Is it permissible to offer the sunnah prayer while a dars or sermon is being delivered?


mu‘allim wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, asking whether it is an innovation and an undesirable practice to wear plastic caps and other similar headwear – provided at mosques – and to pray while wearing them. Moreover, the mu‘allim asked whether it is appropriate to perform the sunnah prayer at Fajr while the dars of the Holy Quran is being delivered, since Allah the Exalted says in the Holy Quran that one should listen to the Holy Quran with attention and observe silence when it is recited. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 28 March 2022, provided the following answer to his questions.

“[…] As far as your second question is concerned, there is no prohibition against performing sunnah prayer during darsAhadith mention that mosques are for the remembrance of Allah the Exalted, prayer, and recitation of the Holy Quran. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-taharah, Bab wujubi ghusli l-bawli wa ghayrihi min an-najasati idha hasalat fi l-masjid)

“Thus, all of these activities can be performed simultaneously in mosques, with some people offering nawafil, others reciting the Holy Quran, and still others engaging in zikr. However, in such cases, it is important to heed the advice of the Holy Prophetsa to be considerate of each other and avoid reciting louder than others in the mosque. (Muwatta Imam Malik, Kitab an-nida’ li s-salah, Bab al-‘amail fi l-qira’ah)

“In addition to that, it is also narrated in ahadith that after completing the salaam of salat, the Holy Prophetsa would usually turn his blessed face towards the Companions. At this moment, sometimes he would also preach to them i.e., advise them. After the Fajr prayer, he would also instruct the people to share any dreams they may have had during the previous night. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-adhan, Bab yastaqbilu l-imamu n-nisa’a idha sallama & Kitab al-jana’iz, Bab ma qila fi awladi l-mushrikin; Sunan ibn Majah, al-Muqaddimah, Bab ittiba‘i s-sunnati l-khulafa’i r-rashidina l-mahdiyyin)

“Another hadith mentions that the Holy Prophetsa instructed that whoever comes to the mosque on Friday while the imam is delivering the sermon, should pray two brief rak‘ahs first, then sit and listen to the sermon. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-jumu‘ah, Bab at-tahiyyati wa l-imamu yakhtubu)

“All of these ahadith indicate that there is no harm in performing the sunnah prayer while the imam is delivering a khutbah. This is because if it were not so, the Holy Prophetsa would not have commanded the person who came late for Jumua to pray two rak‘ahs before listening to the khutbah. Similarly, if a person performs the sunnah prayer during a dars, this is also not objectionable because it is necessary to perform the sunnah prayer immediately after the congregational salat, but it is not compulsory to listen to the dars. Especially, after the Fajr prayer, when there is little time and there is concern about the sunrise, one should perform the sunnah prayer immediately.

“As far as the administrative aspect of this matter is concerned, in my opinion, if the dars is being delivered after a salat which also includes sunnah after the prayer, such as Zuhr, Maghrib, or Isha, then the dars should be delivered after the performance of the sunnah prayer. However, if there is no sunnah prayer in that salat, then the dars can be started immediately after the salat. In that case, if a person performs the first two sunnah of Fajr after the fard prayer [on account of his being late], he can also perform them during the dars.”

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