Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
I’ve missed 6 years of prayers. I read that if you are not making up at least 2 days worth of prayers every day, you would be considered negligent. But sometimes, on days when I am really tired or sleepy, I only pray 1 day’s worth of makeup prayers. Am I sinning?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
No, it is not sinful to pray less than two days’ worth of missed prayers (qada’) daily.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Anyone who forgets a prayer should pray it when he remembers it and that is the only expiation he has to do for it. ‘Establish the prayer for My remembrance.'” [Bukhari]
Generally, there are two positions regarding the obligation of making up missed prayers: (1) they must be performed as soon as possible, and (2) their performance may be delayed. The former is what most jurists relied upon as the soundest position, yet they permitted delay in the case of legitimate excuses.
It is possible that some scholars may suggest two days’ worth of prayers, for instance, by way of encouragement, setting a standard, and as a particular manner of acting upon the general duty to make up prayers as soon as reasonably possible.
Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that you must strive to complete all missed prayers, including the Witr, during your lifetime. As a consequence, you need to keep track of what you owe so that it can be taken care of by your inheritors in the case of death before completion.
Please note that maintaining the order (tartib) between the makeup prayers is only a condition in the case a person has less than six prayers in their dues. Otherwise, makeup prayers may be made up in any order, even in reverse.
[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah with Tahtawi’s Gloss (2.34); Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.493)]
Please also see: Sickness and Expiation (Fidya) for Missed Prayers and: A Reader on Missed Prayers and: Do You Have to Pray Make Up Prayers in Order? and: How to Make up Years of Missed Prayers? (Shafi’i)
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.