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Recommended Prayers

In the Islamic culture, ritual prayer is dubbed as the “sacrifice of the pious” and is considered as the foremost method of drawing nearer to God. Thus, in addition to obligatory daily prayers, there are many mandub (recommended) prayers to be performed on a daily basis or on special religious occasions. The nafilah prayers, performed during the course of a single day, comprise a total of 34 rak`ahs: 8 before the noon prayer, 8 before the afternoon prayer, 4 after the evening prayer, and 2, in the sitting position, after the night prayer, which counts as a single rak`ah. The midnight prayer is eight rak`ahs, followed by the shaf` (one rak`ah) and watr (one rak`ah) prayers. Finally, there is the two-rak`ah dawn prayer. Apart from the single-rak`ah watr prayer, most supererogatory prayers comprise two rak`ahs. 

Among the recommended prayers which are not confined to a particular occasion are those of istisqa’ (during draughts), hajat (petition), istikharah, thanksgiving, ziyarah, and salutation (of a mosque). Some recommended prayers are to be performed during special occasions, such as the nafilah prayers in Ramadhan, those on the `Ids of Fitr, Mab`ath, Ghadir Khumm, and the middle of Sha`ban. In Sunnism, the recommended 20-rak`ah prayer of the nights of Ramadhan are performed congregationally and is called the Trawih prayer.

* source: Gorji , Abolghasem "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 ,pp.410

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