I Vowed to Pray the Sunna Prayers. What Should I Do?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


When I was younger, I did something horrible. I said, “oh Allah, if you make my mother pleased with me again (I promise?), I will pray all the Sunnas”. I had reached puberty but knew little about Islam or vows, and I didn’t even know the difference between emphasized and non-emphasized Sunnas. I didn’t know how many Sunnas there were or the Sunnas according to different Schools of Thought.

My mother became pleased, so I now pray all the Sunnas. But it’s not easy because of school, and I don’t know if I can keep up when I start working. Is this a vow? Is there any way to do anything less? If I break it, am I sinful? Is this sinful if I don’t pray it in time and later (once-off)?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him, Amin.

First, we should be careful with vows. Second, you should pray the Sunna prayers as regularly as possible, regardless of the vow. As for your vow, based on your description, it appears that you didn’t understand the meaning of “all the Sunnas.”

Someone who vows to perform the prayer but does not specify how much must pray two raka‘as (units) of prayer. [Misri, ‘Umdat Al-Salik]

Given that you did not know the number of Sunnas or understand what you were doing, the above clause appears to apply to you, and Allah knows best.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.