Question # 412: Assalaamu ‘alay kum, Are the dhikr after the prayer, such as “astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah” and “allahumma antas salaam wa minkasalaam” only to be said after the fard prayers, or can they also be said after the sunnah prayers? Barakallahu feek

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The istighfaar is prescribed after all acts of worship since it is the du‘aa’ seeking forgiveness for falling short in doing the act of worship; however, the view of the majority of scholars is that the praise of Allah that follows istighfaar is only to be said after an obligatory prayer, so it is not to be said after a naafil (supererogatory) prayer.

Long Answer: Seeking forgiveness (istighfaar) after the obligatory prayers is proven to be something that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did, because of the report narrated by Muslim from Thawbaan (رضي الله عنه), who said: When he had finished his prayer, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to ask for forgiveness three times and say: “Allahumma anta al-salaam wa minka al-salaam, tabaarakta yaa dhaa’l-jalaali wa’l-ikraam (O Allah, You are al-Salaam (the One Who is free from all defects and deficiencies) and from You is all peace, blessed are You, Possessor of majesty and honor).”

The view of the majority of scholars is that this istighfaar and the praise of Allah that follows it is only to be said after an obligatory prayer, so it is not to be said after a naafil (supererogatory) prayer.

But there is a du‘aa’ for seeking forgiveness (istighfaar) that is prescribed after all acts of worship, in general terms.

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has enjoined it after departing from Muzdalifah in Hajj, and after praying qiyaam al-layl (voluntary night prayers), and the Sunnah indicates that it is prescribed after doing wudu’, after gatherings of dhikr (e.g., study circles), and in other circumstances.

It is a prayer seeking forgiveness for falling short in doing the act of worship. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “…  But when you depart from ‘Arafat, remember Allah at al- Mash‘ar al-Haram. And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray. Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:198-199)

Ibn Sa‘di said in his Tafseer (commentary) on this verse: “Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart” i.e., then depart from Muzdalifah, from where all the people have departed, from the time of Ibrahim (عليه السلام) until the present. What is meant by this departing was well-known to them; it meant departing and stoning the jamaraat, offering the sacrifice, circumambulating the Ka‘bah (tawaf), going between as-Safaa and al-Marwah (sa‘i), staying overnight in Mina during the days of at-tashreeq, and completing all the other rituals of Hajj.

Because the purpose of this departing was as mentioned, and the things mentioned are the last of the rituals of Hajj, Allah commanded that when finishing them, we should ask Him for forgiveness and remember Him a great deal.

So, forgiveness is sought for mistakes made by the individual when doing his act of worship, and for his shortcomings therein. Remembering Allah is thanking Allah for the blessing that He bestowed upon him by enabling him to do this great act of worship. This is what the individual should do: every time he finishes an act of worship, he should ask Allah for forgiveness for his shortcomings, and thank Him for enabling him to do it. This is unlike the one who thinks that he has done the act of worship perfectly and has done a favor to his Lord by doing it, and that it will give him high status. Such a one deserves to be despised (by his Lord) and to have his deed rejected, just as the former deserves to be accepted and enabled to do more good deeds.”

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) praises those who focus on seeking forgiveness after praying tahajjud, as He says in the Qur’an: “They used to sleep but little of the night, And in the hours before dawn they would ask forgiveness” (Soorah adh-Dhaariyaat, 51:17-18)

It was narrated from Naafi‘, that Ibn ‘Umar used to spend the night in prayer, then he would say: O Naafi‘, is dawn approaching? And he would say: No. So, he would go back and pray some more, then he would say: O Naafi‘, is dawn approaching? And he would say: Yes. So, he would sit and pray for forgiveness and offer supplication until dawn broke. (It says in Majma‘ az-Zawaa’id: “It was narrated by at-Tabarani and the men of its isnad are the men of as-Saheeh, apart from Asad ibn Moosaa, who is thiqah (trustworthy).”)

Al-Hasan al-Basri said in his commentary on the ayat from adh-Dhaariyaat, 51:17-18: “They would make their prayer lengthy and pray with energy until, when dawn approached, they would begin to pray for forgiveness.” (Tafseer at-Tabari)

It is narrated in a sound report from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) that he offered the supererogatory Duhaa [mid-morning] prayer, then he followed it with istighfaar (prayer for forgiveness). It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنهما) said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prayed Duhaa, then he said: “Allahumma’ghfir li wa tubb ‘alayya, innaka anta at-Tawwaab ar-Raheem (O Allah, forgive me and accept my repentance; verily You are the Acceptor of repentance, the Most Merciful)”, and he repeated it one hundred times. (Narrated by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad and an-Nasa’i in as-Sunan al-Kubra; classed as sahih by al-Albani; This was also narrated via an Ansaari man, but ‘Aa’ishah did not name him. An-Nasai’i regarded this isnad as more likely to be sound, as he says in as-Sunan al-Kubra. See: Tuhfat al-Ashraaf) This offers evidence from the actions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) for this practice.

(The above reply is based on answer provided by Islamqa.info on similar topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam