Make Up For Missing Prayers

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu Alaikum, How does one make up for a large number of prayers (let’s say, years of them)? Does he/she have to make up for each individual prayer? Would they have to make up for all those prayers or would a general tawbah be required in such a case?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you’re well.

The Importance of the Prayer

The prayer is of central importance in Islam, and trying to perfect one’s prayer is a life-long objective of every believer. It is the purest act of worship through which slavehood to Allah Most High is expressed.

From puberty onwards, every believer is expected to perform the five fard prayers – and the wajib witr prayer for Hanafis – every day. If any of these are missing then one will be accountable for them on the Day of Judgement.

Therefore, all missed prayers must be made up – regardless of the reason behind them being missed. One must also repent from any prayers missed due to negligence.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The first thing a servant will be taken to account for on the Day of Judgement from his deeds is the prayer. If it is right he is successful and saved. Otherwise, he is ruined and has lost out.

The Lord – Infinitely Generous and Lofty is He – will say [to the angels], ‘Look; does my servant have any voluntary worship which can compensate for the deficiencies in his obligatory worship?’ Then the rest of his works will be treated in the same way.” (Abu Dawud).

This narration also highlights the importance of  the sunna prayers and voluntary worship.

How To Make Up Missed Prayers

The simplest way is to start from the point you reached puberty. If you do not know the precise month and year then make a good guess.

Once you have this date calculate the number of years, months, and days from puberty until you started to consistently pray properly. It might be wise to add 2% of this figure as a backup.

At this point you should start to make up the prayers. You do need to pray them in order, and there is no rush.

The easiest way is to start making up one day’s worth of prayers a day. The order can be mixed up to facilitate the process, though it is better to pray maghrib and the witr prayer in a place where no one can see you. This is to avoid letting others know that you missed prayers in the past. The other prayers can be passed of as voluntary prayers.

It is also important that you keep on top of your current prayers – they are a priority. Also, do not miss the emphasised sunnas: the two before fajr; the four before zuhr, and the two after it; the two after maghrib, and the two after ‘isha.

A sample routine could be that you make up:

before/after fajr – a previous zuhr

after sunrise until noon – a previous maghrib

after zuhr – a previous asr

before (ideally) / after asr (before the sun goes reddish) – a previous ‘isha

after maghrib – a previous fajr

before bed/tahajjud time – a previous witr.

This way you’ll be able to place the missed prayers in the slots of the recommended voluntary prayers without disrupting your routine much. Alternatively, you could find a 20 minutes slot in the day and pray them all back to back.

The Intention

The simplest intention is to say “I intend to make up the last fajr/zuhr/asr, etc prayer that I missed and have not prayed yet.” Do this for every prayer, and each time you perform a prayer one will be knocked off the list and the one prior to it will become ‘the last prayer you missed’

Keep a separate written record of how many days you have made up, ideally in a place you won’t lost it, such as iCloud.

Beware Of Burnout

The Devil will undoubtedly come and make you rush through the prayers, and also make you think the number you are doing isn’t enough. Ignore him. Start with making up one day a day, and when you have consistently done this for three months consider adding another day to the routine.

This way you will keep advancing. A small amount over a long period of time is better than a big sudden splash and then nothing. I know many people who have built up to consistently making up five days worth of prayers a day, and kept at it. This requires a bit of sacrifice but the fruits are well worth it.

As with everything, ask Allah for help, and tell Him you are doing this to please Him, and to fulfil His rights that you were deficient with. This way you will be rewarded for it all even if you die before completing them all. Allah is very kind and generous.

(Shurubnulali, Maraqi al Falah)

May Allah facilitate all matters for you.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Prayer, Past Sins, and the Hijab

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat gives valuable advice on how to make up prayers and not burn out.

I’m sorry. I sent a question through earlier about making up missed prayers. I also wanted to ask, if I should be including the nafl prayers for dhuhr, maghrib and isha in my makeup prayers, or can these be left out without any further sin?

As I have years of prayers to make up, would it be sinful for me to do anything outside this in my spare time. For instance, would reading a fictional book, watching a film, going out with family, be sinful for me? Should I only be using spare time to make up prayers? I’m feeling overwhelmed because I feel like I will not be able to do anything else without sin or guilt.

Also, I am trying to learn the prayer as I go along if this takes me some time and I miss a current prayer in the process am I making my situation worse?

