What is the best way to pray salat al ishraq and salat al duha?
Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim.
It is best to pray two rakas of salat al ishraq when the sun is well up, and then eight cycles of prayer of salat al duha in the mosque after a quarter of the day has passed.
Is salat al ishraq the same as salat al duha?
There is a difference of agreement in the Shafi’i school whether or not the two prayers are the same. (Fath al Ali, Ba Alawi)
Accordingly, it would be superior to pray them separately.
When and where should they be prayed?
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Whoever prays Fajr in a group, then sits down remembering Allah until the sun rises, and then prays two cycles of prayer, he will have the complete reward of having had performed Hajj and Umra.’ He repeated ‘complete’ three times. (Tirmidhi)
Accordingly, the time for both prayers starts from when the sun rises well above the horizon (approx. 10-20 mins/4 degrees above the horizon). This is the ideal time for salat al ishraq (if we say two separate prayers).
Their end time is the zenith but maybe prayed as make-ups at the zenith or afterward. (Bushra al Karim, Ba Ishn)
Given that the ideal time for salat al duha is after one-quarter of the day has passed (Bushra al Karim, Ba Ishn), it would in principle be best to pray the two cycles of prayer when the sun rises well above the horizon, and then the eight cycles of duha later on.
One should be careful to prioritize consistency over optimality: it is far better to regularly pray a fixed amount daily than to pray different prayers at different times with the fear of missing them.
Regarding the recommendation to sit in the mosque after Fajr, many scholars have said that it is sufficient to continue making dhikr and not necessarily sit down in that one place. Accordingly, one could get one’s morning walk done after Fajr while reciting one’s morning adhkar and then pray one’s salat al ishraq at home once the sun is well up. (Bushra al Karim, Ba Ishn)
Praying at home
In general, it is recommended to pray all sunna prayers at home. (Bukhari and Muslim; Sharh Muslim, Nawawi)
It is also narrated from the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that he said, ‘As for a man’s praying at home, it is light. To illuminate your houses.’ (Ibn Majah)
Some exceptions to this are the two cycles of prayer after sunset and before praying Maghrib, and istikhara, and salat al duha. These three, amongst others, are best prayed in the mosque. Some have stated that it is specifically salat al duha on Friday that is better prayed in most, not just any salat al duha. (Asna al Matalib, Zakariyya al Ansari; Ilam al Sajid bi Ahkam al Masajid, Zarkashi)
In general, all sunna prayers should be prayed at home, but generally speaking, it is better to pray salat al ishraq/duha in the mosque.
I pray this
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years, he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.