Opinion, July 2003, www.aljazeerah.info
A Sunnah Before Maghreb
Q. In my home country, the Philippines, people do not offer two rak’ahs of Sunnah before they start the congregational prayer of Maghreb, which is the practice in Saudi Arabia. Why is this difference, and how do we correct this practice?
G. Anugod • Iligan City, Philippines
A. This is just another example of the differences between schools of Fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudence, on matters of detail. In the school of Fiqh that predominates in your country, which I expect to be the Hanafi school, the recognized view is that Maghreb should be offered within a few minutes of its becoming due. Other schools allow longer time, although they stress the importance of offering it early in its time range. They also recommend offering two rak’ahs of Sunnah before the obligatory prayer.
There is no need to re-educate the people in your community so as to change their practice. Had their practice involved some deviation from the recognized Islamic principles, some action would have been needed. But as the case is not so, nothing need to be done. You may explain that in Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim countries, people have a different practice, but your explanation should only seek to make them aware that other methods are also acceptable in Islam.
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