I am also trying to work towards wearing the hijab, but again I feel overwhelmed. I initially thought covering my hair and wearing loose clothing that fully covers me would be sufficient. I was going to stick to wearing long skirts and loose tops, dresses that fall below my knees with leggings, jeans–trousers with loose tops that fall to my knees or below my knees. But now after reading some things I’m doubting if I’d still be sinning as I’m not wearing a jilbab, and trousers may not be modest enough or even leggings with dresses below the knees.

I’m starting to get depressed, as I feel like I’m going to have to make loads of changes at once. Everything I read makes me find another obstacle. I’ve always kept my hair shorter as I find it easier to manage, and I’ve now read it’s also haram for me to cut it. If my hair is going to be covered by a scarf, can I not keep it short for ease and comfort, as no one will see it?

In the past I had the bad habit, and I think I may have broken some fasts due to this. How do I figure out how many I may have broken, and do I need to fast 60 days as well as making the individual fasts up? If I can’t remember exactly when I started puberty, how do I calculate how many prayers I need to make up?

I work. If I delay a prayer and have to do qada due to this am I digging a deeper hole for myself?

Please advise me on what I need to do. Does the fact I have sinned in the past mean I have to give up all my free time for prayer. I don’t know if that’s something I’ll be able to do.

Jazak Allah khayran.

I pray you are well.

Leaving nafl prayers is not sinful. If you have fard and wajib (witr, for example) prayers to make up it is be best to leave the nafl and focus on the fard and wajib.

It’s best to ask Allah for help, make a routine which you can practically manage daily, and make up your missed prayers methodically. A constant drip of water over time can split a rock; whereas a big splash of the same amount just makes it wet.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Making up Prayers and Fasts

Ustadh Farid Dingle clears up some confusion regarding making up missed fasts and prayers.

I’ve been reading your answers about making up broken fasts. In the Ramadan Reader it says we must fast sixty consecutive days for any deliberately broken fasts. But in the answers section it says no expiation is stipulated, however all broken fasts should be made up? Which is the correct one?

I don’t remember clearly if I have broken fasts. I know I used to have the bad habit and think that due to this I may have invalidated my fasts in the past. What’s the ruling here on figuring out how much were missed and making them up?

Also, I have neglected prayers in the past. I have never properly learned to read namaz and I am now working towards rectifying this, Insha Allah. What’s the ruling in making up the prayers, as I’m starting to learn to pray so I’m not sure if I will immediately be able to read all five prayers. Do I have to calculate how many were missed and whilst learning, if any are missed, add these to the overall number that need to be made up, too?

I feel embarrassed asking these questions, but I would like to know what I need to do to make up in these areas.

Jazak Allah khayr.

Expiation for missed or broken fasts

In the Hanafi school, no expiation needs to be paid if you simply don’t fast. The expiation is due for breaking the fast in Ramadan that you did actually start. See When Is Expiation Required For A Fast?

Breaking the fast by intentional ejaculation would break the fast and call for an expiation. You would have to make-up each fast you know for sure that you broke, and expiate for those days.

Praying five times a day

Praying five times a day is an absolute must, even at work or around others who do not pray. Try your utmost to perform all on time from this day forth.

Regarding missed prayers, once you get well established in performing the five daily prayers, start making up the ones that you have missed in the past at a consistent and moderate rate.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said in his farewell sermon: “Fear Allah, your Lord, pray your five prayers, fast your month [of Ramadan], give charity from your wealth, and be obedient to those in authority over you, and you will enter the Paradise of your Lord.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi and others)

I pray this helps.


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Purity and Judging Pigskin

Ustadh Farid Dingle gives guidance on prayer and items made of pigskin.

I have been using a leather wallet and recently found out that it is made of pig skin leather. I have performed some prayers while this wallet was in my pocket. Will I have to repeat such prayers? 

Jazakum Allah khayr.

The Short Answer

Please see Praying with a pig-leather wallet… do I have to make up such prayers?

General Advice

Please bear in mind that the default on everything is purity until proven 100% otherwise. A “guesstimate” from a non-specialist that the leather is actually pig leather (and not peccary leather, for example) is not sufficient. You should be genuinely sure that it is indeed pigskin, and be wary of being OCD about everything and anything.

