Multiple Intentions In A Single Salaat (Shafi’i)

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Multiple Intentions In A Single Salaah (Shafi’ee Response)

Question:
Can we combine multiple non-obligatory salaah intentions into a single salaah? For example, can we pray the sunnah (‘muakkadah’; مؤكدة) after Maghrib and intend another two raka’ah salaah such as salaatu-tawbah or salaatu-shukr in the same salaah?

Answer:
‎بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
‎الحمد لله رب العالمين
‎والصلاة والسلام على أشرف المرسلين سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه اجمعين

‎السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

May Allaah, The Almighty, reward you for your question, make you a source of benefit for the Ummah and bless us all with beneficial knowledge, guidance and the Divinely granted ability to practice what we learn.

To proceed, from a technical perspective, when one asks if one ‘can’ do something, it can be viewed in three ways; (1) is one permitted to do the action or not (i.e. is one committing a sin); (2) is the action valid or not; (3) (assuming it is permissible and valid) will one be rewarded or not. In this case, one does not become liable to punishment for making multiple intentions in the scenario(s) you have posed in your question.

However, in terms of validity and reward, our scholars discuss this issue under the general subject of “ascribing multiple intentions (to a single action)” (‘tashreeku-niyyah’; تشريك النية) and consider various scenarios. Specifically related to your question, our scholars categorized non-obligatory salaahs into two categories: (1) a salaah where the purpose is achieved whether one intended the purpose or not; and (2) a salaah where the purpose is not achieved unless one intends the specific purpose(s).

The first category is limited to 10 salaahs:
1. Welcoming a mosque (تحية المسجد);
2. After completing a circumambulation (‘tawaaf’; الطواف);
3. Before entering the state of ‘ihraam’ (الإحرام) for pilgrimage;
4. After completing an ablution ‘wudhu’ (الوضوء);
5. ‘Awaabeen’ (also known as ‘salaatul-ghaflah’ (الغفلة); performed after Maghrib);
6. ‘Al-istikhaarah’ (الاستخارة);
7. Salaah of the one in need (‘haajah’; [الحاجة]);
8. Just after “zawaal’ (زوال);
9. Before departing for a journey; and
10. After returning from a journey.
(11. Some of scholars also considered the after-sunrise salaah (‘ishraaq’; [الاشراق] in this category)

This means, the purpose of any of the salaahs listed above is achieved, whether one intends them or not, as long as its performance coincides with the relevant time or event that calls for it. Although one will not be rewarded unless they specify the relevant intention(s). If one performs a salaah for the sole purpose of any one of the listed salaahs, or combines it(/them) with another salaah (even if the other salaah; which is the main intended salaah; is an obligatory salaah); the single salaah and the mutliple intentions are valid, and they will be rewarded for each individual intention.

The second category (a salaah where the purpose is not achieved unless one intends the specific purpose[s]) is any other salaah that is not listed above. It is not valid to combine the intention of any salaah in this second category as an additional intention to any other obligatory or non-obligatory salaah. Therefore, ‘salaatu-tawbah’ is not from the first category thus it would not be valid to add as an additional intention to another prayer such as the sunnah-muakkadah after Maghrib; or as an additional intention to any oher salaah.

Note: There is no prayer known as ‘salaatu-shukr’, according to our scholars. However, one may offer an absolutely, unconditional supererogatory prayer for the sake of Allaah and intend in their heart that the overwhelming driving force that has compelled them to perform this salaah, is to demonstrate gratefulness to Allaah. This is perfectly valid and commendable. However, one does not ‘intend to pray salaatu-shukr’ as they make their ‘takbeer’ as there is no salaah called ‘salaatu-shukr’.

‎والله تعالى اعلم

As related by Shaykh Ali bin Sumayt with reference to ‘Bughyatul Mustarshideen’ and ‘Nihaayatul Muhtaaj’
Summarized and translated by Abdur Raheem Halim

17 Dhul Qa’dah 1441
(08 Jul 2020)

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