The five prayers Fajr, Zuhr, `Asr, Maghrib and `Ishā
imposed on the Muslims consist of two, four, four, three and four obligatory
rak`ats respectively. These rak`ats called fard rak`ats must be offered in all
The Prophet (sws) offered some more rak`ats before and
after these stipulated ones to set an example in worshipping Allah, and, as
such, a believer should try to offer them as much as he can. However, all
these rak`ats are optional. Offering them will certainly earn a believer a lot
of reward from the Almighty, but not offering them will entail no penalty.
These optional rak'ats are:
Fajr: two before the fard rak`ats
Zuhr: two or four before the fard rak`ats and two after
`Asr: two or four before the fard rak`ats
Maghrib: two after the fard rak`ats
`Ishā: two or four before fard rak`ats and two after.