Also, in the future, you should actively ask what type of leather the item you are buying is made of. Pigskin is common in gloves and the insides of shoes.

Guiding Others

Oftentimes, we ask question for others, others who look up to us for guidance, but don’t necessarily have to drive to find out what is right and wrong, or even apply what we have to say to them.

We have to be understanding and merciful, but that doesn’t mean we have to bend the truth or water-down Allah’s religion.

That said, in this particular case, if you did find out that you had definitely prayed many years of prayers wearing or carrying filth, there is a strong position in the Shafi‘i school that says that the prayer does not have to be repeated. (Rawda al-Talibin, al-Nawawi)

This is in addition to the fact that there is some debate over pigskin being pure or not. (Hashiyat al-Tahtawi; al-Mabsut, Sarakhsi; al-Sharh al-Kabir, Dardir) You could guide others of less religious resolve to follow such an opinion in retrospect so that they do not have to make up such prayers. This do not entail that one could go ahead and knowingly use pigskin in the future.

Our religion is based on objective knowledge and genuine keenness to do what Allah wants us to do. It is between strictness and ease, and does not turn into inflexible harshness any more than it does into a lackadaisical neglect. We should be as strict on ourselves (within reason) as we can; and yet be as soft as possible with others as long it doesn’t spoil what they already have of resolve.

Imam al-Bayhaqi quotes one the Early Muslims saying: “Trials in religion are three: the trial of the common man is in the loss of religious knowledge, the trial of the learned is in the existence of dispensations and alternative interpretations, and the trial of those who know and appreciate [Allah] is in having a duty to be done at a particular time and then delaying it.” He also quotes another saying, “Whoever wants to do nothing and be nothing, let him see well to following [all sorts of] dispensations.” (Shuab al-Iman, al-Bayhaqi)

It is worth noting the al-Bayhaqi’s book is called the The Branches of Faith. That is to say the these points guide us in helping our faith grow and come to full fruition. This is what our religion is about, and something that we should always be working on.

I pray this helps.


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Invalid Ghusl, Prayer, and the Fast

Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat is asked about the conditions of a valid ghusl and if not having a valid ghusl invalidates the fast.


Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I got my first period when I was around ten years old. I was told that I would have to take a bath once it was over in order to uplift the impurity, but I was never taught the proper steps involved in the ghusl. I simply continued taking a bath for many, many years and thought that I had become pure.

Just recently came to know that what I was doing was completely wrong, and it’s really made me upset knowing that I prayed and fasted many Ramadans in a state of impurity.

My question is that, in addition to making up the missed prayers, do I have to make up all the fasts of Ramadan, too?


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Purity is simple.

A valid ghusl is very simple. All a person has to do is rinse the mouth and nose, and make water flow over the rest of the body. There is very little to do to render it invalid.

If you submit another question with the reason why you think your ghusls have been invalid, it may be the case that they were valid – if not in the Hanafi school, then perhaps in another.

If the ghusls were indeed invalid then you would have to repeat all the prayers that were performed invalidly, but not the fasts. Purity is not a condition for the validity of a fast. (Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah).

If they were invalid, see it as it being better for you to realize it in this world, so you can have the reward of compensating for this deficiency, and as a means for you to draw closer to Allah.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Is It Valid to Pray Make-Ups Behind Tarawih Prayers?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I have been making up my missed Fajr prayers in Tarawih congregations at a mosque. I make the intention that I am making up Fajr every two rak’as with the Imam and followed him. Is what I did sound?

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. Thank you for your question.

It is valid to pray an obligatory prayer behind a sunna prayer in the Shafi’i school. Therefore, your praying Fajr make ups behind the Tarawih prayer is valid.

Different prayers

It is legally valid to pray a current fard prayer behind a fard make-up prayer (qada) and vice versa, and a fard prayer behind a nafl (voluntary) prayer and vice versa, even if the number of rakats are different. However, it is considered not best practice (Khilaf al Owla) and better to pray on one’s own.

Make ups

In the Shafi’i school it is sunna to make up missed prayers in the order they were missed, and disliked to not pray them in order, though they would still be valid.

[Iyanat al Talibin, Bushra al Karim]


Fiqh-wise, given the above rulings, it would seem better to make up one’s missed prayers alone and in order.

