minimum number of rak’ah to be prayed is two, as was mentioned in the hadith of
Abu Zharr. The most that the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam performed was
eight rak’at, whereas, the most he mentioned was twelve rak’at. Some people,
such as Abu Ja’far at-Tabari, al-Mulaimi, and ar-Ruwyani, who subscribes to the
Shafi’ school, say there is no maximum limit to the number of rak’at that one
may perform for duha.
Al-’lraqi says, in the commentary on Sunan at-Tirmizhi: “None of the companions or followers are known to have restricted it to twelve rak’at.” As-Syuti agrees with it.
Sa’id ibn Mansur records that al-Hassan was asked: “Did the companions perform it?” He answered: “Yes . . . some of them would pray two rak’at and some of them would pray four rak’at. And some of them would continue until half the [early] day [had passed].”
Ibrahim an-Nakha’i reports that al-Aswad ibn Yazid was asked: “How many rak’at are to be prayed for duha?” He answered: “As many as you wish.”
Umm Hani narrates that the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam prayed eight rak’at of duha and made the taslim after every two rak’at. This is related by Abu Dawud with a Sahih chain.
‘Aishah reports: “The Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam would pray four rak’at for duha and would add to it whatever Allah willed.” This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and ibn Majah.
It is a sunnah that, if one must choose between permissible alternatives, one may pray two nonobligatory rak’at, even if they are of the regular sunnah prayers or a prayer for entering the mosque, and so on, during any time of the day or night, and to recite therein whatever one wishes of the Qur’an after reciting al-Fatihah. Then one praises Allah and sends salutations to the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam and recites the following supplication which has been recorded by al-Bukhari in Jabir’s narration: “The Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam would teach us al-istikhara for all of our affairs as he would teach us a surah from the Qur’an. He said: ‘If one of you is deliberating over an act, he should pray two non-obligatory rak’at and say:
“O Allah, I consult You as You are All-Knowing and I appeal to You to give me power as You are Omnipotent, I ask You for Your great favor, for You have power and I do not, and You know all of the hidden matters. O Allah! If you know that this matter (then he should mention it) is good for me in my religion, my livelihood, and for my life in the Hereafter, (or he said: ‘for my present and future life,’) then make it (easy) for me. And if you know that this matter is not good for me in my religion, my livelihood and my life in the Hereafter, (or he said: ‘for my present and future life,’) then keep it away from me and take me away from it and choose what is good for me wherever it is and please me with it.”
There is nothing authentic concerning something specific that is to be recited in the prayer nor is there any authentic report concerning how many times one should repeat it.
An-Nawawi holds that “after performing the istikharah, a person must do what he is wholeheartedly inclined to do and feels good about doing and should not insist on doing what he had desired to do before making the istikharah. And if his feelings change, he should leave what he had intended to do; otherwise he is not completely leaving the choice to Allah, and would not be honest in seeking aid from Allah’s power and knowledge. Sincerity in seeking Allah’s choice means that one should completely leave what he himself had desired or determined.”
‘Ikrimah reports from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said to ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdal-Mutalib: “O ‘Abbas, O Uncle, shall I not give you, shall I not present to you, shall I not donate to you, shall I not tell you ten things which, if you do, Allah will forgive your first and last sins, past and present sins, intentional and unintentional sins, private and public sins? The ten actions are: pray four rak’at, reciting in every rak’ah al-Fatihah and a surah. And when you finish the Qur’anic recitation of the first rak’ah, say, while standing, ‘Subhanallah, al-hamdulillah, wa la ilaha illallah, wa Allahu Akbar’ [‘Glory be to Allah. All praise is due to Allah. There is no God except Allah. Allah is the greatest.’] Fifteen times. Then make ruku’, and while you are in ruku’, say the same ten times; then stand, and say the same ten times. Then go down and make sajdah, and while you’re in sajdah, say the same ten times. Then sit after the sajdah, and say the same ten times. Then make sajdah, and say the same ten times. Then sit after the second sajdah, and say the same another ten times. That is seventy-five [repetitions of the phrases] in each rak’ah. Do that in each of the four rak’at. If you can pray it once a day, do so. If you cannot, then once every Friday. If you cannot do that, then once a year. And if you cannot do that then once in your life.” This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzaimah in his sahih, and atTabarani. About this hadith al-Munzhiri says: “This hadith has been related through many chains and from a number of companions. The best of them is this one from ‘Ikrimah. A group of scholars have graded it to be Sahih, including al-Hafez Abu Bakr al-’Ajari, (al-Munzhiri’s teachers), Abu Muhammad ‘Abdurrahim al-Misri, and Abu al-Hassan al-Maqdisi.” Ibn alMubarak says: “The tasbih prayer is a greatly desired act and it is desirable that one should punctually observe it and never neglect it.
Salatul Hajah, the prayer for need
Ahmad has on sound authority reported from Abu Darda that the Prophet Sallallahu Alehi wasallam said: “He who makes wudu, and does it properly, then prays two rak’at, Allah will grant him whatever he may pray for, sooner or later.”
Salatul Taubah, the prayer of penitence
Abu Bakr reports: “I heard the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam saying: ‘Allah forgives the man who commits a sin (then feels ashamed), purifies himself, offers a prayer and seeks His forgiveness.’ Then he recited the ‘ayyah: ‘And those who, when they do an evil thing or wrong themselves, remember Allah and implore forgiveness for their sins - and who can forgive sins except Allah? - And will not knowingly repeat (the wrong) they did. The reward of such will be forgiveness from their Lord, and gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever- a bountiful reward for workers.”’ [Al-’lmran: 135-136]. This is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, al-Baihaqi, and atTirmizhi who calls it hasan.
At-Tabarani records in al-Mu’jam al-Kabir, with a hasan chain, from Abu ad-Darda’ that the Prophet Sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Whoever makes wudu’ and perfects the wudu’ and then stands and prays two rak’at or four rak’at, obligatory or non-obligatory, and perfects therein his ruku’ and sujjud and then asks for Allah’s forgiveness, he will be forgiven.”