Islam and the Quran

Making Up for the Missed Prayers

Question: Can we make up for the missed obligatory prayers? I read a hadith about compensation praying which says it is only valid in cases of forgetting and sleeping. What is your opinion?

In fact, making up for a missed obligatory prayer is not possible according to the Qur’an and the Example of Messenger Muhammad that is based upon the Quran. This is because the Almighty God decrees in the Quran:

“When you offer the prayer, commemorate God standing and sitting and on your sides. When you are secure, offer the prayer duly, because the prayer has been prescribed to the believers as linked to particular times. (An-Nisa 4:103)

Since “the prayer is prescribed as linked to particular times”, out duty is offering it within the daily time limits. Offering the prayer out of its time is not acceptable. Yet, if you forget or sleep, you can perform those missed prayers out of their regular prayer times as soon as you wake up or remember. God does not hold you responsible for forgetting or sleeping because they are out of human’s control, and “God does not hold one responsible for something beyond one’s capability (2:286)”.

Performing the obligatory prayer when you remember or wake up is actually not “making up for the prayer” but merely “performing that prayer”.
Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) once could not wake up for the fajr prayer,[1] and once forgot the asr prayer in the Battle of the Trench, due to heavy enemy fire[2]. So he could not perform his prayers in their prescribed times. Then, he offered the prayer as soon as he remembered.

The following hadith are narrated from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) after the fajr prayer he had missed by sleeping:

“Whoever forgets a prayer or sleeps and misses it, let him offer it as soon as he remembers, for there is no expiation for it other than that.” [3]

“When any one of you omits the prayer due to sleep or he forgets it, he should offer it when he remembers it, for Allah has said:” Offer the prayer for remembrance of Me.” (Ta-Ha 20:14)[4]

None of these hadiths mention making up for the prayer for those who skip the prayer intentionally. As we can see in this hadith, even the prayer that is missed due to sleep or forgetting has no expiation but to offer it as soon as you remember or wake up. A person who skips the prayer intentionally is not included in any of these groups, and therefore there is no expiation for such a prayer.  When the particular time of a prayer is missed, it cannot be performed unless there is one of the excuses stated above.

As for the sects, Hanbali sect does not recognize compensation prayer except for forgetting, sleeping and heavy enemy fire. Shafii, Maliki, Hanafi sects agree on that the missed prayers can be performed later on without an excuse, basing on the comparison (qiyas) to above situations. However, evidence supports the opinion of Hanbali sect.

Except these situations, making up for a missed prayer is not possible or acceptable. The people who miss the prayer due to negligence or laziness happen to commit a major sin. They must immediately repent, ask for forgiveness from God and never miss prayers again.


[1] Bukhari, Mawakit as-salat 35; Muslim, Masajid 310-313; Nasai, Mawakit 55; Ahmad B. Hanbal, 2/428, 4/441

[2] Bukhari, Mawakit as-salat 36-38, Adhan 26, Salat al-hawf 4, Maghazi 29.

[3] Muslim, Masajid, 684 a; In-book reference: Book 5, Hadith 402

[4] Muslim, Masajid, 684 d; In-book reference: Book 5, Hadith 405

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