Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: I read a fatwa from a scholar that mentioned several ways you could shorten your prayer by skipping some of the non-obligatory and recommended actions if you have many make up prayers to perform. Are you familiar with this fatwa? Is the method mentioned therein valid?
Answer: Walaikum assalam,
In summary, the method outlined in the fatwa is valid. However, it remains superior to perform confirmed sunnas during make up prayers. Further details follow.
The Issues Mentioned in the Fatwa
1. One can miss Surah Fatiha in the last two rakats of a four-cycle prayer and in the last rakah of the maghrib prayer, and read Subhan Allah three times in the qiyam position instead.
2. Instead of reading the tasbihs three times in ruku and sujud, read them only once.
3. At the end of the prayer, instead of reading the full durood sharif, one can just read "Allahumma salli ala Muhammadin wa ala aalayhi" and do the salaam.
4. In the witr prayer, instead of reading dua-e-qunoot, one can read "rabbighfirli" again three times.
It appears from how scholars deal with make ups that there are two approaches:
(a) to finish them as soon as possible, taking all valid shortcuts, even if it means leaving sunna acts within;
(b) to pray them quickly, but without haste and without leaving any confirmed sunnas.
Approach (b) rests on the idea that the makeup prayer (qada') is obligatory by that which the current performance (ada') was obligatory, the only difference being that it was delayed (generally sinfully) beyond its appointed time. As such, the makeup too is due for acceptance or rejection from Allah, and should therefore be performed in a way pleasing to him, though quickly, in order to clear one's debts.
The Preferred Position
The position of my teachers, including Allama Adib Kallas (Allah preserve him) of Damascus, is that one should still perform the confirmed sunna actions within the prayer--as they remain confirmed sunna; and one's prayer is still up for judgment, and these sunnas are means for one's make up prayers to be acceptable and pleasing to Allah Most High.
Shaykh Adib also emphasized that if one repents from one's non-performance or invalid performance, and then has a strong resolve, and a systematic, consistent makeup schedule one sticks to, then even if one dies, Allah will forgive one for any remaining makeups. [This is different from one who does not resolve to do this, or does not consistently make up their prayers.] There is a difference between the rights of Allah and the rights of His creation, for Allah is free of all need, while the latter are needy. As such, Allah has promised to forgive truly repentant slave, whereas we have no such assurances about that which is due to others.
A Few Key Points
1) One should note that Imam Kamal ibn al-Humam and other great Hanafi scholars considered the Fatiha to be wajib even in the final rak`as. Allama al-Maydani, author of the Lubab, notes this too, and it is certainly more precautionary, even in makeups, given that other schools deem it obligatory (fard). However, the transmitted position (dhahir al-riwaya) from our Imam (Allah be pleased with him) is that both reciting the Fatiha and doing three tasbihs are a confirmed sunna in the final rak`as, though the former has more reward. Shaykh Adib al-Kallas of Damascus, and other Hanafi fuqaha' I have asked, emphasized that it is best to make up one's prayer in a way that is unquestionably sound, and said it is therefore better to recite the Fatiha when making up prayers too.
2) Ibn Abidin concludes in his Hashiya, after presenting the proofs and positions on the issue, that according to the principles of the Hanafi school, it would appear that reciting the tasbihs three times would be a wajib; however, the transmitted position of our Imam and the school's scholars is that it is a confirmed sunna.
3) A reminder: We should not forget that we are not to leave our confirmed sunna prayers (2 before fajr, 4 before Zuhr and 2 after, 2 after both Maghrib and after Isha), even when making up prayers. Leaving a confirmed sunna even once without excuse is blameworthy and deserves reproach (from Allah), while leaving it repeatedly or making it a habit to leave it is sinful, for it is considered turning away from the Sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), who said, "Whoever turns away from my Sunna is not of me."