However, given the pressing need for people to be a part of religious communal activities as much as possible, and to be able to take part and benefit from prayers during the special month of Ramadan, the social element and its palpable benefits can be weighed against the fiqh rulings we have mentioned above.

As such, there’s no harm in praying missed Fajr prayers behind the Tarawih prayers, as it has multiple benefits and one is still making up missed prayers. In fact, many of our Shafi’i teachers encourage people who have make-ups to do just this during Ramadan. And Allah knows best.

May Allah accept all your efforts and supplications during Ramadan, insha’Allah.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Is It Necessary to Make up Missed Prayers? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I didn’t pray during high school years. I’m assuming perhaps I started in my 20’s something. I’m not sure about the exact age. How many years of prayer do I have to make up? Should I really make them up?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for your questions. May Allah reward you in wanting to make up your missed prayers.

It is necessary to make up missed prayers, and this is the opinion held by the four schools of thought.

The Necessity of Making up Missed Prayers

The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Whoever forgets a prayer must perform it when they remember it’ [al Bukhari, Muslim]. If one is obliged to make up a missed prayer due to forgetfulness, then with greater reasoning, one is obliged make up a prayer missed through neglect.

Imam Nawawi states in his al Majmu, ‘There is consensus of the scholars whose opinion counts, is that whoever leaves a prayer intentionally must make it up.’

The prayer is the first matter that a person will be asked about on the day of Judgement, so it is imperative that we ensure that we are not remiss in this worship in any way. Ultimately, we do not want to be standing in front of Allah on the Day of Judgement with years of missed prayers that have not been made up.

How to Make up Missed Prayers

One is obliged to start praying as soon as they reach puberty. The age of puberty varies from person to person, but does not legally start before 9 lunar years old.

Work out the years of missed prayers, beginning from when you started puberty and up to when you are certain you started praying regularly.

For example, if you started puberty at 11 years old, then this is your start point. If you’re unsure when you were praying all your prayers, or if you were praying on and off and are unsure which exact prayers you prayed, then go by the point that you definitely started praying all your prayers. For example, if you know that you were praying all your prayers at the age of 27, then this will be your end point. So in the example above, you would make up prayers from the age of 11 to 27.

Draw up a timetable that you can make up prayers steadily each day, alongside your other daily commitments. Make-ups can feel heavy and challenging, so make sure you are realistic and sensible in what you are able to do, finding the balance between pushing yourself to make them up and not burning out. Tick off the prayers as you go along on a calendar or similar.

If you have many years make up, then I would recommend you consult a scholar on the minimum amount needed to make your prayer valid in the legal school you follow, so you can get through the prayers quicker.

Please also read the following answers:
A Reader on Missed Prayers
What If I Have Too Many Prayers To Make Up?
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

What If I Have Too Many Prayers To Make Up? (Video)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What if I have too many prayers to make up?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

To What Extent Can I Restrict the Sunnah Acts in Make-Up Prayers? [Shafi’i]

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaikum,

I have discovered that you can’t wipe over socks that allowed water to seep through. Now I have to make up almost a decade worth of prayer. Is there a minimum requirement (with regard to Sunna actions)in performing a make up prayer?

Answer: Assalāmu ʿalaykum,

I pray that you are well.

There is no minimum requirement for Sunnah acts for making up prayers. That is, the Sunnah acts in them are recommended in the same way as they are for an obligatory prayer performed in its time.

However, Sunnah acts themselves do not affect the validity of the prayer, and prayers can be validly performed without them.

If one has a number of prayers to make up, they can lessen the Sunnah aspects of the prayer – such as shortening some of the Sunnah supplications in number and kind, or reciting only the Fatiha – if that will facilitate for them the completion of the obligation.

God facilitates all affairs.

Shuaib Ally

Photo: Kevin Schoenmakers

What Is the Minimum Requirement for the Intention of Makeup Prayers?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam ‘aleykum

As part of my intention for each makeup prayer, I have been intended to “repeat the last Asr prayer I missed”. Is my intention valid or do I need to be more specific?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Yes, your intention was valid, as were your prayers, because the minimum requirement is specifying a prayer and intending to pray “the last `Asr due,” for instance, fulfils this.

If you can be specific, that is good, yet it is not expressly required of you.

May Allah Most High facilitate all good for you.

Please also see: What is the Proper Intention for Makeup Prayers?

And Allah knows best.

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani