How to Make-Up Obligatory Prayers Amid the Fear of Losing Sunna Prayers?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

I have too many prayers to make up for my non-practicing days. Now I’m finding it difficult to perform my sunnah prayers since making up the qadha takes away all my attention and energy. What to do? Am I sinful for this?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I understand the difficulty and daunting nature of having to make up so many prayers. However, perhaps looking at the situation differently may relieve some of the mental burdens.

Retrospective Righteousness: Making Up for Lost Opportunity

Looking back to the days that you were not practicing should bring about a state of gratitude for newfound guidance. This change in your life is a sign of Allah’s divine intervention. Allah Most High only guides those whom He loves and intends for them great worldly and next-worldly good.

Allah Most High says, “Whoever Allah wills to guide, He opens their heart to Islam. But whoever He wills to leave astray, He makes their chest tight and constricted as if they were climbing up into the sky. This is how Allah dooms those who disbelieve.” [Quran, 6:125]

This verse applies to those who embraced Islam as a new way of life, but it is not limited to that fact. Islam is submission to the Divine Will, and anyone who returns to that submission is also the object of that Divine will and guidance.

Part of showing gratitude for this newfound guidance is to seek to make up for all that time. Making up these missed prayers is an opportunity to draw near to Allah Most High and strengthen the bonds of love.

Diligence and Moderation

Your goal moving forward should be to slowly but efficiently chip away at the missed prayers daily. Ideally, this is done without diminishing your current practice.

Take the following as a suggested method of approach:

  • Form a strong and resolute intention to strive to make up all your missed prayers
  • Think, realistically, how many prayers you could make up per day without putting yourself into undue hardship. When determining the amount, keep in mind that you will ideally continue praying the emphasized Sunna prayers.
  • After calculating, to the best of your ability, how many of each prayer you owe-dedicate yourself to performing that amount of prayers every day.

For more on this issue, see this article:

Make Up For Missing Prayers

Summary

Try your best, but seek strength and facilitation from Allah Most High. Know that each step that you make towards Allah, He will reciprocate that manifold and the blessings and benefits will manifest in your life, family, soul, etc…

Allah Most High says on the tongue of the Prophet Shu‘aib (Allah be pleased with him), “I cannot succeed without God’s help: I trust in Him, and always turn to Him.” [Quran, 11:88]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.