All Praise is for Allah.

It is recommended that you separate your fardh (obligatory) and voluntary (naafil) prayers either by speech or shifting to another place.

The best way to separate them is to go to one’s home to pray the naafil (voluntary prayers), since for the best prayer of a person is what is performed at his home except the compulsory congregational (fardh) prayer, as is mentioned in the authentic hadith reported by Imam Bukhari in his Sahih. The proof of it is the hadith narrated by Imam Muslim in his Sahih from Mu’awiya (may Allah be pleased with him):

‘Umar b. ‘Ata’ b. Abu Khuwar said that Nafi’ b. Jubair sent him to al- Sa’ib the son of Namir’s sister with a view to asking him about what he had seen in the prayer of Mu’awiya. He said: Yes, I observed the Jumu’a prayer along with him in Maqsura and when the Imam pronounced salutation I stood up at my place and observed (Sunan rak’ahs). As he entered (the apartment) he sent for me and said: Do not repeat what you have done. Whenever you have observed the Jumu’a prayer, do not observe (Sunan prayer) till you have talked or got out, for the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) had ordered us to do this and not to combine two (types of) prayers without talking of going out.

Imam Nawawi said in his explanation of Sahih Muslim, “This hadith is proof for the opinion of our scholars (i.e. jurists (fuqaha) of the Shafa’ii school) that for voluntary (naafil) prayers, whether recommended (raatib) or otherwise, it is better to shift from the place where one prayed the fardh (obligatory) prayes to another place. It is better still to go to one’s home. If he does not go home, then he can pray at some other place in the masjid or somewhere else, so that the places where he has prostrated become numerous. Also by doing so we will be able to differentiate between the way of praying the obligatory (fardh) and voluntary (naafil) prayers. Mu’awiya’s saying that “till you have talked” is proof that the two prayers can be separated by speech as well. However it is better to separate them by transferring to another location, as we mentioned. Allah knows best.”

And Allah knows best.


Part of a fatwa translated for Islam-QA