Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: I started praying at age of 11. However i was still learning how to pray properly. I have decided to start reading make-up (qada’) salah for the previous years due to making possible mistakes during the past 9 years. I would like to know when is it permissible in terms of time to read qada’ prayers.
My 2nd question is regarding kaffarah (expiation). At age of 12 and 13 I broke a fast and I am in the state of kaffarah at the moment. My question is if one has sinned during this period and repents would his kaffarah be accepted and how should one behave during these 60 days.
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
1. You do not have to make-up prayers due to “possible” mistakes. This is a mere misgiving (waswasa) that should be ignored. You should assume that your prayers were valid and sound for the past years unless you are absolutely certain to the contrary. It would be far-fetched to assume that your prayers were not valid as the requirements for a valid prayer in the Hanafi school are very hard not to fulfill.
With that said, you can make up prayers at any time except the following three: (a) when the sun is rising, (b) when the sun is at its zenith, meaning the mid-point in the sky right before the entry of Dhuhr, and (c) when the sun is setting, which the scholars define as when the rays of the sun do not overwhelm the eyes when looked at, until the entry of Maghrib. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]
2. The validity of expiatory fasts (kaffara) is not effected by sins committed during their performance. Their validity is only effected by things that nullify the fast, such as eating, drinking, engaging in sexual intercourse, and the like. As long as one avoided aspects that nullifies the fast, one’s fast will be valid. [ibid]
As for how one should behave during these sixty days, the obvious answer that comes to mind is that one should behave the way he or she should everyday: avoiding sin, working towards fulfilling religious duties, seeking closeness to Allah, engaging in Allah’s remembrance, recitation of the Qur’an, good conduct with relatives and others, and so forth.
It is also specifically recommended to seek Allah’s forgiveness when performing expiatory fasts, as this expiation is only required due to one’s negligence of Allah’s command. One should ask Allah to overlook one’s faults, to accepts one’s acts of worship, and to safeguard one from falling into sin.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani