1. Tahiyatul Wudu
  2. Ishraq
  3. Duha or Chasht
  4. Qiyaam ul layl
  5. Salatul Khusuf (Eclipse prayer)
  6. Salatul Istisqaa (Prayer for rain)


2. Nafil Fasts

Naafil fasts fall into two main categories:

  1. General voluntary fasts (i.e., not restricted to any particular time or circumstances).

    The Muslim may observe a voluntary fast on any day of the year that he wishes, except those which are known to be forbidden, such as the two Eid days, on which fasting is haraam, and Ayaam al-Tashreeq (the three days following Eid al-Adha), on which fasting is haraam except on Hajj for those who do not have a hadiy (animal for sacrifice).

    Also excluded is deliberately singling out Friday for fasting, because it was reported that this is not allowed. One of the best forms of voluntary fasting is to fast alternate days for those who are able to do that, as it says in the hadeeth: “The most beloved prayer to Allaah is the prayer of Dawood (peace be upon him), and the most beloved fasting to Allaah is the fasting of Dawood. He used to sleep half the night, stand in prayer for one-third of the night, and sleep for one-sixth, and he used to fast alternate days.” Sahih al-Bukhaari, 1131; Sahih al Muslim, 1159.

    In order for this kind of fasting to be regarded as virtuous, it should not weaken a person and make him unable to do his primary duties, as it says in the hadeeth: “he used to fast alternate days, and he never ran away from battle (because he used to break his fast at times of battle).” Sahih al-Bukhaari, 1977; Sahih Muslim, 1159 [6]
  2. Specific voluntary fasts. These are superior to general voluntary fasts, and are of two types:
    1. The first type is fasts which are specific to a type of person, such as young men who cannot get married, as mentioned in the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (R): “We were young men with the Prophet and we did not have anything (i.e., we could not afford to get married). The Messenger of Allaah said to us, ‘O young men, whoever among you can afford to get married, then let him do so, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding chastity. And whoever is not able to do that, then let him fast, for that will be a shield for him.’” Sahih al-Bukhaari, 5066; Sahih al Muslim, 1400.
    2. The second type is fasts prescribed at specific times, which vary, with some being weekly, some monthly and some annual.
      1. The weekly fasts are on Monday and Thursday, on which days fasting is mustahabb.

        It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: “The Messenger of Allaah was keen to fast on Mondays and Thursdays.” al-Nasaa’i, 2320; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, 4827.

        The Prophet was asked about fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and he said: “Those are two days on which people’s deeds are shown to the Lord of the Worlds, and I want my deeds to be shown to Him when I am fasting.” al-Nasaa’i, 2358; Ibn Maajah, 1740; Ahmad, 8161; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1583. He was asked about fasting on Mondays and he said, “On that day I was born and on that day revelation came to me.” Sahih Muslim, 1162.
      2. With regard to the monthly fasts, it is mustahabb (recommended) to fast on three days of each month.

        It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (R) said: “My close friend [i.e., the Prophet ()] advised me to do three things which I will never give up until I die: fasting three days each month, praying Duha, and sleeping after praying Witr.” Sahih al-Bukhaari, 1178; Muslim, 721.

        It is mustahabb to observe this fast in the middle of the hijri month, on the days called Ayaam al-Beed. It was narrated that Abu Dharr said: “The Messenger of Allaah said to me, ‘If you fast any part of the month then fast on the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.’” an-Nasaa’i, 2424; Ibn Maajah, 1707; Ahmad, 210; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, 673
      3. Annual fasts are observed on specific days, or during periods when it is Sunnah to fast.
        The specific days include the following:
        1. The day of ‘Aashoora’ which is the tenth of Muharram. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas (R) was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Aashoora’. He said, “I do not know of any day on the Messenger of Allaah fasted that was better than this day and any month that was better than this month, meaning Ramadaan.” al-Bukhaari, 2006; Muslim, 1132. It is Sunnah to fast the day before or the day after along with ‘Aashoora’, in order to be different from the Jews.
        2. The day of ‘Arafaah, which is the ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah. It is mustahabb only for those who are not standing in ‘Arafaah itself, as the Messenger of Allaah said concerning the virtue of the three fasts mentioned above: “The observance of three days' fast every month and that of Ramadan every year is equivalent to fasting for the entire year. I seek from Allah that fasting on the day of ‘Arafaah may atone for the sins of the preceding and the coming years, and I seek from Allah that fasting on the day of ‘Aashoora’ may atone for the sins of the preceding year.” Muslim, 1162.
      4. The periods during which it is Sunnah to fast include the following:
        1. The month of Shawwaal. It is Sunnah to fast six days of Shawwaal, because the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadaan then fasts six days of Shawwaal, it is as if he fasted for a lifetime.” Muslim, 1164.
        2. The month of Muharraam: it is Sunnah to fast whatever one can of this month, because of the hadeeth: “The best of fasting after Ramadaan is the month of Allaah Muharram, and the best of prayer after the obligatory prayers is prayer at night (qiyaam al-layl).” Muslim, 1163
        3. The month of Sha’baan, as it was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (R) said: “The Messenger of Allaah used to fast until we thought that he would never break his fast, and he would not fast until we thought that he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allaah fast an entire month apart from Ramadaan, and the month in which I saw him fast the most was Sha’baan. He used to fast all of Sha’baan or all of it apart from a few days.”  al-Bukhaari, 1969; Muslim, 1156. [6]


3. Nafil Charity

  1. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (R) said: The Messenger of Allaah said: “Whoever gives charity equal to a date from good (halal) earnings – for Allaah does not accept anything but that which is good – Allaah will take it in His right hand and tend it for the one who gave it as any one of you tends his foal, until it becomes like a mountain.” Sahih al-Bukhaari, 1344; Sahih Muslim, 1014
  2. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (R) that the Prophet said: “There is no day on which the people get up but two angels come down and one of them says, ‘O Allaah, give in compensation to the one who spends (in charity),’ and the other says, ‘O Allaah, destroy the one who withholds.’” Narrated by Sahih al-Bukhaari, 1374; Sahih Muslim, 1010.
  3. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (R) that the Messenger of Allaah said: “Allaah said: ‘Spend, O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’”  Sahih al-Bukhaari, 5073; Sahih Muslim, 993. [7]


See Also

Fardh; Mustahab; Importance of Salah; Fasting; Ramazaan; Hajj; Zakat; Worship;










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